Want to walk away from drama? Here’s how.

here's how to walk away from dramaLook.  I get it.  You’re a grown-up.  And so am I, but sometimes things have a way of following us around. As the mother of two teenage girls, I want to practice what I preach.  A few years ago, I was suffering from friendships that seemed to belong back in high school, and to be honest, I kept letting them happen.

I never saw it coming.  I always thought of myself as a strong person, but somewhere deep down inside, I knew I just wanted to be like “everyone else”.  I had convinced myself that other adults were having these fabulous girl’s nights out, and going off with other couples and even going on vacation together (did I like someone enough for that??).

So at one of my many “this is the year I am going to…” moments, I decided to reach out and make a new friend.  The problem was and still is, things come with warning signs.  Many, many, many warning signs.  And if you are so desperate for friendship that you ignore some of your own standards, it goes to hell in a handbag really quickly.  << Southernism.

You see, the toxic, drama-filled friendship was full of stop signs, skull and crossbones type warnings, and red flags.  I ignored them all.  I honestly looked for the good in the friendship and for whatever reason, thought this person couldn’t help it (note, that is bullshit).  So I had attracted a narcissistic type relationship yet again.

What’s the good news in this?

I recognized the signs one day when I realized my friend wasn’t happy about the success I was having in healing, moving on, and getting better in my life.  Want to learn more?  Check this out later: Coping when a Dysfunctional Friendship Ends

How to walk away from drama:

  1. Acknowledge that you deserve better.  This is a huge step.  You are a magnificent human being.  Say that out loud.  Your past does not define you, and your past mistakes do not mean that you are no longer worthy and deserving of a great friendship, job, partner, or whatever it is that is causing you drama.
  2. Stop creating it if it’s you.  So this part might be difficult, but acknowledge your part.  Are you poking the bear?  Do you just love arguing?  Notice and reflect on areas where you might be the catalyst and start to step away from people and situations that feel like you are deliberately needing the attention or the last word.  Yes.  This is hard advice, but truly notice that having the last word with someone who loves drama will not change their mind…nor will it change yours.
  3. Gossip needs legs.  I worked with this woman once who would literally grab anyone who walked by her room, pull them inside and show them someone’s FB page just to joke on their recent photos.  It was like a Venus Fly Trap of gossip up in there.  Don’t be fooled.  Avoid, if at all possible, the water cooler type conversations where people can and will overhear.  Where Venus can run on back and grab more people saying that you, yes you, were the one that started this rumor knowing all along it’s not true.  However, people did see the two of you talking.  The perfect set-up.
  4. Set the boundaries.  I waited too long to tell someone I wished she hadn’t told me about all the back-stabbing and sleeping around every time I met one of her “friends”.  Because guess what?  If she’s ready to tell all about their business, she certainly will talk about mine.  You better believe this fact.  I didn’t want to be in that type of friendship.  It was draining to hide what I knew and draining to listen to it.  It was a loop.
  5. Accept it, learn from it, and go on with life. ~Vincent Neerings
    I could also quote good ole’ Kenny rogers and so I shall: You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.  Know when to walk away, and know when to run.  I learned a hard lesson.  And for a long time, I wasn’t sure if I could trust myself to make new friends.  Then one evening, I met a new person who was so full of life she was a joy to be around.  She only saw the best in other people and we talked about everything, and never once has the conversation veered into any areas that made me feel awful, drained, or lowered in any way.

I started surrounding myself with only people who lifted me up, and I continued to heal.  I felt better about myself and life and knew that there were actually people out there who were meant to stay in my life.  I also started teaching others how to attract the types of relationship into their lives that were good for them, and how to work on healing their own lives through my journal therapy, yoga, and affirmation exercises.  If you’d like to learn more, we’d love to have you.  >> I need support. <<

It didn’t go as planned…the story of life.

It didn't go as plannedIt didn’t go as planned…what truly ever does?

Do you remember your first day of school?  I don’t really.  I just have a recollection that I was in a dress with a tin lunchbox and it was Mickey Mouse.  I think I picked it out because I watched The Mickey Mouse Club, but I could be wrong and it was all they had.  It’s doubtful I had a plan that first day other than go to school, learn/play, and apparently throw a tantrum over being forced to nap <<< that has since changed.  I will throw a tantrum over not having enough sleep.

