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#72113 - 01/04/05 01:19 PM Re: Daphne Stevens, Ph.D. soulful midlife
Princess Lenora Offline

Registered: 11/11/04
Posts: 3503
Loc: Colorado
Hi Boomers and Daphne, I noticed the post about "drainers" and "feeders" and I wanted to comment. I never thought it was "them" draining me; my perspective was that I was a burden on them, whomever them was. It wasn't until I read Julia Cameron's "The Artist Way" and her chapter on "crazymakers" that I realized I had the right not to get sucked into the field of "drainers." I am grateful for learning about boundaries and assertiveness. I used to be so afraid of solitude that I would rather get sucked and drained and crazy via others than to spend time alone. That was another lesson I'm grateful for: learning to spend time in my own company. Love and Light, Lynn

#72114 - 01/04/05 02:08 PM Re: Daphne Stevens, Ph.D. soulful midlife
Dotsie Offline

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
Lots of wisdom in this forum.

jawjaw, thanks for sharing. Yup, I believe we can take on friend's characteristics. Now if it's someone you admire for all the right reasons then it's a different story. But when it's a negative person, it's time to run...

I see this in teens. They are so fickle and some tend to go with the flow. I'm always your own person. An original is better than a copy.

I'm loving midlife. I believe this time of life is a gift. We've lived, loved, and learned enough to realize there are different ways to go about this life. No one person is right. We need to be true to ourselves and our God. [Wink]

Ladies, Daphne will beleaving us in a few days. Is there anything else you wnat to chat with her about? Please hurry.

#72115 - 01/04/05 11:09 PM Re: Daphne Stevens, Ph.D. soulful midlife
meredithbead Offline
The Divine Ms M

Registered: 07/07/03
Posts: 4894
Loc: Orange County, California
Just thought I'd respond to this thread.

As many of you know, I'm married to a drainer. Mr. Negativity. Mr. "Never found a problem he couldn't complain about for 20 years." Mr. Whine-whine-whine. A black hole that can never have enough, or be loved enough.

It took me decades, but I learned to step back. Have my own friends and my own interests. Not try to fix his problems. Refuse to get sucked into useless repetitive fights, and physically walk out when necessary.

I've let go of most of the anger. I'm a better person because I no longer drain all my energy reacting to him -- I spend it on me.

When we get caught in someone else's web, we forget that we once knew how to fly.

Sometimes our only limits are those we let others impose upon us.

#72116 - 01/05/05 02:04 PM Re: Daphne Stevens, Ph.D. soulful midlife
Daphne Offline

Registered: 07/30/04
Posts: 40
Loc: Macon, GA
I appreciate all your experiences with this. Jaw-jaw, the need for affinity so often outweighs the promise of integrity. And like Lynn says, the solitude that's needed for most of us to develop integrity can initially be daunting.

I'm sensing another thread here, too. There are "feeders" and "drainers" and "crazy-makers." There is our own need for companionship, which can blind us to energy drains. But I've also been thinking about this: If you're an empathic person, you tend to pick up on the feelings that other people are the most defended against. You walk into a room where everyone is jovial or jolly-- and suddenly you feel anxious or tearful. You think it's menopause or neurosis or social phobia or something. (Don't you love all these labels?) But then, if God grants you the grace to find some quiet, you think back and realize: "I've just walked into a room and felt all the feelings that everyone else was denying. And if I've given voice to those feelings by bursting into tears or saying I feel even more rejected. It's as though I've walked into a room and said, 'Hi! I'm your worst fears! Merry Christmas'" or something. You may have your own version of this. But it's so freeing to get quiet enough to realize your own blind-spots, and to remember the grace that comes from stumbling and learning.

Building boundaries through solitude and prayer, and remembering who we are and what we are called to, is so crucial to us--and crucial, too, to the people who depend on us to be Wise Women.


#72117 - 01/05/05 04:03 PM Re: Daphne Stevens, Ph.D. soulful midlife
jawjaw Offline
Da Queen

Registered: 07/02/03
Posts: 12025
Loc: Alabama
I'm sure it's just me...but I didn't quite understand this last analogy...can you explain further. And by the by, what is a crazy-maker?


#72118 - 01/05/05 09:07 PM Re: Daphne Stevens, Ph.D. soulful midlife
Lynn Offline

Registered: 06/26/03
Posts: 621
Loc: pennsylvania
JJ- I agree with you, I need a little clarification, too.

Meredith, I hope I never forget your line "if you get caught in someone else's web, we forget how to fly". SO TRUE! I need a banner. Thank you.


