By | June 12, 2012 27 Comments

Lifters And Drainers – Finding Sanity After Crazy!

As is my usual way here on this site, I’m writing this week about something that’s hit home to me once again. This time, it’s about the subject of Lifters and Drainers, Boosters and Bursters, Gremlins and Heroes”¦. Yes, I have plenty of terms for the subject I’m about to explain. But what, exactly, am I talking about you may ask?

Well, I’m talking about how we are influenced in the ways in which we operate. Taking both extremes, it’s the differences between whether we feel up, positive, poised and ready, or whether we feel tired, drained, despondent and depressed.  Specifically in this case, I’m going to focus on two direct ways in which we are influenced — the people around us, and our own thoughts and reactions. Because those are the things I’ve been dealing with this week.

Let me put things in to context as best I can. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that the libel issues around my decision to honestly share my story are still proving to be somewhat of a challenge. That’s putting things politely. And, to be brutally honest, there have been times last week when I’ve broken down in tears — gripped by feelings of frustration and pain. Frustration because of the limitations that are being placed on my freedom of speech (while there were no limitations placed on the inappropriate and cruel behaviours of certain people in my past — not to mention no recrimination for their actions) and pain because each time I am asked to prove beyond any level of doubt that what I am saying is the truth, it feels once again as though the knife is digging in to me. Although I understand that they are not intended that way, both nonetheless feel as though they are attacks. And it hurts.

Steam Train Ahead

Yes, I have spent a lifetime learning skills to deal with these kind of assaults — I’ve dealt with much worse — yet still I found myself feeling just a tad wobbly over the past few days. And I began to wonder what that might be about.

After all, the worst is all over, isn’t it? I’ve survived. More than that, I can now hold my hand up and say wholeheartedly that I’m actually thriving. I’m lucky enough to be living in a reality that on many occasions had seemed like an impossible dream. I’m happy with who I am. I am surrounded by friends and family who love me. I am thoroughly enjoying my work. And little by little I am reclaiming my home, turning it in to my own personal space. So life is good”¦ isn’t it?

So how is it that something can come along with a side-swipe that knocks me off balance, leaving me feeling bruised and battered?

And then I got it. Crashing towards me like a steam train, and a great big “DOH!” as I smacked my forehead. Of course! I’d forgotten about the Lifters and Drainers. Those insidious influences that, if we’re not aware, can seep in to our reality and affect the way we respond. The thing is, from my own experience, I tend to forget about those little beasties when life is good. When I’m facing struggles, then my armor is up and I’m constantly poised for battle — and the Gremlins don’t stand a chance. But when I’m happy — well, then they can just sweep in unnoticed and catch me off-guard!


What am I talking about? Well, let me explain a little about what I term a Lifter, which can be many things but in this instance, either a person or a thought. Let’s imagine it as a person for the moment. Lifters are those people who are constantly encouraging you to do better. They’re the ones who will do their best to help you reach your goal when you mention your dream to them. They will instantly start thinking of ways they can help and support you, will be excited about your dream (maybe even more so than you are!) and will constantly remind you of it. If you like, they are the cheerleaders — the people who tell you to “Go go go!” and reassure you that you can do it, even when you doubt yourself.

Drainers, on the other hand, are those people who will give you all the reasons why your dream can never be achieved. They’ll tell you that you’re wrong, that your idea is nothing more than a hair-brained scheme, that you’ll only end up disappointing yourself, and give you the impression that you were foolish to even consider such a notion in the first place! Drainers can’t understand dreams and ambition — and when they see you fail, they take secret pleasure. Because your failure confirms their view on life.

When left unchecked and unrecognized, Drainers can weaken your defenses and literally drain your energy. Another great terminology for these kind of people is “Mood Hoovers”.

Exactly the same process can apply to thoughts. Lifter-thinking, for example, will include self-talk such as “I can!” “I am!” There’s always a way!” “Life is good!” — whereas Drainer-thinking will consist of “I can’t” “It’s impossible” “Things will never change”.

