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Showing posts with label drama. Show all posts
Showing posts with label drama. Show all posts

Friday, January 17, 2020

Shutting off the drama: Backing away from conflict and reorienting.

The holidays--and maybe just other times for no specific occasion--can be good for getting reacquainted with family and friends.  If we live out of town, we might choose to fly or drive in and see family and friends we haven't in a while.   If we live in town, we might make it a point to get together with those whom we haven't seen in a while to celebrate OR we might entertain family and/or friends who fly into town to see us.   Most of the time that is good thing.  Family and friends are the ones that be supportive of us, that can re-energize us just by virtue of their presence.    However, at times the hope we have the supportive or re-energizing can instead feel like burdensome or draining.  It doesn't necessarily have to be an open conflict, just personality differences can be enough.

I have written about this general topic matter in at least two posts.

  • Boxing others into our expectations.   This is where I discussed the concept of how we expect certain people to fit roles in our life: Close friend, close sibling, supportive parent, our co-parent, etc.  In a way, in our mind we 'box' them into the expectation of what role we feel they should play.  We then base our interaction with them on our expectations of their role.  This can lead to frustration. The whole idea is that instead of getting frustrated that they aren't meeting our expectations, it is good to pause, reassess them and the situation and adjust our expectations and interactions with them in a way that better reflects reality.  In other words reorient ourselves relative to them to a place that is healthy for us.  In other words, we don't have to necessarily remove them from our lives, but we may limit what we share with them, for example.
  • Dealing with others: People will get along with you IF they want to.  This is where I discuss the idea that while you can help facilitate positive interactions with others, it is ultimately up to others to decide if they want to get along with you.  If they really want to get along with you, they will tend to look for opportunities to do so (and overlook things they don't necessarily 'love' about you).  If they don't want to get along, they will look for reasons or excuses for not liking or getting along with you.  Basically, don't take it personal or try to force it.

We might realize people aren't fitting into our expectations of them. We might be getting frustrated and have to reorient ourselves and how we interact or deal with them Or in some cases how we don't.  However, from what I've observed (and experienced myself), that usually is a process that can take time, a willingness to see and accept a reality we don't like, and in some cases being deliberate.

  • When we are close to a situation, it can be very easy to see what we want.  In other words, a confirmation bias.  Sometimes, it just takes time to see a pattern of interaction over a extended time before we accept it.  If it is a parent for example, they may not be accepting of our choice in a spouse.  We may overlook comments that would point to that reality and instead glom onto any comment or indication that we think points otherwise.  Like a parent might show interest in our spouse, but might be doing it out of courtesy rather than acceptance. It might take time be able to see past what we want to see.
  • Sometimes a realization might be so profound that it take a while to process it.  That could take to form of being huge and/or emotionally demanding.  For example, take the case of a parent whose health is failing.  We might have been close to that parent and that closeness is no longer there.  We may need for our sick mom to be the warm, compassionate person she's always been and counted on.  However, she might be in a different place, focusing her energies on coming to terms with failing health.   It may take us a while to realize the extent of her failing health and effectively disentangle ourselves of the level of dependence we've had on her.

  • No matter how much want, hope for or expected a different type of relationship than what is, it may not ever happen. People have room to grown and there are things you can do to encourage a closer relationship to a sibling, child, friend, or whomever.   However, at the end of the day, you cannot force someone to be different than who they are or what they are capable of.   At some point, instead of conflicting with them on whom you hope or expected them to be for you, it is just time to accept the type of relationship that both of you are capable of.  That maybe bittersweet, but as a brother once said, "A half of loaf of better than no bread".  Just make sure you can accept and have the ingredients that you can afford for half a loaf.
  • We have to be willing to see a relationship for what it is (and isn't).  I always wanted a close relationship with my dad, but it never really developed.  I think he wanted to be decent father that could be emotionally open, but he didn't really have a good example to emulate as he was bounced around in the foster system. Also, he struggled with his own issues, including alcoholism.  He did the best that he could given the example(s) he had to follow and had his moments.  I saw and accepted that he couldn't be this close parent that I could confide my insecurities and flaws to.  I saw that we could get along and I could help him out and vice versa.  Though disappointed, that was something I could work with as I was willing to be realistic.

  • When we are reorienting our expectations and perspective it is easy to fall back into old patterns.  If we are the one pushing a friendship or relationship we may wonder if the other party is really invested in it or not.  If we are finding ourselves conflicting with a family member, we may want to have a better relationship, but we just wanting it and interacting with them as we always have just lead more frustration.  Sometimes, no matter bothered by backing off from them for a while, we may need to do that and let the situation sort it out.  This can and often should be quietly stepping back.  In other words, letting the situation organically reveal itself as to how to proceed.   They may surprise us after this time and find that they want a closer/better relationship.  However, we may find that the relationship that was to be just needed some space to develop.
  • When we are reorienting our expectations and perspective, it is easy to hang onto the frustration/disappointment.  If we are committed to reorienting our relationships with and expectations of another to a more healthy place, we have to get rid of or re-channel the frustration.  We have to remind ourselves that even though we 'signed up' for a different type relationship with another, that they may not have 'signed up' for the same.  We may have thought that a friend we hang out and do things with would be a good person to personally confide in on a situation.  Over time we may come to realize he or she is not the right person to confide in or relate to on it.  Our friend just not be capable of being there for us in the way we hoped, but we didn't realize it initially.  That's not specifically the friend's fault, it is just a limitation.  We have to deliberately remind ourselves of this realization or understanding until we have reoriented our friendship to a healthier place.
When our expectations of others don't meet reality, there is a good chance we will conflict and there will be drama.  Sometimes we just have to step away for a bit. limit our interaction with them until our expectations come into line with the reality of the relationship, and adjust what we what we feel we can offer if necessary.  Everyone wants close family and friends.  Most people don't want conflict or drama, but sometimes it happens despite our best intentions.  Sometimes we just have to step back and 'shut off the drama' for a while until everyone is in a better place and move forward from there.  That maybe an unsatisfying reality, but we know as adults that we may not always get what we want, but that as the Rolling Stones wrote, "but if you try sometime, you might get what you need.".

