Monday, August 3, 2009

A Safe Haven


I have an overwhelming need for peace & quiet lately, have been ferociously guarding the private spaces of my home as well as that of my heart & mind. I'm not inviting people into my house as I used to nor am I opening up emotionally. I feel the need to protect my space, not allowing any unnecessary drama or chaos into my life. I am so committed to this goal that when I'm around someone who even hints of negativity I shut down and shy away, am physically and emotionally unable to connect with them. An alarm goes off, "warning! warning! Drama & heartache ahead! Turn around immediately, head back to the mother ship where you you are safe!"

An incident occurred on Saturday which brought this to light. Beren and I met some friends at a local bar & grill, a place where we often go on Saturday afternoons. We were joined by a new-ish friend, a man who is the most Zen-like person you could ever imagine, someone who lives & breathes peace & serenity. It's a breath of fresh air being in his company and instinctively I know that's what I need right now. Anyway, while sitting at the bar I was approached by an old acquaintance, someone who we used to be friendly with a few years ago. She's a lovely woman and I was thrilled to see her but after 10 minutes chatting with her I became anxious and stressed, wanting to flee from the bar. I took note of the feeling but went on with our visit for a while. Finally I detached and went to sit with the aforementioned friend and instantly my mood changed. I breathed deep and relaxed, feeling peace once again until SHE came back into my presence. I sat there trying to be "nice," listening to one tale of woe after another, feeling bombarded by her negativity and sadness. My heart went out to her, I tried to imagine ways I could help but then a little voice in me said, No, Let it go. Move away. Go back to the safe place. You can't help her right now, you must take care of yourself. The message was so loud in my head, so clear, and the next morning became even more so.

Sunday I woke up and over our morning cup of coffee I shared these feelings with Beren. I told him that I didn't want to reconnect with "D", that I simply couldn't allow her drama into my life right now, I can't handle it and I don't want to. I'm sorry for her and I know that she needs someone but I'm just not it right now. He understood and agreed, and we moved on, me with a huge sense of relief and peace about the decision.

Sunday afternoon, similar situation. We met an old friend of Beren's who is on the tail end of a divorce, life still in a bit of an upheaval but at least he can see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, he still chose to dramatize an insignificant event that had recently occurred, going on & on with the story to the point where I, once again, wanted to flee. Beren, sensing my discomfort, gently changed the subject but it was too late. Being in this man's company disturbed me, sent off the same alarms, and I couldn't want to get out of there back to the safe haven of my own space. Again I explained to Beren, I simply can't spend much time with "M" right now, I can't handle his drama. Again & again with that word: Drama. I don't know how else to describe it.

I don't think I'm becoming reclusive, am still spending time with family & friends who don't create those feelings in me, am still working and living my normal life. But I am reevaluating friendships, really taking stock of what each person contributes to my life, negative or positive, and whether or not I'd be better taking a step away from them. It sounds ruthless I guess but I need to do this for my own self-preservation, for my own survival! I am also consciously choosing new friends who are positive, upbeat, healthy and spiritually good for me. If I end up with only a handful of such people, that's ok. Perhaps that's all I can handle right now, maybe that's all the room I have in the safe little haven of my soul.

10 comments:

Karla said...

I completely understand. There is so much drama where I work that at the end of the day all I want to do is retreat to a quiet place alone. It's hard to have to balance recovering from the drama with trying to give my best to my family, since I have nothing left at the end of the day. My new phrase is "If I wanted drama, I'd go to the theatre."

Hang in there - do what you need to do.

Aurora said...

Ruthless? I think not. Sounds like self preservation to me.

Good job!

linda said...

you are doing what you need to be who you are and that is all we can do in this life ~ live our best life...

people who drag us into their dramas are not our friends and I cut them as "ruthlessly" as I can, including my family...I have become very discerning over the years as I have to be...my emotional make-up is fragile and I own and honor that--I think it sounds like you are doing the same! congratulations on snatching back you and your life...it can feel like a lonely road but in reality, it lets you become who YOU are--all one not alone...

I have also learned that people spending time in bars seems to have problems much of the time...I would humbly suggest you meet friends at restaurants without bars, other than perhaps wine or beer...skip the bar scene if possible...I think you will find your time spent out with Beren is much healthier and happier..[I truly hope that did not sound preachy as that is not my intention, but it is my experience!]
Xox

Rapunzel said...

Linda, not preachy at all! The "problem" is that one of Beren's and mine's favorite things to do is listen to live music and most of the local bands do indeed play in bars. However, that doesn't mean we need to befriend each & every barfly! If we keep to ourselves or just bring our own (few) healthy friends we'll be ok. :)

Thank you for your insight and input, as always. xoxox

Rapunzel said...

Aurora, thank you. It feels a bit sad but also empowering!

Rapunzel said...

Karla, absolutely! Sometimes I think I'm a drama magnet but then I realize it's just because I care so deeply. I just need to put up some boundaries.

antgirl said...

I have done the same in my life ... retreating from drama. I feel so much saner. I don't think it's ruthless or wrong at all.

When you can hear yourself and feel peace, everything becomes so much easier that you want to accomplish.

Rapunzel said...

Antgirl, isn't it just so freeing to be able to let it go?? ahh....leaves so much room for other, more important things in life!

Jen said...

Great post! I often have similar feelings about people or places.

I do think this will apply to my challenge, thanks!

Rapunzel said...

Thank you, Jen!