Negative Attachments to People, Places, and Things
I was recently reminded how past experiences can attach themselves to people, places, and things coloring our perception without realizing it.
Since my usual dance club has been closed I’ve had to explore other options. One has been the club where I danced when my daughters were in elementary and middle school. For some reason, I’ve found a million reasons to either not dance, or go somewhere further away. Talking to a friend who goes there regularly, it finally dawned on me why.
The years I spent dancing there were tumultuous at best. My divorce, mom’s death, multiple job changes, a couple of really weird dating experiences, and a long-distance relationship. Through it all, I was angry, lonely, and depressed. In hindsight, what passed for friendships reflected the state of withdrawal I kept myself in, ostensibly to keep from getting hurt. Needless to say, going in there brings up all the old toxic waste even if I don’t realize it. Thus, old feelings of discontent and unworthiness come back to bite me in the butt.
While talking to my friend I realized it’s long past time to make new memories in an old place. And it’s time I let all the toxicity I didn’t realize I was hoarding go too.
Behavioral Memories Carried By People
I’m also discovering that new people can bring back old, painful memories. I’m particularly sensitive to the ones who thrive on drama, and even after a long hiatus, have once again attracted and unwittingly fed another one. Of course, they wear different disguises, so it takes me awhile for deja vu to kick in and tell me I’ve been here before. Still, each time it happens I seem to rebound more quickly and with less damage to my own psyche.
I recognize my own patterns. I’m attracted to someone who seemingly needs temporary emotional support. Ultimately I discover it’s an insatiable need they’ll feed, even if, as on previous occasions they have to cause me pain to feed it. This time though my red flags started waving and alarm bells started sounding more quickly. I recognized the pattern and have taken a giant step (or 10) backwards. The current production will be played out without me.
Ending My Role as a Drama Addict’s Buffet
I’ve created a peaceful life for myself. I am alone when I want to be and with friends when I want company. Most of my friends have the usual ups and downs. But occasionally someone who thrives on drama slips in and has to bounce around doing a little damage before I wise up and do emergency surgery to remove the cancerous body, preventing engagement of a tentacle or two.
I suppose I’m a rich feast for drama addicts, having been well-seasoned by my youngest daughter and quite a few others over the years. I’ve been sucked in by my own need to be helpful—to be accepted, all too often failing to recognize the tell-tale signs of someone who lives for the drama they cause. Fortunately, I do eventually learn as this particular lesson never ends well. Invariably, I’m the one who gets hurt, though I’m usually left thinking it was somehow my own fault.
I’m happy to say things are finally changing for the better. I might still play the stooge for longer than I should, but I’m learning to recognize when I’ve climbed onto another hamster wheel. I’m able to take a good, hard look around, realize I’ve been here before and say “I’m done!” But more, I’m able to mean it. I no longer need to repeat my assertions multiple times to convince myself.
Seeing the Message in the Lesson
Perhaps this time, the first step was recognizing how I’d connected a lot of painful memories with a single place, even though, in the years I spent there, it was a refuge and a sanctuary. Somehow, I managed to leave echos of the pain and frustration which colored those years in the very walls of the place without even realizing it. Now that I’ve made the connection, I can start banishing the memories so I can put an end to what’s been preventing me from joining my friends and doing what we all love most—dancing our way into joy and letting all life’s crappy parts pour off us like water off a duck.
As for the rest, I set my boundaries. I’ve learned in the last few years I have a right to expect my boundaries to be honored. I’m neither afraid nor unwilling to take rather drastic action should someone fail to respect them. I don’t see myself going there this time, but know I am able, if necessary. If nothing else, even the drama lovers in my life have more redeeming qualities these days.
People Are Constantly Entering and Leaving My Life
I go through life forming some attachments and breaking others. Some are meant to last only a short time, others, for longer. All are meant to teach me something, even if sometimes, it’s how to walk away. Some of the lessons return over and over in different forms. I see it as a test to determine whether I’ve truly learned the lesson, or only learned it for one set of circumstances.
I’ve been faced with drama addicts in so many different scenarios, I’ve lost count. It’s taken me a long time to learn to recognize the signs, and I still fall victim for a little while, every now and then. The difference now is figuring it out and extricating myself long before I suffer any real pain or damage myself. Maybe I’ve learned to withhold the part of myself that is most likely to get hurt until I am certain it’s not another lesson? I can’t really say. I just know my drama meter is becoming nearly as sensitive as my BS meter now. And for that, I’m grateful.
I Still Love the Drama Lovers in My Life, But Cautiously
There will always be people who feed on drama: their own, yours, mine, ours, the world’s…whatever they can get. They’re not bad or evil per se. They simply need a particular type of high. For some, it’s extreme sports. For others, it’s volunteering their time to help someone less fortunate. For these folks, it’s drama.
I’ve learned to love and appreciate a peaceful life. That doesn’t mean there aren’t ups and downs, but I’ve lived my share of extremes, and my slopes are smoother and less drastic these days. Just the way I’ve come to like it. But there are people who need extremes. I suspect there were times in my life I needed them too, to remind me how to feel. Or more accurately, to break through my miles deep walls so I could feel; something, anything, good or bad.
I need no such reminders now. What I do need is to purge those old, battle worn feelings from the places I used to go. As I’ve said in other posts, there’s a time to cut out old reactions and responses and replace them with happier memories—not only inside ourselves, but with people, places, and even things.
Gratitude Will Always Be the Most Effective Tool in My Toolbox
My gratitudes today are:
- I’m grateful for opportunities to improve on myself.
- I’m grateful for epiphanies which help me direct my energies better.
- I’m grateful for friends who help me figure out my blocks.
- I’m grateful for tests which help me see where I still have a lot to learn, or where I’ve come far.
- I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, hope, joy, inspiration, motivation, health, harmony, peace, philanthropy, and prosperity.
Love and Light
About the Author
Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward