Mar 21, 2023
Drama Or Empowerment?
Do you know how much power you have? Do you realize you control your emotions? You have the power of choice ‒ choice in what you think and feel. Too often we give our power away and say this situation or this person made me feel a certain way. However, we can control our own minds, and we have a choice on how we view a situation, and decide on how we want to respond.
The Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) plays out in so many areas of our lives and is represented by the roles of victim, persecutor, and rescuer. Remember DDT, the poison? That’s exactly what the dreaded drama triangle is – poison. Any action movie has a victim, a persecutor, and a rescuer. If one were to live their life like a movie, there would be way too many roller-coaster rides and it could be mentally, emotionally, and physically draining. The dreaded drama triangle can play out way too often in work, family life, and in society. The persecutor does not always have to be a person. It could be a medical condition, a corporation, an environmental condition, or something that can be interpreted as a trigger.
The antidote to the dreaded drama triangle is The Empowerment Dynamic (TED*) with the roles of creator, coach, and challenger. In “The Power of TED* (*the Empowerment Dynamic)” by David Emerald, empowering questions are presented to transform from living in the dreaded drama triangle to living the empowerment dynamic. To transform from victim to creator, one asks “What is the outcome I want?” To transform from persecutor to challenger, one asks “What is my intent? What is your intent?” To transform from rescuer to coach, one asks “How is the other person capable? How am I capable?”
In the movies, the hero may come to the rescue. However, when the hero leaves, the victim is still vulnerable. Instead of rescuing, we can be coaches instead. We can equip people with the tools and techniques to live empowered lives. Every challenge is an opportunity in disguise. It’s a matter of realizing those opportunities where we become conscious creators of our own lives.
A drama story that may play out in daily life is someone showing up late to a meeting or class. The meeting organizer or instructor may feel disrespected, become irate, and give an angry glare when the person shows up. The organizer may feel like a victim and may view the late person as a persecutor. The late person may feel the sting of the glare and shut down. Now they may feel like the victim. What if the person was late because they were with a family member who had a medical condition? Instead of jumping to conclusions and becoming consumed with the automatic negative thoughts that pop up, the meeting organizer or instructor can have a side coversation with the person and ask if everything is ok? A compassionate question like “Is everything okay?” can make a difference in breaking free from the drama story.
It first starts with awareness of the dreaded drama triangle situations and realizing that we have options. Asking the empowering questions of ourselves and of others. Sharing one’s desired outcomes and intent helps de-escalate the drama. Asking the other person what their desired outcomes and intent are, helps gain clarity of the situation. Stating our own intent provides clarity on where we are coming from. Instead of ‘rescuing’ someone, we can recognize they are capable and may need a little guidance when they are ready. It is more fulfilling to be a co-creator or coach, rather than a rescuer. This will lead to more compassionate dialog and a path towards a more creative, empowered response, and outcome.
Here are 3 steps to responding instead of reacting when triggered:
Step 1: Breathe
Inhale for 4 to 6 seconds. Hold for 2 seconds. Exhale for 6 to 8 seconds. Repeat 10 times, if necessary.
Step 2: Get curious
Ask questions like: Isn’t it interesting that I feel this emotion? I wonder why I feel this way? How else can I view this situation? Do I understand the other person’s intent? What’s my intent? What’s the outcome I want here? What’s the outcome the other person wants? What am I to learn from this experience?
Step 3. Recognize you have the power of choice
You have the power of choice in what narrative you embrace. Is the drama story with the roles of victim, persecutor, and rescuer, the narrative that will result in the outcome you want? Or is the empowerment story with the roles of creator, challenger, and coach, the narrative that will elevate you to your true desired outcome?
In summary, the power of choice to embrace the drama story or the empowerment story is yours. When you notice a potential trigger, it’s time to breathe, get curious, and recognize you have the power of choice to embrace the drama story or the empowerment story. Which will you choose?