Avoiding drama: Something Ive noticed about... - AF Association

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Avoiding drama

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Something Ive noticed about myself since retiring nearly a year ago is Im less tolerant of the " drama" queens in my life( some are inlaws!!!). Dont know if it is a fib related, as I do consciously avoid stress when I can. I find myself not answering phone calls from friends( not close) who go on and on for an hour. I have a sisterinlaw who Ive labeled as narcissistic drama queen Im totally avoiding. Thankfully she lives 1200 miles away but part of me feels guilty for not explaining to these people why Im avoiding them but coming out and directly saying " you drive me crazy" somehow doesnt feel right. Anyone else struggle with this? My hubby doesnt understand why I feel guilty... guess I dont either other than a career of caregiving maybe contributes to my people pleasing personality

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Snap Hoski!

My explanation for my appearing to be a grumpy old woman is that we are brought up to co-operate, caregive, fit in, don’t rock the boat - or whatever. Working life means for most of us that we have to teamwork and tolerate all sorts of people.

Then comes retirement and the gloves are off - bigtime!

I felt some guilt like you at doing things my way when I retired. Then came AF and that changed my outlook totally. I call it de-drossing and your instincts as a caregiver may make you feel that you should still put yourself second and put up with a load of inconsequential stress.

I don’t feel guilty any more as the situations and (some) people which generate my stress and heart problems are never there to pick up the pieces of what is often their thoughtlessness.

I agree with your hubby - your wellbeing is your number one priority.

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in reply to Finvola

You are 100% right, guess I need to hear this from others who dont have a dog in my fight, so to speak.

I'm told I'm more grumpy, with less patience for some things than I used to have. Primarily because through everything I've had going on I've tried not to put it on other people, and do my best to get on with it, yet other people who seem to have the most trivial of concerns or "first world problems" make a big song and dance about everything as loud as they can.

Don't need it. Not my circus not my monkeys!

I love your not my circus not my monkeys philosophy I will employ that in making decisions about getting involved. Cheers for that.

Like that....’not my circus’

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in reply to jedimasterlincoln

Not my circus is going to be my new outlook💜

I too have a major problem with one relative.However, events took a turn for the better, for me a year or so ago when she decided she would prefer to go out than stay around when I visited my brother .Much better for me and brother ....and it was her decision!

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in reply to 10gingercats

My brother passed away 5 yr ago, plus there was alot of drama in their marriage, divorce, remarriage so lots of baggage to " forgive and forget"

Since afib probably brought on by stress as my main trigger plus another more recent health condition as yet not diagnosed and causing me much stress, plus retirement originally on health grounds I find I am much less willing to listen to and more importantly react to dramas from people who bring me down or only contact when they want something.

As a life long people pleaser I now put self first and by self I mean my wider self and that includes my nearest and dearest close family and close friends. Quite simply the rest can largely go whistle. Those around me who only care about themselves and only make contact when they have a crisis or drama or need me to do something are finding a new me. I assess how it impacts on me and mine first before I offer any support other than giving them sympathy. So many times when I have been in need people have gone into the woodwork hence I care for those in my corner and I am in theirs.

We only have so much of ourselves to give and my dear mother shortened her life, literally, by caring more for others than herself to the detriment of dealing with her own health and died prematurely aged 58. A lesson learned there for me.

Given we all have finite resources be that health, empathy, time etc we need to choose wisely how we employ those resources. Yes I feel guilty and sometimes I feel harsh but sadly so be it for preservation sake.

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in reply to meadfoot

Very well stated, thankyou and I believe you are correct. I just need to feel more comfortable in my new skin💜

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in reply to Hidden

Here is a saying a friend gave me to post on my kitchen bulletin board. "Before you rush in and save people be sure you are not interrupting their karma."

MT51
MT51
in reply to meadfoot

A sort of colleague - we're both in the same freelance area - only contacts me when he wants me to spread the word about one of his latest endeavours. A few months ago I ignored his request. Still feel slightly guilty but I was dealing with this diagnosis of AF at the time, so feeling more comfortable about ignoring him.

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in reply to MT51

I have internal conflict between what I feel I need to do or not do, and the proverbial " what would Jesus do?". My answer to the Jesus question is Im pretty sure Jesus wouldnt " play the game" with these people to begin with, they would ignore him as he wouldnt feed their ego's, lol

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in reply to Hidden

Me too. The line for me between codependent behavior and genuine help is often very thin for me and I often feel guilty that I'm not doing enough. But the key info here in meadfoot's post is that this friend only calls when he needs something. Sounds like a one-way street to me. Maybe this doesn't apply but I am reminded of an old piece of advice I heard years ago. "Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine." Still don't always listen to this but I'm learning. Take care. irina.

