There are people in this world who leave you feeling totally depleted. Not even after a day of intense arguing about something, but instantly. The second you see them, you feel your energy drain from your body and mind.
It is hard to explain to those who have never experienced it. It can be a look, a facial expression. Anyone who has dealt with a toxic person knows ‘The Smirk’ and ‘The Death Stare’ for example.
A lot of the energy drain, can also lie in the preparation of seeing a toxic person. When I lived in student halls for example (not the most clean of places) I would spend hours trying to get my room and the communal spaces cleaned to my mother’s demanding standard. Every single time she visited though, she would start by cleaning the toilet.
Now, you may think that she was just trying to help, but really she was just telling me I did not do a good enough job. All the effort I had put into the preparations were diminished. Doing hard work for someone is fine, it even gives you some energy when you feel the satisfaction of a job well done. As long as there is appreciation. When it is instantly swept away as insufficient, it just leaves you feeling depleted.
Am I really so stupid I cannot clean a toilet? I spend hours on cleaning the house (remember it was student halls), I must be a really bad house keeper! I really am an awful daughter that I cannot even provide her with a comfortable experience in my home…
The self-deprecating thoughts would start immediately, and they would not shut up until long after my mother had left (if ever).
The wish for my mother to visit was always a push and pull. I dreaded that energy-draining, negative experience but also had a profound wish for my mother to want to come spend time with me.
I suppose that was just wishful thinking…