I first came across the ego states that influence our communications with I attended an NLP course with Abe Wagner in the 90’s and then revisited again with Caitlin Walker of Training Attention. This is one of 3 simple models that made sense of why I was not being heard and understood and put me back in control of hte response I received.
My aim in this article is to help you recognise when you are in the drama triangle, that you are not alone and to reassure you that you can get out of it. I can never guarantee that those that matter to your success and happiness will follow you and in my experience they quite often do. If you change your focus from drama to strength and solution focused ‘most’ people are more confident and more able to engage with you.
If you want to know more about ‘how’ to get out drama I also offer a free webinar “How to do, delegate or ditch with confidence?” where I will be sharing 3 communication tools that helped me take the drama out of my communications.
Why Bother Learning How to Get out of Drama?
When you learn to recognise when you are in drama, and you know how to get out of it and better still how to prevent drama. Then you will be more effective, more efficient and growing a business and developing new relationships will fun and enjoyable. You will know what you need to work at your best with each other.
What is a Drama?
Drama is when you spend more time talking about someone rather than talking to them. Drama is when your insides feel permanently in a knot or your head is clouded and unable to communicate what you truly want. Drama is whenever you do speak it is misunderstood, misinterpreted and it causes conflict. Of Course their are many other examples but hopefully you get the idea.
The Drama Triangle
The drama triangle is a psychological and social model of human interaction in transactional analysis (TA) first described by Stephen Karpman, in his 1968 article “Fairy Tales and Script Drama Analysis”. Below is an explanation from Caitlin Walker and Sarah Nixon’s one year self coaching diaries and if you want to find out more I highly recommend the book From Contempt to Curiosity
The Ego States
You may blame or PERSECUTE someone else, from this position you are likely to believe it is the other person that has to change. You are likely to look for evidence to prove your point. You are likely to ignore any evidence that contradicts your point. You may be shouting and clearly angry. You may be calm or even smiling. You will be pointing out that someone else is in the wrong. You will be unlikely to be taking any personal responsibility for change.
This is when you believe and we do truly believe in the moment our happiness or success or the lack of it is someone else’s fault. You will hear things like:
- If they just did ……….everything would be okay
- If they were motivated we would all be happy then…
- If they were not so idle, rude disrespectful then…
A different ‘Drama’ role is that of VICTIM, from this position you are likely to believe you are powerless. You are likely to look for evidence to prove your point and again, you are likely to ignore any evidence that contradicts your point. You may be shouting and clearly angry. You may be calm or even smiling. You will be pointing out that someone else is in the wrong. You will be unlikely to be taking any personal responsibility for change.
You might hear:
- Is it just me that can think for myself
- It seems like it is only me they can’t get on with
- I have worked so hard and given so much how come they don’t appreciate it
Another and often deceptive ‘Drama’ role is that of RESCUER, from this position you are likely to believe you are helping everyone else. You are likely to look for evidence that you have to keep doing what you are doing.
You are likely to ignore any evidence that you are maintaining a problem. You are likely to train other people to behave like victims or to dis-empower them. You are likely to pacify persecutors and build up latent anger towards them. You are likely to burn out as what you do is unsustainable.
You might hear:
- If they are not going to do it well enough I will have to do it myself
- I have to do that or they will feel left out
- Can I suggest you do…
You might be observing others in drama and choose not to say or do anything. You have a belief it is not your problem. However I have found it personally difficult to notice when I was being a Bi-stander and when was I simply ‘trying’ not to rescue. For me Bi- stander is when you say nothing and yet you are not happy with the outcome.
Do you recognise yourself yet? Do you recognise someone you know?
I promise you, you are not alone and if you can spot someone else in the drama triangle the likely hood is that you are there with them. Perhaps as persecutor because you think they have to change not you??(Just a thought)
Many businesses are stuck in drama right now. Many personal relationships fall apart because they end up in drama and of course everyone is someone else’s difficult person.
First Step, is to recognise when you are communicating with others from one of those ego states. You can share this with a trusted friend and ask them to notice if they think you are communicating from drama. You can also observe your own language and be mindful of your intention.
You can practice here by reading these statements and determining where in the drama triangle you think the person is:
- If you they were a good employee they would make time for follow up
- They just want to be paid for nothing
- They want their cake and eat it
- They don’t appreciate me
- They don’t have the same pressures as I do
- I have to come up with all the solutions and ideas, no one else ever contributes
- I have to do it because they won’t get round to it
- I have to do it because they will get stressed otherwise
- I have to do it because they are not skilled enough yet
Can you recognise Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer now?
How to get out of drama?
- Get really clear what you would like to have happen. Ensure your language is solution focused. It is what you want not what you don’t want
- Have confidence in asking for what you want and need
- Develop compassion and understanding for the difference between what is said and what is heard and give evidence based feedback
If you would like to find out “How to do, delegate & ditch with confidence?” where I will be talking more about the drama triangle/cycle, the power of pronouns and how to ditch the critic who says you can’t by developing your very own Strength and Solution Detective.
About Sheryl Andrews – The Strength and Solution Detective
Sheryl Andrews, Founder of Step by Step Listening is well known for her fast speaking and highly motivational passion. But what many of you may not know is that in private behind closed doors she was also no stranger to challenging conversations, lapses in self belief and an overwhelming sense of not being good enough. Sheryl use to find it difficult to speak up and have her needs met and yet could and would encourage everyone else to do exactly that. A series of 3 events in her personal life forced her to stop and learn how to take her own advice.
Today Sheryl runs retreats and one to one sessions empowering you to do more of what you love, delegate or learn how to do what you don’t and ditch the critic that says you can’t.
Sheryl will believe in you even when you don’t and will encourage you to notice and celebrate what makes you unique and of value. You will leave with clarity and confidence to ask for what you want at home and at work. You will have practical resources to ensure you can set yourself up for success time and time again.
Fancy a virtual coffee and chat then please feel free to book a complimentary clarity and confidence session or check out the “How to do, delegate and ditch with confidence” free webinar.
Don’t know how call her now….+44(0)1329 286648
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