I went through school not really having a plan as I wasn’t aware I needed one until I got to high school and was told to pick out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.  THE REST of my LIFE?  I was 15 years old.  I wanted to throw on my mix tapes, and listen to some singles of Heavy D and the Boyz, sing along to my Sir Mix-a-lot Swass tape and eat Taco Bell and drive my doo-doo brown car.  I really didn’t have a plan.  I went to soccer practice and got out my frustrations about teenage bitchy girls and how they could be so gossipy and wrong about things, and where did I fit in with this crazy universe.

So when I got to college and finally thought I had things figured out because, by the way, I was one of those kids who didn’t like homework and tests and refused to actually take the SAT, yup, shocking, I went to a 2 year community college where it actually clicked that I needed to work my butt off…and so I graduated Summa Cum Laude…but only because I wanted to.  No one could make me.  <<< and that’s the thing.  You have to decide for yourself what you are going to do and what is worth working for.

So if you don’t know my story by now, just as I was getting my stuff together to be a teacher, I worked really hard at the 4 year college I transferred to, I started to feel awful.  Like physically beat down.  I would sleep more during the day…and have to take later classes.  My skin started acting funny, and the rest is history which you can read here, then continue here.  << Note, if you want to keep reading those, hit the next button at the bottom of the post.  So by 2010, I had been diagnosed with around 7 invisible diseases.  But the thing is this, was that the plan all along?  I actually believe it was so if you didn’t see me speak on this during my Live chat, here it is.  <<<

I have been through more than most and less than others.  I have changed my “plans” to suit those pitfalls and I have tried to hang on for dear life when things get too crazy.  I honestly have to believe this was meant for my highest good.

So my friends, if your life sentence really is “it didn’t go as planned” I want you to think long and hard about whether it really did…because if you ask me, it did.  It was up to me how I navigated those changes to my path, and it is truly up to you how you navigate yours.  Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. ~Ferris Bueller

If you enjoyed this message, I would love to have you read more about my group coaching here for times such as these.  When life doesn’t go as planned…just click the “I need support” button.  Thank you my friends.

Coping When a Dysfunctional Friendship Ends

 dys·func·tion·al

The friendship started innocently enough.  We had lots of things in common so small talk led to drinks after work, outings, and even group adventures.  I was so happy that I had found a friend who really listened to me and supported me.  As time went on, I started feeling heard less and less.  I tried to make adjustments in the conversation, but it always circled back to whatever new and terrible thing had happened to her.  Some nights, I would be on the computer for hours consoling her and helping her through something.  I would go to bed mentally and physically drained.  The “friendship” was not reciprocal.

My husband had enough and told me to just ignore the messages that always started out the same way.  It seemed she wanted to catch up and “talk”, but we never did anything anymore.  She didn’t call me on the phone, didn’t answer my text messages, and didn’t want to see me.  She just wanted to use messenger as her personal dumping ground all night long.

I felt alone and isolated in the friendship.  I was not important enough to make time for.  There were other examples as well.  An event we were going to go to together that she said we would plan…weeks later, photos of her with someone else at the event.  Exercise class no show…and excuses on nights I asked her to do something with me, or just come over and chat.  However, throughout this process, when she needed me or wanted to come over to see a mutual friend, I made the time.  I was always making time because trust is something I value.

That’s when it finally hit me.  I didn’t trust her anymore due to the lies and excuses.  I was nurturing a friendship that was crumbling because I believed she would wake up and see what she was doing to me.  It wasn’t going to happen because I was not the only one she lied to.  She lied to her husband, to her work, to mutual friends, and most of all, to herself.  I could not fix this.  She had to get back to seeing a weekly counselor and nothing I did or said would ever be enough until she was ready to work on herself.

How to cope when a friendship ends?

