Buzzy Life Survival Guide
Lesson 1: Timeless tips on Moochers
Moochers, spongers, parasites. They come in many forms and have varying degrees of skill but what they have in common is the ability if not stopped to leech your life away. If you are fortunate you either came to this conclusion all on your own at a young age or at the prompting of those older and wiser than you who had your best interest at heart. If you were less fortunate, then decades of being used and abused may have turned you into a professional victim. The good news is that no matter how old you are or how long you have allowed this to go on in your life there is a way out. There is a way to clear cut space around your person bringing light and air into your life so that you can breath and grow. The first step is to recognize the adversary in order to begin your liberation. Below you will find some examples. They are by no means all of the varieties that appear in the wild, but you should be able to gather enough from each to work out which people around you need to be managed and in some cases removed entirely.
The garden variety schnorer will generally begin by asking for something so small that only Ebenezer Scrooge would refuse.
They may or may not even be aware that they are testing the waters but I assure you that is what they are doing. The way you can know that this is a moocher and not just someone needing a helping hand is that you will feel uncomfortable ever asking for help in return. For example John lives and works in a suburb of a big city. He makes sure you are aware he is strapped for cash because he pays child support and doesn’t have a car. The two of you are not close but you are both pleasant co-workers. One day he stays till you are about to leave and asks if you could give him a lift home as he missed his bus. Of course you take him home. Then you find he starts to do this twice a week, then even more frequently and before you know it you are taking him home every day causing you to change your routine and schedule to fit his needs. Does he offer to pay gas? Maybe once or twice a year. Merry Christmas. If you pay attention you will see he seems to have money to go out with a new girlfriend who also drives him around town but not home from work. His wardrobe is impeccable, he goes on wonderful vacations and has all the latest electronic gadgets yet he still needs your help. John is a moocher. A nuisance but not of the total life sucking genus. He does have his own life and he may even move on unlike moocher number 2.
The moocher/gatherer. This is a person who spends every dime they get on extras and then “needs” help from everyone else for the necessities of life. They will buy an antique pianoforte but not know how to play it or where to put it, then not have their share of the cable bill when it comes due. They will always be in a state of emergency and one step away from eviction and nobody understands them the way you do. No my friend, everybody understands them but you. You see them as a victim of circumstance but they are the craftsman of the circumstance and therefore the only victim here is you if you repeatedly bail them out. In addition you are not helping them as they will not face their own nature until people stop enabling those behaviors that are landing them in trouble.
Space moochers; often found in tandem with the moocher/gatherer. This person is most likely to be a relative, friend and or roommate. They will begin by asking you to just hold one or a couple of items for them till they sort themselves out. If this is someone with whom you are sharing office or home space you will find that not only are they not retrieving their belongings once they are “sorted out” but instead are steadily encroaching on your space bit by bit. One day you look around and understand that those 1970’s Field and Stream magazines and the fourth set of china and stemware have caused you to retreat to an ever shrinking amount of space that you can truly call your own. You have become a storage unit. What to do, what to do? It seems that not only do you have to become acquainted with the NO word; you will also have to push back. I myself have become so sensitive to this sort of thing that I established a 90 second rule at my convention tables. I let it be known that anyone who puts their stuff down on the tables my company has paid for has 90 seconds and after that whatever remains becomes mine. You can imagine how quickly those expensive cameras and camcorders are snatched back up by their respective owners. If you pick specific dates to “just hold items” that can be in your area before it becomes yours to dispose of, then the vast majority of this variety will find someplace else to dump their growing collection of stuff. If they are in the minority of space moochers and will not heed repeated deadlines then you are doing them a favor by disposing of it as you see fit which can be returning it to them, donating to charity or having a rummage sale. If something isn’t done then one or both of you may end up as candidates for the show Hoarding:”Buried Alive”.
The emotional mooch. This sort covers every spectrum of the rainbow and not just the one of visible light. I’m talking ultraviolet, infrared, electromagnetic, microwave, radio waves…the works. It mostly begins with teenagers who stay on the phone for hours moaning about their family and what was the latest horrible thing that so and so did to her after school that day. Being a female I don’t know what the male counterpart would be like or whether a guy really ever whines like that except maybe about not being treated right at sports.
