One of the sure signs of healthy recovery is the avoidance of drama. Not only in one’s love life, but every area of life: career, social networks, friends, family, etc.
Drama tends to be created not so much from one source, but rather from the collective thoughts, actions and communications of a group. The bigger the group and the more incapable its members are of “putting out the fire” so to speak, the worse the drama can be.
Years ago, I learned that when issues arise within a group, you have two choices: you either participate and try and resolve the issue or you bow out and wait for the problems to blow over. If you decide to participate in the resolution of the groups’ issues, you have yet another two choices: you can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. This is where it gets tricky, because many people don’t recognize that they are one or the other. But here’s a great way to determine if you are causing more of the drama or helping to abate it. Ask yourself:
- When I participate in group issues am I thinking in the best interest of myself or the group as a whole?
- Are my comments meant to help or hinder the group?
- Are my comments self-serving or hurtful to others or will some benefit come out of what I have to say?
- Am I gossiping? Spreading rumors? Talking behind others’ back? And if so, will any of that serve to help the drama to subside?
- Am I putting myself in others’ shoes before I share my thoughts?
- Am I waiting a day or two before saying something I may regret?
- Am I trying to be tolerant and understanding of other people’s issues that are sometimes brought into the drama? So often we forget that unhealthy people don’t always say what they mean or mean what they say. Sometimes when people are under a lot of stress, we need to have more patience for them and their behavior.
- Am I reacting with my head, my heart or both?
- Am I mentally/emotionally in a good enough place to participate in resolving issues? Or will I be bringing my own set of personal problems into the drama?
- Do I have all the facts?
It’s so hard to take accountability for being in the middle of something you probably should not be. And part of the inherent problems with Love Addicts specifically is that they are drawn to drama. Why? I believe it’s because of several factors.
- We seek out people and situations that help us disengage from ourselves. We do not want to deal with our own personal problems, as they are too painful, so we prefer to deal with the problems of others. In this way, being drawn to drama is a defense mechanism.
- Many of us do not have the social skills of tolerance, patience and compassion. Our growth is stunted due to the fact that we have refused for many years to face our own problems, so when it comes to conflict resolution, we have either never learned how to resolve conflicts, or we resolve them in a way that tends to lack compassion, tolerance and patience for others.
- Many LAs, depending on our stage of recovery, are going through an egocentric, narcissistic phase. When a human only acts on his or her own behalf, a level of immaturity becomes apparent. Egocentric people cannot make decisions based on the best interest of the group. They tend to make decisions based on meeting their needs and their needs only. Accusations fly, regretful comments are made, mud is slung.
Lastly, no one person ever exhibits all these traits (OK, maybe they do). Usually, drama is the product of many people. One little snowflake goes unnoticed. A gazillion is a snow storm. So, it is always in our best interest to give every individual the benefit of the doubt when it comes to seeing drama as a whole. I like to believe in Maslow’s theory of motivation: that every person in the world, no matter what they say or do, is motivated by a need to be loved. When I remember that, I tend to have much more compassion for selfish or thoughtless behavior. And my own way of dealing with drama? Avoid it. When there is an issue and intelligent, considerate people sit down to resolve that issue, there is no drama. There is successful conflict resolution. If that is not present, I do not participate until there is. For more info on successful conflict resolution, click here.