If I told you the kinds of things that I still deal with, you would probably think I’m making up well over half of it. Like, for instance, one of my most recent interactions. Because it involved vegetables. And a false accusation that a) I basically stole some, b) was mean for doing so, and c) showed no gratitude for said-stolen veggies, with the wrapping up comment that this was a “new low”, even for me.
Granted, I realize I’m known in some circles for my vegetable-stealing (especially seeing as I love vegetables so very much), but this is ridiculous.
But here’s what is most ridiculous: I engaged. I was trying to clear things up. And then hours later, I re-engaged. Because I was trying to vindicate myself.
When will I learn that a) people don’t act the way they’re supposed to, b) there’s no point in arguing with some people, and c) just because someone says something about you that’s mean and full of lies doesn’t mean you have to respond?
I’m not sure when I’ll learn these things, but here’s my biggest concern: that there just may be a part of me that likes – maybe even thrives – on the drama that each of these utterly bizarre interactions bring into my life.
What if I actually like the drama?
What if I actually need the drama?
What if I actually contribute to the drama?
What if I actually don’t (deep down) want the drama to ever stop, even though I keep saying that I do?
I’ve heard it said that the first place people look for runaway foster kids is with the family that abused them. Why? Because that is what they know. That is what they feel comfortable with. That is what they can relate to.
And drama – after all these years of so much emotional chaos – is what I know, it’s what I feel comfortable with, it’s what I relate to.
But I don’t want this to be true of me anymore. I don’t want to feel antsy in peace. I want to be so whole that turmoil rubs me the wrong way. I want to breathe calm in deeply and be grateful that it’s here to stay.
So all I’ve got right now is this promise to myself: the very next time there’s a menacing voicemail or something left for me in my mailbox – even if every button is pushed once again – I will not engage, even if it kills me. I will let the very next time come and go. And then I will try it again, and again, and again, until drama tastes bitter in my mouth and feels foreign to me. May that day come sooner rather than later.
“I don’t want to feel antsy in peace.” What a proud line! In our pursuit of stability, we so crave the normal and for the pain of healing to stop, we will seek out the sick but familiar. Thanks for asking those hard questions, Beth, especially those relating to if we do, in fact, like the drama because it’s famiiliar, because we like playing the victim, or whatever other reason. Healing will require change. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! – Paul
Thank you, Paul!
I just realized I typed “Proud” instead of a “great” line, but I think you understood what I meant. In fact, I shared this with an online dating community because I so appreciated the message and challenge. Thanks again!
Totally agree with you on this. It is almost always true that we gravitate toward that which we are most familiar (sins of the fathers passed down, etc). I have read that if everyone were to throw their problems into a pile, we would be quick to grab our own back. Mostly that is true only because we have learned (through repetition) to cope. We have become comfortable with our problems because they keep resurfacing. We are creatures of habit. But unfortunately, more often than not we marry people with the problems we are comfortable with (and that drive us bonkers).
God, however, wants us to be healthy, not just “cope”. He wants us to thrive and not solely “exist”. In order to do that … in order to break the cycle … in order to be attracted to the kind of mate that is like that, we have to determine what He requires of us and dedicate our every decision to becoming that person. We have to get familiar with righteousness. We have to bathe the black cragginess of our obtuse personalities in the light of His holiness. We have to drag every thought captive to Him. WE have to do it.
God’s interest in you is for the best version of you possible, even if it means the discomfort of having the dross burned up and the rough places sanded smooth.
Michelle…love this: “we have to dedicate our every decision to becoming that person…”.
Elisabeth…to encourage you and others….The Lord has taught me…if my heart and hands are pure…I don’t need a defense because I have a Defender. And His name is Jesus…..
You know the truth…and in time….truth always prevails!!! And it sets us free….John 8:32
Blessings in Christ….
“…I don’t need a defense…” Love this, Carolyn!
Lately I have been asking myself these very same questions. One thing I’ve realized is that we are responsible for our own emotions, and no one else’s. No one can “make” us feel mad; we choose to feel that way. So if someone pushes your buttons, it’s because you let them. I know that may sound harsh, but it’s the truth. If you feel the need to vindicate and defend yourself, then you need to look inward to find the reason why. We act the way we do because we are getting some sort of “pay off.” It may be to get attention or an excuse to play the victim, or any number of other reasons. Yes, you engage in the drama because it’s in your comfort zone, but you have to take an honest look at yourself and discover what your pay off is. Once you figure that out, then it will be easier for you to disengage from the drama.