My mom is one of them.
I think we all know these kind of people. They can suck the life force out of you from across the room.
You can almost feel the tentacles reaching out, sizing up your strength, fortitude, and self-protection. If they see a weak point, they will enter and devour your very soul. Maybe they had a hard life. Maybe they had to learn to fend for themselves at an early age. Maybe they despise weakness in others. Maybe they have the attitude of only the strong survive.
They will test you and test you, and if you can't pass the test, they have no respect for you. It's only when you can beat them at their own game, do you become an equal.
I think there are some of us who are gentle souls. As the saying goes, we're lovers, not fighters. We don't battle for power, position, control. These things aren't important to us. We gravitate toward peace, harmony, equality, compassion, compromise, and understanding. Because of this we will give more than we take. We will sacrifice ourselves for the sake of the group.
I've discovered it doesn't have to be this way.
Sometimes we have to reach that proverbial bottom before we can rise back to the top. I've reached my bottom in this caregiving position. But I've learned a valuable lesson: how to take care of myself.
I've formed an imaginative protective barrier around me. I've let my mom go. I'm going to get a little spiritual here, so bear with me. This works for me and maybe no one else. The important thing is...it works for me. I take care of the inside of me, and I let God take care of all the outside. It sounds so simple, but I feel such a protection and relief from this perspective. I no longer have to do everything. Just stay inside with God, and let him do the rest.
OK, no more preaching. I don't even know if this makes any sense. I just hope through all of our caregiving experiences in this forum, that we can all learn how to take care of ourselves. Maybe that's what it's all for anyway.