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, “Are you still listening to me? You haven’t said a word.” His friend says, “I’m trying not to. If you keep going, I might start believing what you’re saying.”
His friend knew the magic of not believing all of his friend’s thoughts. We humans have thousands of moving, tedious, ongoing thoughts everyday. Some psychological studies show that you may have as many as 70,000 thoughts each day. Thank goodness you don’t have to believe everything you 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.
When you are not aware of your thoughts and feelings that lurk underneath the surface of your awareness, you literally risk being at war with yourself and sabotaging what you want to create. Being unaware of your internal conversation helps explain why you may suddenly get triggered by something or someone. Being more self-aware in the moment can help you have your emotions, rather than your emotions having you. When your emotions have you, that’s the mechanism that triggers you to “go reactive.”
Once you begin to listen to your internal conversation, you may be astonished to hear the same DDT characters of Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer inside of yourself. Here’s an example. Let’s say a friend calls and you agree to meet her at the gym. You might say to yourself:
- “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.
It is your Creator-self, the foundational role in TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)® that challenges the internal DDT voices to go silent for a while.
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 light-hearted approach, you can go on with your day.