Archives for posts with tag: an effective treatment for OPD

It can be a bit of work, support loved ones through difficult times. I remind myself that the circumstances change, but the humanity remains; we need each other.

We don’t need a lot of complicated drama and bullshit – but being human, we also, sometimes, don’t recognize where our choices may lead, before we get there. Once we’re there, we may have been slowly inoculated over time to the point where although it is obvious to a great many other people, we don’t see what a mess we’re in – or what a mess we’re making – nor how it affects other valued relationships.

If that’s what you’re waking up to this morning, you have my sympathy. I’m sorry that’s the situation – an expression of pure regret, without any personal involvement. Drama sucks unless it’s on a stage (even then, sometimes it still manages to suck; not all performances are equal). Here’s something majorly cool, though; you have choices. Seriously.

…so many choices…

The path (and practice) of non-attachment is a huge win for fighting drama demons. There are verbs involved, of course. Choices. But the simple (seriously simple) choice not to engage the trolls in our social network is incredibly effective. The choice to let go of whatever we’re attached to that is being used against us can be a radical move in the direction of freedom. Although it feels incredibly costly, often we can more quickly and easily move on from a negative experience, or toxic relationship, if we can make peace with the perceived “losses” that result from doing so. Bonus; few things aggravate a hate-filled troll more than being of no consequence whatever. lol So… there’s that.

It’s easy to recommend. It’s harder to put into practice. We’re so easily baited. We’re so heavily invested. We’re so reluctant to be fully aware that our emotions show up for every appointment before our reasoning thinking mind can even find a parking space nearby. lol I said it. The balance between emotion and reason tends to rest on an understanding that emotion is more immediate, more reactive, and less easily argued with – even internally. We tend to “believe” our emotions, even in the face of contradicting data. It’s both a strength and a weakness.

On the other side of the equation, if you are invested in your righteous rage, and lashing out while justifying your shitty behavior with smug observations of how “right” you are… maybe… just maybe… You’re not actually the good guy in this little scene? Think that one over. If your decision-making is more about the effect the outcome will have on another person – most especially if that outcome is intended to be difficult, painful, awkward, challenging, or “deserved” – you are definitely not living up to any aspirations you may hold about being a good human being. Just saying. You can do better. Don’t be one of the bad guys. Yep, even if the person with whom you have developed this drama “deserves”… whatever you think you’re so right about. That’s your opinion, based firmly in the context of your personal narrative, most of which you made up in your head. Leave room to be human. To be wrong. To do better. To be the good guy.

Or not… It’s your call, I guess. I’m just saying, stooping to bad behavior merely because you feel hurt by someone else’s words or actions, is… fairly stupid and short-sighted, and generally also quite counter-productive.

Here’s a flower. Let that shit go. Begin again. 😉

There should always be time for beauty. 😉

 

…I still got the invitation to join the fun under the big top. That’s sort of how OPD (Other People’s Drama) works; it’s not your own, but nonetheless, it draws you in, consumes your attention, your time, your resources… if you choose to allow that. The alternative, which is to say, choosing to avoid, or depart from, the local circus of human drama means accepting, first, that you can.

Some people cultivate drama, relish it, and insist you sample it with them.

You don’t get those minutes (hours, days, weeks… whatever) of your life spent on drama back. Ever. You likely also don’t recoup any more tangible losses, should you have been so foolhardy as to waste your literal resources on Other People’s Drama. Most often, our compelling, seemingly unavoidable (it isn’t) drama is that of family members, and friends. We may feel “invested”, or obligated to do something about for… reasons. We may think we can “help” (unlikely; drama is chosen by those who love it, and they aren’t going to relinquish all that attention any time soon).

The drama isn’t “real”…

My weekend was weird. I cherish the time I spent with my Traveling Partner. The unexpected drama swirling around an unexpected couch-surfing house guest staying with his other partner was… both unexpected, and dramatic. It was also utterly willful, built on the narrative in said house guest’s head, and entirely untethered from any obvious connection to reality. Chosen. Emotionally invested in. Shared with persistent enthusiasm. I excused myself several times to be away from it altogether. No advice I could offer will alleviate self-selected willful suffering.

