“Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they look for a place to dump it. And if you let them, they ‘ll dump it on you.” – David J. Pollay
I learned this philosophy a while back, but it’s been incredibly difficult for me to refuse delivery. I am extremely empathetic, always trying to put myself in the other person’s shoes, trying desperately to understand, give people the benefit of the doubt.
I will do everything within my power to help someone out. I’ll listen, offer a shoulder to cry on, provide advice if the situation warrants it, share something I have, etc. Sometimes my decision to help, even if only listening, gets me into trouble.
Lately the same garbage truck isn’t just backing up and unloading, it’s running me over. I’m overwhelmed, exhausted, both physically and mentally. I’m stressed beyond my breaking point, having cried, feeling trapped.
The same person keeps unloading on me, week in, week out. The unloading begins before the garbage truck is even inside my yard, in some cases. The unloading can continue for hours.
The latest delivery tested my patience and I finally responded, having tried to keep my opinions to myself. I didn’t understand what was being conveyed, didn’t fully understand why the things being discussed were problems and why there were no viable solutions.
Every suggestion I offered to remedy the multitude of issues was met with a quick dismissal. Every question I asked, trying to understand the quick condemnations was met with contempt, anger.
It’s hard to help someone when they’re determined to and invested in perpetuating their misery. When people manufacture crises for themselves and seek to get attention or pity from others, they aren’t really interested in making things better. Solutions would end the attention, end their ability to dominate conversations, manipulate feelings. End their complaining.
Today, my garbage truck backed into my life yet again and began to unload. I decided I had to say something. I put a stop to the rubbish that was cascading down on top of me and made my feelings known. I explained how difficult it is to get through my days, the real struggles I face and that I found it insulting and frustrating to listen to someone manufacture ailments and issues, lecturing me about disability, etc., when I have real issues I’m dealing with and I find the strength, sometimes I’m not sure how, to push through every day and keep moving, striving to contribute, overcome obstacles.
For the time being it appears I’ve refused delivery, but I’ve thought I’d made a break through in the past, only to have things revert back to the way they were. I’m finding I have less and less patience, become frustrated more quickly and have less tact when confronting her. I feel good, having gotten some things off my chest today. I don’t know how long it will last, I’m sure the garbage truck will soon back over me again.