These things escalate with age. Take the case of an uptight middle class gal who was a change of life baby. A true SBS (spoiled brat syndrome) case gone beyond all bounds. Her every whim was catered to by her aging parents but she was plagued with spiritual and emotional problems. She was very physically active which kept her body in good shape but was the sort of hypochondriac that monitors and measures every bodily function incessantly. No matter how nice the day or how much you thought she must be enjoying herself, she would be sure to let you know that the whole time she had been smiling she was also suffering from an excruciating headache. And that was during the good times. In a relatively short period of time she would entangle you in her web of paranoia and depression. Ever the victim she would weep and rage and use her profession of faith to lay claim to one’s sympathy and soon she would have you traveling 35 miles each way several times each week to act as a buffer between her and her parents or to avoid her landing in the hospital. Special note of warning: Once the suicide card is being played, even if it is never stated in plain English, run for the hills. In the end this type of person will always end up turning on you as if you were the source of all their trouble. Along the way they will usually also become financial drains in addition to being emotional leeches. Sometimes this can even turn violent. You could receive a detailed letter describing how they intend to dismember you for your deceit and cruelty or you may find they throw an elderly parent down a flight of steps breaking the parent’s hip. All in all this is not what you need in your life. I could give a half dozen examples or more of people in this group who trashed my life but as there as many variants of this type of mooch as there are patterns of snowflakes. They will often be on the edge of a break down; ordinary events become their platforms for melodrama. They need constant reassurance, they will view themselves as having the worst luck in the world, will feel everyone has it better than they do and at the end of the day no matter how much sympathy, advice or any kind of help that they can get from you it will never be enough. If you bring up your own problems they will quickly morph them into their problems. You begin to feel trapped and tired as the pity party sessions get longer and more demanding with each passing day. You can not fix them. Not only is it not your job to mend their life and their emotions but it can’t be done by you, period. Accept this and extricate yourself. Don’t be ashamed if you need help yourself to do this. You have been conditioned to feel guilty for “abandoning” them and having someone remind you from time to time to refrain from falling into their trap will not make you into an emotional leech.
From my point of view the most pernicious mooch is the spiritual one. Someone who uses God and the word of God to keep people at their beck and call. To dominate your life under the guise of being God’s instrument. Often this has a financial aspect but even if that isn’t a major drawback the use of a pseudo divine authority to manipulate people is devastating. Just like the other kinds of moochers this sort may or may not be consciously aware of what they are doing or at least not to the extent that they are doing it but either way the damage is done. There are the television preachers (not every one mind you, as there are ministers who are broadcast and aren’t pushing for the almighty dollar) that are so transparent that you wonder how they can fleece the flock in the 21st century. Haven’t Nigerian scammers made us all a little more cautious? Apparently not. Often they preach a health and prosperity doctrine that if it were true would make Job and Paul look like they were not men of God. I suppose it is easier to give $50.00 to one of these guys to get a few ounces of anointing oil than to get on your knees, search your heart, confess to God, make amends and change your life. Yea, $50.00 looks pretty cheap next to that. Even when the amount you give keeps escalating it costs less than real change.
Worse than the ones who are after your money are those who decide they know what you should or should not be reading, listening or viewing and whom you should or shouldn’t be involved with. They may tell you not to vote or to vote for the person or party that they deem to be most in accord with God’s spirit. They try to cut you off from your friends and even family with the excuse that your relations are keeping you from obeying God. They try to mold people into their vision of what is right and discourage all independent thought. There are also other types who while not participating in that particular sort of hypocrisy are still megalomaniacs and control freaks. The first one and the one that should have been the last for me made sure that the women all wore skirts or dresses of the “church lady” sort and wore something on their heads during service even if it was nothing more than a bit of lace. No big deal except he always wore whatever he found to be comfortable. It is amazing how people can twist the bible to fit their world view. This man was fond of guns and hunting and would string up a deer on a tree in his front yard with no regard to the wishes of his neighbors. His former wife had been an alcoholic and he would not drink a champagne toast at a wedding yet I did spot cases of empty Rolling Rock beer bottles on his front porch. One by one he drove the saner people away. Finally he was so exacting that in the end all he had left was his dog and his son so he sold his home and moved to a bunker they had built on Seymour Mountain in Delaware County N.Y. I shudder to think of what life was like for his son.
