Lessening the Holiday Hassle

Every family or social gathering seems to have them- the person who tends to be challenging to deal with, and manages to make a celebration feel awkward.

If it’s a family celebration, we are thrown together with people from our past, and many may find themselves reacting in ways they used to; ways that may not be who they are now. Family tends to remember us in a certain way, and we remain forever “stuck in time” in their minds, and memories. Many of these impressions from so long ago, do not take into account, or recognize the growth that has been acquired along the way. This makes it challenging to be ourselves, and frustrations can run high.

Or, maybe it is us who have illusions of how we perceive others within our families, and we need to be open to what they have changed in their lives, and who they are now. It works both ways.

When we fall back into old patterns and forget who we are, or if we react to others as they used to be, we can become enmeshed in drama. Granted, there are those in this world who seem to thrive on it, who create it wherever they go. It is challenging to be around them, for the type of scenario they create is draining for any length of time, and can be quite frustrating. When this occurs, and you can recognize it as drama, it is important to remember that

Drama comes from insecurity.

Excitement comes from passion!

Say it again, to yourself. Can you feel the difference? One is very positive; the other feels draining, like “here we go again!” When someone feels a need to create drama in their lives, and in the lives of those around them, it comes from a place of deep insecurity, a place of not being enough, having enough, or not getting enough attention. Their world and everything in it must revolve around them and their issues. It is important to remember: Their deepest fear is that if they don’t create these dramatic situations, everyone will leave them. They really believe that no one will want to be around them if they don’t have something in their lives that looks like they need help, or something that needs “fixing”. It gets old and challenging to deal with day after day, time after time.

So, what can you do?

The first step is to recognize a situation or a person for what is really going on. We can become so used to someone’s theatrics that we just accept it as “them”, and allow it to keep affecting our lives or holidays. Remember, excitement comes from passion, which is a very wonderful, positive feeling. If what you are experiencing doesn’t feel positive or exciting, chances are you may have a full-blown drama going on.

The second step is to realize that you have choices. You can choose to participate in the drama they are creating, or you can choose to stay out of it and observe. Here, you are letting their stuff, be their stuff, so to speak. You are not being drawn in, nor are you allowing it to affect you or your experience. From this vantage point (non-emotional objective observer), it is amazing what you can see that may never have occurred to you before! Though challenging at first, it gets easier the more you do it. You may find that over time the drama decreases, or it may seem to, because you are no longer affected by it. It is wonderful! (*Redirecting works sometimes, as you would do with a child or someone with Alzheimer’s, but for those deeply entrenched in drama, it may not help. They may return to their antics.)

Another, more challenging choice, is to talk to the individual about what it is that makes them so determined to create drama in the first place. They may not realize they are doing it! Yes, I know this seems hard to believe, but they can become so absorbed in their “stories” that they don’t see the forest for the trees, so to speak. It has become a blind spot in their “vision” of themselves. You may be able to gently point it out, and let them know there is help available if they need it. Sometimes just having it pointed out can be such an eye opening experience that they are able to control it, and finally change it. They may not realize that people would appreciate being around them more without the dramatic episodes.

There are times in each of our lives that we feel insecure, out of our element or out of our league. This is a normal human emotion, which we all experience from time to time, yet it is not our typical way of feeling or being. Be aware that it is more prevalent when you are overtired, learning new things, or stepping out on your own in a new direction. Most of the time, we can quietly notice it, and work through it until we return to balance- without drama being involved in the process. We can recognize these times as periods of growth, move through them, and gain confidence and knowledge about ourselves without the outward expression of drama being added to everyone’s lives. (Ok- sometimes there is a little drama- or it feels like it, but this is not a strong personality trait for you, and you are able to release it and move on.)

Drama, like stress, is harmful to our health over extended periods of time. The more we are around people like this, the more it affects our health. Any time you are in a gathering of friends and family, I invite you to be aware of what you are feeling, and choose the experiences that make you happy, peaceful, and excited! Let go of things in your life that no longer serve you, or never did! Grab onto your passion and enjoy your life! Leave the drama for the movies!

*There are places to get help if you need it. You are not alone.