I find myself constantly saying ''you know what, I can't be bothered with this'' and walking away at the first sign of 'trouble' and not getting involved. My life has been full of 'drama' but I don't want any part of it now preferring to potter about in my gentle little world :-)

I think it may be down to subconscious self preservation ...

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in reply to doodle68

Me too. You all are helping me feel " normal", and to get off my guilt trip. I appreciate the sharing and support!

wilsond
wilsond
in reply to doodle68

That could have been my post doodle68! Agree with all the posts here xx

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in reply to wilsond

Me too. Im re reading everyone's responses and thinking that changing my mindset may be as important or more important than anything in my a fib treatment arsenal!

wilsond
wilsond
in reply to Hidden

Yes indeed,for many years I was the person everyone went to with worrirs,and I had 2 setscof elderly poorly parents as well.Now I feel I can be focussed on my own needs!! X

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in reply to wilsond

Yes

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in reply to doodle68

I have a great sweatshirt which says"I live in my own little world but it's okay, they know me there."

I have to admit I am more or less the same, much less tolerant lol having been a public servant for 30 years I'm taking a well earned break from trying to please everyone, especially the very demanding senior citizens hehehe

Finvola
Finvola
in reply to opal11uk

😀😀😀

It is really ok to look out for yourself. I am in a stable state now after ablation but am still very careful not to waste my energy as I don’t have a great deal and stress can still trigger me.

So forget guilt...

Focus on people that nourish and support you and are sensitive to the person you are and the needs you have now.

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in reply to lilyj54

I am turning over a new leaf

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in reply to Hidden

You started a great thread, Hoski. Thanks.

Hoski, your post made me laugh. I had a sister like that, she could start a fight in an empty house. She died two years ago and I miss the good side of her but it came at the price of the interminable phone calls that were all about her and problems largely of her own making. She did love to be in the middle of her own dramas.

For some reason I thought it was my duty to listen. I burnt my children's teatime pizzas and/or ate my own cold because I never ended the phone calls, always let her do it, even after someone wiser than me pointed out I wasn't setting any limits. My lovely husband and children didn't understand that either.

In despair one night I googled "difficult sister" and got hundreds of hits. I soon found the details of narcissistic personality disorder and read through them, nodding in agreement all the way.

I'm convinced now a large part of my heart problems come from the stress of the drama queens and kings. One advantage of growing older is the ability to say no. Usually!

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in reply to MT51

Yes, I think you and I are much the same🤣

MT51
MT51
in reply to Hidden

Sounds like it!

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in reply to MT51

Haha. I can relate. My younger sister is an Oscar-winning drama queen. And she has a degree in Speech and Drama so she is a real professional. Fortunately we live in different states.🐶

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in reply to Hidden

Oh yeah... distance makes the heart grow fonder, lol

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in reply to Hidden

And also remember: Everyone brings joy; some by entering, others by leaving!

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in reply to Hidden

You are cracking me up!!!

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in reply to Hidden

Thanks. Sometimes we need to get a little crazy.

One of the things I’ve noticed is that I am way more tolerant since my heart attack and subsequent afib. I don’t take the drama any more seriously. It just kind of rolls off my back. I end up feeling a bit sorry for those who seem to revel in the drama. There are more important things to concern myself with.

Yeah for you Hoski since my AFIB I don’t go along with the crowd like I used to. Whatever my family and friends needed I was there. I’m no longer a door mat and as my Dad used to say If I don’t have a dog in the race leave me the heck alone especially the lame daughter in law that rubbed my nerves raw. She’s gone my AFIB has been under control for months, the poison pen is gone so is the AFIB I hope

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in reply to Maagaa

Amen!

A friend of mine calls herself a recovering care-aholic - guess there are a few of us!

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in reply to KathFrances

Too funny! I would b willing to bet majority are female also.

wilsond
wilsond
in reply to KathFrances

Oh yes indeed! Love that! Xx

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in reply to KathFrances

Never heard that but I really like it. Adding it to my 'list'.

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Hi Hoski. I agree- a lot of our couching what we really feel and want to say comes from the combination of being a caregiver and having a people pleasing personality. For me this is an accurate description. Since retirement 12 years ago I no longer suffer fools gladly and very often take the gloves off when I should probably have left them on. But I believe one of the perks of getting old is the right to not mince words when someone is particularly irritating. It's okay if people think I am a crotchety, crazy old lady! Boo! irina

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in reply to Hidden

You are right and with all the support here, Im realizing my thoughts are normal and it is about time I protected my energy and use it for the most important people in my life, including me💜

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in reply to Hidden

I believe nurses carry lots of guilt. Here's a little 'inside' joke: Question-What does a nurse call her briefcase? Answer- a first aid kit.

