We 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, poor or rich, privileged or not, is immune to “mooching.” Some of us because of disabilities or hardships may have to legitimately mooch more than others because we are not physically 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 the resources back. We can’t borrow from the coffee fund forever, right? 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 and for some the consequences can be devastating.
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 prevent us to act on those rights. Governments, for example, use political authority to get our support or votes or to manipulate the media; in employment, job status and authority to keep us sub-servant; and in families and relationships, love and acceptance to abuse and exploit us. Be aware too that the number of toxic moochers is at all time highs.
Toxic Moochers are on the Rise
Toxic moochers are on the rise because narcissism is now a world-wide pandemic. It has infiltrated all aspects or our lives and is rampant in “good deed” communities like politics, the medical community, churches, and even fundraising organizations where many emotional manipulators can exist for years going unnoticed, providing illusions of generosity and “goodness” and feeding off the unlimited supply of power and energy of innocent members of the community while hiding true intentions of superiority and self-righteousness. Gary Bell, a valued community member at Yourlifelifter describes it perfectly, “Service organizations frequently come to be fraternal organizations with a bit of charity work to make it seem legit – fraternity and sorority houses for ‘grownups.’”
Narcissists are even posing as healers on Facebook. What better people to target than the vulnerable wounded ones they harmed who admittedly need help and whom they continue to abuse and exploit “by proxy” by posing as a healers? What a novel idea, right? Well, it is not so novel. It may be pretty new to Facebook but narcissists infiltrated the medical and psychological professions a long long time ago like pedophiles infiltrated the priesthood.
Kathy Krajco, a formidable pioneer in educating the world on narcissism and narcissistic abuse, describes in What Makes Narcissists Tick how the “helping professions” that supply an abundance of vulnerable prey attract pathological narcissists. Kathy cautions us to “think not only of vulnerable children in the case of teachers but also vulnerable children or grieving and hurt adults in the case of priests and ministers. Think of the vulnerable patients supplied to psychiatrists.” She also warns us about the serious problem narcissism poses in the public sector and private nonprofit institutions that use the do-gooder and moral elitist facade to cloak their true self-righteous intentions to not do good but to be “seen as doing good” and “show how good they are by pointing at someone else and telling them how bad they are.” Politics, she points out, “is an ideal arena for narcissists…the list of them who have conned whole nations to become dictators is breathtaking.”
Who is Most Vulnerable to Moochers
Moochers, however, can especially be harmful to people with trusting and compassionate personalities like empaths who are also prone to co-dependency. Read more on empaths here. Empaths are also vulnerable to the manipulation tactics of those with aggressive personalities like narcissists, psychopaths, and sociopaths.
According to Dr. Jane McGregor, empaths are ordinary people who are highly perceptive and insightful and belong to the 40% of human beings who sense when something’s not right, who respond to their gut instinct, and who take action and speak up. They frequently like the child in the The Emperor’s New Clothes, will tell the truth and expose lies and wrong doing and are targets of scapegoaters, bullies, narcissists, and sociopaths who are driven by exaggerated envy and fear of shame, lack of compassion, and the inability to self-sooth.
Dr. McGregor describes that empaths have trouble comprehending a closed mind and lack of compassion in others. This inability to see the “bad” in others also significantly enhances their vulnerability to attacks from emotional vampires throughout their lives. As a result, empaths can be targeted easily by energy vampires such as scapegoaters, bullies, narcissists, and sociopaths who enlist other uncompassionate and apathetic people in their wrong-doing.
Kim Saeed, a narcissistic abuse recovery expert, says that narcissists prey on empaths and highly sensitive people. Empaths operate predominately from love, humility, and giving. They have a natural capacity for healing and teaching others. However, until they learn how to responsibly use those gifts, they are often taken advantage of…not only by romantic partners, but people in general. Further, empaths have a track record of developing codependent behaviors in childhood to deal with the overwhelming unfairness in the world and to please others, which they usually carry into their adult relationships. It is easy to see, then, how empaths who were abused as children can develop exaggerated codependency issues and dependence on others to define their worth.
