Father Smith was walking down the road and was met by a parishioner. After greeting the parishioner, Father Smith asked, “So, how are you today?”
“Terrible!” said the parishioner, “I have a headache.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” said Father Smith.
“Well, let me tell you why…” added the parishioner, and what followed was a string of complaints that seemed to go on forever.
Finally, when the parishioner had gotten to the end of his troubles, he said, “You know, Father Smith, after talking to you, I don’t have my headache anymore!” To wit Father Smith replied, “I know, I’ve got it!”
Do you know people like that? I call them “energy vampires,” because they can literally suck the life energy out of you!
A conversation with this type of person is more like a monologue. They will tell you about how bad their day is going or what troubles they are having. They will share their pains or illness with you and pontificate as to how horrible their job or boss is, as well as how unfair the world is treating them… and so on.
I always wonder why people do that. I’m not a psychologist, but a few reasons come to mind:
Reason 1) This type of person has a really huge ego. They love to talk about themselves and believe that others are as interested in their lives as they are.
Reason 2) It makes them feel better. Oddly enough, many people get an emotional high from sharing their problems. By dumping on others, the dumper feels better.
Reason 3) It’s their identity. By that I mean, if you would take away all of their problems, who would they be? Their troubles have become their identity. In fact, their issues are so important to them that should you offer a suggestion as to how to alleviate some of their problems, your assistance will most likely be dismissed or countered with reasons why your recommendation is in error.
Reason 4) To gain attention. On first glance, it would appear that the complainer just wants sympathy. And while that is partially true, complaining to others about how bad their life is or how mistreated they are is a great way to gain attention. Negative attention is just a powerful as positive attention. (Refer to reason 1.)
There is one thing you can do about this kind of person … make sure that YOU are NOT that person.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult for the constant whiner to know whether or not he or she is a perpetual complainer. (Their ego wouldn’t allow for that type of honest introspection.) So, the most logical (and daring) thing to do is ask a close friend if you are a whiner and complainer.
After doing so, if your friend pauses before responding and says something like, “Well… not really…” then, you may want to look in the mirror. Why? Because legend has it that when vampires look in the mirror, they don’t see their reflection. That goes for energy vampires, as well.
So, what do you see in your mirror… or not?
Bob Garner is a successful business person, author and motivational keynote speaker and storyteller who delivers presentations for Fortune 1000 corporations on personal and professional development, worldwide. His radio program, “A Mindful Moment,” is heard every Monday during the 8:00 am hour on American General Media Inspiring Talk Radio 920AM KVEC News Talk Radio.
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