MIDLIFE MUSINGS - DEMENTORS

Midlife Musings - dealing with the drama queens and dementors

DEALING WITH DEMENTORS

A while back I wrote a post on people who drain the happiness out of every situation they find themselves in, and every person who takes time to listen to their woes. I called these type of people Light Suckers. They just seem to suck the joy right out of everything.

Then I heard a different term used the other day - a person I know referred to someone we both know as a "Dementor". The person in question is so full of drama and dismay that it is wearying just to be in the same breathing space as them.

DEMENTOR DEFINITION

When you think of the Dementors in the Harry Potter novels and the purpose they served, the description was very fitting.

“Dementors drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them. Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you. If it can, the Dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself — soul-less and evil. You’ll be left with nothing but the worst experiences of your life.”
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban


KNOWING A DEMENTOR 

I don't think I'd call someone a "Dementor" to their face, but the affect they have on the people around them is truly captured in this description:

Dementors are dark creatures that consume human happiness, creating an ambiance of coldness, darkness, misery and despair. Because of their power to drain happiness and hope from humans...

When you come in contact with someone who is a Dementor you slowly but surely feel your own happiness slipping away. They drown you in their drama and having it poured out all over you can turn anyone's day into a misery.

I'm not sure how you stop people who are like this. They don't seem to be able to help themselves because they are so bogged down in their own misery. I look at them and wonder how they can let their lives become so dark and full of despair. We live in such a fantastic time of life with so much on offer, but they don't see this - they only see how hard done by they are - and feel the need to tell anyone who will listen.

Midlife Musings - dealing with the drama queens and dementors

A PATRONUS SPELL

In the Harry Potter series, the only protection from Dementors is the Patronus Spell ("This ancient and mysterious charm conjures a magical guardian, a projection of all your most positive feelings.") Unfortunately none of us have a magic charm on hand to help us hold tight to our positive feelings. We need to step up and hold our own positivity in the face of other people's need for drama and unloading that onto us.

I know how easily we get sucked in, we think we can help, we think we have wisdom and solutions. But, sometimes that isn't what the other person wants - they just want someone to validate their feelings as they rehash them over and over again. I'm learning that it doesn't help them if we let them stay mired in their perceived pain. It drains us and it just enables them to stay stuck.

MOVING ON

Everyone needs to move forward in their lives. If they can't move on then they really need professional help. Allowing ourselves to be dragged into their drama and taking their issues on board as our own serves no purpose (other than draining our own happiness and resilience). I'm not sure how others deal with Dementors, but I'm finding the best course of action is to put some distance between myself and the drama. 

If there's a better way to handle this type of person, please let me know your thoughts and suggestions in the comments - or do you do your best to avoid them too?

Midlife Musings - dealing with the drama queens and dementors

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32 comments

  1. I love how you wove the HArry Potter culture into this post, Leanne! I'm like you, just put that distance between them, although the patronus spell would be quite wonderful!

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    1. I'm always partial to a good Harry Potter reference Terri - and until I master that spell I'll be using distance as my secret weapon.

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  2. Creating some distance makes sense to me. But as Terri said, if you do find a 'patronous spell' please let us know! :)

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    1. I have to stick with avoidance at this stage Donna - that Patronus spell just isn't working for me atm!

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  3. OMG this is exactly a perfect description for someone I know. Sadly it's a family member so I can't avoid as much as I would like to, but I'm usually a brightsider & man she gives me the greys when I've been in her company for too long!

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    1. Family members are always tricky aren't they Jo? I think it's interesting too when you obtusely refer to someone and everyone knows who you're talking about!

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  4. Like Jo, I think you and I know a certain member of our family, who it is a bit of a light sucker, always feeling that enough is never enough and that more is always much better. Sad but true.

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    1. It comes back to being content with your lot in life - if you are always looking for someone to save you from yourself it makes you a rather miserable person to be around - and others start to avoid you - it severely limits the numbers of your friends!

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  5. Thank you for writing this post, Leanne. I'm lucky to have been able to rid myself of many of the dementors of my life. Embarrassed to admit that the Harry Potter references had be lost... please don't judge!

    SSG xxx

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    1. I had to look up the Harry Potter references to jog my memory SSG - the Dementor name rang a few bells but when I saw the actual description it was perfect for this type of person.

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  6. I think we all know someone like you mention. I have a colleague who takes the joy right out of the day - no matter how I try to be a positive influence, she continues to be sad, grumpy, and lonely. I feel bad for her because she has a lot going for her; she just doesn't see it. Sadly, I try to avoid her completely. I think you can still show kindness, but you don't have to hang around...our attitudes and energy are important to our own lives.

