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I confess one of my favorite ways to unwind is watching Real Housewives on BravoTV—I love it because it is so unlike my life. Sometimes my nearest and dearest will walk in while I am watching it and say, “Ugh! How can you stand to watch this?!?! These women are so full of DRAMA.” He is so right; it is all about the drama. I think I love watching it because it is a great insight into how drama works, how easy it is to get sucked into and how truly devastating it can be to relationships and self-esteem.
DRAMA, ask anyone if they enjoy drama in relationships, and they will share a resounding NO! In fact, why would anyone want drama in their lives!?!?! But in reality, drama in varying degrees is a real part of life for many people. The drama of, “I can’t believe she did that?!” or “What if she is mad at me?!!” or “OMG WHAT are we going to do?!?!”
The cause of drama can be summed up in one phrase: lack of direct communication. When we communicate directly and honestly with the people in our lives, there is little room for drama. Easy enough right?!?! However, this lack of communication can be due to a number of things, fear of conflict, shame, perfectionism, lack of trust, lack of integrity, etc.
Something that drives me crazy about self-help is that the insight ends at More Direct Communication=Less Drama. Yes, that is true. But the act of direct communication is freaking scary!!!
- a strong sense of self,
- being able to overcome rejection,
- setting strong boundaries (and holding them over and over)
- not to mention having to do all of that when you are awash in shame because someone has thrown up their drama all over your shame triggers.
So yes, more direct communication is the key to less drama but learning how to communicate directly is a PROCESS that takes TIME. It also takes trial and error, self-compassion and lots and lots of baby steps.
If you have drama in your life, you are not a terrible person, in fact, you are a human being who struggles with being vulnerable. AND it is possible to limit the level of drama in your life.