The “Holiday Season” is upon us.  Many of the world’s spiritual and/or cultural traditions treat this as a special time of the year – a time to pause, a time to celebrate, a time to gather with friends and family.

For many, gatherings with family are times of both blessings and challenges.  For those who find themselves in family systems in which drama and strained relationships are part of the landscape, gatherings can either be seen as a problematic time to react – or a time to practice the perspective that comes from adopting a Creator Orientation and TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic) ™.

One of the reasons drama is sometimes even more present and intense during the holidays is that, as family and friends gather, we may have idealized expectations of how we believe our relationships should be or not be.  This added layer of assumptions can be especially toxic when our expectations of “peace and goodwill” between people are not met.

Instead we may experience old family patterns of drama or polarizing and persecuting beliefs and perspectives ranging from politics, to religion, and to the wide variety of world and social issues.  When this occurs, it is all too easy to get hooked into the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) ™ and the roles of Victim, Persecutor and/or Rescuer.

As a Creator, however, we have the possibility of disrupting or breaking the DDT cycle

When drama arises, the first step is to acknowledge to yourself that it is occurring.  Then, depending on your role in the drama (if you are in it) or on what you observe, you can use any of the TED* roles of Creator, Challenger or Coach to help the energy and system shift to a more empowered and resourceful conversation.

As a Creator, you might suggest that the conversation focus on where there is agreement, rather than disagreement.  Or you might speak to what you want – the quality of conversation and relating you desire.

The Challenger role, frankly, can be a bit perilous in such a situation as even the most well- and learning-intentioned challenge may be reacted to as persecuting.  If this is what is called for, however, it is critical that what you say is focused on building-up rather than putting-down.

The Coach role can be effective by asking questions of others and seeking to understand their perspective without feeling you have to agree or disagree.  Remember, as we wrote last month, behind every complaint is a commitment – something the other cares about.  Asking questions focused on what they want, rather than what they don’t want, can significantly shift the energy in the conversation.

Of course, another choice can always be to stay out of the fray and just observe – not adding the fuel to any fire.

If you are one of the lucky ones that do not experience such holiday drama, we join you in gratitude.  The holidays CAN be a time of great joy, celebration and connections!