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    1. Melody you and I could be working in the same place! I have a colleague like this too and it is so soul sapping to be around her for too long. It's sad to watch someone wasting their life being miserable and no matter how much we want to help, eventually it ends up being a matter of self preservation doesn't it?

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  7. Distance is good. Ignoring is good. In my experience these Dementors are also manipulators. If you are honest toward them, telling them they are sucking the light from the sun, they cry and blame you! Women Dementors I have noticed seem to want men in their sphere to help them out a lot, any man, every man on everything!

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    1. You nailed it Haralee - it's always someone else's fault isn't it? And they are always so helpless! I just can't deal with it any more and I think we need to put our own mental health at the top of the queue.

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  8. My son's dad was like this. I met him when I was naïve had no experience with relationships. Got pregnant right away and lived a rollercoaster existence for 9 years. I finally got strong and clue-ful enough to know he'd never change, took our son and left for the last time (after many unsuccessful attempts in which he'd convince me to go back w/ him). Still had another couple years of stalking, court orders and restraining orders to deal with. Now that seems like a different person's life.

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    1. Why is it that they can't take ownership of their attitude and have to keep pursuing the people who used to care but have given up Julie? I'm so glad you got free in the end because it must have been exhausting for you.

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  9. Ah, yes, emotional vampires! They're everywhere! And you know what they say about misery loving company? It's oh so very true. For some people that is their normal so if there's no drama, they think something is wrong! I've had to put a lot of distance between myself and people in my life who are just black holes of nothing. It really does start to rub off on ya! Great post!

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    1. You are so right! They suck you dry and every time you think you're on top of things again they come back for more. I'm finally saying enough is enough and putting my own needs first before I end up sucked into the black hole forever!

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  10. Yes. Dementors. Especially those people who say they hate it when other people talk about them and then continue to make snide remarks about the other person all night long. I don't have time for that. Didn't when I was younger and need it even less now that I'm older.

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    1. Does make me want to put on my Harry Potter movies.....

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    2. I keep thinking I need to be kind and caring and that maybe they are teaching me how to develop these much needed areas of my life - WRONG - they are just wearing me slowly down and I'm too old for that stuff these days!

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  11. You are talking about my mother! It's exhausting.

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    1. It starts out fine but gradually you succumb and end up so tired and worn down from it don't you Rena? I'm sorry your mum is doing this but you have been the best daughter to her and you should be incredibly proud of yourself xx

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  12. Oh I love the word dementor, it describes some people that used to be in my life perfectly. If the dementor is someone that is close to me I will have that difficult conversation with them once and let them know how their way of being impacts me and ask if there is something I can do to help them improve things for them. If the reaction is not positive they are moved on.If they are not someone close, they are not worth the effort.

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    1. It's the dementors who are regularly in your life who suck you dry the worst Jenni. You just can't escape them - in the end I've had some very strong conversations and put some boundaries in place - those boundaries still get battered though!

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  13. I think the best thing anyone can do to keep themselves 'safe' is to avoid coming into contact too much. We cannot save people like that until they choose to change behaviours. I am not into Harry Potter even though I have seen the first movie. However, Brene Brown unapologetically uses much from the Harry Potter series to couch some of her learnings and stories. I am loving the courses I have done with Brene and right now I am into Rising Strong. Her on-line courses are closing in 2 months so I am finishing the last one I have paid for. Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek 39/52. Next week: Letter to My 20 year old Self.

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    1. I love that Brene quotes JK Rowling Denyse - they both have such insight into the human condition don't they? I'm glad you're enjoying your on-line courses because Brene is absolutely inspirational.

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  14. I'm so drained at this point with the drama that's unfolding around me with my family of origin. Every time I pull away I'm guilted into 'duty'. I'm getting better at disconnecting. Thank God for my husband who keeps me sane!

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    1. My husband has been my salvation in this area too Corinne - he keeps reminding me that I can't save people and that they need to be responsible for their own choices.

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  15. Hi,
    I was/am a huge Harry Potter fan. Thanks for mixing this Halloween-themed post with a very serious issue-- other "dementors" could be having issues. Don't take it personally. It may not be personal.
    Janice

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  16. Hi Leanne love the Harry Potter reference and I'm happy to say at the moment I don't have any dementors in my life. I hope to keep it that way x

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  17. My mother was a dementor, sadly. Most people wouldn't know as she could be charming - she was a real Jekyll and Hyde, saving the worst for her nearest and dearest. Lucky us x

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