Now then, what I realised this week is this. When hit with some less than positive news, since my natural stance was ”˜neutral’ (neither Lifting or Draining) because in general I’m in a good place, I inadvertently allowed the news to activate negative thinking. Rather than let the emotions I felt (frustration, anger, hurt) flow through, they instead triggered my thinking to go along the “it’s not fair” sort of powerless route. The fact is that it isn’t fair (not just for me personally but on a much more global scale) but if I allow myself to wallow too long in that thought, then I’m trapped. It’s cul-de-sac thinking so far as I’m concerned. Easy enough to turn in to, but once you’re in it’s equally easy to go round in circles and never get out.

Don’t Drown — Surf Instead!

So there I was, feeling more and more frustrated with the situation and in the process dragging myself still further down. Yes, as I’ve said before, I believe it’s good and healthy to acknowledge the waves emotions as they come in. The trick is not to be swamped by them — much better to learn to surf them if that makes sense!

Yet the Drainers had got me, and I was hurtling out to sea — and in the process getting ready to battle for survival again. And that was when it hit me. That was when I realised that, once back in battle-mode I could notice what was happening. And I saw crystal clear that I had got myself in to a much worse mess than was necessary — simply because I’d allowed my thoughts to hijack me! The Drainers had moved in and I’d forgotten to call in the Lifters. As I said, “DOH!” — it’s amazing how situations can suddenly become clear in a moment don’t you think?

So — from that moment on I’ve been actively choosing my thoughts once again. I’ve distanced myself from what is happening (because much of it is now out of my hands) and instead told myself that there’s a gift in everything, and that there’s a reason why the legal team are in place. Even with that very small change of thought, I have been able to take a much more objective standpoint, and feel much more positive about the process. Yes, there are still things that, in my opinion, are wrong not only about my personal experiences, but also about this approach in general. The point is, though, me getting upset about it is not going to allow me to influence the situation in any positive way. It’s just going to drain me of my resources.

What I’m doing now, instead of festering on the injustice, is I’m taking notes about what I believe is wrong about how we as a society are approaching issues such as abuse — and why it is that the bad people seem to get away with it. All of it is material for further books, talks, interviews and workshops.

That, in turn, is spurring me on and making me even more determined to continue speaking out and stepping up. So — once again I am grateful for what is happening, I am accepting of any natural hiccups in the process, and the Lifters are back in force. “Go go go! There is ALWAYS a solution!”


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I know exactly what you mean, Mel – I had a similar experience last week. I noticed two things:

1. I was being pushed in a way that I didn’t like. After days of feeling upset, I finally identified the cause of my distress – it felt like I was being manipulated like I had been by my sociopathic ex husband. Simply identifying why I was reacting the way i was took away the emotional charge, so I could make more reasoned decisions.

2. Although the experience was indeed unpleasant, it was valuable, in that I now know how I need to handle similar situations in the future.

So even if we don’t quite fix the current predicament, it can provide information that we’ll need in the future.


Mel, thanks for another encouraging article! There are people who will encourage, and there are people who actively DIScourage, but someone seems to always be attempting to alter the COURAGE – if that makes any sense.

Donna, when you were able to identify the trigger, was it one of those moments of triumph? Your words: “being manipulated like I had been by my sociopathic ex…..took away the emotional charge….” are creating an AH-HAH moment for me.

More on that, later – or, at another time. But, this article was something that I really needed to read, today.

Thanks, again, Mel, and brightest blessings!

Beautiful, Mel. That’s perfect. I love it!

I read a post yesterday, by one of the posters, in regards to Donna’s new book. Basically, she indicated that Donna’s ex had no idea what he started when he met, married, and messed with such a strong, amazing, woman.

I feel the same. Good for you! 🙂

you said:

What I’m doing now, instead of festering on the injustice, is I’m taking notes about what I believe is wrong about how we as a society are approaching issues such as abuse ”“ and why it is that the bad people seem to get away with it. All of it is material for further books, talks, interviews and workshops.

Your insights are valuable and each time you share them, you open eyes.

I was just talking with a friend about domestic violence. People think it has diminished and it’s no longer acceptable. The truth is, it has simply changed shape. It is now domestic abuse, financial abuse and legal abuse.

The abusers don’t go away, they just change shape so they can continue to fit in but abuse in secret. I would never have put up with physical abuse. My spath knew it. So he abused covertly and insidiously. For 25 years I had no idea that I was being abused. how crazy is that?



I know what you mean, I had no idea I was being abused for 20 years. It’s extremely covert and convincing. I was convinced that I was that “bad” person in the relationship. They get away with that type of abuse because it’s not exactly the kind that you can call 911 and report.

The ongoing triggers do bring us down and those instances can catch us off guard until we define what happened and process it.

Today my son just told me he lost the garage door opener. It sits in his car in a compartment in the center of his car. I have never misplaced a garage door opener in my life, it sits in my car and stays there. So where does my mind go? I think spath took it and is planning to break in.

Spath has been angry about daughter not wanting him at her graduation ceremony. The first thing he did was change the amount he puts monthly into the kids’ fund (we both have an amount we put in there monthly) and I think the second thing was taking the garage door opener. I’m clearing out the code so that one won’t work anymore.

My point in all this is that this has triggered negative emotions and I feel tense in my body. I will handle it but I hate that it brings me back to a place I don’t want to go.


Sorry For the problems Mel.

Here’s a link to a good article with some more links to other goodies in it. That fit right in with Mel’s article.
External Vs Internal Locus of Control

“Before I got into personal development I’d get extremely upset about little things. Looking back, I can see that most, if not all, of my Problems were created in my head. My locus of control was completely outside of me. My emotions rolled and quaked with the events around me. In all honesty, I was delusional, and probably a little insane. I just didn’t know it because everyone else was crazy, too. That’s what naturally follows when we don’t bring our powerful minds under a more powerful sense of control.”

Anybody else having this problem. I’ve been unsubscribed as of today 8 times. Just wondering if it’s just me.


HOPEFORJOY!!!!! Long time no type! GOOD to “see” you!


Hope, I think that there will always be that dark place that we don’t want to revisit, quite frankly. No matter what the triggers might be, it’s part and parcel of our experiences.

How to manage that? Hard to say. For me, I have to try talking myself out of the emotional reactions. And, it’s not easy, I will honestly say. Sometimes, I don’t succeed and I end up roiling with this emotional mess until it finally boils away. Then, I’m simply exhausted.

Ox Drover

Dear Hope4Joy!

GREAT to see you back! Yep, he got that opener all right! Soooo sneaky of him and good for you for realizing what happened. LOL You fixed the problem.

He is punishing your daughter by keeping money back…oh, well, she still deserves to ahve who she wants at her graduation. HER graduation! GOOD FOR HER for standing up for herself. He may come anyway, but you and she can ignore him.

REALLY good to see you back sweetie! I miss you when you are not posting on here!~


Hi LF,
I’m happy to report that for the first time in a long time, I saw something positive in my life today. Which is good after I just found out yesterday that I was being used by another ago called friend. And I thought I was so ready to take on the world and never be duped again. HA!
Anyway, the good news. I picked up my kids today for a visit. First time in ten days. (usually longest has been two or three days.) As we were driving, and I was telling them how much I’ve missed them, and love them, I told them “the reason I didn’t come to see you for so long, isn’t because I didn’t want to. I wanted to so bad.” And my two oldest said, “we know. It’s because mommy wouldn’t let you” They’re starting to see her for what she is. And that is such a relief to me. To see that her brainwashing them about how bad I am, isn’t working. They feel the love I have for them. Something their mother can’t provide. Only fake love. I’m glad now that all my son’s five years, his questions have been and still are relentless. He wants to know anything and everything. Lol. I’ve even had teachers tell me they were shocked to hear him giving a science lesson to the class on evaporation, and weather. He was three at the time. First month of JK. I was so proud. But now he’s so intuitive. Those 100 billion questions I’ve answered, have been totally worth it.
I love them so much.
I love all of you too. You have all made a difference in my life.
God bless.