What Can We Do to Protect Ourselves
We can educate ourselves on narcissism and how to protect ourselves from toxic people and learn to rely more confidently on our emotional intelligence. So, if your gut instinct tells you there is something fishy going on, then trust it, don’t ignore your inner voice or second guess yourself, be cautious, and if the not so good feelings in your gut start to outnumber the truly rewarding ones, then run for the hills.
Do “do good” organizations do good for the community? Possibly, but beware the true intent of their members! Is it to simply give back to and benefit the community which was my sole personal objective or are there “hidden” underlying objectives? Look closely at their actions and do not assume their intentions, like yours, are good ones. Fact check! The more important question to answer is to determine why the members are really there? Does their objective for being there and donating their time align with yours? Look how they routinely treat all members. Do they play favorites? Are there cliques that seem to manipulate all the decisions in the organization to favor themselves and those in the clique at the expense of others? Do they portray in their home lives the ethics and moral codes of the organization? Do their actions contradict their thoughts and words and vice versa?
The point is this. Anyone can provide an illusion of doing good by hiding in a “do good” organization or even places of worship that are really filled with manipulative covert aggressive self-righteous people who are exploiting others and are languishing in their superiority over the “needy” they profess to help and are providing a very toxic and emotionally unhealthy environment for its innocent and truly compassionate members who simply are there just to “do good.” Wolves can be cloaked in many versions of sheep’s clothing and snakes can be cloaked in many colors of suits. So it doesn’t matter how appealing it “looks” or “sounds” even if there is a handsome “shiny as a new penny” person at the helm or is a rich Presidential candidate in a $2000 suit…..if it looks like, if it smells like, it is. And if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
So we must remain vigilant and confident in our personal power. And never forget that truth is truth and never again let anyone manipulate you into compromising yours even if they appear as glittered “do gooders.”
You cannot polish a turd, folks, but you can roll it in glitter and nevertheless it will remain a turd and the smell lingers. Don’t be fooled by the glitter. It is all an unsustainable illusion. Truth, on the other hand IS like gold. It can tarnish but will never lose its brilliance or value.
How can We Learn to Protect Ourselves?
Empaths can no sooner lose their compassion and emotional intelligence as to permanently change their skin color. But we can easily hone these special abilities (which our parents should have taught us) and learn to distinguish the “good moochers” in authentic need from the “toxic moochers” who merely want to exploit us and benefit at our expense.
“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 and if they are able. They care about how their actions impact others. They are grateful, appreciative. The “bad moochers,” on the other hand, mooch because they simply and knowingly want to exploit resources from you and benefit from them without earning them, working for them, returning them, or replacing them when they are fully capable of doing so. They do not care how this impacts the person or persons they are exploiting. They are not grateful because they believe in their distorted minds they are entitled to all the benefits without working for or returning them.
In a world of increased narcissism and decreased empathy, how can we discern genuine, authentic people from manipulators and truth from their perfected lies they present in our newsfeeds? How can we distinguish one from the other, the truly good people from the “glittered turds, facts from manipulative emotive lies that trigger our fear- and ego-based emotions?”
Here are some tips to help you how:
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. With practice you can hone your “compassion radar” to readily identify persons authentically in need become less vulnerable to the attacks and less attractive as a target to toxic moochers.
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.”
How to Identify and Deal with 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, learn to manage personal boundaries, and become less vulnerable to their attacks and less attractive as a target.
In “Useful Tips to Identify Toxic People in Your Life,” I provide 15 simple and very effective tips to help you identify manipulation tactics of toxic people and distinguish authentically virtuous and competent people from the emotional vampires who exploit power, value, credit, attention, or whatever they need from you.
Learning to recognize these toxic individuals and distinguishing them from authentic people, managing boundaries, and learning to say no can be instrumental in helping us all take our power back, learn to use our compassion responsibly, prevent our exploitation from emotional moochers, and living the joy-filled lives we were put on this earth to live.