Do you have a “no drama” policy?

Adopting A No Drama Policy for All of Our Relationships with EFT Tapping Emotional Freedom Technique

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Today’s topic is one I’ve been experimenting with recently. After allowing my energy to get drained one too many times by “drama” situations (I take full responsibility for allowing this), I recently adopted a “no drama” policy. This actually is an idea the seed for which was planted by a year ago or so by a professional BDSM instructor, but that’s another story entirely lol …

Have you ever let yourself get caught up in an argument with someone where every sentence seems to escalate the level of anger and bitterness, and neither side feels heard?

I’ve learned a lot of skills over the years that have improved my relationships dramatically, but this was a sticking point in certain high-intensity situations. And it was pretty frustrating because sometimes even a long-term awesome relationship could go down the tubes very quickly with an episode of drama …

It was also a particularly frustrating area for me because skills that served well in other situations (such as non-violent communication or NVC) did not turn out to be all that helpful, actually. In fact, sometimes using NVC with a very triggered person will actually trigger them even MORE.

So, I’ve been pretty pleased recently to discover something new … a three-step, surprisingly simple process for addressing this sort of situation (say, for example, where someone starts accusing you of something and has gotten themselves all worked up about it before they even started talking to you) that does not allow things to spin out of control …

Now, of course it’s one thing to say that you aren’t going to participate in drama anymore. And it’s quite another to actually follow through and practice this. So let me share how I’m actually doing it, and please feel free to chime in with your own ideas in the comments section.

First, in order to do this effectively, you must be able to recognize drama immediately when it rears its ugly head. If you fall into the trap of defending yourself and finding fault with the other person, things may very quickly get even uglier.

After my recent forays into deconstructing the “stories” in my life (some of you may have read these articles on blog), I discovered a very simple way to notice when drama is about to happen. When you hear yourself or the other person start to INTERPRET the situation, the other person’s motives, and tell themselves a “story” about how they were wronged or what is wrong with you … it is that “story” that is the beginning of drama. The person is not angry about the facts, only about their interpretation of the facts. And when you really see this clearly, I guarantee you will be a lot more able to stay calm and respond to the situation without getting sucked into the drama.

Second, state your “no drama” policy out loud and explain what it means. You can say something like, “Recently I have made a decision in my life that I am not going to participate in drama anymore, period. What I mean by ‘drama’ is any kind of blame, accusation, interpretation of each other’s motives, or victim mentality. Let’s stick to the facts.”

Third, stay centered and stick to your “no drama” policy. Remember the person talking to you is probably very emotionally “triggered,” and if so they are not seeing clearly in this moment. To them the story they’ve gotten so worked up over “feels” like it’s true. So I suggest that you simply listen for the facts in their story, and respond ONLY to the facts. If you hear anything they say where you can authentically acknowledge their point of view without sacrificing your integrity and without falling into the trap of making yourself wrong, do so, but otherwise do not respond at all to the story. Make a request that the other person stick to the facts. If you start to get triggered by the stories, remind yourself that stories are never true, they are just interpretations that don’t really mean anything, and go back to the facts.

You may be surprised. The other person’s story cannot survive unless you participate in it. A Course in Miracles talks about this, and in theory it sounded great:

There is a way of finding certainty right here and now. Refuse to be a part of fearful dreams whatever form they take, for you will lose identity in them. You find yourself by not accepting them as causing you, and giving you effects. You stand apart from them, but not apart from him who dreams them. Thus you separate the dreamer from the dream, and join in one, but let the other go. The dream is but illusion in the mind. And with the mind you would unite, but never with the dream. It is the dream you fear, and not the mind. You see them as the same, because you think that you are but a dream. And what is real and what is but illusion in yourself you do not know and cannot tell apart.

Like you, your brother thinks he is a dream. Share not in his illusion of himself, for your Identity depends on his reality. Think, rather, of him as a mind in which illusions still persist, but as a mind which brother is to you. He is not brother made by what he dreams, nor is his body, “hero” of the dream, your brother. It is his reality that is your brother, as is yours to him. Your mind and his are joined in brotherhood. His body and his dreams but seem to make a little gap, where yours have joined with his.

And yet, between your minds there is no gap. To join his dreams is thus to meet him not, because his dreams would separate from you. Therefore release him, merely by your claim on brotherhood, and not on dreams of fear. Let him acknowledge who he is, by not supporting his illusions by your faith, for if you do, you will have faith in yours. With faith in yours, he will not be released, and you are kept in bondage to his dreams. And dreams of fear will haunt the little gap, inhabited but by illusions which you have supported in your brother’s mind.

Be certain, if you do your part, he will do his, for he will join you where you stand. … His dreams are yours because you let them be. But if you took your own away would he be free of them, and of his own as well. Your dreams are witnesses to his, and his attest the truth of yours. Yet if you see there is no truth in yours, his dreams will go, and he will understand what made the dream.

And although I had read this quotation many many times, I had been looking for a long time for a way to practice it powerfully. I think I’ve found it.

The absolute core requirement of practicing this effectively is to “get” at the deepest level that NOBODY’s stories are true. Your stories are not true. My stories are not true. And that agitated person who is about to sacrifice their peace to argue with you also has a story that is not true. When you see that none of the stories are true, you can easily step aside from them, and by doing so, you will help the other person do the same.

There are ways to use tapping to support you in this process, and if I hear enough of you expressing interest, I’ll give you some tapping sequences I used to “get” this at a deeper level and let go of the “secondary benefits” of drama.

I invite you to experiment with having a “no drama” policy … You just might save a few relationships :)

Erika Awakening

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