Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Moochers and Mosquitoes

Something is bugging me. Yes, bugging me, like a pesky mosquito biting and flitting and biting again. Won't leave me alone. A stupid thing, petty even. But then again the conflict is one many people experience. Politeness dictates we keep it to ourselves, but the injury claws and struggles to get out, to be heard.

The Injury Du Jour concerns spoiled children who become spoiled adults. We who were raised to be considerate and appreciative often find ourselves flustered by those who walk all over our politeness, mock our generosity, then slouch away leaving us pitying them and at the same time hoping we never see them again due to aggravation.

Kindness is its own reward, sure I believe that...most of the time. And I can tolerate rudeness now and again because I'm rude now and then. Rudeness as a lifestyle, however, tests my patience and sets me to examining the motives behind my kindness. Why do I feel the need to know my efforts have been appreciated? Normally I'm happy to create a warm and glad environment. Perhaps it's because normally those who surround me reciprocate with their efforts and we complement one another just fine without many words. A feeling of give and take. Working together by offering our personal talents and abilities for the benefit of all. An easy understanding. Appreciation is given almost subconsciously through an extra-tight good-night hug, a wide smile of satisfaction on the receiving end, or a quiet 'thank-you' politely uttered.

Yes, that's what's bugging me. The Takers. They take and take and take from everyone, consuming the kindness and efforts of others, but they give absolutely nothing in return. Not a thank-you, not a lent hand, not a nod of appreciation. In their silence they impart no wisdom, no joy, no consolation. Taking but never giving, expecting care but not caring to contribute.

Camaraderie exists among those who are taken for granted by spoiled takers. Afflictions are easily soothed. Pity replaces annoyance. There is power in numbers, it's true. We soon realize that the disdain isn't directed toward us personally, no it's impersonal and universal. The spoiled do not aim at us, we are merely the incidental wounded in their war against civility.

The sad thing is that takers only increase their isolation by mooching around. Their reputation precedes them, and adjustments are made by we who have been once bitten and are now twice shy.

Spoiled children who become spoiled adults tend to dampen the gatherings of the unspoiled. A little. Their mosquito-like buzzing generates a swat here and there, and the determination to use 'bug spray' the next time, which translates into non-invitation. We watch in amazement at the unconsciousness in which these moochers move. It's so unbelievable it becomes entertainment of its own. In that sense, I guess something is offered, however pathetic.

The shocking behavior of takers causes me to examine my own self, looking for ingratitude, greediness, and lack of compassion. And it causes me to re-evaluate why I serve. For appreciation? For love? For attention? Out of compassion? Out of love? Good questions all.

The cares of this world could be lightened considerably should we all take the time to question our own motivation, searching out greed, criticism, haughtiness, rudeness, selfishness, and ingratitude among other things.

Determined self-evaluation improves the world.

Moochiness simply diminishes a moocher's opportunities.


Kelly said...

WoW! Are you living in my brain? I totally feel this way!

Mike S said...

Kinda describes that percentile of human-kind that's plagued the species throughout its existance. Those folks are part of what Reinhold Niebuhr refers to when he says "...to accept the things I cannot change...":)

Alan said...

Fantastic post, yes "..... once bitten ........ twice shy."
Speaking for myself: I tended to take in every dog and devil, and try to understand their situation. I'd give and give what I had- bend over backwards. I became worn out, and realised how much in need I really was, and how much I was being sucked dry by the takers, and then when you're soul is empty and in want of filling with even a kind word, there's nobody about.
I try to put myself first these days- to fill myself up, and give circumspectly/wisely.
"By their deeds shall you know them"

Cherie said...

Kelly, seems like this viewpoint is in a lot of people's brains, huh. Thanks for your understanding.

Yes, Mike, sigh, I think this is another one of those age-old situations. "And the wisdom to know the difference," that's the important part, right? Thanks for the perspective.

Sean, "By their deeds shall you know them" - yes indeed. We tenderhearts do have to take care to watch ourselves lest we become 'sucked dry.' Most of the time there is filling going on right alongside the giving so it's not a problem. It's when the narcissistic among us come snooping around that the dryness occurs, happening insidiously, and leaving us worn out and in need of some tender loving care.

"I try to put myself first these days- to fill myself up, and give circumspectly/wisely." This is good advice, Sean. We have more to offer when we are healthy this way.

Thanks for the empathy.

deanna said...

Well spoken, as is your way, Cherie. You give voice to many a tender soul.

It'd be nice to get together one day. To quote some old Diana Ross lyrics, when will I see you again?

tshsmom said...

You too, huh? :(

I think all of us givers look for an "atta girl" every once in awhile. I, too, have examined my motives. I've determined that love and bringing joy to others is my payoff.

My definition of love is to give all I can to bring joy and harmony to my loved ones. Unfortunately, this isn't everyone's definition. I expect my loved ones to prove their love by giving their all for me too. L and I are slowly trying to redefine our understanding of what love means to each of us.

When a relative stranger continually pees in my oatmeal, I cut them loose. Like you said, spoiled takers quickly find themselves "uninvited".

You'd think they'd learn when they constantly have to find new friends to take advantage of, but they don't. :(

Sean is soooo right! Taking care of ourselves is the hardest thing for us givers to learn.

Sandy said...

Giving is wonderful, but as you put it, "it's when the narcissistic among us come snooping around" that we get sucked dry.

Cherie, you were in my head today.

Cherie said...

Thanks, Deanna. I'd like to see you again, too, when things slow up a little around here.

Tshs, this cracked me up: "When a relative stranger continually pees in my oatmeal, I cut them loose."

Couldn't have said it better myself!

Bringing joy or some form of help is the payoff for me, too. Long ago I learned that being a graceful receiver is as much a part of the giving process as being a generous giver. The slights I receive from others only buoys my determination to give voice to my gratitude.

You gave me some more to think about. Thanks!

Sandy, narcissism is a weird thing, isn't it. Like too many barnacles on a ship's hull that just keep dragging dragging dragging it down, a person like the one I described saps our energy and is equally as hard to be permanently rid of - there's always another spoiled person waiting in the wings. Oh well, I guess we just keep scraping, keep trying to protect ourselves and the ones we love, stay true to ourselves, and hope that one day this spoiled child/adult get a clue.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.