#72119 - 01/05/05 11:27 PM Re: Daphne Stevens, Ph.D. soulful midlife
Daphne Offline

Registered: 07/30/04
Posts: 40
Loc: Macon, GA
Okay, some clarification: If you're empathic or intuitive, you tend to absorb feelings. If others around you are denying those feelings, the feelings don't just go away. They get (to use a psychological term) projected--mostly onto you, if you're an empath. Then you feel anxious or sad or whatever the other person is denying in him/herself.

The classic example is the "crazy-maker"--and here's an explanation of that term, too. The "crazy-maker" totally denies that anything is going on with him (or her). But he ever-so-subtly provokes someone else (let's say his wife) to anger. He leaves his socks or his dishes lying around, or he compares her cooking to his mother's--whatever he unconsciously knows will send his wife into orbit. Then the wife reacts by getting cranky. "Hey, what's wrong with YOU?" he asks--genuinely innocently. "You must have PMS!"

Now, I'm not implying that all crazymakers are men--or that all men who leave their socks and dishes lying around are doing it to pick a fight. We all make accommodations for our spouses, and in good marriages, those accommodations are mutual and loving. But patterns of provoking others to anger, of giving mixed messages, or creating chaos, are crazy-making.

Does that clarify it? For another take on this, see the "Sponges and Mirrors" chapter in my book. It may be easier reading than this!

#72120 - 01/06/05 12:49 AM Re: Daphne Stevens, Ph.D. soulful midlife
smilinize Offline

Registered: 11/08/03
Posts: 3512
Loc: outer space
Sounds like what you are referring to as 'crazymakers' the medical community refers to as passive 'aggressives.'

Passive aggression is in us all and is useful at times, but it can become pathological. It is a product of fear which results in anger which causes more fear in some individuals who are unreasonably afraid of feeling or expressing anger. Their anger is often veiled in inactivity and subtle insults (crazymakers). It is a way of controlling a situation and the resulting emotions without confronting them with either others or oneself.

At one time it was more common among women who were relatively powerless social beings, but as women have gained power and become socially assertivne it has become more common among men who are naturally more aggressive. As men have become less and less physically active and as all forms of overt aggressivness has become socially unacceptable, more men suffer from it.

Passive aggression is sometimes an asset to white collar executives. Unless they happen to be professional wrestlers, it is the way they climb the corporate ladder.

It is destructive for everyone because the unexpressed anger of the passive aggressive builds to pathological levesl and the victim of the passive aggression become increasingly angry, but cannot identify the source of the angre or fight back, because the passive aggressive didn't actually do anything. The anger can build in either or both until it explodes in physical abuse or even murder. Either way it is a vicious cycle that is almost impossible to change or reverse.

Exercise is known to relieve aggression, the depression that often accompanies it and the anger that is the source. But as we become a more sedentary society which only rewards passivity, it just makes everyone crazy.

#72121 - 01/06/05 11:51 AM Re: Daphne Stevens, Ph.D. soulful midlife
unique Offline

Registered: 12/21/04
Posts: 483
Loc: North Carolina
Oh, Smilinize--you must have met my 'estranged' husband. You describe him so well. [Roll Eyes] Unique

#72122 - 01/06/05 11:54 AM Re: Daphne Stevens, Ph.D. soulful midlife
Daphne Offline

Registered: 07/30/04
Posts: 40
Loc: Macon, GA
Good point, Smilize. .If Passive Aggression had a voice it might be something like this: "If I sit here long enough without acting, I won't have to deal with the anxiety/uncertainty of doing whatever it is I don't want to do." The added payoff is that the P/A partner gets angry. The passive-agressive person then feels like a victim. (A typical thought: "See? How can I possibly do anything, when I'm living with such a demanding person!")

Interesting point that passive aggression has gotten more prominent among men--and more prevalent as we've gotten more sedentary. Men typically need more processing time to sort out feelings--John Gottman, a marriage researcher, found that men usually get flooded with symptoms of high stress/distress when in conflict. Heart rate, blood pressure, rate of breathing, all soar, and males need to get away to find their equilibrium. Women, on the other hand, (although most of of don't like conflict) show physical signs of lower stress. Our heart rate and bp rates go down. It's as though we're thinking, "Oh, good! We're getting this out in the open. Now we can problem solve-" only to realize that our partner has disappeared into the study or the world of television or something else. We tend to take that as a sign of rejection. I find that when couples respect these physiological differences, they get better at problem solving and are generally happier.

We're psychologizing a lot here, but it goes back to the issues raised in this month's forum, and the general theme of my book: It's life-giving to rest, to find solitude, to cherish ourselves, live with faith in God's wisdom and in our own honorable intentions. We don't have to work so hard at life! And, at midlife, we can take on the rich challenge of setting ourselves free of pre-fabricated expectations.

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