September 26, 2017

PEACE AND THE CRAZY DRAMA OF RELATIONSHIPS

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    PEACE AND THE CRAZY DRAMA OF RELATIONSHIPS

    Recently, a colleague shared with me a situation in which ‘a lot of drama’ was playing out in a business relationship. She was wondering how she could gracefully and peacefully ‘exit’ this situation. This reminded me of what my mediation instructors used to say … that even really good, kind and the best of people can and do get caught up in conflict or in a drama they don’t know how to get out of. They don’t know how it ‘got to this point’ and they feel embarrassed to seek help of any kind.

    calvin_relationship_conflictFrequently people share how a particular relationship triggers them in ways that they just don’t know what is going on and soon they find themselves reacting to the other person’s comments or engage in behavior they themselves find uncomfortable or intolerable.

    To think that ‘that will never be me’ would be a mistake. Getting caught in the drama of relationship dynamics happens to the best of us. Without realizing it, we have sent that email with words we can’t take back, or we have said something that we simply can’t pretend wasn’t said. Or we find ourselves playing out the drama because we don’t know what else to do. We may not have the boundaries or tools to step out of the drama and stop it (yet). I also believe we use the word ‘drama’ because we don’t really know what is going on.

    I believe this kind of ‘drama’ happens when participants within the relationship dynamic do not take responsibility for how they feel or what they think. Participants end up ‘throwing around’ their guilt and anger or lashing out in hurt or blame causing a wave of disrespect, disregard or failure to truly listen. This becomes a true recipe for disaster and deep hurt – even with those we love the most.

    So what can we do when drama shows up?

    1. SLOW DOWN THE CONVERSATION. As I mentioned, ‘drama’ is fast and mindless. So slow down the conversation. Put in breaks such as a 24-hour delay in responding to emails or simply say in a conversation, ‘I will need 24 hours to think about what you just said and get back to you.’
    2. EVALUATE YOUR OWN TRIGGER. What does this dynamic awaken in you which feeds your negative relationship pattern? Even if you assess you have contributed only 5% to the drama, you have contributed that much and so that is the part that remains your responsibility. Learn to detach from this trigger and know its patterns so you can catch it early when it becomes activated. Have someone help you develop more responsive relationship patterns, especially in conflict.
    3. IDENTIFY WHAT YOU REALLY NEED AND VALUE. Clarify what you really want to have happen and what the relationship really means to you. Perhaps you need to exit the relationship because it is draining your energy. Perhaps you each need to clarify what values and core needs are being disrespected so it becomes clear what you need or want to have happen instead of the ‘drama’. When people come back to the same issue again and again, even ‘after it’s been discussed’, it signifies that a core need or value is still not validated and people are still not feeling listened to. David Ausberger says that deep listening is really an experience of true love. I agree. Establish boundaries that reflect your core values and true needs so that your relationships have improved patterns of connection rather than ‘drama’.

    These are just a few ways to address ‘relationship drama’ when it shows up. In the coming days, weeks and months, pay attention to the theme of creating peaceful relationships and see what other means and techniques you can gather. For this next week, write down what relationships are ‘drama-driven’ for you and see if you can start to identify where the lack of respect is playing out, on both sides!

    Live Peacefully & Namaste,

    Shirley Lynn Martin

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      Comments

      1. Thank you for sharing this article. I have always expressed the same things especially about relationships that you choose to maintain for the long-run — or, to make it short. These are always just choices.

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