Seasonal Drama

We all have drama in our lives, we can’t escape it completely, especially at this time of year. As the excitement and expectations build, so does the stress, and all too often, the drama. Also, there is the age old problem of trying to suppress all the past likes and dislikes, as we try to enforce a family get together into something it cannot be, for Utopia can rarely exist in the same arena as a group of humans.
We can, however, avoid a lot of  the drama, and the more we practice, the more we can escape it. Drama, for the most part, is the work of an ego that is desperately seeking attention. This is a distraction that we do not need. Drama is like a fog that clouds your view, your judgment, and destroys your sense of well being. It blocks your ability to learn, to focus externally, and is almost always focused on the negative.
For example, we all know people who, with their load of drama to share, can suck the energy from a room faster than a vacuum cleaner can pull dog hair off a hardwood floor. We also know we will be forced into their company at Christmas. The trick is to avoid getting pulled into the vortex they create. We don’t always get it right, but we can get better with practice. We must, for drama will destroy the joy that this season can bring. You have all seen a face that has been angry for years. That negativity is etched deeply into the face and body posture, and you can be sure there are internal signs of it as well.
Here’s an example:  Years ago I was on the ferry boat leaving Vancouverand headed for Victoria. As the boat pulled away from the dock, I sat back to engage in one of my favorite pastimes, people watching. I watched as two men entered the lounge and sat next to each other. One opened his newspaper while his companion relaxed back with a book. A few moments later the man with the paper began to frown, his face darkened, his grip on the paper tightened, and he started to mumble. Drawing his companion’s attention, he stabbed a finger at the newspaper page and spoke. His companion nodded, then returned to his book, smiling as he continued to read.
This was repeated several times on that two hour journey. Newspapers are especially crafted, as are news casts on radio, television, and internet news, to draw strong emotion from the reader/viewer.  They filled with drama. Over the course of that short journey, the man with the paper continuously had his emotions manipulated by the stories he chose to read while his companion enjoy the trip by choosing to avoid all that drama and read a book that made him smile. By avoiding the drama he was able to have a much more enjoyable trip. It is the same with some people, whether by accident, habit, or design, their entire conversation is aimed at creating drama.
I know it is hard to avoid the drama when it is in the room with you, carried by family and friends, but you must. Become like the large rock in the river, let the emotion and drama flow past you, but leaving you unchanged, unmoved by it all. Only by keeping apart from the drama can you remain non-judgmental, not add to the problem, absorb new information, discover better solutions to problems, and enhance the quality of your own life as well as those you share space with.
This is a tough one, and we all struggle with it from time to time, but keep at it.  The rewards are worth the work.
So, have any of you got a secret tip on how to get past the family drama this year?
May your holidays be blessed with great joy and little drama, Prudence

16 thoughts on “Seasonal Drama

  1. We're lucky. Family is scattered all over the world, and we've finally trained them not to expect us at the holidays, especially during this time of recession. The next big reunion will be my father-in-law's 80th in 2013 in London. The quiet holidays are such a blessing!

  2. I'm blessed to have a family with very little drama, but that was not always the case for my husband. We dealt with it by not staying very long at the cousins' house. My husband also used to own a bar, so you can imagine the drama there! The regulars were always trying to pull him into some controversy or running their mouths. Five years later, some of them still call him and try to pull him in to this crap! He just doesn't answer some people's calls.

  3. Prudence, we've had (I've had) some family drama the last few weeks around my mom's alzheimers. I had this HUGE aha moment – my family isn't who I think they are…I have this idealized, happy view of my siblings and the truth is … that's not the truth. they are who they are and to be clear about that I need to observe their behavior. Listen to their words and let that guide my decisions about who they are. You'd think I'd know that already but I'm a slow learner when it comes to my siblings.

    they'll either come or not for Boxing day. but now it doesn't matter. I finally have the camera in focus and I know what i'm dealing with.

    timely post. thanks

  4. I love this–"Become like the large rock in the river, let the emotion and drama flow past you, but leaving you unchanged, unmoved by it all."
    I'm going to remember that! Thanks Prudence.

  5. I really needed to hear this! I have a family member that defines the word drama. It just drains me and leaves me upset and agitated. I'm going to remember to be the large rock and remain unchanged- I love that visual! Thanks for the advice:)

  6. Oh, yeah, Pru, I know what you're talking about … I know people with a sense of drama that would shame a teenage girl who wasn't asked to the prom. My rule of thumb, however, is that if you want to tell me your troubles, make it funny.

  7. I suppose that's one of the benefits of having a wife everyone knows is a social recluse, lol. We rarely go to family events anymore, aside from visiting the parents. That's not to say I don't interact with them via email or other methods, we just don't do the traditional social things. The closest you will ever find us to a social event is a few blocks away where Mars has decided it would probably not be such a good idea to go after all, with me breathing a sigh of relief, lol.

    Good luck with your drama kings/queens this year!

  8. Thanks SC, actually, the drama specialists are on my side of the family and we don't visit them, or they us. They don't approve of my *lifestyle* I think they're upset I didn't ask their permission. tee hee

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