  • Make a plan. What would you do if you were to run into this person again?  What would happen if this person wanted back in your life?  I know the answers seem hard to think about, but it’s best to run through that now while you are fresh to whatever happened in the relationship.  The main question is does the relationship empower me or deflate me?  Is there capacity for an authentic, honest relationship or not?  Honestly, you already know the answers to these questions.
  • Write your feelings down. I know that this is not like a funeral…but in a way, it is.  You are dealing with the stages of grief, and it is a serious thing.  You have loved that friend, cared for that friend, and despite your best efforts, the friendship ended.  I haven’t forgotten the moments of happiness the friendship brought me, and despite the fact that for the better part of a year I saw the friendship going down a steep hill into a black abyss that sucked all the joy out of it, I still regret the way it ended.  But I also know it takes two working together to save a relationship.  Not one.  The primary emotion that comes to me is anger because of the way it ended.  Anger that I was made to be in the middle of something that was never about me anyway. 
  • Think about the qualities you really want in a friend.  I was in a bad place when we met, but as I started to get better, it seemed to make my friendship worse.  That doesn’t even sound okay to me now.  How could a friend not be happy for me?  I wanted someone who could talk to me in person and not make excuses because they were mad that I was doing better.  I am not sure why I didn’t notice it before.
  • That brings me to “Don’t take it personally.” Everyone is dealing with their own demons.  If the friendship ends, there is a good chance that it is freeing you up for something new.  It will hurt for a long time, but eventually you will realize that you have broken the cycle and moved on.  New friends await you, and this time, as soon as you see something that doesn’t sit well with you, be brave and have that conversation on what is important to you in a friendship.  If this person is meant to be in your life, they will understand, value you, and most importantly, make time for you.

As your self-esteem and self-worth improves, these old friends WILL fall away if they are not meant to be in your life.  You are making room for so much more my friend.  In my closed group, the Head|Heart|Health Club, we are working on exactly what we want to attract in our lives and that includes new boundaries for ourselves and realizing that it truly is okay to feel worthy.

How to Cope When Actors or Musicians Die

I won’t forget how I felt after waking up the day after I learned that Robin Williams had passed away.  I was really sad.  Why did I need to learn how to cope after his death?  It wasn’t as if I knew him?  And yet, I felt like I did.  I grew up watching Mork & Mindy and felt so “big” being able to stay up later to watch it.  As time went on, Robin became somewhat of a father figure.  What a man.  What an actor.  He made me laugh so many times when I was sad…and oh The Birdcage.  I will always love Armand Goldman.

And now I must face the death of not one, but two characters I loved so much.  Any and everyone knows of my great love for David Bowie.  Not just as a musician, but yes, oh yes, as the Goblin King.  It was a special movie to me that I begged to see at the theater.  Labyrinth came out in 1986.  I knew every single line and so did my little brother.  We would dance around the house saying “You remind me of the babe…” and then he had to finish a line, then I did and so on.  Then his little best friend came over and we would sing Dance Magic Dance all over the place.  But ermmmm it gets better!  Or worse.  If you don’t love this…I wanted to get married in a big poofy dress like Sarah Wore.  Just check out my Pinterest if you don’t realize what a geek I am.

Then today, today, Alan Rickman has passed as well…at 69, of cancer just like Bowie.  I know that other people probably don’t understand geeks, but we are a strange lot.  We know him as many characters…but to me, he will always be Severus Snape.  My husband loved him as Hans Gruber as well…so please watch this video if you can.  I was the first teacher I knew of to buy the Harry Potter books and read them…for me.  Not to my class, but for myself as I taught a lower grade.  Every year, every single year, we get a piece of HP memorabilia  at Christmas.  This year it was the real film cells in book marks for my girls.  One year it was the wands.  Another year it’s necklaces from the movie.  We all process this a little differently so I am going to try and help you just a bit my brothers and sisters.

How to cope when someone you admire dies:

  1. Unlike the death of someone you know, this kind of death seems to have no support group as you feel like people don’t understand or get your grief.  I want you to know that is not true.  I completely understand.  It is like a cosmic loss…a hole in the universe that can’t be filled.  But after a while, the pain lessens and we learn to move on.
  2. You relate to what the person has died from…whether it be illness or suicide.  You feel like there was something you could have done because this relates close to home.  Just know that there was nothing you could have done, nor was it your fault in any way as you relate these feelings back to a loved one you might have lost the same way.
  3. You feel different at first almost like you are having an out of body experience because you are somewhat in shock.  In a report about Marilyn Monroe’s death, fans thought she was dialing to get help the night before she was found.  Fans always wonder what happened to this day, but it doesn’t make her come back.  After the shock wears off…let it go with peace.
  4. There is no “normal” amount of time this might last, but just know that feeling sad is normal.  Talk about your feelings with someone who you know will listen and understand with empathy.  I will always think of Robin, Alan, and David with fondness and be forever grateful for what they have left behind.
  5. When all else fails, watch their movies, listen to their songs, and laugh at their jokes.  They would want you to carry on and celebrate the magic that they created for their fans!