Awesome news!


Thanks louise!


Dear Truthspeak and Oxy,

Thanks for the greetings:) You are two very special ladies!

Truthspeak-I know I have to process those triggers by feeling my emotions and working through them, I don’t like it but it has to happen that way. I can’t skip over painful feelings if I want to continue on the healing path.

Oxy- He is so transparent in his manipulations. He sent me an e-mail and said he did that because daughter is emacipated since she turned 18 (which was February, by the way) so he doesn’t have to pay the full amount. He also said that she could call him if she wants to discuss her financials. That will never happen.

Our agreement states that we both pay the agreed upon amount until the kids are 20 if they are attending secondary school. She is going to college so he should continue to pay. What a moron.


Personally, I feel emotionally drained.
I try to keep positive but as always I am
“haunted” by flashbacks of my sociopathic ex.

I really struggle to work out WHY.
Why did I end up in this mess?
Was it me? Did I make too many allowances?
Was I too trusting?

I feel like such a fool for letting her take my money,
for being her doormat. I feel horrible now, even though
it is over because I know that deep down inside she
is laughing at me. To her, I am another one of her long
trail of broken hearted victims. Idiolized, devalued and discarded.

I try to keep my mind happy and focussing on postive
thoughts but somehow the negative ones keep re-appearing.
It got so bad once that I nearly drove my car off the road.
It wont ever get that bad again, but I feel hopeless.
People say to me “move on”, “find someone new”, “reamain
in No Contact”, “time heals all wounds”.

BUT … BUT …. i am reminded constantly of the lyrics of
that song by Foreigner as follows –

“In my life.
There’s been heartache and pain …
I dont know … if I can face it again”

here tony, this may help you understand why.
It’s very good and very thorough except for that they left out addiction as part of the problem.

Spaths have an addiction just like any other addict. They are addicted to shameful behavior because it numbs their prefrontal cortex, just like any drug does. The long term effect of this is brain damage, just like any drug. After some time of repeated shameful behavior, they are no longer wired to use the part of the brain that feels shame.

It’s a long article but I think it will give you something to work with, if you really want to understand spaths.

kim frederick

Give me some feed back on this distubing experience at work, tonight.
At 3 minutes to ten a woman with three tweensw came into the resteraunt. My shift ends at ten. My releif had not yet entered the door. Because my shift is the slow shift, I handle it alone…that means I do all the side work, stocking, and clean-up alone. In addition to this, the restaraunt tends to start getting busy at 9 or a few minutes to ten. My relief enjoys walking ino a clean, well stocked restaraunt at ten o’clock. If I get busy in the last half hour, I am often way laid sometimes up to an hour and a half. I hear from this from my boss because she absolutely does not want to pay overtime. The rules are such that any customer that comes in befor my rekief arrives is my table and I have the option of finishing up with it, or handing it over, but losing my tip. If I keep the table, I must wait til they leave, clean the table, do the dishes roll the silverware and sweep under the table.
Tonight a mom and 3 tweens walked in a 3 minutes to ten.
I wenttto the table to take a drink order. Mom dissappears outside to talk on cell phone. I take the kids orders….then mom returns, and I tzke her order. At that time I realized the youngest kid might be better off with a styruform cup with a lid..she said yes, please…so I brought a kids cup. I asked if they were readdy to order, or if they needed a few minutes. No, they weren’t ready, so I said I’d give them a few minutes. I returned to my dish pit, where I had been trying to finish up the dishes for my relief, when I had my hands in the water for about ten seconds and I saw oldest daughter crainning her head backwards to get my attention. I wased about two more dishes when mom gets on her feet and askes for a kid menu. “Yes maam, I say, I’ll bring it too you in just a moment. She stood there glaring at me, so I dried my hands, found the kids menu and took it to her. I was under immediate attack….So I thought doing my dishes was more important than waiting on customers, did I….that’s what I told her. I said, Maam, I NEVER said that, NO, she said but you proved that that;s what you believe. She said that her daughter had asked me three times for a kids menu…not true. At least I never heard her ask once. I explained to the woman I didn’t hear it. Then she looks me point blank in the eyes and asks, “are you high?” You seem a little high…I’m caling corporate tomorrow. OHHHKAY, I say. Suit yourself. One of her children tried to speak up and mom admonished, “don’t you say another woed to that woman.”
She asked the kids, ‘do you want to eat here? Then decided, let’s go. Outside she smeared me to my co-workers and reiterated her intention to call coprporate haed quarters and let them know I was rude and using drugs at work.
I was not rude in any way to this woman. I had walked away from her table for the third time waiting for them to order, had only just put my hands in dishwater and couldn;t possibly washed more than a dish or two.

