Your life is feeling like summer vacation. It’s a warm summer day, the sun is in your face, a nice breeze is blowing just right. Life feels like you are floating on a lake, not a care in the world, sharing laughs with friends or family. As the days go by, you start to notice that you are beginning to feel drained, yet you don’t know why. You try to keep going, but you’re losing all your energy somewhere and can’t quite put your finger on it. And just when you reach out for help, everyone vanishes.
The leech reveals itself when it detaches.
What you thought were companions all this time might have been leeches. They seemed nice and latched on to you, and you let them. You didn’t even realize what they were doing. They were there all along, draining your very life force until you became completely empty and then left you for another host to drain. What is worse, they left in a way to make you think it was somehow your fault… As if you are the one who has done something wrong because you were no longer filling their cup, supplying their needs.
1 an aquatic or terrestrial annelid worm with suckers at both ends. Many species are bloodsucking parasites, especially of vertebrates, and others are predators.
2 a person who extorts profit from or sponges on others: they are leeches feeding off the hardworking majority.
habitually exploit or rely on: he’s leeching off the kindness of others.
Does someone come to mind as you read this?
If you are a giver like me, several someones may come to mind as you look over your life. For me, it’s several family members, an ex-love, a few ex-friends, and some ex-workers.
We work so hard to heal the holes they leave behind and hide the scars that remind us. We begin to try to refill our life again without them- it is not so easy when they were a part of everything we do or did… until they weren’t. It is going to take time to recover, to heal, and that is OK.
Think about your own experiences.
You may not be sure when it all went downhill, only that it did, and in a bad way.
It started out good, didn’t it? Or did it?
Everything feels like a lie now.
You feel like such a fool.
The hole left behind by them is a constant reminder… a constant reminder that you were not enough for them.
Maybe you were never enough, to begin with…
A whisper from inside begs you not to believe that.
You know you must learn to heal, to move on, to love again, despite seeing, feeling, and facing the scar they left behind every day in the mirror.
One day you decide enough is enough. I am going to crawl out from under this rock that is crushing me and stand upon it, using it as a step up out of the much, a battleground. I will use these scars as reasons to fight for better; this has all been huge lessons learned. So day by day, you get stronger, you refill, you undo the damage that was done. You patch the hole.
The scar becomes a part of your landscape, making you even more beautiful than before.
We heal and are doing well again, the scars have faded into the background of who we are. But as the leech has nearly drained its next host, it begins looking around for its next victim. Before priming and working on a new one, it circles back to its previous hosts. “They were easy targets.” the leech says. “Why work hard to trick and mesmerize a new host when I already know the old ones are a good fit? My tricks already worked on them once. Let’s what they can give me now, I bet it is even better than before.” They say with a smug and evil grin.
Soon comes, a text, an email, a Facebook friend request, a chance meeting at a place they know you like… and the manipulation begins…
You see it coming this time; you know their tricks, you know better! You swear you won’t let them drain you again. You hold the power this time. You will show them just how strong you are this time, how well you are doing without them, you will prove your worth. You aren’t the worthless person, they made you out to be. (As if that was a good weapon… all you are doing is making yourself a yummier target to them again—an advertisement for their exact goal.) What you should do is close the door, block them, and save yourself, but, you don’t. You think you are strong enough to withstand their powers.
You know you shouldn’t let them near you this time; you know and recognize the games they play, but as they draw closer in, it feels so familiar, they convince you that it feels like home.
They’re not exactly lying. To them, it does feel like home- you are a familiar host. They have a guest room at your inn.
You know they are no good for you; that they will drain you again. You know this, but somehow forget. You make excuses and justify their actions; you think this time they surely won’t do it again. This time you are smarter. This time you are stronger. This time they know, You won’t let them hurt you again… this time… (you make more promises to yourself)
Before you know it, they have latched on again… and drained you again. It took far less time this time, as they already knew the lay of the land; they knew how to maneuver all of your walls, to take down your defenses and take your body over like the nasty virus that they are. And when empty again, they left.
You knew it!
“How did I let this happen again! How could I be so dumb!” You ask yourself. Crumbled and broken in tears on the floor.
“Why?” as if a reason would have made it OK. Their answer again is that somehow it’s your fault because you no longer filled their needs… again… How dare you!
This time you fight back.
“How could you do this to me, again?” you ask. They laugh. “As if it is my fault that you fell for it again, you already knew who I was. It is your fault again”.
Trying to gain some sort of control over the situation… “Leave me alone, never talk to me again.” You scream back, defeated.
They convince you that you simply weren’t good enough for them again. So you take on the “I’m not good enough” story in your head and into your life.
It affects everything.
You believe you are not good enough at work, in friendships, for family, and your whole life becomes not-good-enough to match the story in your head. Becoming not-good-enough for yourself, and your own self-worth diminishes.
With it goes your self-care, self-love, and your soul’s light begins to smolder down inside of you.
You stop hanging out with friends, going places, getting dressed, or even combing your hair. You stop trying, because what is the point. If you heal again, another will come.
You need closure. But, deep down you know they will never give it to you- that would close the door that they keep open to you and end their free ride. They’re smart, they keep you at just a far enough distance to not forget them, yet close enough for you to forgive them and forget the bad parts, so they can come by again when they need something.
You fall into a deep depression; you have lost your way, your purpose, your smile. All because some stupid leech drained you… again, and you let them. “What does that say about me?” You ask.
…You know I had a starfish in my fish tank once. “He is helpful and harmless,” the lady at PetSmart assured me. “He will clean the tank and sand and be a lovely addition to your saltwater tank overall.” “Well, OK, sure, he is cute, I’ll take him.”
At the time, we had a tank full of dwarf seahorses, a variety of cool crabs, a few fish, and shrimp, and a load of snails. It was quite an entertaining tank to watch and quite soothing. Chip, we named him, fit quite nicely in there. He was indeed “A lovely addition.” He would come to the top and let us pet him with his little suction cups grabbing our fingers; he would go around cleaning the glass and disappear under the sand, moving it around, and keeping it from getting gross.
A few weeks in, we noticed that critters were disappearing without a trace. There were way fewer snails, we hadn’t seen a few crabs in a while, and now a fish was missing. “That’s weird,” we thought. Surely, if they died, there would be a body lying around somewhere, bones, or empty shells. But nothing.
We would see Chip slowly creeping along doing his thing. Every now and again, he would drive over the top of a snail on the glass; we assumed he was simply cleaning the snail shell as he went by; after all, he is harmless, and his mouth was tiny, right? WRONG.
One fine evening I walk by the tank, and Chip had a fish in the center of his star and what looked like a parachute coming out of the center of his body, dissolving the fish. The fish was alive and even happy looking, yet half of his body was gone. He wasn’t fighting to get away; he was just chillin’ like a villain, not stressed out in any way, despite being half gone.
Confused, we watched as Chip finished off the fish as it was too late to do anything about now. He left no trace of that fish behind; there wasn’t any blood, nor bones, not even a skull left. The strangest part was that the fish seemed to enjoy being eaten. It was the weirdest thing! It didn’t even take long, and he was gone… as if he never was.
Now the real question here is. How did a starfish who moves at literally 0.001 mph and doesn’t swim… catch a fish…who does swim, quite fast, might I say, and who does not land or attach itself to the glass or sand so that the starfish could nab him or drive over him to capture him? The mystery still remains.
The only thing we can guess is that he must serenade the other animals or put out some sort of intoxicating scent like love potion #9 to get them to just let him grab them. Something that draws them to him as he clearly can’t chase them down at granny speeds. He then must convince them that they need him, not the other way around. It must go something like…
“Wow, friend, are you filthy! How can you stand swimming around like that? I bet the other critters make fun of you behind your back. Do you hear them laughing over there? I will bet they are laughing at you. Look, I’m a nice guy, let me help you. Let me be your hero, your friend. I’ll clean you up, top to bottom; you won’t feel a thing.” said in a Morgan Freeman or Danielle LaPorte voice…
We tried to stop him, we yelled and even spanked him with the tank cleaning sponge for hurting his friends, but that didn’t stop him. Yes, we spanked a starfish. Lol, but once he had a taste for blood, there was no turning back…
Soon Chip ate everything in the tank one by one until there was nothing left, to his own demise.
Leeches, like Chip, may seem nice at first. They may seem like they want to help you; they may charm and flatter you, they may seem like the nicest people in the world until one day they aren’t. Some may come with a different approach. They see you are a nice person, and suddenly they have fallen on hard times and ask a favor with promises to return it, yet their hard times get unbelievably worse and worse, which should have been a sign.
Or maybe they are friends, family, or coworkers who slowly start taking from you or taking advantage of you, and you don’t even notice how big it’s grown because it started so small.
They can be someone who is making you feel good on one side, and distracting you while they secretly drain your tank on the other. They’re very sneaky. They are narcissists, con-men, family, ex’s, coworkers, friends, and some are professional leeches… and they’re everywhere.
Their only goal is to simply survive.
It isn’t personal, so let’s stop taking it that way. There is nothing wrong with us; in fact, let’s take the fact that the leech chose us as a sign that there is something very RIGHT with us. There is something so yummy inside of us that they not only chose us; they stayed with us until the very last drop was gone, and came back for more.
That is a whole lot of goodness inside of you right there. And you can get it back, the moment you shut the door.
Let’s turn this victim story into a victory, shall we?
Let’s use those scars to remind us of our amazing worthiness, to remind us that we are dern special. That we are good, more than good, so good in fact, that people need us to live, to thrive.
But, let’s also set boundaries and help us make sure that we are always serving others in our overflow and never from an empty cup. In fact, let’s coat our cups in titanium so that no leech can attach to us or drain us again.
Let’s learn to fill that cup and overflow it for others so that those who do need us can stand under our overflowing fountain and drink of our freaking awesome goodness any time they need and come back freely for more as needed so that they never have to latch on in fear of losing us.
When someone knows that we are a steady rock and not going anywhere, they can relax and come out of that survival mode and instead live in thrive mode, which is better for all to be in.
As for the leeches, know that it is not your fault. They are who they are, and they are so empty inside that they keep having to plug into others to survive until they change their destructive ways, learn to patch their own soul’s cup and draw from their own goodness, they will never be satisfied. Their own demise is inevitable if they keep going like they are going. They will go from host to host until everyone around them gets smarter and shuts the doors and blocks them out, forcing them to become self-sustaining or die. It is their choice to become that self-sustaining human or not. Not your’s nor anyone else’s.
We must each choose for ourselves. To be a leech or to overflow.
The quicker we can recognize the leeches trying to plug into us; the better everyone can become. Instead of allowing them to attach and drain us, we can give them tools to help them become that self-sustaining, incredible human they were meant to be.
Coat your cup in titanium, my darling, overflow it in love, and serve all the people that need you and never let anyone drain you again. Allow the space for those leeches to move from survival mode to thriving mode. Allowing their own soul’s cups to overflow when they patch the holes inside of them.