We’re almost halfway through October and I can’t help but wonder what’s going to happen next – fingers crossed that I didn’t jinx it just now! Although, come to think of it, I’m not sure 2020 could get much more jinxed than it already is. I don’t think I need to go into details, am I right? You get it.
And yet, 2020 hasn’t been all bad so far (again, don’t wanna jinx it). Interestingly, despite everything, I’ve managed to meet a handful of new people (under slightly modified circumstances compared to last year: physically distanced and outside, mostly), all of whom were interesting in their own way.
What was also interesting in the same context was watching me throw everything I believed in out the window in order to mould myself into a pleasurable person that could hardly fail at being liked, once again, despite my better judgment. Actually, that’s not even the most interesting part. What’s truly interesting is that this time, I was fully aware of what I was doing pretty much every step along the way and I carried on regardless.
Hold my beer while I just ignore a truckload of red flags and race into my impending doom!
That’s how I believe my friends must have pictured me for the past couple of months.
So basically, what I think happened is that I was sick and tired of standing up for myself and setting boundaries and claiming what I believe I deserve but still not getting anywhere. Because that stuff is hard, you know? As a result, I subconsciously chose to be super flexible about everything I once so proudly filed under the “no BS rule“. What I hadn’t entirely factored in is that, as soon as I waived the first of many* boundaries, all the remaining ones started crashing in one after another. In the end, I was a super accommodating blob of a person without any needs of her own and, most embarrassingly, not a shred of self-compassion left. Once again, I had completely disconnected from what I wanted and needed.
The most shocking (to me) part of the whole experience is that I repeatedly let drama into my life. Heck, I even seemed to thrive on it! It turns out I enjoy helping people work through their (and, by extension, my 🤷) drama, and I somehow feel responsible for guiding them out of it and back into a more steady state. I’d even go as far as saying that drama feels like home to me. I’m somewhat comfortable in unsteady relationships and therefore probably seek out (other people’s) drama.
In addition to that, I’ve noticed that I have a hard time feeling angry about certain actions of people that I care about – actions that would, however, definitely be worthy of conjuring my anger. The reason for that is probably a lack of self-worth coupled with a good old-fashioned dose of guilt: given that I’m aware of my own, at times dysfunctional, behaviour and my part in the involvement with the person I should actually be angry at, I feel responsible for what’s happening. At the same time, I often have a rather thorough understanding of the issue that probably caused the aforementioned actions and therefore I’m aware of the emotional burden the other person is carrying. I then pretty much start feeling sorry for them rather than getting angry, as if they weren’t actually responsible for cleaning up their own emotional mess(es).
Once I reach that point, you can basically walk all over me.
Boundaries? Nah! Needs? Nope! Authenticity? Also nope.
I no longer know what I want because I’m immensely focused on trying not to disappoint and I’m also completely unable to set a boundary. Once I go down that rabbit hole, I don’t know how to climb back to the surface.
I recently described the feeling as getting on the highway, then accelerating so much that I keep missing all the exits because I’m racing past them at full speed. I couldn’t even get off the highway if I wanted to. And that’s exactly what it feels like to be entangled in a high-drama type of relationship, no matter the nature of said relationship. It’s terrible but also kind of addictive. It lifts you up high and then lets you crash. You keep going back for something you can’t even put a finger on. It’s an emotional roller coaster. It makes you go back for more.
It also makes you hold on for much longer than you ever should, if you care about yourself even a little bit.
I was recently told that there can’t be a “together” if each of the involved are only looking out for themselves, and that people should want to work things out together rather than getting out of the situation. While some parts (or rather ideas) behind that statement aren’t wrong, I think the emphasis should be on the word want – if both people are committed to evaluate and, if necessary, change their own behaviour in order to make “together” happen, there’s a chance for it to actually happen.
However, if drama keeps happening, causing one (or even worse, both) people to walk on eggshells around each other, the relationship is no longer authentic. There is no trust and people will armour up and not open up.
Getting out of a situation that doesn’t serve you or even causes you harm** is an act of self-care and self-protection. Getting out of a high-drama entanglement will probably make you feel relieved for a second, then the cravings will kick in. It’s a bit like going cold turkey when trying to quit eating sugar. In the midst of this, it’s important to remember this useful piece of advice I stumbled upon while browsing Instagram***:
Sometimes doing what’s best for you won’t feel the best.
And that’s exactly where I’m at right now.
And I know that it’s going to be okay.
* I make it seem like having boundaries is a bad thing. I can assure you, it’s NOT.
** The amount of harm is irrelevant, as is other people’s evaluation of it.
*** Ha, and people thought social media was nothing but harmful!