The Wandering Poet

Buffy Brinkley on the Things that Inspire my Life, my Pen, and my Heart.

The Attention Vampire

on July 28, 2017

You believe what you believe. No one can convince you otherwise.  What you believe is ingrained within you.  It’s hard to move your mind around it. It becomes an immutable part of your heart and spirit. Belief seats itself firmly within two factors of our souls: our faith and our trust. Faith generally is belief in the intangible. You can’t see it, touch it, taste it, hear it, or feel it, but you believe it to be true nevertheless. Trust generally is belief in the tangible. You can see it, touch it, taste it, hear it, and feel it, and your interpretation of it is your truth of it.

When we take people into what I like to call our inner circles, we take them into our most special caring.  That caring can be the love of a relative or spouse or child or friend that has your faith and your trust without question. You believe what they tell you at face-value without second thought. You see them as their true selves because you believe they show you who they are. So, what do you do when all that you believe is called into question?  And, not only called into question, but proven to be untrue?

People lie. People exaggerate.  People embellish. We all do it. Memory serves its own master, and sometimes our recollection of an event is embellished or exaggerated to the point of little lies that make our story more colorful and fun. It’s not the whole truth, but there doesn’t seem to be any real harm in it. Most people are generally keen on where exaggerations are within a story and either correct the storyteller or let it go by the wayside, depending on the situation and whether or not anyone could come to harm based on the embellishment.

So, if I spare the feelings of my friend and downplay how much I don’t like her hair, or my friend’s husband spins a yarn about the size of the fish he caught that day, these get tallied in the little white lies that spare feelings and big whoppers about the size of the fisherman’s catch. Sometimes it’s best to let someone down easy, especially if the whole truth could cause unnecessary hurt feelings. And, everyone will recognize the exaggeration when my friend’s husband holds his arms out at his full wingspan to show the size of the fish he caught. Again, no real harm. I’m not trying to split hairs here; only to demonstrate that there is a big difference between understatements and embellishments and calculated deceitful trickery.

So we come to the point. What about lies told wholly for the point of deceiving someone else and drawing them in to a world that simply doesn’t exist? Lies so big, so calculated, and deceitful as to change the course of relationships between people. Lies that are told to play on emotions that feed directly into our belief system and shape our faith and our trust. I was unfortunate to witness this recently. And I had my faith and trust tested to their limits.

There is no faster route to our belief systems than through our emotions. Especially if the emotions being played with are regarding mournful or hurtful experiences. Imagine a person taking those experiences and using them against you in the most calculated fashion imaginable, and for no other goal than to get you to put them at the center of your attention and allow them in that inner circle. Experiences you had–ones you’ve cried over and prayed over–used to get you to open your heart and, perhaps, in time, your wallet (although, honestly, your money is never the true goal; your attention is).

This deceitful person becomes an attention junkie; an emotional vampire, drawing attention from the lives of the people they contact until they’re satisfied.  Then, they hibernate until they need sustenance again. By the time they re-emerge, the emotional levels of the people who care about them are so high, the vampire feeds leisurely on their attention, then wanders off again; each time leaving the caring people a bit of grim or happy news to stoke the fires for fueling their emotional levels anew.

So why is this harmful and not the embellishment? Well, for one, I don’t believe anyone will be too upset to find out that my friend’s husband’s fish is nowhere near as big as he said.  You’d almost expect it, wouldn’t you? But, to find out that a pain I went through; real pain someone I truly loved went through,  was taken and used to play with my emotions for the sole purpose of making a deceitful liar feel important is unforgivable! To know that details I spoke about in confidence were stolen and publicized for the sole purpose of making a deceitful liar feel more popular is unforgivable!  To know that the pain and suffering dealt to my family were used for the sole purpose of making a deceitful liar feel needed is unforgivable!

The levels of stress felt and experienced regarding this vampire has been a roller coaster ride. Ups. Downs. Round and rounds. Worry. Emotional torment. None of it is good for the physical self, much less the mental self. And, without word–sometimes for months at a time–the worst was always feared and prayed against. Tears were cried out of worry and emotional agony. And all because my own emotional responses and ties to certain events were used against me and I was duped into allowing this person into my realm of special caring. It was a shock at first, then hurtful, then outright enraging to find out that every bit of information coming from this particular vampire was a lie. You see, it remains on feeding grounds still firmly set in the realms of faith and trust. Well, I’m here to drive a stake through its heart.

They’re out there, dear readers! Emotional Vampires that feed on our experiences, on our emotions, on our love and caring for the sole purpose of placing themselves in the spotlight at our center stage. Take care to recognize them when you encounter them, and remember: The vampire’s experiences are lies. The vampire’s conflict, drama, ailment, etc., are all lies. The vampire isn’t being stalked. The vampire isn’t suffering any type of abuse. The vampire isn’t sick. The vampire just wanted your attention. And, there’s the truth.

I’ve always said this:  Do what you want to me, but if you hurt–or try to hurt–my family or my friends, I’ll hand you your ass! My Attention Vampire fed upon me for a long time, and I might have stayed quiet about it. But, when I realized it was hurting two other people I love, I knew it was time to drag its sorry ass out into the light where it will be crisped to ash and blown out of my life forever on the next stiff breeze. Ass. Handed. Good riddance!

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One response to “The Attention Vampire

  1. Maxine Vurley says:

    Great blog Buffy, there are so many people out there trying to hurt others, and when it’s someone you genuinely loved and trusted it makes it ten times worse. At least we can all learn from our mistakes. Love you little Sis ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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