“I want mine!” sounds like a 2 year old child more than a mature adult. And yet, we adults love having our own way and are sometimes experts at maneuvering a situation or person to get what we want.
After a recent disagreement with David, Donna began thinking more about why our personalities have such a strong desire to exert our own will. After the argument she took a walk to change the energy and reflect upon what the argument was about. During the walk, Donna recalls asking herself, “Why does it seem so important to have my own way?” She was especially puzzled because it wasn’t a vital issue or subject that mattered that much. “But why does my ego want things my way?” she asked, noticing that David seemed intent on having things his way too.
After staying with the inquiry for most of the walk, an insight emerged. Wanting things our way helps us to become independent people. If we do not have an opinion, or want what we want, we would be at risk of having little self-identity or sense of who we are, not allowing our unique gifts, personalities, and envisioned outcomes to come forward.
Similar to young children who are learning to be independent, wanting things our way is a healthy reflection of our developing self. That insight made sense to Donna and it was comforting to know that there’s a good reason why wanting things our way is a fundamental part of the human personality structure.
However, as an adult, when we step over the line of wanting what we want, it can easily become fuel for the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™ (often showing up as a demanding Persecutor). As a married couple who also works together, we encourage one another to share our unique gifts, and yet we still slip into the DDT roles Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer more often than we would like to admit.
We have both noticed that the Victim mentality develops when one or both of us feel powerless. We don’t think we are going to get what we want, so we become defensive or withdraw. When we stay focused on our collective outcome for who we are as a couple, as well as what we want for the TED* business, we have a better chance of bringing our unique gifts to the conversation without crossing the line of being “me” centered and demanding we get our way. In doing so, we cultivate a relationship of interdependence.
It takes a huge amount of self-awareness and practice to balance the personalities that want their own way. With each setback, if we remain open and curious about what is driving our thinking and behavior and learn from our experience, we have a better chance to live the TED* way more consistently.