When the going gets tough

So after a six week intermittent exchange of fire, my image has been removed from the facebook page belonging to my former troupe.  It only took me noting that I had made several requests in writing, reporting the images to facebook, and noting that I planned to retain counsel to have my requests taken seriously!  Excuses were made about how emotionally taxing and apparently, technically difficult it was to find and delete all the images, and I was mostly like, dude.  It took me less than five minutes to find and flag them all, plus write all the notes and take screenshots of the whole thing.  This is not rocket science.

This comes after continuing to receive phone calls, every month, from audience members, two months after no longer being associated with the show.  This includes last night, three hours before curtain on a show they didn’t think to announce to anyone that they had cancelled.  Then I threw myself a confetti party, drank wine with my mom, had a hot bath and went to bed.  I’ll probably be changing my phone number next week, to assure that contact with that entire group of people is actually impossible.  I cannot wait.

I fully expected a lot of pushback once I mentioned legal action (the producer of the show is, in fact, a lawyer [and a rather unstable bully, frankly]).  And then I remembered that I am an unstoppable force of nature, with a solid understanding of the law and a will of f*cking iron.  Oh, right!  Come at me, bro.

This had me thinking about ‘drama’ both as a colloquial short cut, and a phenomenon.  I myself, hate the word.  I find it trivializing, and often, that it assigns blame to the wrong parties.  Everyone I spoke to about my choice to escalate this issue from an interpersonal conflict to a potential legal action was like: Do it.  No one said drama once.  Except, you know, me.  To myself.  Because what even, Rabbit.  “Oh, this is just perpetuating drama.” I said to myself, in an effort to excuse myself from doing what was brave and correct.  Like a dumb*ss.

People are really eager to say things like, “No Drama,” or “I hate drama.” And I’m like, what does that even mean.  Dealing with people in any capacity whatsoever means that there will occur some variety and degree of conflict over competing needs and priorities.  So when you say, “no drama,” what I hear is, “I want to get my way all the time, and when I don’t because you’re a person with needs and desires separate and distinct from my own, I’ll accuse you of bringing drama, so that you’ll STFU and give me what I want.”  The person who says that is a dillhole.  That person is up there with the dillholes who open with, “No Offense, But…”  It’s verbal sleight of hand that is calculated to minimize someone else’s needs or requests in such a way that they no longer read as valid or worthy of concern.  It’s a great gaslighting technique, because ew, no one likes drama or the people who bring it, gross.  Except what in the actual heck, drama is an empty term.  It’s like the way some people use ‘passive-aggressive’ or ‘ignorant.’  THAT DOES NOT MEAN WHAT YOU ARE USING IT TO MEAN WORDS HAVE REAL ACTUAL LEXICOGRAPHICAL MEANINGS YOU CAN LOOK THEM UP IN THE DICTIONARY OH MY GOODNESS.

And here I was, doing it to my own gorgeous self.  Like a dillhole.  Why did I do that?  Excellent question.

The answer, I’m guessing, is Entitlement and How I Don’t Have Very Much of It.  I will minimize and trivialize the ever-loving snot out of myself and my own needs if it means that a conflict I don’t want to have doesn’t have to happen.  This is doubly true, if I expect to be punished or targeted or gaslit by the person or persons with whom I anticipate the conflict.  So here, let me just do that for you, imaginary interlocutor!  I’ll do it to my own self, so you don’t have to, and I won’t have to anticipate it (and be right), and we can all just move on with our days.

Yeah.  I’mma stop that, right now.  No more drama.  No.  I mean stop using that word.  It’s a dumb word.  Knock it off.  No I mean it.

When the going gets tough

4 thoughts on “When the going gets tough

  1. This post makes me think about how I use the word drama. It’s funny, but I just realized that I never actually use it to speak to the person who is causing the drama. Here’s a real life story.