…like a mushroom, what is on the surface of most drama is only the outward expression of something far more vast …

Then there was the alternate undercurrent of drama that is simply the ebb and flow of change as my Traveling Partner and his Other get settled into the new location, and adjust to nearer and farther away friendships also adjusting to those changes. Getting to know new neighbors. The welcoming of deepening associations among now-local friends. The boundary-setting and limitations on resources that must sometimes be placed on friends lacking recognition that generosity has limits, that resources are not unlimited, that circumstances change. Learning to live well in an entirely new context. It’s lovely out in the country on their acreage – it is also not city living, at all. Change is a thing. What works when one can just pop down to the big box chain at the large shopping megaplex down the street isn’t necessarily an effective strategy when the nearest neighbor is a drive away, the corner market doesn’t have all the essentials because it is only the size of a storage shed, and “town” is miles down the highway – and more of a village than a town. I’m not being critical of country living – I’m eager to retire and embrace it – it is simply quite a lot different, and requires altogether different strategies to maintain good quality of life. It definitely drove the point home to be part of the experience of shopping for more complete first aid and emergency care gear; there is no chance an ambulance could arrive to deal with a first aid emergency in less than 45 minutes or so out there, at best.

…like raindrops clinging to surfaces after a storm, tears fall, tears linger, tears eventually dry…

The drive home was… surprisingly restful. lol No traffic and no drama. My timing was excellent. I left after enjoying morning coffee with my partner. I got home in the early afternoon, with plenty of time to grocery shop (didn’t need to, didn’t bother), do some tidying up (didn’t feel like it, didn’t bother), and prepare for the week ahead (didn’t need to, already was). I spent the evening meditating, reading, and enjoying the changes in the shadows as afternoon became twilight, and then night.

…there is value in perspective, and looking beyond the storm of the moment…

I still did not wholly escape the whopping helping of OPD that I “enjoyed” over the weekend; more drama when I got home. I (rather humorously, actually) was “unfriended” by a friend – over the other friends we had mutually shared (who, apparently, he also unfriended). I noticed though (while briefly catching up with the world), and, yep, invited drama rather thoughtlessly by asking him what was up with the unfriending? So… he told me. lol Fuuuuuuuuck. Okay, okay. That one’s on me. But – we’re still friends, I think. I even think that matters, since the entire mess was a reaction to an online exchange which I was no part of, and I actually like the guy. I even enjoyed spending some minutes in conversation with him, once we’d moved on from the drama, itself.

…storms pass.

Seriously, though? What is up with all the fucking drama? I mean, I’m not really surprised. We elected drama. We gobble up drama in our feeds every damned day. We make more if we run out. It’s pretty gross, actually; we are not ready to be content, or even to enjoy a moment of quiet. I mean, as a species, or a culture. Me personally? So ready. In fact, I spend much of my time utterly without drama. It’s pleasant. I plan to do more of that. 😀 I’ve even gotten pretty good at it. (If you read my blog regularly, you are probably getting pretty good at it, too. 🙂 )

There’s more to life than drama. Seasons change.

I woke at 2:32 am, this morning, when the power here went out in the strong wind and stormy rainy night. I might have slept through it (most of my neighbors likely did), but the back up power on the aquarium beeps in a friendly but hard to ignore fashion, about every 30 seconds, until shortly before it has done all it can, at which point it beeps rather more aggressively before becoming silent. Once it was silent, I went back to sleep for an hour. The power came back on minutes after the back up power to the aquarium was exhausted (just about perfect, and I remind myself to thank my Traveling Partner, who suggested it), about an hour and a half after the power went out. I dragged myself out of bed earlier than I meant to when my phone, carelessly left on my nightstand, buzzed when morning emails and message notifications began to arrive.

What we contribute to our experience ripples outward into the experience shared with others.

A new day, a new week – hopefully no new drama. lol It’s time to begin again. 😀

It’s late. I made a choice to finish the evening gently, investing in small joys I associate with the holidays: the music, the twinkle lights, the scents, and the flavors. By choice, I finish the evening with a smile floating on the current that is the things that are going well, rather than becoming snagged, weighed-down, by something going less well. (It would be a rare thing in life for absolutely 100% of everything to be entirely ideal.) I’m comfortable with contentment, and I have enough for that. I take time for me, and treat myself gently, and well.

Glow

Relaxing in the glow, I begin again.

I meditate a while and set aside enough of my concern for my traveling partner to rest easily and trust his good decision-making. Losing sleep over the circumstances benefits no one. Feeling comforted from within and able to ‘be there’ if called upon, I chill awhile longer in the glow of the Giftmas tree, grateful to love and be loved, and grateful to have enough.

 

Are you or a loved one suffering from symptoms of OPD? Arguing with fictions? Stressed out when nothing’s wrong? Experiencing feelings of insecurity, fearfulness, and sorrow in the proximity of someone afflicted by OPD? Is your conversation dominated by OPD? After being exposed, do you find yourself picking at the wounds and making them worse, or carrying the disorder to others and exposing them to contagion?

More contagious than Ebola, OPD has ruined more lives than cigarette smoking, and may be a risk factor for stroke,  and heart attacks. OPD is often associated with depression, anxiety, mood swings, and anger-related disorders.

