A couple of weeks ago a young woman at Celebrate Recovery asked me to be her sponsor because her last sponsor fired her. I knew why almost immediately: EmoTIonAL VaMPiRE!!! AtTenTioN HOG!!! You know, the person that calls 50 times a day for nothing, just to “say hey” because they are lonely. They are looking to fill the emptiness that St. Augustine talked about because somehow they erroneously think that a person is going to be able to fill it. They don’t yet realize that God made us to need Him. They want change without work; change without risk; change without pain. They want you to do the work for them to become emotionally healthy and that is impossible. So they go through life using up people and getting abandoned and whining all the while. “Poor, pitiful me. I’m sick, which excuses all my bad behavior. I’ve been hurt so I can’t trust you or God and so I can’t get well.” Not! I am not the sponsor to allow such behavior. I have been there, done that, got the t-shirt and I’m not playing this game again. “A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool’s wrath is heavier than them both.” (Proverbs 26:11)
In fact, a few days after I became her sponsor another woman called me out of the blue because my sponsee was driving her nuts. Even though the woman who called me is co-dependent (no, she didn’t tell me this, I KNOW from talking to her) she wants my sponsee to stop; it’s that bad. She has tried for quite sometime to help my sponsee and guess what? My sponsee is not listening (big surprise)! Proverbs 19:3 says “the foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the LORD.”
So I confronted my sponsee. First she cried. Then when that didn’t work she got angry at God. “I’m through with Him, He has let all these horrible things happen to me!” And she hung up. I texted her and told her “When you want to talk -as an adult during reasonable hours – call me. Sometimes the truth is difficult.” We started texting. (I included the part about reasonable hours because she had already called me past the time of reasonable hours and apparently doesn’t understand that.)
Sponsee: I’m done. (all of the following conversation was done by texting).
Me: Quitting is just a way to stay sick. Satan wins. You lose. If you change your mind and want to fight for your life, call me.
Sponsee: Why do you even care?
Me: Because God loves you and He made me your sponsor.
Sponsee: God doesn’t love me.
Me: Yes, He does. If you doubt it read your Bible and pray and look at the lessons that go with Steps 2 and 3. When you are ready to quit playing these childish games of na-na-boo-boo-poor-pathetic-me and you actually want a better and changed life and are willing to put in the work, call me. Even these texts of “I quit” or “God doesn’t love me” are just ways to avoid doing the real work and to divert yourself from the real issues. When you are though playing and are ready to start praying I’ll be here. I don’t have time for childish games – I only have time for real change.”
Sponsee: What do you want from me?
Me: I want you to do the work to change your life.
Sponsee: I am terrified and I am sick of finally getting close to someone and something happening.
Me: Yes, people screw up and let you down. People are human. God never lets you down. God is your healer, not me. If you want Him to heal you you are going to have to try and that includes trusting Him and others. I’m giving my testimony in a few weeks and I think you should come.
And this is all diversionary garbage to change the subject from the first issue of calling people too much and sucking the life out of them (no, I didn’t use those exact words – I’m not that mean.)
Later she called me and apologized. I told her to start reading her Bible. Every day. (Don’t worry, I will ask). She has to put in the work. Her excuse is that she has so much hurt it’s hard for her to read the Bible. She also said she had just that day finally given her life to God. More excuses. More trying to put off the work. Maybe it’s true, but I felt like she was trying to dangle a carrot out for me to fall into her poor-pathetic-me-trap and I’m not playing. Proverbs 26:4 says “answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.” So no, I’m not playing this game.
I’ve spent too many years in recovery to not recognize the tricks-of-the-trade – “I need help, you can help me when I can’t help myself.” “Oh no, I wasn’t saved and now I’ll give my life to Christ which means you need to take it easy on me because I’m a baby Christian.” “I have so much hurt that it’s hard for me to trust God (or you.) That means I’m allowed to hide my head in the sand and you’re going to let me.”
Guess what? I don’t care what your excuse is – if you want to be healthy I will help you but I won’t carry you. I am not a co-dependent (unless I gave birth to you – then that’s a different story.) Later when we talked my sponsee admitted she needed a sponsor like me. Her last sponsor let her get away with everything. She didn’t want a sponsor like me, she needed one like me. What’s ironic is that I was afraid of having a sponsor like myself and I became what I myself feared. “Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.” (Proverbs 9:6)
Then, the same day I was experiencing this chaos with my sponsee, someone tried to post comments on my last blog about “Toxic People” saying that it wasn’t Biblical or emotionally healthy. “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” (Proverbs 13:20) God does not want me to be destroyed by the foolishness of a emotional vampire. “Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.” (Proverbs 14:7) Right there God tells me to leave those that can’t or won’t help themselves. No, I am not to suffer a fool. 2 Corinthians 11:19-20 says “For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise. For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face.” Suffering a fool, tolerating an emotional vampire, we are brought into bondage and are devoured. God has expressly warned us against these people – we are commanded not to tolerate or accept their behavior.
Matthew 7:6 says “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” So when you’re trying to help someone who is not listening because of some idiotic excuse, then that is what you’re doing – casting pearls before swine. Gospel.com explains “Jesus tells his followers not to waste spiritual resources on people who will never understand or appreciate them.” Toxic, emotional vampires will just tear you apart emotionally and take all of your energy. They will have emotionally trampled you under feet.
In Celebrate Recovery the 12th Step reads “Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we tried to carrythis message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” But the corresponding Bible verse says “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1) I don’t think that it always means literally tempted. For example, as a person who has recovered from an addiction, it is obvious that if I went to someone’s house and they were using I might be tempted. But what is not so obvious, and what is every bit as real, is that I could fall through helping someone who is an emotional vampire. For example, if I’ve used up all of MY resources trying to help someone and have no emotional resources left to protect myself, I’ve done neither of us any good. “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”(1 Corinthians 10:12).
Proverbs 22:24 says “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go.” Hurt people are often angry people and you have to allow God to show you which ones you are to help and which ones you aren’t. You have to have boundaries. God is warning us against these emotional vampires who are so angry and just want to cause problems and complain and whine. They drag you down with them. So yes, making a healthy choice and saying no to certain people IS Biblical.
Telling people the truth in love is also Biblical. Proverbs 27:6 says “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” In other words, a friend will tell you the truth even if it hurts, but an enemy tells you what you want to hear.
I don’t know about you but I want real friends. I want to be a real friend. And I don’t want to be drug down to the pit with those who really want to continue to wallow in the mud and trample you under feet. I want pearls in my life and I want to be a pearl. Just don’t try to trample me – I’m not going to let you.