10/06/2012

Sick of the Drama?*

Posted in Encouragement, Family, Musings, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:02 pm by The Water Bearer

Sometime ago I noticed an underlying hunger for drama in myself and those around me. Any saga involving family or friends made its way around the group like a gasped version of Chinese whispers. Privacy was a joke, nothing was off limits.

I guess there were many reasons why we shared each others sordid secrets, we liked to offer our own judgements, we tried to convince someone to agree with our position, and we all tried to piece together the various versions of the story to figure out what really went on in each others personal lives, that way we could bring it up later if we needed to make a point. I was definitely a culprit of these gossip sessions and we all believed we meant well. A common excuse for this was that we cared. Fair enough I suppose, but there were always divisions between us, a little drama fed more drama, and it became common to stick our noses into situations that we had not been invited into by the one it concerned. Someone was always left feeling ganged up on and betrayed. Surely there has to be a better way to care for each other?

I am the ultimate drama queen, my feelings are amplified and this makes them almost impossible to deal with on my own. I need a sounding board to help me sought through the noise inside my head to discover the bottom line, the truth amongst the lies, so to speak. Yet sharing my secret thoughts with family members and close friends, left me reeling with more concerns about how much damage they could do with what I had shared. It pretty much defeated the purpose of divulging my thoughts in the first place, not much relief to be found, only more drama.

When I was in my 20’s I reunited with my Dad, he and I would talk for hours and hours, dissecting all the trials of life. He was a fabulous sounding board for me, and after a while I began to notice that something was different. He actually kept our private conversations to himself, and in one way the drama began to decrease because my secrets were safe with him. This was a foreign concept for me, he taught me about true loyalty. He gave me sound advice and carefully exposed the painful truth, not simply telling me what I liked to hear. Since then I have tried my best to be as loyal to others as he was for me, I don’t pick up the phone to involve other family members when I am asked advice from one of them, I keep their private thoughts to myself, and I clearly state that I don’t want to get involved if someone tries to drag me into another saga. If it’s not coming direct from the person themselves, then I don’t pay any attention to it. Therefore this helped decrease the amount of drama in another way. Amen!

There is a very real difference between why certain people share their issues. Some actually want advice on how to grow from their troubles, and to decrease the drama that the situation is causing. While others simply thrive on the drama, they want to drag someone else into it with them, or to play the victim and get others to feel sorry for them.

I used to try to help everyone with their crises; I got emotionally involved, I would pray for them and be there for them at every turn, this made me a magnet for every sob story in the vicinity and I was drained. After many years of this I came to see a pattern form. Many of them didn’t take my advice, yet they kept coming to me with their problems. I kept being drawn into their dramatic lives, my heart went out to them time and time again and yet still my advice was not taken on board.

They didn’t want me to help them change their ways, instead they wanted me to make them feel better, to carry them through their problems, they wanted to complain to me and drag me down into their negative perspective. Once it subsided they simply headed straight back into the same situations over and over.

In therapy I learned the term ‘enabler’, meaning – ‘one who enables another to persist in self-destructive behaviour by providing excuses or by helping that individual avoid the consequences of such behaviour’. I realised I was one. I gave attention to those going through hard times and helped absorb their suffering, but I wasn’t helping them to learn how to help themselves, for that they needed to suffer through the consequences of their actions and learn how to change themselves.

In God’s wisdom He allowed me to suffer physical and psychological damage in a car accident and for a long time afterwards I was unable to help anyone else. I was having a hard time getting myself through my own, very real drama, so I turned to God and Godly people for advice and followed it to the letter. I was genuinely willing to do the hard work, to grow and learn from my trials.

I still tried to be supportive for others, but ceased with enabling them. I told them what I believed they needed to do according to God’s ways which would invite God to change their troubles, but that of course was not what many of them wanted from me. These people tried to help me for a little while during my own crisis, but I saw that they fed off my drama and didn’t encourage me to grow with sound advice. In fact the opposite, they tried to distract me from my problems with a good time, and selfish indulgence. Once I noticed this I stood my ground and stuck to my path to grow in faith, as a result these people, the ones who I had carried for so long, turned on me. One by one they disappeared from my life.

It was as if God had picked up my life, given it a good shaking and watched as all the dead weight fell away. I gained a new perspective of how to help, who to help, and who to leave to figure it out themselves. My life became so much lighter, I saved my energy for those who deserved it and was left with true friends and supportive family members, those who encouraged me to be faithful during the tough times, those who kept my secrets, and who listened and applied my advice during their own issues. These wonderfully loyal people have stayed in my life and my relationships with them are true blessings.

I once heard someone say that if you put one crab in a bucket, it will climb out and set itself free. However if you put two crabs in a bucket, one crab will continually pull the other crab back, preventing it from escaping, so that they both end up rotting in the bucket.

I encourage you to look at who you share your bucket with. Are they helping you out or pulling you back? Thank God, I am much happier with the people who I now share my bucket with, and even though I am still a drama queen, I have come to enjoy the peacefulness of less ‘nonsense’ drama in my life.

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