Snapestar

 

Tumble…

Last year was very difficult for many of my friends.  With January coming to a close, I want to say we are still keeping our renewed spirit.  I know how difficult it is to be around people who are projecting negative energy.  You use your energy to lift them up.  Unless you are like me, and go into hermit mode so as to keep the energy supplies you have left available so you don’t fall flat on your face.  I am not going to lie to you and say that 17 years of trying to keep my energy up has not drained me at times.  With each new diagnosis I face a time of “mourning”.  I go through a period of time where I feel  like each disease/illness/condition is trying to kill a tiny bit more of who I might have been.  I retreat a little bit more.

I finally decided to come back out of the “shell” I had created for myself after this last bout of pain.  When I think of my future, I no longer think of the pain.  It’s still there.  Trust me.  It’s still there.  I researched until I was blue in the face and found countless other blogs saying the exact same thing.  They lost themselves.  They gave up their dreams.  One even quit the path to her PhD.  I get it.  Some said they lost girlfriends and did not even know how to get them back.  I say to you, simply say I’m sorry.  If your friends don’t understand that you took a tumble, then they were not your true friends.  If your family doesn’t understand that your path is not theirs, then how can love come with conditions?

I am one of the luckiest people I know.  The friends who check in on me, I know you are there and I thank you.  The family who stands by me, I know this is not easy on you, but I appreciate your efforts to help me.  And most importantly, the best husband in the world.  You catch me.  So, this is my new favorite quote:

Tumble

 

 

 

Fake Friday…

Fake FridayI do not do “fake” well.  In fact, I don’t do it at all if it can be helped.  I had to make an exception the other day.  I was out with my girls at a popular frozen yogurt spot around here.  I prefer not to go there as it is crowded and trendy.  I like mom and pop joints where you are helping the owner start their business…we have one of those right up the street, but I had a gift card.  We are trying to decide on the choice of yogurt when I hear a voice like Mrs. Doubtfire say “Oh my!  You girls are nearly as tall as I am.”  I turn and register my surprise and try to contain my face from showing my feelings all at the same time.  She is going for nice.  Be nice.  Be nice.  Be nice.  All that took 3 seconds possibly, but in my head it was like Matrix time.

She chatters away asking me where I work and what’s going on with my life, blabbity, blah, blah.  We finish getting our yogurt as my girls add 3,000 toppings, she goes behind the counter to re-fresh the supplies.  I feel some relief as there is now a barrier between us and she can’t fake-hug me again.  As we leave, she says quite cheerily “Come back and see us again girls, stop by any time!”  I nod my head and mumble something unintelligible like “thanks”.

Now, let me explain why I do not care for her.  She was mean to kids.  Period.  MEAN.  TO.  KIDS.  She was fake-nice to parents and then would whisper the most horrible, awful, evil things like a serial killer would say.  You know, the kind who look like everyone should like them, but have some dungeon in their basement like Hannibal Lecter.  That’s her.  She looks like Mrs. Doubtfire, but thinks like Mrs. Lecter.  Creepy.  So creepy.

The bottom line folks is because I was trying to make a good impression on my children, I did something I don’t normally do.  Once we got in the car, I asked my girls if they remembered her.  One of them remembered.  She also knew she wasn’t a nice person inside.  All the make-up in the world couldn’t hide her true character.  Remember that.

I teach being true to yourself and I stand by that in everything I do.

