I question everything. I seek understanding. Until I have answers to my questions, my mind won’t shut up. If I don’t understand something, especially the behavior of others, I mull it over and over until I am satisfied with their motives, reasons, or what is causing their behavior. If someone snaps at me without cause, I try not to take it personally. Instead, I want to help. What has them upset? What’s wrong? What can I do to help? Most times in my life, this has served me well. My attempts to empathize and understand the behavior of those around me (and not take it personally) has given me a better understanding of myself and has kept conflict to a minimum.
The Exceptions to the Rule
For the most part, trying to understand the motives of others has been a great method of dealing with the people in my life. However, this method doesn’t work at all when dealing with people who seem to operate under a different set of rules than the rest of us. Be nice to people, and they will be nice to you. Not true. Treat people with kindness, and they will be kind to you. Not true.
Thankfully, these exceptions to the rule are few and far between in my life. Not so great is the fact that I have spent a GREAT DEAL of time these past few years trying to make sense of situations that make NO SENSE. I have tried to apply my rules of reasoning to those who don’t follow the rules. They don’t use the same guidebook for life that the rest of us use. They operate under a different set of rules: Their Own. Those rules are ever-changing and self-serving. They make up the rules as they go. They make up the rules to suit themselves and whatever situation they are in on any given day.
Enter the iPad
About a month ago, I bought an iPad, and I’m still in that heady, falling in love stage. I had no idea what I had been missing! You’ve heard of “Better Than Sex Chocolate Cake?” Well, I’m saying that my new iPad is right up there with sex! Maybe not quite, but close.
One night not long ago, my iPad and I were cuddled up on the couch together at the end of a long and stressful day. I was mindlessly surfing through free apps when I discovered that there is a Kindle app available for the iPad. I immediately downloaded it and began to check out available books at Amazon.
As if by divine intervention, the book that popped up front and center was called “Emotional Vampires: Dealing With People Who Drain You Dry,” by Albert Bernstein.
I can’t begin to say enough about how much this book has helped me to understand one simple fact. Some people are beyond “understanding.” They best thing we can do when we encounter such people is to run for cover, wear garlic around our neck, or hold up a wooden cross. Basically, what this book has taught me is that when logic and reason seem to fail with certain people, move on. The best thing we can do is to protect ourselves, and that means distancing ourselves from such people. That’s it. Some people will take and take without regard until we have nothing left to give. Then they will walk away and find someone else willing to give and give until that person, too, has had enough. It’s a pattern. These people are missing some essential element of humanness. It’s all about THEM, and heaven help you if you get in their way.
Privacy to Heal
The best part about my iPad/Kindle discovery is the privacy of reading. Look at the book jacket pictured above. There is NO WAY that I could sit in the living room with my family and read such a book without eliciting questions. “Why are you reading that!?” “What’s wrong?” “Is that about me???” Of course, I would think the same thing if I were to see my husband or one of the kids reading a book with that title. Thankfully, my husband and kids are the people who lift me up…not drain me dry.