These types often lead private lives that are 180 degrees different than what they let most people see. I have personally witnessed another man who conducted a house church who was obsessed with his receding hairline and constantly wore tight fitting clothes to accentuate whatever muscles he had. Vain? Yes, but worse still after several years of this stifling atmosphere I discovered his total hypocrisy. It turns out he had been having a sexual relationship with one of the very young women who attended his bible study and house church. It wasn’t a one-off thing either. There were a lot of other things that we weren’t supposed to be doing that he also was participating in but let’s face it, fornication tops most of them. If you should come across someone that seems like an excellent teacher of the word of God but who won’t be in a position where they can be called to account by anyone BUT God I suggest it is time to find another teacher or preacher. Everyone needs to have somebody to be accountable to. For those who might be interested take a look at 1 Peter 5:1-2, 2 Cor 6:4-5, Deuteronomy 13:1-3 & 18:22
The business moocher and the sub-species the office-mooch. The weekend is over and you head into your workplace refreshed and ready to tackle whatever challenges and tasks that the day will bring. Then you come across the business mooch. His or her lesser mooches surround personal things like office parties, secret Santas, collections either for charity or for things like baby and bridal showers. For example if there are any plans to have an office party where everyone is supposed to chip in or bring in a dish you can be sure they will have a reason they did not bring in anything. Of course they will be the first online to fill up their plates and even have the nerve to critique the cooking skills of those who spent hours cooking and managed to schlep in those goodies. They will possibly agree or even offer to pay something toward the materials but manage to not have the money that day and be elusive about it later. I can recall two instances of moocher secret Santas that were particularly nauseating. Now I should not have known who they were but word does get out or at least did in the office in which I was working. The first was the ancient Cucina & Amore Panettone. Panettone is an Italian bread/cake frequently served during Christmas and Easter as well as other festive occasions. It is known for being a light airy cake with candied fruit and has a delightful aroma that helps to create a festive atmosphere. The Panettone that I received was according to the date on the box it came in nearly 4 years old. When I opened the box it simply crumbled. The second was a huge bottle of Shalimar toilette water that had been opened and about a third of it was already used. Still, those are petty abuses. Far greater are the ones that steal your time, talent and work. They always seem to forget or lose whatever they need to perform their fair share of work. Every day brings a new excuse. Every week they are finding ways to have other people do the work that they should be doing. There is always a legitimate reason or maybe not so legitimate but one that makes other people feel awkward in challenging them. While they may have a high I.Q. and have completed all the requisite training for the job, they do there best to appear to be totally helpless. As a rule they also take credit for things they didn’t lift a finger to do or maybe they contributed 5 percent of the work but take 95 percent of the credit. If they are in a sales position you can be sure they will finalize and take credit for the sale that someone else has done all the legwork on. These types often go up the corporate later while stepping on all those around them and they never break a sweat. While these are easily recognizable it is often very hard to protect yourself from them. All I can say is to document as much as you can to prevent them from sucking the life out of your career. By the way this also applies to school.
Last but not lest is the sibling mooch. It is a toss-up between this variety and the spiritual one for the ability to create the most havoc and longest lasting damage. Birth order does not have any bearing as to which sibling is most likely to take the mooching role. Far more telling is how the children were treated by their parents. Unlike Spoiled Brat Syndrome, mooching behavior can be modeled after parental behavior or it can be a response to the way they were treated by their parent/s. They can take your clothing and your toys while you are very young. When you reach adulthood this can become money, time, space and a never ending need for attention. These ingrained behaviors and responses will not disappear with the passing of your parents. Your parents may have been a buffer for you and they themselves may have been subject to the same or worse because after all they created the patterns. Please remember that enabling them this way harms you both. Learn those court TV lessons. Never take out a cell phone for your sibling using your name and credit. Ditto for a car, a house, a business. Verbal contracts are worth the paper they are written on and written contracts with an unstable sibling is worth almost as little. I am not saying that you shouldn’t help your family out if you have it within your power to do so. What I am saying is know who you are dealing with and if that person is a disaster magnet ask yourself if you are really helping them by giving in to them. If they are sick be there for them even if their own behavior has brought them low. Don’t turn your back, don’t stop loving them, just be wise in how you help. Remember what you hear in the safety talk on every airplane where you were a passenger? If cabin air pressure drops and oxygen masks are deployed, first place one over your own face so that you can do so for the child that is sitting next to you. It won’t help that child if you pass out before you can secure the mask on that child’s face.
If your life has been made less than it might be by becoming entangled with these types of toxic behaviors, relax, you have it within your power to not only overcome those negative effects but maybe even to help the ones who are the source of your discomfort. What is more, you might really gain a family member, a friend, a colleague, with whom you had a false relationship but now will have an open and affectionate one. All the best to you and yours and the next time someone asks you to help them move all their stuff to a new house or apartment do so with a cheerful heart because you are doing it because you want to not because you were manipulated into it.
Updated July 2014
One must note this about all moochers. They never ever are able to identify themselves as moochers, but will see everyone else around them as takers. (yes, taking what they think they should have). It holds true for each sub-species of moocher. When one finally sets limits and cuts of the financial, emotional or spiritual drain they have been getting from you, there will be consequences. Most often the moocher acts with indignent anger. Over time when they can no longer get the same money, work, or emotional return from you they will in general respond with anger. Yes, they will be angry with you and even begin to rage at you, for no longer fulfilling their needs. It may take a while for it to build up, but their rage will eventually let loose. This rage may show itself in the form of yelling, sarcasm, tears, trying to infect other relationships you may have etc.. Ignore it, hold steady. You do not need their angry negativity in your own lives. Unfortunately, they will then go and seek out another person to mooch off of, but each person has to find their own way of ridding themselves of the parasites that have been living off you.
© June K. Williams
V.P. Buzzy Multimedia
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Buzzy Life Survival Guide Lesson 1: Timeless tips on Moochers
Buzzy Life Survival Guide. Lesson 1: Timeless tips on Moochers. Moochers, spongers, parasites. They come in many forms and have varying degrees of skill but what they have in common is the ability if not stopped to leech your life away.
June K. Williams