“Some people think that the truth can be hidden with a little cover-up and decoration. But as time goes by, what is true is revealed, and what is fake fades away.”  ~Ismail Haniyeh

reveal the truth

A Haiku of thoughts…

I don’t write Haiku poetry, but my husband does.  As a matter of fact, he writes wonderful poems and even had a collection of them published.  This post isn’t about that.  This post is about my jumbled thoughts on everything that has been happening around me and how I need to focus.  Friday my oldest had a moment of silence at her school before I ever even got to hug her and let her know about what happened.  Okay.  I was still in shock myself.  Monday she was told to write her feelings down in a journal about what happened.  Feelings that she didn’t really understand herself.  One girl wrote a few pages and volunteered to read it in front of the class.  Apparently it was enough to make her teacher cry.  Hmmm.  Okay.  Not really necessary, but let’s give the teacher the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe they were told to do something like that.  After dinner tonight, my 6th grader was quietly putting her puzzle together on the table and suddenly remembered she was assigned extra homework.  She had to write a Haiku about the tragic event.  What the WHAT???  Did I hear you correctly?  I’m sorry, did you just say you had to write a Japanese poetic form on death?  Forgive me if I go all Scorpio on the teacher, but enough is enough.  Please, please move away from this topic.

In a nutshell, I told her that there was no media exposure about this topic in my home and that all children deal with things like this in their own way.  My child processes things differently than most.  She might appear fine, but in a few nights, she will have picked all the skin off her fingers worrying about things that may or may not ever happen to her.  I found the assignment to be insensitive.  Maybe some of you think I’m overreacting.  Maybe you agree completely.  I would never try to educate your child on topics that might not be discussed in your own home.  Now let me go prepare my lesson on the Mayan apocalypse so I can tell your kids the end of the world is coming.

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”  ~J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Thwarting your enemies…

Calling all readers, bloggers, fans, friends and stalkers.  Please take a moment to reflect on this post today and get back to me in the form of a comment directly under my quotes.  I am serious.  I am looking for honest tried and true strategies that help you cope with others who are trying to get in the way of your happiness.  I have had several conversations with friends lately about people who sap the joy out of your life.  People who don’t speak to you for one reason or the other, but unfortunately, you still have to see these people.  People who are so rude, you would really like to pull a “Moonstruck” moment on them (I have mentioned this before, and sometimes I even refer to it as a “Homey the Clown” feeling).  Some people refer to this as good vs. evil or the yin and yang theory.

Every person has this two elements inside fighting it out…the good person has the element of evil that might arise when he is threatened, but knows how to control it.  Likewise the evil person has moments of good as well.  Usually, the good person allows the bad to strengthen his/her nature and does things like ignoring the bad behavior and turning the other cheek.  If I were an artist, I would draw it like this:

Image

If you read the words in this picture, you get the feeling that these evil folks are primarily unhappy people.  My friend and I think that one of the best ways to deal with these types of people is to keep speaking to them.  On some level, that is difficult, I know.  If you have other advice, please begin to dispense it now.

“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”  ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

A two quote night:

“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”  ~Albert Einstein

Sitting in the front seat

Are you sitting in the front seat?

Tonight I went to tuck in my almost 10-year-old daughter.  She said, “Mom, you know how when you’re a kid you can’t wait to get bigger, but then not really?”  Boy did I ever.  “Well, I can’t wait to be 12 so I can sit in the front seat.”  Wow, I thought.  I wish things were so simple.  I have cherished every moment with my children since they were born.  Each stage I loved the best.  It’s quite alright if you enjoy some years better than others, but for me, I have breathed them all in and tried to commit every detail to memory.  Each stage for them seems to represent a new time in my life as well.

Until recently, I thought I was sitting in the front seat of my life.  Last week, I came to the epiphany that I was letting my health issues take over everything.  I decided to change that and I am still focused on that course.  As a child, my favorite pastime was walking in the woods.  Pretty much from the time I woke up until the streetlights came on.  This week was spent trying to get back to who I want to be.  I went on a long 4 or so mile walk in the woods with my girls.  We jogged a bit up hill and down hill, and stopped when we needed to rest.  We looked at the sunlight coming through the leaves, the vines falling down the trees, and the beauty of the woods.  My little one kept telling me how much fun she was having and the oldest didn’t complain, so it was a good walk.  We played in the yard a bit, and I sat in the shade and watched them swing.

I tried hot yoga, where the room is heated to about 100 degrees and your muscles relax and sweat pours off your body.  I enjoyed it oddly enough.  I am going to continue.  I am reading some “feel good” books and my thoughtful cousin sent me some inspirational music to lift my mood.  I still have my little karma book, and I still read it.  I have faith that I am sitting in the front seat.  After all, I am old enough.

“The soul is born old but grows young.  That is the comedy of life.  And the body is born young and grows old.  That is life’s tragedy.”  ~Oscar Wilde