“As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation — either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.
In my job as an educator, I was also trained as a mediator. This skill served me well in helping people resolve conflicts, or work out solutions to seemingly immovable dilemmas. And there were many times, when anger, aggression and drama were played out on my doorstep at work. I learned a long time ago that when confronted with these situations, it was best to not talk, but listen.
And when given the opportunity to talk, to then wait, count to 10 and ground myself. Many times I would smile, and even apologize knowing it may not be my fault. But in order to move forward the person in front of me needed someone to apologize. It was the least I could do to show empathy.
But the number 1 thing I knew that was important, was to not be aggressive, reactive or emotional. It only served to escalate the situation. I had to bite my tongue many times as there were things I wanted to say, but knew would serve no good purpose. So I rose above the bitterness, drama and aggression and helped this person towards a resolution.
So you would think that when confronted with aggressive situations with loved ones, I could use all these wonderful tools to resolve the problem. Well think again. Because when it comes to family, all bets are off and everything you have learned seems to fly right out the window on a gale of emotions.
Drama is not new to families. We all have it, and as we grow and move on with our lives, we usually can outgrow or avoid it. And I am not sure which is the best solution, but I generally try to avoid it. But family members know how to wound deeply with words. They know just how to push your buttons, and before you know it you can be in a four alarm drama situation.
I have been thinking about these bitter dramas over the last several years. I can almost predict them, and yet I seem to be helpless in avoiding or resolving them as they happen; only to feel angry and bitter afterward. And once the bitterness comes, it roots itself inside me where I want to hold onto it feeling I deserve to be angry. I was wronged. And I ruminate over these situations rehashing them bringing up the anger over and over again.
Drama does not just walk into your life. You either create it, invite it or you associate with people who love to bring it into your life. – Kameryn Mariee
Now I know don’t look for drama. I don’t even like Reality TV because, to me, it seems like useless drama that hits too close to home sometimes. But I never thought I invited drama until I thought about those nasty bitter scenes that were played out with family. After a few of these incidents, recently, I realized that maybe I was being an unwitting catalyst.
So what can one do besides avoid, plead or get in the trenches. Instead I began to think of solutions I had not tried before. Perhaps employing some of those mediation skills might serve me well.
And I have begun to listen more, try not to react (not good with this yet, but making strides), and definitely try not to judge. And if the situation is treading on dangerous ground where I know I might feed it, I take a self imposed time out.
In the heat of emotions, I can lose all reason and slug it out with the best of them. But I really do not like being in the midst of these bitter fights. In the aftermath, I can reason why it may have happened. But I am looking for better ways to not get into the drama or at least not feed it.
I have also realized, some people just thrive on drama. Many times the anger isn’t even about me, and if it is, it is from an old script that I have since forgiven. There is little I can do when someone doesn’t want to move on, or they want to displace anger towards me, so I have decided they can have their dramas without me. It may mean I will not talk with this person for a while as time away is needed. But it seems the best course of action.
I am also finding for my sanity that I am being clearer when lines are crossed and someone has gone too far. For me it is important that I not be sucked into these bitter dramas that I do not own or want. And I hope by being clear with loved ones, these can be avoided or shut down. I am not naive to think they will go away completely, but I figure if I don’t play in these dramas, then maybe a new script can start to be written.
Note: The flowers of St. John’s Wort pictured here are said to represent animosity. An interesting thought as St, John’s Wort is said to help people with depression and boost moods.
I leave you with another thought about drama, anger and conflict. Feel free to download this photo and share.
All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015. Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.