After spending almost twenty years in a marriage that was highly chaotic and turbulent, it became hard to decipher what was truly a crisis and what was merely an inconvenience.
My husband and I became masters of drama.
Every event was an opportunity to play out inappropriate behavior between our “shadow selves.”
It was our dance, one we had crafted over the years, and dysfunctional as it may have been, it was our way of communicating, creating passion, chaos, and receiving attention from each other, even if negative, when we felt neglected.
When I began to learn new patterns of behavior and try them out in first my marriage, then throughout my divorce, and soon… new relationships, I realized that it was very easy for me to bring the drama up about everything… due to the fact… that I had been doing so most of my adult life.
It was a struggle to learn that though everything may ‘feel’ like a crisis… it doesn’t mean it is a crisis.
My favorite saying became: How important is it?
If I am truly staying in the moment… staying in the day…. I find that most of the problems that I get overly worked up about are truly insignificant.
It is so much easier to ask myself “How important is it?” before jumping into a dramatic reaction.
It saves my peace and serenity… it keeps me confident in my ability to exercise some self-control in a trying situation and it reminds me that “this too shall pass.”
“Dear God, help me to stay calm when I feel irrational. Help me to be a source of confidence and serenity when situations seem unmanageable.”
Ah yes…the drama and the dysfunctional communication. In going through this divorce, with distance between us, I have been finding it easy to forget “what wasn’t working” and remember only the loss and the “idea” of what I wanted “us” to be, and the dream of who I thought he/we were. Yesterday I was clearly reminded of the dysfunction, the blame, the accusations, the passive aggressive manner where he “doesn’t” say what he wants.. but accuses passively (and hurtfully). I sat back after a text exchange and was vibrating with intensity…feeling the need to defend, to strike back, to feel I have not just “accepted” his words and their meaning. And I sat…and I thought…and I did eventually realize that as much as I was right back into the drama of “us” and how dysfunctional we are, neither of us would ever “win” this trivial war that means NOTHING. How important was it? I do not want to be that person, I do not want my life to be driven with such defensive and meaningless anger and arguments. It is such a waste of time and energy, and leaves little room for any good to exist and grow. And that is who we became with each other, and that is so sad. That breaks my heart more than anything. The loss of such great potential wasted on arguments and drama about nothing because both of us were not getting our needs met. I want better in my life. I want to learn to step back in those moments and give them the space they need to reveal themselves for what they really are…what they really are about. Thanks once more for your words. Tanya
Hello. I received such an an email this morning regarding a trivial situation and there was the instinct to “defend” myself. before I answered the email I opened my wordpress reader and this post with your comment. The thought to defend disintegrated. I have decided that silence is golden and I will to let go of the dysfunction by simply not engaging in it. Thanks for this comment.
Elizabeth, I love when we are “given” exactly what we need in a moment. It is when those things happen I have such faith and trust and I know that everything will be okay. I’m glad you were able to remain in the “light” rather than move to a place of ego and defensiveness. Well done!
Tanya…. You are such a beautiful writer… you really are…. and I see so many parallels in your words…. I remember someone I hold in very high regard once said to me that I was “mourning the loss of all the time I had spent trying to fix something that wasn’t able to be fixed….” the dynamic of a relationship…. is so much more than just “love” isn’t it? It is hard to let go of the idea of what “We could of been.” I can tell by your words that you are really starting to move forward and see the bigger picture even though you are still hurting and still struggling with “engaging.” You will have a better life… you will learn to step back from those moments…. I’m here for you. D.
Wow… Reading the comments .
I’ve been there too.
I got caught in “the dance” during the divorce , and what I’ve noticed lately is that I can make “trigger ” comments or events momentous.
That’s where I have to tell myself more and more… How important is it to react? And essentially overreact and feel so sad or angry… And let my mind take the bit and run with my internal dialogue.
Most of it isn’t worth dwelling on and leads me to pain and over analysis … That’s the last thing I need 🙂
Thanks for this post. It brought me back to really look at what is and is not important and what is and what is not worth getting upset about.
Tanya hope you are doing well since the last time you wrote here…. Patricia it is so easy to become triggered… tomorrow I have to go to a graduation with my new partner numerous family members and my ex-husband and his wife (the one he cheated with…) and even though I have had a LOT of spiritual growth over the last ten years… I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about being “triggered” and Elizabeth I plan to keep “How important is it” firmly planted in my mind all evening so that I remember not to react to any comments made by him or his new spouse so that my serenity is not lost, my adult daughter can enjoy her event and I can let what “isn’t worth getting upset about GO!” Keep me in your thoughts tomorrow ladies! 🙂 D.
Elizabeth I just read your FIRST post about the email…. I can just imagine how you wanted to react… I know I would have been struggling with it. Good for you for NOT engaging. Dysfunction always involves attention negative or positive and it seems like your former partner is trying to get your negative attention with this one! I’m so glad my post helped you through the moment and that you were able to step back from engaging. D.
D, have a great evening tomorrow — you will and so will your daughter. And what’s wonderful is that this evening is for all of you, and for her especially, a great accomplishment with so much joy and promise for what’s ahead. And for Tanya and Elizabeth, as well — You’re all in my thoughts, and the dialogue here was so open and helpful! All the best to you.
So nice to be a part of this conversation. It is a year since I wrote the reply to “How important is it” and my life is slowly and peacefully moving to a place of contentment. My days are filled with more happy moments than sad ones and I can see the potential and good in life again. I remember your words D, telling me “it will get better, I promise” and those words have followed me on this challenging journey of healing. Thank you for the support and words in the darkest times.
I feel lucky to have opportunities with the people in my life to continue to ask myself “how important is this” which helps me to move outside my own emotions and move to a place where I focus on “what does this person need to hear right now in order to feel validated in their concerns”. When I can do that I see how love and gentle caring enters a place that could have been filled with righteousness and ego. Good luck tomorrow D. I know that you will bring yourself to the moment with graciousness and love, because that is what this will be about. There is no need to bring anything but that 🙂
I’m glad you stopped in today Elizabeth and found some words that were able to help you with keeping yourself and your spirit intact and not engage in trivial matters that would only grow larger when fused with defensiveness and self righteousness. I wish you well on your journey, it sounds like you are cutting the path to a better place. Much love.
Thank you Patricia for you kind words and I wish for you to find that place where light and peace enters all the places that used to hold pain and darkness. It is when we can still the self talk that isn’t helpful or kind and replace it with love and self caring that we can bring all of that and more to those around us.
Above all make sure to share your love with the world.
Thanks for the wonderful reading and chat tonight. I feel blessed to go to sleep knowing that there is kindness and love being sent my way, and know it is flowing back to all of you!
So, so, thankful for you all…. Tanya… I’m so glad you took the time to respond… you have such a beautiful way with your words…. and so glad you are moving towards contentment. Big HUG to all of you. D.
I love coming back to these posts — I hope all are doing well. And D, you’re so right. What beautiful writing and the ability to express, that you all have. And for “how important is it?” – what would have sent me in a spin a year ago, I now virtually ignore. Getting some peace of mind back. 🙂
I love knowing that “peace of mind” is coming back into your life. It takes practice for me to bring the “drama” down in everything! 😀
No kidding !! 🙂
Hahahahahah! 🙂 D.