I called my immediate boss and gave her a heads up about coprporate, She didn’t seem too concerned, but what is it with people who feel so entitled and so superior that they bekieve it is there God given right to monopolize you time and energy. This wasn’t thr first run in with this princess. The first time she ordered OE eggs, then complained they weren’t done…I took them back to the cook, and they came back to her as OMW, and still complained. I said well, let me see your ticket, you ordered OE, and she got in my face, yelled at me forcefully…THESE EGGS AREN’T done. I’d mad about ten trips to the bitches table trying to take drink orders, ordering for the kids first, thrn ordering more food for the kids, then finally decided what the aaadults wanted…OE aggs, then returning them to the cook, and bringing them back to the table….I was losing my patience and told her next time to order OW eggs, then they’d be done to her liking. She got pissed, said I was rude, she didn’t think she should have to pay for the meal and contended that she had had to stand down at the end of the isle, swinging both hands above her head to get my attention.

the boss has given me permission to refuse her service in the future.

Just wonder what’s coming out of corporate tomorrow.
Maybe one day I will run into her on nuetral turf witha belly full of chep vodka and give her a real tongue lashing. I can gzurantee I will be the last one standing.

argh. that sucks. spaths are everywhere. my ex-spath particularly liked to go to restaurants at night and spend most of his evenings there. selling drugs or God knows WHAT!

I know that he liked to pick on waitresses too. So… gray rock. Watch your facial expressions at all times. They can spot us a mile away. You might try looking evil. they like other evil people. wear a pentagram under your collar and pull it out for the evil customers. lol.

And remember, if you beat the crap out of her, she’d enjoy it. They like nothing better than to know we have become like they are.

kim frederick

Yeah your’e probably right. Think I’ll just give her my predatory stare and then start laughing at her.


Kim, aaaaaiiiiiiiieeeeeee! I’m so sorry that you have a customer like that! I’ve waitressed in some very good places, and some really BAD places, and for whatever reason, there are “those people” who recognize that we NEED our jobs and assume that we wait tables because we’re the dregs and we aren’t worthy of ‘something better” – unless a person has ever worked in such a capacity, they have NO idea how hard it really is. These people wait ALL day to abuse someone that they believe DESERVING of abuse to take out their personal issues upon.

She’s not worth the angry energy, Kim. I’d probably have told her that she is welcome to call the corporate HQ and that I refuse to serve her. I think the recent trained greeting, “Good morning. I’m Truthspeak, and I will be your SERVER,” gives off the worst message – I’m here to serve….

Let her call, and very sweetly tell her the next time she comes in, “You’ll have to wait for someone else to take your orders.”

Then again, you could always blow your nose onto her eggs OE!! LOL


Ox Drover

Kim, I waited tables enough to know that she is just the same hateful biatch that comes in any place to eat…thinks that sitting at a table gives her the right to abuse the staff.

There would be NO way you can make this woman happy and I am glad that your boss gave you the right to refuse her service. Let her call corporate tomorrow…you know they have people like that call all the time.

I can’t believe you have to WASH the dishes as well as wait tables and roll silver ware….


Kim, totally agree with Oxy!!!