Just may thoughts for the day and a follow-up to another couple posts.

Piece out.

- Rich

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Reel Life: What type of movie is your life?

As I mentioned in a previous post, Reel Life: Scenes from life's movie, sometimes I feel like life is a movie.  Specifically, I meant it is typically like a live showing of a movie at the theaters, where it keeps rolling and you only see the past in flashbacks (or prior frames).  Anyway, it occurred to me, if life is a movie, what type of movie is it?

There are many different genres of movies, just like there are many different types of people or personalities.   Just like a comedy usually has some serious moments, dramas have some lighter or comic moments, kids movies usually give a nod to grownups and such, our lives typically have more than one type of movie associated with it.  For example, even people whose life is built on created drama, have time of true drama or tragedy in their lives. That being said, let's stereotype a little.  

  • Biography - This type of movie represents those who are truth seekers.  It represents those who like see and say things straight.  Just like biographical movies, sometimes this type of person can be fascinating and refreshing, but sometimes can be 'too candid' and a killjoy.  After all, biographies don't just tell the good and interesting side of lives, but they also tell the not so good either. 
  • Comedy - The type of movie represents those who don't necessarily take life too seriously or too straight--whether it is due to a lightness of being or a darker more cynical perspective.
    • Laugh out loud comedy - This type of movie represents those who live life jovially.  While they have their moments, their moments don't keep them down for too long.  They try to look at the glass half full and they definitely try to find something to smile about.
    • Dark comedy - This type sees often deeper darker motives behind what is at play in life and society.  But instead of getting all would up about it, they sarcastically reflect on what they see.
    • Parody - They see life as a farce which they are privileged (or cursed) to see. As such, they take little at face value and tend to mock.  Dark comedy & parody have similar elements to them, but a dark comedy is still somewhat serious.
  • Science fiction - They are very creative and adventurous, but sometimes they are considered a little bit nerdy.  They tend to have something to believe in, even if it is not what everyone else does.
  • Western/war movie - People who these types of movies represent are very serious, no-nonsense types.  Like those in a biography, they tend to speak their mind.  Typically they don't care what other's think, but they live by their own code for justice and survival. 
  • Family movie  - These people live lives that would be labeled straight-laced or wholesome.  They try to speak, behave and live a clean, if not healthy life.  They may seem boring to some, but they are there to remind us of what is proper.
  • Musical - These people are the type who like to live large OR "put on a show".
    • Larger than life musical - These people like to live large, live loud and live flamboyant.  For them it is all about spectacle and the attention.  They just like the high or feeling of living big.  Really, it is a show they are putting on for their own entertainment.  The spectacle of their show often tends to make them fun to be around. 
    • Production value musical -These people live their life as a "show" they are putting on for themselves or others.   In their own personal show, they will do things to convince themselves they are "proper" thinking or behaving.  In other words, they live as they believe they should, rather than how they actually feel.  When they put on a 'performance' for others, they are trying to convince others of their inherent "betterness".  In a way, their actions or behavior has the feel of virtue signaling.
  • Drama - These people tend to live a life of excitement, adventure or trouble.  Sometimes, it is truly that way and sometimes it is overwrought.
    • A theatrical movie drama - They seen to get in and out of troubled circumstance and relationships.  Maybe it is to seek that elusive feeling of happiness and maybe it is just what they are comfortable with.
    • A "made for TV" movie drama - Typically their life has a feeling of being dull about it.  So, they feel the need to "create drama".  Usually, the drama has a feeling of being forced and avoidable, but it is their way of feeling relevant (at least to themselves).  Typically, others see through it, but sometimes when they run into someone in a similar circumstance, they have an audience for their "drama".
  • Tragedy - People with this type of life seem to have bad things happen to them or to those around them.  Really, I think you could say people who live a life of tragedy in a way are living a life of extreme drama.  People who live this life, if they are able to see around the destruction and sadness, can find a way to turn their life into a different movie, perhaps a biography.

Typically in life, we are given a script that we are expected to follow in our formative years.  That is the type of movie we are expected to live.  Sometimes, we are able to break away from that script at an early age and sometimes we never truly do break free from the script.  However, especially as we get older, we tend to have a greater ability to change the script or change "movie" we are living.   That being said, I do believe that although we have free will, it does seem like some people seem to be destined to follow a preordained script.  That may be true or it may just be a matter of how their 'movie' turned out.  That is to say, they lived a different script, but some event so altered their lives, they turned out to be a completely different person.  For example, Oprah Winfrey was born to a single mom, grew up in poverty, faced sexual abuse and was a teenage mom for a short period of time (to an infant son who died shortly after birth).  One could describe her early life's movie as a "tragedy".  But, due to her faith and her persistence, her life movie changes from a tragedy to a biography.  Hers is just one of many.

Anyway, what type of movie is your life or is it a combination of movie types?  Do you feel like your life's movie type has changed over time or due to events?  Just some questions to ponder as we live life's movie.