September 8, 2014 by phicks2012
Once-upon-a-time the brother of a friend told her that she was a “Magnet” (paraphrasing) for people who had nothing going for them except for personal problems. He was, of course, exagerating, and trying for humor — though, to be entirely honest, she really did, for a long time, tend to get involved with serious fixer-uppers in (mostly) humanoid form. 😉
Well, it’s occurred to me over time that I seem to possess a variation of the the same sort of unfortunate personal magnetism — one that draws people with mental, emotional, and/or financial problems into my apparently considerable gravitational field, and holds them there firmly and dubiously in my orbit.
Don’t get me wrong. I have some very normal friends who are mentally balanced for all that they might have off-beat interests, who are emotionally steady, and who have the ability and the inclination to take care of their own financial obligations and emotional needs themselves with just an occasional bit of buttressing or reinforcement. I’m not referring to them.
I’m also trying very hard not to include those suffering from mis-diagnosed or mis-medicated mental or emotional issues, or those who, through no actual fault of their own, cannot seem easily to find or hold decent jobs. Let’s face it — regardless of what the law might be, some employers do descriminate based upon things like age, race, sexual preference, gender identification, and physical or mental health issues. They simply find another excuse (other than the real one, of course) not to hire a person, or later to fire them. Sometimes people do, as a result, have a hard row to hoe financially, especially if they lack the support of their families, so I really hate to judge them unless they are really making no effort at all to seek counciling, treatment, formal assistance, or gainful employment and are content simply to whine and to sponge off of other people who cannot afford to support them.
I’m mainly talking about folks who, despite getting repeated help from a number of sources, over a considerable span of time, 1) never seem to get their lives into any cohesive sort of order, and 2) who have their hands eternally outstretched, seeking to evoke sympathy while always, rather like OLIVER, asking for “MORE”.
Somehow, I just have this teensy little problem with things like having my power bills run up to astronomical levels by people not contributing to paying them, or with being “expected” to take someone (who refuses to get a job or put a current tag on their own vehicle) to Walmart at 11:30pm. I’ve discovered to my dismay that such people — and I do seem to attract them — never seem to get enough, and that if you stop giving to them or doing for them they nearly always will become angry and feel abused and mistreated by you. After all, they are VICTIMS, right?
Pseudonyms are handy. Yes, they are, so let’s just mention in passing (and leaving some examples of my past housemates out) “The Terror Twins”, “Stormy Screwloose”, and “Dusty Deadlift, former female body-builder”. Give me your psychopathic codependent violent couples with secret prescription drug habits, your bipolar in-denial substance abusers, and your flat-out crazy paranoids yearning to live for free, and I can all but guarantee that they’ll drift toward me.
But if you (meaning the generic “YOU”, of course) have any remaining sense of self-preservation, you will find that, eventually, an emotional circuit-breaker kicks in, rather like a normal circuit-breaker kicks in to interrupt the flow of electricity, to stop the flow of credulity. Suddenly you hear that rather loud “CLICK”, and you realize that you are no longer going to walk around with “SUCKER” tattooed on your forehead.
I really do remain a compassionate person. Honestly!! I care about other people, and my circuit-breaker still lacks a hair-trigger. I take situations on a case-by-case basis, and am still willing to lend a hand when honestly needed, but I decided, finally, a while back that I would no longer allow myself to feel guilty for not being a “Savior” when someone else let their own life go to Hell.
So here I stand, with no messianic leanings at all wearing a boldly lettered sign on my back that reads “The Answer is NO”, and at least one good friend waiting in the wings (thanks, Ann) to whack me with a nerf-bat if my resolve starts to crumble — and with a live halibut if that fails.
Yes. The Answer Is “NO”.
Wish me luck! 😉