I did a psychic reading awhile ago, for a woman to speak with the spirit of her deceased father. During the reading, she asked about her ex-husband (still alive), to which her father replied without hesitation, “He’s a weed.”
The father then showed me a scene in which his daughter was a rose bush. The rose bush was beautiful, but stunted and with only one, small flower. Next to the bush was a giant thistle, towering over the rose, stealing light and nutrients. In the scene, the rose wasn’t asserting its power in the flower bed. The rose was allowing the weed to flourish and to take whatever it wanted from the rose.
Weeds, in the form of people, have problems that are more pressing than yours, needs that are greater than yours, and goals that are more important than yours. Weeds are opportunistic, grow where there is the smallest opening for them to grow, and steal what they want or need from their surroundings. We all know people like this.
Human weeds come in two basic forms: the thistle and the dandelion. The modus operandi of each are slightly different, but the end result is generally the same: they are both energy thieves.
The thistle plant grows large and fierce. It has big, spiky leaves that literally poke the surrounding plants out of its way. Thistles grow tall and bloom abundantly, producing an overwhelming number of seeds. What is not readily apparent, however, is that the thistle is not well-grounded and has a small, shallow root system. Thistles, if grasped at their base, are actually quite easily removed. Bullies are usually thistles.
By contrast, the dandelion plant grows from a tap root that tunnels deep into the soil and puts up a fight if you try to remove it. Dandelions anchor themselves to one spot, choking out any plant that previously grew there. They don’t cast shade on the plants around them, but they do steal nutrients, produce abundant seeds, and colonize the area. Over time, one dandelion will come to dominate their patch of soil. Clingy, needy people are usually dandelions.
In conceptualizing this post, I wasn’t sure where to go from here with this analogy. In my real-life flower beds, I pull the weeds and toss them in the compost bin. But for human weeds, we can’t go around killing them and tossing them in dumpsters. We will go to prison, and they will never learn.
And then it came to me in a flash: Oh, good Lord, I used to be an effing weed. Painful to admit. Impossible to refute. I was a weed of the dandelion sort, never a bully, but always a master at stealing the energy out of a room. I got kicked out of a lot of rooms. I was barred from many more. And eventually, I found myself in a life full of nothing but weeds. And I do mean all weeds, all the time. I HATED IT. “Those people” failed to understand that my problems were bigger than theirs, my needs greater than theirs, my life more important than theirs. They fought me for energy and attention. I ranted. I raged. And then I learned. And I changed.
I learned to manage my attention-getting behaviors. I became more passionate, less melodramatic. I learned that milking a situation for sympathy is annoying. I noticed how often I did just that, and quit. I learned that stealing energy from other people is bad. I quit doing that, too, and learned that exchanging energy with other people is not only possible, but wonderful. I learned how to listen without interrupting. I grew to like it. I learned that lots and LOTS of people have problems bigger than mine. And most importantly, I learned that oftentimes what I need is not the favors I used to bum, but hugs and encouragement to do those things myself.
I now look for and work towards true reciprocity in my relationships. I seek the yin-and-yang of life, where I get my needs met, you get your needs met, and nobody has to take anything from anybody. I am getting better at standing on my own two feet. I am less angry, more generous, more aware of the abundance in my life. And I love my life A LOT more than I did when I was a thieving weed.
And so……this is where I shall go with my human weeds analogy: if you are a rose, please don’t give up what is rightfully yours without a fight. You have rights and needs, too. Also, please don’t surrender and sacrifice just because you feel bad for a weed. Weeds are thieving, master manipulators and con artists. If you have weeds around you, gently (or vehemently….) pull them out. And don’t feel bad about it afterwards — they will move on. They will move flower bed to flower bed until the only place they are welcome is in a field of other weeds. And they will learn, and you will be free to grow.
And if you are a weed attached to a rose, step back into the weed patch and let the rose flourish. There is no danger to you in doing this. You don’t need to steal energy and resources to get your needs met. Trust me, rain will fall on you wherever you are.
It is, to me, an alarmingly, personally, painfully simple fact that a flower bed is too nice a place for a weed. In the story above, the woman’s ex-husband kept coming back to her with increasingly desperate tales, asking her for money (post-divorce, mind you!). And on more than one occasion, she gave it to him. She could not afford to do this, and her sacrifice meant she could not retire. He was not entitled to that money. To me, it was a con and he was stealing. He needed to be told NO!, to be removed from the cushy flower bed, and to be forced to face hardship in order to learn self-reliance.
In my own story, I needed to struggle to learn. I needed the bootcamp of weed-on-weed combat in order to identify my strengths. Actually, to discover that I had strengths at all. Like me, human weeds need to face the ordeal of growing in a crack in the sidewalk, or in a field of other weeds, to change and evolve to a more equitable way of being human. Pulling the weeds out of the flower bed of your life is not a mean thing to do. It is the same as blocking calls from con artists — necessary for your self-preservation, and a tough-love message to weeds everywhere that stealing is bad.