    I have a coworker that most of the rest of my coworkers don’t like. She’s amazing at her job, as in, the technical thing that she was hired to do. She is terrible at everything else. She never reads all her emails. When she does read an email (3 days after she got it), she just responds to that email, instead of checking the whole email chain to see what’s been discussed in the past few days. Then she’s upset that people went on and discussed things without her. She is a people-pleaser and I have several times heard my boss specifically tell her to tell people that we cannot do X in a meeting. What does coworker do when other people ask if we can do X? She says we can. And then she tells my boss that they badgered her into saying yet (they didn’t, I was there, they just asked a question), and when my boss finds it unbelievable, she bursts into tears and accuses my boss of being mean to her and against her.

    I have watched this with my own two eyeballs. This woman has serious social problems.

    A recent problem with her was that she spoke for another coworker in a meeting – meaning someone asked a question for Coworker Lauri, and Coworker Lisa (the drama-tastic one) said yes, absolutely, Lauri would be fine with that. Without having any knowledge of Lauri’s feelings on this. Further, she forgot to tell Lauri that she spoke for her until an email came from the coworker who asked the question, letting Lauri know that, since she was ok with X, they could move forward with Y.

    Needless to say, Lauri was not happy with this. And talked to Lisa. And Lisa was extremely defensive and again stated the “they were demanding I answer for you!”, which we know is BS. Lauri handled it well, and told Lisa that in the future, Lisa must NOT answer for her. Lisa MUST tell coworkers to ASK Lisa the question herself.

    Laurie did not understand why speaking for Lisa is a problem, and got increasingly upset and said things like “I think you’re being ridiculous and overreacting” to Lauri. To the rest of us, she’s repeatedly made “Lauri is being ridiculous” comments. We all keep explaining to he that Lauri is not the ridiculous one.

    This woman causes drama. She is passive-aggressive, she is egotistical, she doesn’t play well with others. When something happens between me and Lisa, I typically call it drama, because I know it’s going to escalate into something way beyond what it needs to, and Lisa is going to complain that I hurt her feelings (for doing something like organizing my work products without asking me). She’s going to be upset that I’m so ungrateful (she organized for me! I should be happy, not upset!). She’s going to talk to other people about how ungrateful I am (I’m so glad everybody I work with is on to her).

    That, to me, is drama (and insanity). I am genuinely curious – what would you call it?

    All that said, I’ve never once told Lisa that she causes drama. I try to set boundaries with her, and every time she steps over them, I respectfully enforce them (“do not rearrange my work products. ever. I would never do that to you. you must extend me the same courtesy”) My enforcement is always met with what I like to call drama. But I would love to have another word, if you have one. Words are such wonders for understanding things.

    Beyond all that, you have a delightful blog, and I look forward to reading more of it.

    1. Hey there lizeden!

      It sounds like this person is a real handful! It sounds to me like the co-worker you’re discussing is coming from a place of pretty deep insecurity — a thing that makes people really difficult to handle, especially in a work environment.

      I think I stand by my sloughing of the term drama, for the reasons I’ve already stated. In cases like this, my preference would be to lean more towards accuracy. So this person sometimes creates things like unrest, discomfort, negativity, unnecessary conflict, and misplaced alarm. I think one of the things that makes “drama” so insidious is that it is so undescriptive of what boundaries are being transgressed, and in what way. It doesn’t provide meaningful feedback, and it doesn’t inform our reactions in a meaningful way. I am so very glad that you’re sticking to your boundaries, and enforcing them professionally and respectfully. That’s so important, even when it can provoke unpleasant or sticky responses from the boundary-transgressors (as it often does!).

      It sounds like “Lisa” has a lot on her plate, psychoemotionally. Chances are these behaviors are things that were, at one point for her, necessary for her survival, likely within the context of central and unhealthy relationships in her life. I’m so happy to hear that you’re navigating those difficult waters in as mindful a way as one can.

      Enjoy reading, and please comment any old time. (:3

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