February 16th – “Don’t try to control the chaos today. Let things unfold.”

 

Some days there’s no catching up.  I started the work day doing yesterday’s unfinished assignments. Just when I thought I had caught up, I received more work in my inbox. Oh well. That’s the way the work goes. If there wasn’t a lot of work, I’d be out of a job!

Most of the time, when I see chaos, I run away from it. I don’t like to watch chaos unfold. Real-life drama is all too familiar to me and makes me very comfortable, not curious. It’s like sitting through a horrible theatre show. I really don’t like staying when it’s bad. I want the performers to do well and for everyone to have a good time. When that doesn’t happen, I have empathy for the actors. The actors might know that the show sucks, but as they say, “the show must go on!” I do usually end up staying until the end for 2 reasons:

  1. I hold out hope that there could be something redeeming, some deus ex machina that will come save the dreadful production which rarely happens.
  2. More importantly, I stay out of respect for the actors on stage (who I likely came to the show to support). Playing to an empty house is worse than putting on a terrible show. Suffering together is much better than suffering alone!

The trick to avoiding chaos is to recognize it. It’s not always easy to spot, especially when chaos comes in the form of people we know well. It’s common to get into particular pattern of behavior around familiar faces. These family and friends know which buttons to push and how to get us wrapped up in the usual drama. It’s usually unintentional because we’ve gotten used to acting a certain way and playing specific roles. Trying to change that behavior is not impossible, but usually not easy.

It takes a certain amount of detachment for me to be around chaos. Lately, when people unload their issues on me, I’ve been taking that negative energy onto myself. I relate well to those destructive behaviors, so it affects me deeply. I haven’t had the capacity to emotionally protect myself from other people’s problems, so I’ve been using my best coping mechanism. Complete detachment and avoidance. That means limiting my interactions. If that’s not possible, I will change the subject or flat out say, “I don’t want to talk about this.” When I’m in survival mode, sometimes the best thing to do is detach. Some people might take offense, but hey, I come first!

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