Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter
I read something disconcerting today. Someone was making derogatory comments about people in need and taking handouts, what we commonly refer to as “moochers.” Here are my thoughts relating to mooching as it applies to emotional health, relationships and current events permeating our lives.
What is Mooching?
Mooching is a necessary part of the human condition we need for survival that no one is immune to and exempt from regardless of beliefs, religion, color, creed, sex, political affiliation, societal status, or title. It, can, however become extremely harmful in the wrong hands by those who have no legitimate need and who mooch at your expense to benefit themselves without working to earn or return those benefits.
Exploitation and power imbalanced situations can come in many forms because “moochers” can come packaged differently. We can have a single abusive or toxic mate, lover, co-worker, an annoying troll on social media, spouse or we can be exposed to toxicity and power imbalance in toxic “groups” that also come in all forms – families, work groups, religious groups, political groups, or what I experienced recently, a branch of a world-wide fundraising organization that is over 100 years old. So I’d like to warn you that when it comes to moochers, all that glitters is not gold. This is why.
Basic Needs for Survival
Humans all have basic needs for survival regardless of our level of privilege, status, and title. These include, food, love, shelter, safety, self-actualization (achieving your potential, happiness). To meet these needs, sometimes we give and sometimes we take because our living conditions change. Bad things happen to good people, right? Nothing is ever static.
So “mooching” clearly is part of the human condition and part of all relationships and our existence as individuals and as a society since we exist as a nation (and no longer live in tribes and a feudal system). No one is immune, poor or rich, privileged or not from “mooching.” Some of us because of disabilities or hardships may have to legitimately mooch more than others because we are not able to create, generate or return the resources we need to support our basic needs.
When Can Mooching Get Out of Hand?
So, we all have to mooch sometime in order to survive, however, when the give and take become unbalanced for long periods of time is when things go to hell in a hand basket. Why? Because now someone is benefitting to have their needs met and taking value without working to put it back. When this happens, resources that exist and have been worked for to support our individual or collective survival and rights are put at risk of being depleted. This is when mooching becomes harmful.
Disparities in character and emotional fitness can cause power imbalance in any abusive family, organization, government, political party, employer, relationship where the members use their authority to exploit the rights of the vulnerable to benefit themselves. These moochers, then, interfere with our rights to life, liberty, and happiness by exploiting resources that allow us to act on those rights. Governments, for example, use political authority to get our support or votes; in employment, job status and authority to keep us sub-serviant; and in families, love, acceptance to abuse us. All test and demonstrate integrity of character including compassion and empathy and the level of emotional fitness of all participating members, givers and takers alike.
Is Mooching Acceptable?
The intent of the moocher and degree and purpose of the mooching measure the harm and acceptability of the mooching. For example:
- Is it to feed your starving children when you authentically are not able to for a week, month, year, 15 years or are you gaming the system for free handouts?
- Is it to feed your insatiable ego because you believe in your disordered mind you are entitled to exploit not what you need but what you want and believe you are entitled to indefinitely?
- Is the person begging for money who looks homeless at the intersection seriously homeless due to conditions outside of his or her control or is he/she exploiting people’s blind sympathy and generosity and driving off in a shiny new BMW at the end of the day?
- Are you running an honest campaign from the heart and with authentic duty to the greater good or by knowingly and intentionlly lying and making false promises to your constituents and exploiting their fears to win in order to abuse the authority you have in that position to benefit yourself?
- Are you a member of a legitimate fund raising organization that authentically gives back to and benefits the community or are you using the organization as a facade for “do-gooders and moral elitists” to cloak your true self-righteous intentions to not do good but to be “seen as doing good” and “show how good you are by pointing at someone else and telling them how bad they are?”
Which of these conditions appear morally acceptable, reasonable, rational, necessary for survival and which cloak the depraved, criminal and parasitic and disordered, pathological, exploitive?
Learning the differences between good moochers and exploitive ones who camouflage their real intent can be critical to your emotional health, happiness, and well-being.
Why are Bad “Moochers” Successful?
These emotional vampires have learned to be effective thieves in order to survive, however, in reality they are very predictable and easy to detect if you know what to look for.
Good Versus Bad Moochers – Traits of Authentic Versus Toxic People
“Good moochers” are normal adaptive and authentic people. Authentically good people mindfully take from others only when they absolutely have to in order to survive and return the resources they take when they are able. They care about how their actions impact others. The “bad moochers,” on the other hand, mooch because they simply want to exploit resources from you and benefit from them without earning them or replacing them. They do not care how this impacts the person or persons they are exploiting.
In a world of increased narcissism and a decreased empathy, how can we discern genuine, authentic people from manipulators including believe the perfected lies they present in our newsfeeds? How can we distinguish one from the other, the truly good people from the “glittered turds?”
Traits of Authentic People
The following is a list of 12 characteristics of authentic people derived from the research and personal experiences of psychotherapist, Kristi Tackett-Newburg.
Authentic: “Not false or copied; genuine; real; representing one’s true nature or beliefs; true to oneself or to the person identified.
- Their Words and Actions Align.
- They Are Transparent, Honest, and Assertive.
- They Demonstrate Reciprocity in Relationships.
- They Are Open-Minded.
- They Make You Feel at Ease.
- They Are Not Superficial.
- They Are Not Swayed by Material Objects.
- They Take Personal Responsibility.
- They Cultivate Meaningful Relationships.
- They Are Not Driven by Ego.
- They Have Strong Character.
- They Live in the Moment and Create Their Own Paths.
You can read more details on these traits in “Don’t Be Fooled by Smoke and Mirrors: 12 Traits of Truly Authentic People.”
15 Tips to Identify Toxic People
You can expect bad “moochers,” commonly referred to as toxic people, to be covertly or overtly aggressive in nature yet weak in character. With practice you can hone your “narc radar” to readily identify them and become less vulnerable to their attacks and less attractive as a target.