Fortunately, there’s a cure. There is hope. You can be free of OPD! The treatment program is simple, and low-cost, and nearly 100% effective… Let it go. Walk away. Don’t engage. Take care of you. Seriously.

Can't see the forest for the trees? Perspective is a nice thing to have; today I am contemplating a long-standing personal challenge.

Can’t see the forest for the trees? Perspective is a nice thing to have; today I am contemplating a long-standing personal challenge.

I’m feeling a bit playful this morning in spite of OPD – and if you are not familiar with the term, I’ll break it down: Other People’s Drama. You know the stuff; there I am, standing on the sidelines of a discussion that somehow goes wrong, I can see how it plays out almost in slow motion, I watch the people engaging someone deeply afflicted with OPD continue to face emotional attacks, story telling, and game-playing, while  friends and loved ones try desperately to help, to derail that train, to find a better outcome… that’s how it goes for me, anyway. The problem is, day after day of it wears me down, and one day I find I’m knee-deep in emotional games and bullshit, or allowing myself to be baited unexpectedly, and wondering where I went wrong.

People delivering that experience to their friends and loved ones sometimes have no honest awareness of the damage they are doing to their relationships or themselves; it’s the behavior they learned in the context of their experience growing up. Others are aware of it, relish it, dive into it with earnest resolve to catalyze and control the world around them with emotion. Doesn’t matter too much where on that spectrum someone falls; the outcome for those daring enough to love them is quite similar: stress, fearfulness, insecurity, anger, depression, chaos, confusion, frustration – and quite possibly a sense of ever-present risk of having a fucking stroke. I probably walk around looking astonished or annoyed much of the time, just wading through the OPD and wondering ‘what the fuck, seriously?’.  I sometimes feel fortunate when I’m not in the line of fire, just observing OPD symptoms ‘in the wild’ between beings with whom I have no interaction; it’s no less uncomfortable, frankly, and still seems completely inappropriate, unnecessary, and counter to anything loving or compassionate, but the emotional WMD (weapons of mass destruction) are not directed at me, or even towards me. Make no mistake, it’s not ‘fortunate’  to be surrounded by OPD, or sucked into it, or victimized by it, or even to stand next to it, or read about it in the news. OPD is waiting in the wings to be classified as a mental health issue, once someone sufficiently credentialed can give it a catchy name, and a profitable treatment. Yes, it sucks that much. Yes, I see people who are emotionally abusive to others – particularly loved ones – as mentally ill. Some people find humor in it, from a distance, some people find it titillating when it is celebrities. I find it… distasteful. Uncomfortable. Hostile. Disrespectful. Lacking in compassion for self or others. I could go on. That, too, seems unnecessary.  It’s enough to say that in a mathematical set of all things made of love, I would not find OPD therein.

Human primates are emotional creatures. We’re very fancy monkeys, but peel away the layers of education, technology, and civility and what remains is pretty consistent with apes and simians in the wild. We can do better; we have reason and choices, free will and opportunities for willful change and willful growth. There are verbs involved, and a commitment to making better choices. This morning I face myself in the mirror in an honest way, and I ask a new question…”What does it take to become metaphorically teflon-coated, vaccinated against OPD, and is the wiser choice to recognize when I’ve simply had enough?” We are each having our own experience. There are some experiences I don’t care to have – and I have the choice not to accept them. I can change my own behavior, my own actions, my choices… what does taking care of me, and meeting my own needs over time require of me, as an adult woman with considerable experience?

Today is a new day. My coffee is hot and tasty, and I slept well and deeply, waking refreshed and content with myself. In spite of the topic, and this morning’s content, I am myself in a very good place. I am saddened by how often I have chosen, on other days, to become mired in someone else’s experience. This morning, I smile and think “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” This morning I meditate on love, gratitude, and making good choices.

If you are someone who feeds on drama, loves to foster drama, and invests emotionally in turmoil and confrontation, please at least consider that we don’t all thrive on that, or feed on it, and we don’t all find it pleasant, desirable, routine, or necessary. If you could take a moment to consider… but… isn’t that part of the issue in the first place? I guess you’ll find your own way. You, too are having your own experience, and it’s yours; you can build it of whatever stuff you value, yourself. Those are your choices, not mine.  I’ll just be right over here… choosing something different and enjoying my experience.

Days end. Days begin. Where will you take yourself on your journey today? What will you choose for yourself?

Days end. Days begin. Where will you take yourself on your journey today? What will you choose for yourself?

Today is a good day to treat myself and others well. Today is a good day to be kind. Today is a good day for compassion. Today is a good day to love. Today is a good day to be the change I wish to see in the world, and to welcome the best of who I can be with open arms and no reservations. Today, every day, every moment, love is what matters; choosing it is still a choice, and there is still a verb involved.