The Common Denominator

By Yuki
@yukimori (8542)
United States
January 20, 2016 10:00pm CST
Have you ever known someone who was always embroiled in some sort of drama or another? I have, and a few things that I've read online tonight have made me think about those people again. I guess you could say that they're world class users--if you have a skill they happen to need, or can do something for them, they're your best buddies. But the second you lose your usefulness to them? Forget it. You're a hot potato, and they'll drop you before you know it. If you hear them talk about it, though, they're the ones who are constantly being victimized. Friend A, who was a contractor, screwed them over so they had to take him to court. Friend B, another contractor, didn't do the job he was hired to do properly and tried to take advantage of them. Friend C happened to be the wrong race, but hey, he was a great welder when they needed discounted work done! Relative D fell into bad circumstances and couldn't pay off a loan--they convinced him to turn over his house to them, then sold it out from under him and evicted his family. And believe it or not, that's just the tip of the iceberg. To hear my parents tell the stories, they're the ones who are constantly wronged in every single set of circumstances. It was normal for me when I was growing up, and I took it for granted that things were as they said. Now, looking back on it, the pattern is clear: the only common denominator in the situation is them. And isn't it strange that every. single. friend. that they've had in the past 20 years has been involved in an overly-dramatic falling out that puts the local high school kids to shame? I'm really grateful for the distance that I've gained from their toxicity over the past decade, because it's allowed me to step back and separate my emotions from many situations that aren't what they seem to be on the surface. Sometimes we have to look at the patterns in our lives to find the common denominator at the root of a problem.
14 people like this
11 responses
@paigea (21000)
• Canada
21 Jan 16
Yes if everyone we deal with is rotten then we are either very bad at choosing who to deal with or. Yikes maybe it's us! You made a good point.
6 people like this
@yukimori (8542)
• United States
21 Jan 16
It can be a really tough truth to confront, too. I don't think any of us want to admit we're flawed... but I've personally found that it's freeing to admit that I'm not perfect. Another valuable lesson I've learned is that I can't change other people's behavior. I have control over the way I react to them, and that's it.
5 people like this
@paigea (21000)
• Canada
21 Jan 16
@yukimori Yes, I had to join a support group to learn that one.
3 people like this
@yukimori (8542)
• United States
21 Jan 16
@paigea I guess you could call that forum a support group... they speak from experience and they don't believe in sugarcoating at all. They hit me over the head with it a few times before I really got it.
4 people like this
@mysdianait (63977)
• Italy
21 Jan 16
It is so sad that we are born young and then realise so many things when we are older. It should be the other way round. It would make living our lives so much simpler. I have a couple of frioneds right now who only exist if there is drama ooing on around them. I realise this and keep them at arm's length. Pointing this out to them only has the effect of making them go off in a huff. Strange thing was that it was then me who felt bad about having told them in the first place
4 people like this
@yukimori (8542)
• United States
25 Jan 16
It certainly would simplify things a lot, wouldn't it? The problem with the ones who love drama is that they are often convinced that it's created by others in their lives. They don't have the capacity for self-reflection or they'd recognize that they may be stirring the pot more often than not. And of course they go off in a huff when they're called on their shenanigans--drama, you know!
2 people like this
@mysdianait (63977)
• Italy
25 Jan 16
@yukimori Yes I do know! One of them the last three Sundays has sent a text around 3 in the afternoon asking if I want to go shopping and each time I have made up an excuse not go as it is late and nearing dark (around 5.30) By the time I would be ready to go out, assuming that I wanted to in the first place, it would be late. I know she will soon say that I never eant to do anything but... couldn't she suggest these outings earlier in the day?!
@BelleStarr (31003)
• Portland, Connecticut
22 Jan 16
You have done the right thing to distance yourself, toxic friends and family can taint your whole life.
3 people like this
@yukimori (8542)
• United States
25 Jan 16
I think so. I felt bad at first for depriving my kids of the interaction with their grandparents, but then I realized that any positives that could come of the relationship would quickly be outweighed with the inevitable abuse that would take place. It was just a matter of time until it happened. And now it won't, so I don't have to worry about my kids suffering the same experiences I did.
