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Not My Circus Not My Monkeys

An old Polish proverb goes: Not my circus, not my monkeys! That’s now a chant I keep repeating to myself. Let me explain why.

I’m by nature, what you might call a drama-magnet. No, that’s quite different from a drama queen, thank you very much! So what’s a drama-magnet? I have, until recently, constantly been drawn into other people’s drama – either as the chief ‘sort-outer’ of their lives, or as the focus of their drama. Someday, I could make quite a few bucks if I told the stories I heard and was drawn into. But my lips are sealed.

I’ve realized the fact that people dumped on me, in one way or the other, was not their fault but mine. I have been giving off signals that I’m free to sort out problems and be dumped upon. Where did that come from? My own insecurities, no doubt. But I’ve learned the hard way, that you might stick your neck out for people, only to find that you are left being the ‘bad’ guy, while they come out smelling of roses!

With 50 just a year away, I’ve acquired some wisdom at last. It also helps that I have a husband who keeps me sane!

Now, if I find anyone trying to use me in this way, I politely tell them to sort out their own problems, while repeating to myself : not my circus, not my monkeys.

not my circus not my monkeys

This works like a charm. Have you tried it?


  1. Proactive Indian Proactive Indian August 24, 2014

    Though I do slip once in a blue moon, I’ve always followed “Not My Circus Not My Monkeys”. In Mumbai Hindi , it’s put more colourfully: “Mere baap ka kya jaata hai?” 🙂
    Proactive Indian recently posted..WhatsApp, not WhatsCrap!My Profile

  2. Bhavya Bhavya August 21, 2014

    I stopped getting involved in other people’s problems. Enough problems solved, enough examples learned 😛
    I like that one – not my circus, not my monkeys 😀
    Bhavya recently posted..The Third StairMy Profile

  3. nabanita nabanita August 21, 2014

    I usually don’t get involved .. I guess I learnt to say no quiet early..But yes there are times when I go overboard and at the end it is only me who suffers…
    nabanita recently posted..Sailing through with Sheer WillpowerMy Profile

  4. sheela sheela August 21, 2014

    This has been my motto since few years and I’m very happy with this approach…Indeed my circle is not that wide, but the ones who are there are the real ones…
    Thanks for sharing this lovely post and boosting my morale…
    sheela recently posted..Remembering you…My Profile

  5. usha menon usha menon August 21, 2014

    “Not my circus,not my monkey”, is the best approach to life. No body gives the credit you deserve, to you. On the other hand you are termed ‘nosy poker.’

  6. Myke Todd Myke Todd August 21, 2014

    Have you ever gotten into the middle of a dispute, subsequently taken sides, only to find both parties reconciled, leaving you with one enemy, and a former liaison, who felt compelled to toss you under the proverbial bus, in order to pacify the other?
    Hey, it happens…
    Myke Todd recently posted..Free Wally PeppersMy Profile

  7. Dangerous Linda Dangerous Linda August 20, 2014

    Hi, Corinne! ~

    Good motto to live by — I love this one!

    I can’t claim to live a ‘boring’ life FREE of drama, but I’m much more on an even keel than I used to be! I think we’ve both grown a lot in the time we’ve known each other!

    You must be really busy these days — Would love to catch up when you have time! Blessings! XOXO
    Dangerous Linda recently posted..I know I am, but what are you?My Profile

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