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Dealing with Difficult People


We all have THOSE people in our lives…the ones we dread to see the ones who know exactly how to trigger our shame responses and make our lives miserable.

THOSE people create drama in our lives.  If I were to ask people, do you like drama in your relationships? The answer would be a resounding No. Drama sucks. Drama causes pain and discomfort.  So why is drama so prevalent…why do we say we hate drama yet still engage in it?  Well, sometimes, we don’t have a choice family members, friends bring drama to our front door. But there is a way to avoid becoming a Days of Our Lives Episode.

Here are a few of my tips for Decreasing Drama in Your Life.

Recognize the triggers.  Drama frequently starts when someone pushes a shame trigger in us. So you are having a conversation with your co-worker, and she starts talking about how mortified she would be if she got called out in a meeting like you had earlier that day. And you notice you are awash in shame. Your response is to lash out at her or to talk behind her back…both creating unnecessary drama and pain for both of you. Recognizing when you are awash in shame is key to limiting drama.

Communication Communication Communication.  One of the main reasons drama gets started is that we are afraid of conflict. So we talk behind people’s backs, or we confront someone else hoping they will eventually tell the person.  We don’t have direct communication, and that easily leads to drama.

You Don’t Have to Engage. Remember just because someone baits you or encourages you to pick up the drama ball and run with it.  You don’t have to.  You can stop drama in its tracks simply by not engaging with it.  Easier said than done, yes. But very helpful in ending the drama cycle.

Ask yourself: What are you Getting out of the Drama? Such a tough question and requires you to get HONEST with yourself. Because most of us would say, we hate drama. But drama can be helpful because it keeps us from feeling.  In my life, I know drama shows up when I don’t want to feel something.

Here’s an example, You are at a family event, and you find out your favorite aunt has cancer. Your brother in law has an inappropriate response to the news. Rather than facing the news, you make the situation all about your BIL’s response. You are indignant and find yourself telling everyone about his crazy response rather than the real information which is your favorite aunt has cancer and you are devastated.  In this example, the drama serves as a smoke screen to give yourself time to absorb this terrible news.

Boundaries, Boundaries Boundaries. Have someone who regularly causes drama in your life? Know someone who always talks about you to other people? Have a friend who isn’t supportive and would rather shame you than support you?  Set a boundary and hold it. We keep drama filled people in our lives because they add a sense of flair, or we have been friends for a long time, or we HAVE to because they are family.  If you have tried to decrease the drama with certain people than it is time to set a boundary. One of my favorite principles is as you change and grow either people rise to meet you or people fall off.  So as you begin to lower your threshold for drama, use direct communication and build awareness around your shame triggers. Those in your life who cause drama will either recognize the change and be empowered to make their own or get so annoyed they stop engaging.

Drama sucks and ending drama is possible.


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