Whose Drama Is This?

I recently made a commitment to notice when I create drama in my life or when I get pulled into other people’s dramas. It happens more often than I care to admit and I ask myself why that is still true. In the most recent example, two friends were disagreeing over something that did not seem very important, and as I observed their anger flare, I could feel tension building in my body. As their argument escalated, my brain went into hyper-drive as I considered ways to intercede, to help in some way. Nothing I said helped diffuse the disagreement and in the end, they lost energy for the dispute and it fizzled out. Sadly, neither person truly let it go and neither apologized. Several hours later, driving home and thinking about the argument, I realized that by letting it affect me the way it did, I had jumped into their drama and made it mine, too.

The Drama Pull

Why? Why is the temptation to step into other people’s dramas so appealing? Is it the desire to help resolve a difficult situation? The need to feel and then release intense emotion? The desire to relate so completely to those we love that we actually feel their pain? Or is it simply habit? Whatever the reason, one thing is certain – it never feels good when we jump into the drama or when we are trying to step out.

And so I have decided to renounce the need for drama. I have made a commitment to avoid it and am sharing it here to in ensure that those of you who know me will hold me accountable for this promise to myself.

My Resolutions

My first resolution is to avoid creating any drama in my own life, whatever that might look like and no matter how great the temptation. My second resolution is to recognize when someone is trying to draw me into her/his drama or when I am reflexively entering the fray. I commit to being aware of the “pull” and choosing to step back instead of stepping in, observing the situation with neutrality, exploring ways to help without engaging or deciding to do nothing at all.

Shakespeare wrote “All the world’s a stage” and I appreciate this depiction of life. When the play on stage is a drama, I have no need to participate in the performance.

What about you? I invite you to share your perspectives on how you manage to stay out of other people’s dramas and how you avoid creating your own. Here’s to a drama-free future, except in our favorite theater.

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12 Responses to Whose Drama Is This?

  1. Virginie August 14, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

    This is so true, Sharon! That makes me think of parents who are getting divorced and get their kids involved in their drama. They pull the kids towards one or the other and they are then torn apart. Some of the kids get support even later and realize what happened to them and why they were so unwell. They can then get away from the drama that is not theirs and also avoid others. It is so powerful to be aware of that. It is so helpful for the future of those kids, now adults, to live the life they want, in the way they want and not influenced by the drama of others!
    Painful own experience but so empowering to get out of that drama even at a later stage in life.
    Thank you for sharing your words, always so inspiring!
    Virginie

    • sharon August 14, 2014 at 10:13 pm #

      Thank you very much for your comment, Virginie. How interesting that you drew the connection to children and how they experience their parents’ dramas. Your description is moving and insightful, and reframes the choice open to those who realize that they are living with and through other people’s dramas. You inspire me, too.

      Sending a very big hug,

      Sharon

  2. Claudia Schmidt August 13, 2014 at 11:05 am #

    I’ve been consciously working on stepping out of the drama for about 3-4 years now, and find that it’s so much healthier from both a mental AND physical perspective. I always knew that getting sucked into drama was bad for my mental health, but now that I’m consciously walking away from it regularly, I also see that it has affected me physically in the past. The lack of tension and anxiety in my body is noticeable and “feels” much healthier. As always, your enlightened way of looking at the world around you is refreshing and relatable, Sharon. Hugs, Claudia

    • sharon August 14, 2014 at 8:12 pm #

      Claudia, thanks very much for sharing your insights and experience. You are “ahead of the curve” in working to step out of drama and I appreciate your description of how your body has responded to the “lack of tension and anxiety.” Still working on that, so your comment is encouraging!

      Grateful for the hugs and sending some back to you.

      Sharon

  3. Wilma August 13, 2014 at 10:14 am #

    Sharon, your post yesterday was so relevant to a disturbing email I received this morning from my ex- daughter-in-law. A real dramarama! The pull is always strong from her, but I made a commitment to myself a few years ago to remove myself from the drama. By nature, I want to fix things but realize it is best to remove myself from others drama. Your resolutions are mine, as well. Thank you for all your thoughtful posts. Sending a big hug to you.

    • sharon August 14, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

      Thank you very much for your comment, Wilma. You’ve taught me a great new word – dramarama! It helps me see the ridiculousness of drama. I admire your commitment to remove yourself from other people’s dramas and to step away from that natural pull to help. Great resolutions!

      Hug gratefully received and sending another one back.

      Sharon

  4. RAMONA August 13, 2014 at 8:02 am #

    I AM STEPPING OUT OF THE DRAMA RIGHT NOW.
    My husband decided to make some decorating and home improvements.
    He is working from home, to meet the contractors.
    I am spending the day argue free and stress free.
    I got up, got ready and I am sitting in the park,
    Resting my nerves.
    I AM OUT OF THE PROCESS AND I WILL APPRECIATE
    THE OUTCOME !
    MY EXPERIENCE HAS BEEN,
    COUNT MY BLESSINGS
    GIVE MY OPINION AND LET IT GO.
    ZIP MY MOUTH AND KEEP IT MOVING

    • sharon August 13, 2014 at 8:53 am #

      Thank you very much for taking the time to share your decision and experience, Ramona. I love that you are “STEPPING OUT OF THE DRAMA RIGHT NOW.” All uppercase, all conviction, all commitment! When you read this, I hope that you will have had a wonderful time sitting in the park and taking loving care of yourself.

      With a very big hug,

      Sharon

  5. Kandy Ferree August 12, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

    As is often the case, this posting was “right on time” for me today. In the workplace and in my personal world I am on a similar journey. The challenge I often find myself contemplating is how to be present and even be a resource without being drawn into the drama or feeling the need to fix it. Navigating this fine line and identifying my trigger(s), for me, is about being open and aware of what is happening in my body at any given moment. For me, the awareness comes in the form of a clenched jaw, uncomfortable holding of breath, or a real-time tightening of the muscles in my neck. Increasing my sense of what i call “body-awareness” – how emotions are manifesting in my physical realm – helps me to distinguish between being a humble resource vs. a fixer or active participant in the drama…. Thanks for the gentle reminder and your openness to shared and loving accountability.

    • sharon August 13, 2014 at 8:31 am #

      Thank you very much for your insightful comment, Kandy. I love the way you describe the challenge of being present without being drawn into the drama, and your description of “body-awareness.” Understanding how our emotions affect us physically is always important, and especially so when we are in drama-mode!

      So grateful that you shared your thoughts and sending a very big hug,

      Sharon

  6. Yodit August 12, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

    This was an amazing post! I have made the vow too and what’s interesting to me is how people can’t really undertsand that decision. I realized that I don’t have drama because I’ve chosen not to engage in it and not to entertain it and people that I’m around find it strange that someone can actually CHOOSE not to engage in it and it can actually work!! Thanks Sharon. You are amazing. Keep inspiring!

    • sharon August 13, 2014 at 8:38 am #

      Thanks so much, Yodit! Love your insight that others can find it strange that you would choose not to engage in their drama — that can come as a big surprise. I admire your commitment to doing what is best for you and then observing the way others react. YOU are amazing and inspiring!

      Sending a very big hug,

      Sharon