Drama is Not a Problem to Solve
It happens all the time in workshops, coaching sessions, and conversations. It happened again last year when I (David) and a colleague facilitated our first live 2-day workshop since the pandemic.
The participants had all read The Power of TED*. They were already familiar with the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) and its toxic interplay between the roles of Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer. They also knew about the antidote roles of Creator, Challenger, and Coach that make up TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)®.
They couldn’t wait to learn more about how to get others and themselves to move beyond the DDT roles and embody and apply TED*.
A vital part of the 2-day curriculum is that we spend most of the afternoon of the first day diving deeper into the triggers that activate the DDT and explore the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of the roles.
They were growing impatient, however, and then it happened. The question everyone wants to ask: “How do you get someone else to stop being a Victim or Persecutor or Rescuer?” “How do you make them, or myself, shift to a TED* role?”
And then I had my own “Ah-ha” moment and said out loud, “Drama is not a problem to be solved, folks.”
Drama is an inescapable part of the human experience. The DDT roles live inside each and every one of us. The key is to understand them—even befriend them. As Paul Wyman observed in his recent guest “TED* Works!®” blog, they may even be “allies in disguise.”
Acknowledging your drama is where your power lies and is a sign that you are open to some aspect of yourself and your experience that you want to recognize and transform. When your drama comes up, and if it is not looked at and worked with, the pain that caused your reactive drama will go underground and stay there until there’s another triggering moment when it arises again, often with more power and force.
To deny drama works against the desire to transform drama. To reject those parts of you that play the roles of Victim, Persecutor, or Rescuer, at times, and to label them as “bad” gives them more power. Remember, these are roles you play, not who you are.
You cannot change what you cannot see. If you can observe the roles when they arise, you can shift your relationship to those parts of yourself. Then, you open the door to being at choice as to how to respond to the drama you are experiencing.
When drama hits, pause, notice, and inquire: “What just happened that triggered me to go reactive and act out of that role?”
Many times, as we have written about before, the drama roles are seeking to protect you (“Layers of Protection”). Other times they can serve as Challengers that have something to teach you.
Life is a learning laboratory. Being able to view your drama with curiosity and appreciation for the protection and lessons learned expands your ability to anticipate when you may be triggered and what choices you can make.
Doing so paves the way for consciously shifting into the TED* roles without denying, minimizing, or making wrong the DDT roles. The Empowerment Dynamic set of relationship roles transcends—and includes—the drama roles we know so well.
As we have been exploring this month, the key is to love and leverage ALL of your parts—and to marvel at the magnificence of the human journey.