Stopping the Leaky Love Tank

Vampires really do exist. At least emotional vampires do! Emotional vampires tend to drain your energy, test your emotional fortitude, seek a lot of attention, and act in frustrating ways when they don’t get it. I think we probably all know what an emotional vampire is, but do we know what causes it? I think I do; and perhaps the root is a leaky love tank.”
 

People Get Paid for Cuddling. Just Think About That for a Second.

I remember a few years ago reading about a woman who started a cuddling service. A freaking CUDDLING SERVICE. She charged $60 per hour to show up at people’s jobs or homes to cuddle with them.

My first reaction was what in THE heck is this craziness? Then my next reaction was “HOLY HELL! Why didn’t I think of this?!

Sixty dollars an hour to cuddle and turn someone’s frown upside down? I could do that! I felt the wheels spinning in my head; considered the opportunities ahead of me to just lay there and spoon with a stranger for some serious cash.

But, the excitement quickly fizzled, as I knew my mom would be stressed out all the time, thinking I was tied up in some demented stranger’s basement awaiting a torturous death. So, it just wouldn’t really work out. SIGH.

Anyway, good for that cuddle lady for capitalizing on something that most of us want, but are seriously lacking. This kind of service illuminates (to me at least) the need people have nowadays for human contact. For comfort. For reassurance. To know that everything IS ok, or that it WILL be ok.

Many people are starving.

And I’m not talking about starving for delicious culinary delights (although, now that I mention it…Pizza. Bacon. Bacon on pizza. Chicken. Chicken and bacon on pizza. Fajitas. Chicken and steak fajitas. Mmmmmm…wait, what was I talking about?).

Oh yeah, they’re starving for attention; for real, fulfilling, genuine attention, as well as deeper connections. Sometimes I think we may be so contact-deprived that we actually crave it.

Technology is one potential reason for this starvation; it consumes our daily lives, and although it is a quick fix, undoubtedly, and unfortunately, it sometimes leaves people, well, empty. We have just become so isolated at times, constantly needing to be entertained, and consistently needing feedback and communication of some sort, any sort.

Despite being regularly entertained, we are not always fulfilled to levels we need. People are in search of something more real, and something more authentic; they don’t always have enough of the in-person bonds that prove to be quite gratifying. And that’s where it happens…in desperate search of real and genuine and authentic, the leaky love tank syndrome ensues.

Leaky Love Tank Syndrome

You may not have known what it was called, but you have definitely witnessed such behavior at some point in your life.

Leaky love tanks, a.k.a. emotional vampires, need so much attention and “refilling,” if you will; constantly needing reassurance. Constantly seeking validation. Constantly allowing self-conscious thoughts to pervade their minds. Constantly craving the approval by others. Did you see what I did? And do you always see all of my efforts? Am I ok? Do you like me? Am I annoying? Am I pushing you away? Do you still think I’m fun? Do you still think I’m successful? Am I doing enough? Do I look ok? Do I fit in? Do others appreciate what I do for them? Am I doing all I can in this life? Am I leaving my mark?

It is like there should be a warning label with some individuals…Beware emotional vampires: They will find you. They will corner you. They will suck the life out of you.

Now, I’m not a therapist or an expert by any means, but it seems to me like the leaky love tank behavior could quickly spiral into madness if it’s not addressed; it becomes all about seeking validation ALL the time, and that can be draining to those around it.

You see the selfies (now, these are not necessarily indicative of a leaky love tank, in my opinion, but those who post selfies are obviously putting themselves out there and wanting or expecting some kind of a reaction?). And you see the statuses that are like cries for attention, as well as the random videos people post, like, “Hey! Look at me! I’m really doing it! I’m doing things here! Look at me!”

“Vaguebooking” is certainly another way leaky love tanks surface; you know, the posts on Facebook like, “I don’t know what to do anymore” or “I’m SO over this” or “I guess I can’t do anything right,” or low and behold, just a frown emoji. Gasp! The horror! We have no idea what these individuals are necessarily talking about, and we may never want to know, but what we do know  is that they must need our attention, so some of us tread slowly and cautiously… “Are you ok?” we painstakingly write in the comments. “You are amazing! Keep your head up!” we confidently post, still unsure what in THE heck these people are talking about, or what is triggering their vaguebooking that particular day. Eek!

Deep down, I think we all just want it to stop. We want people to feel ok enough NOT to vaguebook and seek these comments or affirmations. We truly, deep down, want our friends and family and acquaintances and neighbors and heck, even our bartender and nail technician and hair stylist and Amazon workers who fulfill all of our wonderfully beautiful orders to truly be ok.

I Used to Be a Leaky Love Tank

This topic resonates with me because I used to be a leaky love tank. I often cared too much about what people thought about me; I perhaps expended too much energy into making sure people liked me. The thought of someone not liking me was devastating. But, after I realized I was clearly a leaky love tank, I started to try to fix it. I focused on just loving myself more and loving others more (instead of wishing they would say or do something differently), and caring less about the small details. I filled my life with things that made me smile (and things that kept me busy in a gratifying way). I refused to suck the life out of my relationships, because that was a stark contrast to what I ultimately wanted to achieve. I was able to manage my leaky love tank so much better, some days better than others, of course. So that’s how I now easily recognize when others are doing it, because it was totally me at one point…and it was exhausting.

Maybe my leaky love tank happened over time because I am a stay –at-home mom. Maybe deep down I needed more attention or affirmation? More adult interaction? More time engaging in conversations that extended beyond poop, trains and the Paw Patrol (although those convos can be pretty exciting some days)?

I will certainly advocate for individuals to stop being draining friends; to stop the leaky love tank. It’s one thing to lean on someone, and that is totally ok, but to constantly suck someone dry and be an emotional vampire is not ok. You have to try to fill yourself up and not rely on others to do that all the time. You’ll never be happy. You’ll never truly be grateful. Also, everyone sees you latching on to people. And then moving on to the next person. And the next person. It creates resentment, like you are just discounting one person’s efforts and moving onto the next to get your quick-fix of daily comfort.

For some, putting the cap on a leaky love tank involves some kind of spiritual growth. Or a more satisfying relationship. Or a hobby. Or a sport. It involves something, anything, more fulfilling. The good news is the leaky love tank can be stopped (by you)…and it doesn’t have to cost $60 per hour!

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2 Responses to Stopping the Leaky Love Tank

  1. Chris Durkee July 6, 2017 at 2:50 pm #

    Very thoughtful piece, Andee. I think the description of the emotional vampire is so apt. Yes, we have to watch out that we don’t get drained dry. More importantly, that we aren’t the one draining others dry! So true. I enjoy how you can put some subtle humor in the middle of a serious piece. Thank you.

  2. Andee
    Andee July 7, 2017 at 9:39 am #

    Thank you so much for reading and for your very kind, thoughtful comments! I appreciate it! 🙂

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