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in reply to Hidden

Good one!

Maagaa
Maagaa
in reply to Hidden

You ladies are hysterical. I would love to be in a room with you all for an evening I bet we would throw caution to the wind. Sounds like a hoot no talking about problems just joke after joke. You all sound like you have wonderful senses of humor

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in reply to Maagaa

Yes too bad we are miles and oceans apart. At least we have this forum. I am thankful for you all.... and Im NOT saying that because Im a people pleaser, I mean it💜😂

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in reply to Maagaa

We could all wear our favorite tee shirts and even though I rarely drink now a couple of pints of Guinness would not be amiss.

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in reply to Hidden

Very normal. And seriously, for me, the big things in life don't seem to bother me as much as small day to day annoyances. Having cardiac procedures were fairly easy to get through for me but having to say 'Good morning. How are you?" 20 times to other old ladies in my senior building before I can get through the lobby and out the door can be overwhelming.

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in reply to Hidden

True

Irina I’m with you toss caution to the wind and go for the pint of Guinness I’ll join you with a Black and Tan

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in reply to Maagaa

Wish there was a laughing emoji available here

You are not alone LOL. I find the older I get the less tolerant I am with a lot of things . Sometimes I just hate being around people in general . Not tolerant of noisy children for one ,much things on T.V. I will shut the TV off . Some things my older sister says bugs me and sometimes I will say something in a nice way Like "Lets stop talking about this " .So I dont know why I just attribute it to getting older ,what else could it be . I am A-fib but I don't see how that has to do with it. So deal with it the best you can and try to be loving to people as much as possible ,I know first hand it's not always easy . Jerry

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in reply to 1Jerbear

Just knowing many others feel the same as I , helps greatly. I was thinking there was something wrong with me and feeling guilty about it. At least now, I realize Im not alone in these thought. Thanks Jerry!

You nailed it a lifetime of categorizing and they're going on and on......instead of creating an comfort zone for you to talk, cry...or laugh as needed. Let the caring "parent" take care of the sad or scared "child" within you. You will know.

I am totally with you on this. Life is to short for drama queens or kings for that matter x

Hi Hoski, me too. Drama queens emit so much disturbing energy that I feel my heart jump and I feel breathless. But the world is full of drama queens, not all of them obvious. Many emotions lurk below calm exteriors. Thus I find that the best strategy is not so much to try to avoid almost everyone (difficult) but to constantly work on my own reaction to their energy. I can't be responsible for everyone else's choices, but I can take full responsibility for my own. I find if I tell myself, yep they are just in their stuff and I don't need to take it in, and just observe it without reacting outwardly OR inwardly, let it go, then my heart stays steady. But more than that. It is very loving (not the emotional stuff we call love that isn't really love) to just observe someone without judging them or reacting to their stuff. It gives them the opportunity to be where they are, and to feel your steadiness, and whether unconsciously or not, to know that there is a way to become more steady and less dramatic for themselves too. Unconditional, unattached Love is a great healer for the heart. But it's the love you hold within and for yourself, that then emanates to others. (Seeking love from outside yourself doesn't work.)

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in reply to diannetrussell

Yes, very good perspective and I agree with your points. My biggest issue is my deceased brother's wife who insists she needs to come visit me yearly. It is always a stressful week and she is never happy or calm. I cannot bring myself to b honest with her about her behaviors but managed to ignore her hints last year and avoided an unpleasant week. If she werent " in the family" I would never call her a friend. Thats my biggest thorn Im not sure what to do with. But me trying to explain to her why I dont want to be around her would be like me telling a zebra I dont like its stripes! It is who she is but Im not who I am around her

diannetrussell
diannetrussell
in reply to Hidden

I know how hard it is to simply tell the truth to people who get up your nose. But in the end, if it's said with love, understanding, detachment, and not irritation or judgment, the truth will eventually be the best thing you can do for someone. It's the ultimate solid foundation, even if always imperfect in this life. No matter how tough the truth may be, it's solid ground under the feet and anyone can work with it even if at first they react to it. Or if they just remove themselves from your life, that's their choice. When we hold back, there's no foundation - people can't really feel where they are at with you, which sometimes they fill by prattling on or being annoying, the very thing we are reacting to!

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in reply to diannetrussell

I know you are correct. I guess I need to rein in my insecurities and do the right thing. Thankyou💜

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