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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27 Comments on "Lifters And Drainers – Finding Sanity After Crazy!"

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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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