There’s a story about a man who calls a good friend to talk about his problems. After talking at length about his complaints he stops and asks his friend, “You haven’t said a word. Are you still listening to me?” His friend says, “I’m trying not to. If you keep going I might start believing what you’re saying.”
His good friend knew the magic of not believing all of his friend’s thoughts. We humans have thousands of moving, tedious, ongoing thoughts every minute. Thank goodness we don’t have to believe everything we think!
We hear from people that, when they learn about the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™, it helps explain some of their puzzling personal and work relationships with other people. What is sometimes overlooked is the “internal triangle” and the drama-filled relationship we have within ourselves.
Once we begin to listen to our internal conversation, we are astonished to hear the same DDT characters of Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer inside of us. Here’s an example. Let’s say a friend calls and you agree to meet her at the gym. You might hear internal chatter similar to this:
- “I don’t really want to go to the gym, but I want to please my friend. I know she’s had a hard time lately.” (That’s the desire to please–the Rescuer— in you.)
- “You know you should go to the gym too. You have been so lazy!” (It’s the inner critic—the Persecutor—part of you speaking.)
- “I don’t know why I belong to the gym. I can’t afford it. I won’t ever get out of debt, especially in this job.” (Guess which one this is? Victim it is!)
How do you stop this negative self-chatter? Criticizing yourself doesn’t help. Self-criticism creates a negative double-loop and makes the persecuting thoughts even worse!
What we have found helpful is to lighten up and use humor. It might sound like this: “Hello drama character. I hear you loud and clear. It is time for you to take a rest for a while. I have things to do and places to go.”
Donna actually visualizes the DDT character inside a gift-wrapped box and sets the package on a shelf for the time being. It is amazing how that drama-filled voice quiets down once she acknowledges it and playfully sets it aside.
By summoning your Creator voice to come forward, you will notice your TED* roles more naturally emerge. This taps into the positive, true-essence of who you really are.
You don’t have to believe all your negative thoughts. You can learn to set aside the drama voices. They will most likely return later. For now, with a little humor and a light-hearted approach, you can go on with your day.