2 people like this
@Mike197602 (13467)
• Worcester, England
21 Jan 16
I've known a couple of people like that. They all seem to be the same in that they have very little self awareness. If they took a good look at themselves they'd see that they have problems with more or less everyone around them at some time and maybe they'd realise that they're the problem. Like something I've just read, someone said they had problems with people at school, in work and in relationships...well maybe it's something YOU'RE doing if you're falling outwith everyone for similar reasons
2 people like this
@yukimori (8542)
• United States
21 Jan 16
Oh, but self awareness means that they have to confront the fact that they're the problem. Far easier to blame everyone else than accept responsibility for themselves, ya know...
2 people like this
@topffer (29868)
• France
25 Jan 16
Toxic personalities. I try to solve my problems myself as soon as they appear, and I dislike people making a drama about everything and trying to involve others in their problems. I do my best to stay away of them, but I am not always a good psychologist.
1 person likes this
@yukimori (8542)
• United States
25 Jan 16
@topffer Okay, so the anecdote about the drunk assistant manager actually gets better than the bit I told. A customer came out of the auditorium and let us know what had happened. As soon as I saw it, I knew there was nothing that I could to immediately to fix the problem. I would have to take all of the remaining film at the 'tail' of the print off the platter, break the splices and take the backwards reel out, rewind it, and then splice it back in correctly. Relatively easy fix, if a bit time-consuming. So I went and handed out passes to the customers, with extras so they could come see another movie in addition to watching the one that the manager had messed up. I returned to the projection booth to find that the janitor, who was trying to be helpful, had taken the tail end of the print off the platter. By hand. And he'd decided to do things the 'easy' way and, naturally, threw the tail-end of that brand-new print down onto the floor. So there was a trail of film leading from that projector all the way down to the end of the building on that side of the booth. What should have taken me about an hour, maybe two if I had to stop to take care of customer service or employee issues, ended up taking about seven or eight because I had to find the end of the print and carefully wind it onto a reel. I couldn't run it as fast as I should have because the film would tangle, and I was trying as hard as I could to avoid damaging the emulsion. And when they came in for the closing shift, the first questions I got were "Why'd you do that?" and "Why didn't you preview it?" I think I'd greatly prefer the Scotch-taped map to the hassle of fixing that print! (And the worst part was that prints being built wrong was a very frequent occurrence at that theatre. It just wasn't usually that epic. Most of them I could fix by popping a splice, twisting the film, and splicing it back together, thankfully.)
@PainsOnSlate (19009)
• Canada
21 Jan 16
Very interesting observation. I don't like drama and irs not part of my life, we've had drama kings and queens in the past who always have an excuse. Not worth our time, or energy.
1 person likes this
@yukimori (8542)
• United States
21 Jan 16
Life is so much more peaceful without that sort of negative energy in it!
3 people like this
@boiboing (12524)
• Northampton, England
21 Jan 16
Sometimes you're just too close to see how bad things are but a bit of time and distance brings the truth to light.
1 person likes this
@yukimori (8542)
• United States
21 Jan 16
That's definitely true. Being up to your eyeballs in a situation can really influence your perceptions.
@SIMPLYD (74777)
• Philippines
25 Jan 16
Are your parents actually friends with them , that's why they patronize these people ?
@yukimori (8542)
• United States
25 Jan 16
My parents are the toxic ones.
1 person likes this
@SIMPLYD (74777)
• Philippines
25 Jan 16
@yukimori Oh !
• Midland, Michigan
1 Mar 16
While I can see that it's probably good that you've stepped away from that relationship, I still hope that you do take time to visit when you can limit the time spent that is. They are still your parents even if they've not matured in that area of their lives. I wonder whether they feed off each other regarding those things. Like one of them might be more prone to look at the negative aspect of what's happening rather than just admitting it could be a fact of life and not continue to blame those around them.
• United States
26 Jan 16
@yukimori you have become wise.
@EddieHands (32115)
• United States
26 Jan 16
Yeah I know people that were always in drama. I stay away from drama! I tell them give me the money.. keep the drama !