Non-bother Botherer - a person who is so afraid of bothering someone that they bother you about not bothering you.
Enabler - a "fix it" type person; wanting to help everyone - often to avoid fixing themselves.
I think survivors tend to fall into one of the above categories. You have the Clingers - they leach onto other survivors for validation of every single little thing they think, say or do. They fart and they want to make sure they're "okay." They have no worth aside from what they get from other people. Frequently their lives are full of drama. They have all these issues and problems so that you can't gain some space - because they need you. Often they float from one person to the next, clinging for all they are worth until they are cast aside, then onto another.
You also have the Non-Bother Botherers (NBBs). These are people that are paranoid of bothering people. They think that breathing is a burden on the world as a whole. They call you and spend twenty minutes apologizing because they are taking up your time or might possibly be interrupting you. Every sentence starts with, "well I don't want to bother you...." In their effort not to bother you, they end up bothering you. You spend half your time reassuring them that they are not a bother.
Enablers tend to attract clingers and NBBs. They get sucked into the cycle of fixing the clingers, helping them out and refusing to cast them off. Guilt consumes them if they loosen the binds at all. Enablers spend endless hours reassuring NBBs that it is okay and it's not a bother. They patiently and repeatedly contact the NBB to make sure all is well, because they know the NBB won't contact them. Guilt invades if they do not make this contact.
I have to take some responsibility for my magnetic attraction of clingers. I'm an Enabler. I'm a "fixer" by nature. Ironically, I really get irked when I'm venting and people try to fix me. Sometimes (most times) I really just want someone to listen. I also get annoyed when I have to constantly reassure someone that they are not bothering me. It gives me a complex that maybe I come off harsh or abrasive and so they really do think they are a bother - when truly it is their own issue.
Recently I've had both a Clinger and a NBB in my life. (and no it is not anyone reading here!) Unfortunately it is the same person. I've never seen such a combo. On message boards, she posts these long events of her life, asks for advice, then lists reasons why it won't work, or she can't do that. Or she leaches onto one piece of advice and stalkers the author to "tell me just one more thing about how to do that." If she doesn't get the response she wants, she huffs and flounces off. She posts all the time looking for reassurance that someone is reading. She posts half the information and just sits back waiting for someone to ask questions or beg for more information. Her life is one drama incident after another.
I've tried not responding. Then I get emails, "have I made you mad?" or "I'm sorry I'm such a pain and a bother. I won't email you anymore." What am I to do but email her back and reassure her that it is all okay?
Recently this person has joined a group that I'm a part of. She's done this before. Joined and then left. It's a good group for her to be a part of. Great role models. But...she joins, sucks people in about how terrible her life is, and gets everyone to feel sorry for her. Then the group comes to me and says "we want to help." I get sucked into organizing it. Then the person gets the help and leaves. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Not this time. I got a call from a group member, "I just heard that Person's house got repossessed and they are out of a job. Blah blah. We should take up a collection." I tried not to be harsh. But this has to stop. Several of us gave her advice. Tried to help her manage her finances. Tried to save her house. Have given her countless leads on jobs. Have offered to babysit so she can interview. Have given her interview clothes. Have helped with her resume. Have given her budget saving tips. Have given her food and hand-me-downs. Does she listen? Nope. She sits at home with her deluxe package cable television, texting on her handheld blackberry while eating bon-bons.
She's a survivor. I try to have sympathy for her. I try to help her out of the tough spot she is in. But I'm getting sucked into the hole too. So it's time to let this Clingy NBB go and quit being an enabler. Wish me luck.
DISCLAIMER - I have had TWO people contact me convinced it was them I was talking about. I assure you it is not. This person is a compilation of two (well maybe 3) different people in my life. None of them read here. So I promise if you are reading this I am not talking about you!!!! One of these people (N) I could care less if they thought it was them. I hadn't heard from them in months until they emailed me today convinced I was writing about them. Why would I write about her now? The other (J) I consider a good friend and I'm very sad that she thought it was her.