I’ve waited tables in a late shift from 5pm, with just me and the cook, and after 10 the cook would leave and I’d have to do the bar and the snacks people wanted until I’d close around 3 am. On the one hand I was boss in there for that time, and I liked the work most of the time, and while some people might be picky, they’d also be nice to me. And then there are those spathic people who think they might treat you like dirt, because the customer pays. They’re such hateful people… and it says everything about them, and nothing about you!!!!

Luckily I had the right to refuse to serve a customer who was grossly disrespectful to me and turning the place into a drama-rama theatre. Most of the times these hateful people are a pain in the ass to everyone. So if one of us ended up kicking them out of the establishment the rest of us would back them up. And yup, I did kick out two or three people in the time I worked there. Never had the boss complain chastice any of us about it.


To Tony 77

I know exactly how you feel. I have been reading the blogs, having long talks with myself, telling myself I’m better off and then out of the clear blue here comes a reminder. The Foreigner song you quoted from fits me perfectly and used to be one of my theme songs. I used to tell people that “If I didn’t have bad luck I wouldn’t have any luck at all.” And I believed it.

So don’t feel alone out there. I’m just beginning to find out how bad things are, but hopefully with more reading and learning I can progress.



My sister’s wedding touched off this chain reaction where I was told I needed to go, “grin and bear” her abuse if it happened, and . . . finally resulted in my mother getting so mad at me that she beat on me. Complicated story — but Mom has sister’s problem, for sure. Trapped in a situation I can’t leave, she decides to get me into an argument and refuse to let me leave even that. Hard to explain how that happens, but I know I’m not insane. This happens. It does, I swear. Does anyone believe me? My father doesn’t.

I told him that I’m running away, no matter what it takes. And deception is on the table. I tried honesty.

I have too many decisions to make right now, no job, and the quite unwise resolution in these times not to take abuse from anyone. I’ve been ordered to take abuse, or else. It’s down to that.


Addendum: Any experiences with being the one person who is “lit,” and that being a signal for the rest of the group to attack? What IS that?

that’s called scapegoating. It’s not a thing, it’s a process. You can get out of it by not participating.

The start by accusing you to incite a riot. They want a reaction, an emotion, anger, rage. Then you defend yourself and it makes you look guilty.

The key, is not to react how they expect. Don’t look guilty, don’t participate in the emotional drama. Stay calm.

Tell the abuser anything but don’t follow their train of thought. Change the subject. Tell them their hair looks good. Or sympathize, say, “I’m sorry for your narcissistic injury – my condolences.” Ask them how their therapy is going.

I know it’s hard to do. My own family creates cog/diss in me.
My father cries when he sees me, then he lies. They’re small lies, but still lies. My mother shows no emotions at all but she says critical things about my spath siblings, which are belied by her behavior: she keeps them close.

Gray rock is the best way to handle your mom’s abuse. You might read Lundy Bancroft’s Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men It explains that people go into rages because they expect a certain reaction, usually submission. Gray rock is about not giving them the reaction they want. Soon they slither away to find a better, more reactive, victim.


Mom isn’t interested in the scapegoating. She defended me from it with my dad.

What she did was her own “trapping” routine, where she kept going on me until I told her I wanted her to stop. And then when I tried to leave, just get out of that jungle of you-said-and-then-I-said, she confiscated my bags.

Same thing my sister does, and she “defends” me from my sister! The little brat should work her own side of the street! I’m reserved for Mom’s abuse, not hers.

As for those techniques you mention, I’m so good at them that I’ve convinced my Mom that we still have a relationship, and it’s exactly why my father doesn’t believe me that there’s a problem. I’ve perfected those techniques since I was about 9 years old. I could even add a few if you asked. The full repertoire, and I’m an absolute master.


My soul is so tired still dealing with the loss, thought I had grieved it, but evidently there’s a lot of sorrow still in there. What has helped me immensely is: Thomas Sheridan on You Tube, He has many videos on educating the public about Sociopaths. This guy is amazing, watch and you’ll see.

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