10 October 2011

What energy-sucking relationships or situations do you feel you have to maintain?

by Nia, Pastor Jayne, and Soledad

Nia: For me these tend to be work relationships. During a few jobs that became emotionally draining because of difficult personalities we didn't really have any control over, I lost patience with and ended my more challenging personal friendships. I had to make adjustments in my emotional-energy allocations to meet the new demand from my work life. Of course part of my reaction was due to stress making everything seem more irritating than it actually was.

My domicile is also a source of annoyance, namely my apartment building's structural and occasionally olfactory resemblance to a Victorian tenement. DSL will not work for 24 hours after a storm, the smell after it rains is similar to fermented papier-mâché, and there's a mad man in the attic. However it has a huge, sanity-saving, east-facing window that looks out over a park, and I couldn't find that much light exposure elsewhere if I paid three times as much. Plus the idea of moving is exhausting.

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Pastor Jayne: Believe it or not, it's no one close to me (haha). In the age of Facebook, there is ample opportunity to practice healthy boundaries. (Can you "just say no"?) But for some reason I feel compelled to accept friend requests from people I haven't seen since high school and hardly knew then anyway. Which means more trivia and silly photos on the news feed. Which means more time spent on the computer if you feel at all compelled to keep up with people on Facebook whom you've friended. Which I do. When one has clinical depression, I daresay face-to-face is far better for your mental health than facebooking, tweeting and linking-in. (THERE! I SAID IT!)

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Soledad: I think all relationships are energy zappers to some degree -- this is coming from an introvert who would have very few were it possible to go through life that way.

They are also changeable things based on what is going on in the lives of the people involved. If your life isn't going so well, it tends to make you jealous of those who don't share the specific problems you have encountered. And a lot of those folks may not see your situation with a kind eye, and instead of bestowing a little extra kindness, they lash out. I've seen this selfish model far too often in my own life.

Because I tend to be a deeply empathetic person, which I think is part of the introvert nature, I tend to be very aware of individuals who need that extra understanding, and I try hard to accommodate it.

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Illustration by M. Rhea.