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How to Avoid Drama in Sensitive Conversations Using a Mastery-Level Life Coaching Technique

May 2nd, 2017 | 6 comments

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said:  “We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.”

Women thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and all successful people know that, in order to increase your wins, you’ve also got to increase your losses. For most of us who are striving to become successful coaches, that means we have to let go of or change the way we relate to toxic people in our lives. You can’t avoid these conversations if you want a true shot at becoming your own boss and running a successful business.  

In order to create room for new people to become a part of your inner circle – sisters who will lift you up and provide life changing opportunities – you must release those people that are draining and crippling you. This happens when you completely cut out the energy suckers, unsupportive naysayers, and the people who constantly take from you. If you don’t feel aligned with cutting them out, it’s time to have an honest and confronting conversation about what needs to change to turn this close relationship into a supportive one.

In the past 5 years I’ve had these confronting conversations with one of my best friends, my mom, my dad, my sister, and a mentor. I was terrified. I wondered if it was even going to be worth it to put myself through the discomfort of approaching these people with my needs, desires and expectations. I remember thinking I must be a selfish, egotistical jerk for having these needs.

To become a woman who takes great care of herself, while making a real difference in the world, requires setting clear boundaries. You must learn how to communicate your needs clearly and unapologetically with the people who are closest to you.

I knew this with my whole heart to be true. So I did it. Many times.

self portrait

Who do you need to talk to and what needs to change so you can gain the support you need to be of the greatest service to yourself and others?

When it comes to relationships, we are deeply affected— whether we like it or not — by the people we share the most time with. It impacts our way of thinking, our confidence, and our choices. Of course we’re in charge of who we are and what we do, but research has shown that we’re more affected by our environment than almost anything else.

Last week on Wake Up Wednesday, we connected with the part of us that needs the most love and attention: the inner child. She’s hugely responsible for the person you are today and who you’ll become. As you step into the role of the confident adult, lovingly nurturing all the younger versions of yourself, you’ll experience more happiness and authentic, deep connections.  

(If you haven’t read last week’s blog post yet, jump over here to get caught up AND get access to the inner child meditation. Let’s meet up back here when you’ve finished!)

Your inner child is of course deeply related to your family of origin, and there are likely deep issues that will come up if you’re going to move toward healing the broken family dynamics and taking on 100% radical responsibility for the success you experience in your life.

How exactly do you communicate without causing drama in your life or with the ones you love? That’s what we’re talking about today!

When you step into a conversation that has the potential for conflict, you’ll need to make sure you’re not contributing to drama in any way. This happens when you take 100% radical responsibility for yourself and the words you use to communicate.

In order to approach confronting conversations with love, clarity and confidence I want to teach you an NLP coaching concept called The Drama Triangle.  This is one of the core techniques I teach the women in Mentor Masterclass to use on themselves and share with their clients.

This technique is great for communicating your needs with loved ones and also works well when you’re in any difficult conversation with another person, working together to solve a conflict. When you understand how to apply the principles of the drama triangle, you’ll be able to communicate in a way that serves the highest good for anyone involved in your conversation.

Even tough conversations can be nurturing and loving!

It’s very easy to learn and apply. All you have to do is consciously stay out of the three drama roles and choose words that come from 100% responsibility. You’ll know exactly what I’m talking about when I teach you what the three roles are.

The Three Roles to Avoid in the NLP Drama Triangle

The Victim. When you take on the victim role in an interaction, your mindset can be summed up as “Poor me!” As the Victim you’ll feel hopeless, powerless, and won’t have much confidence in your ability to make decisions. All too often, someone with a victim mindset will subconsciously gravitate towards a relationship with a Rescuer. The Rescuer then swoops in to save The Victim, who is right back where she started now – someone who feels hopeless, like she can’t make decisions. And the cycle continues.

The Rescuer. The rescuer’s mental state is often, “Let me help you,” so although this is very problematic, too, it’s easy to miss! Who doesn’t love to be the helpful friend or family member who does everything possible to nurture other people’s feelings, right? But the Rescuer can easily shift into an enabler, even experiencing feelings of guilt if she doesn’t try to save The Victim, who is stuck in a role of dependence. Meanwhile, The Rescuer is always focused on someone else, so she can easily ignore her own issues and avoid any of her own problems.

The Persecutor. The Persecutor’s mantra is, “This is all your fault.” She’s controlling and superior. The Persecutor can always place the blame outside of herself, with confidence. She’s the opposite of a woman who takes radical self responsibility. She doesn’t take the victim’s bullshit and she does not need to be rescued.

It’s incredibly easy to slip into one of these roles without even realizing it when we try to communicate effectively with someone. In fact, most of the time we prepare for conversations by dropping into one of these three positions in our consciousness. Each time you go into victim, persecutor, or rescuer mode, you’re perpetuating drama. In fact, when you choose one of these roles you unconsciously invite your communication partner to fall into the drama triangle as well.

For example, very early on in building my coaching business I began to realize that if I was going to continue coaching professionally I could not be the coach for my friends and family. Once life coaching became my full-time job I didn’t have the energy to constantly coach my friends and family outside of work.

I began to realize I was constantly giving love and support to one of my best friends. When I allowed myself to take a deeper look at the energy and foundation of our friendship it was built on giving advice, love and support to her. Yet she was often competitive, mean and judgmental of me.

I wanted to have a conversation with my friend, and I knew that if I approached it by blaming her I would be the persecutor. If I approached it from being The Rescuer, I would be encouraging the behavior to remain the same between us, which was a heart-breaking energy leak for me. And if I became The Victim, it would put her right into the Persecutor role, which would be a never ending circle of conflict.

Through taking on the role of radical self-responsibility a door would open up for both of us to discover if our friendship could change and become one that was built on a foundation of support for both of us.

Next time you have an intentional conversation with a friend or family member, take 100% responsibility for your actions. It’s simple – but not easy. Victims, Rescuers and Persecutors seem to disappear when those involved in the conversation instead step into the role of 100% radical responsibility.

Think about your intention for the conversations. What do you want to tell this person? What are you asking for? What is the outcome you hope to achieve? Visualize the outcome you desire.

Now write out the conversation or record what you’d like to say and listen to it back.

At any point in the conversation do you take on the role of Victim, Persecutor or Rescuer? What could you say instead that would allow you to step into a place of radical self-responsibility?

For example, with my friend, instead of saying:

“You are mean, competitive and spiteful and it makes me feel sad and angry.”

I said:

“I am making space to focus on my friendships and creating strong sisterhood. I have noticed that competitiveness and spitefulness are common themes in women’s friendships. I would like see if we are able to remove those ways of being with each other. I’d like to try it for the next month. If we can not make progress, we need to talk about whether this friendship is serving us both equally.”  

Do you see how these powerful tools and your relationships, especially with your parents, can move into a space of empowering and clear communication when you choose words that are outside of Victim/Rescuer/Persecutor behavior?  

How can you take radical self-responsibility for creating inner circles with people who help you to become the greatest version of yourself?

When it comes to longtime family dynamics, responsibility is truly radical. Try it and see – I can’t wait to hear how it works for you!

If you desire support figuring out who you need to talk to first and how, comment below. I’m here, as are many of the women I work with in Mentor Masterclass, to support you in preparing with confidence and strength.

Understanding the NLP concept of The Drama Triangle can help any conversation you have become more loving and more fruitful. It will help you to talk with even the most difficult people to reach and help them experience a difficult conversation as a positive opportunity for you both.  

You are not selfish, egotistical, wrong, annoying or silly for valuing your energy and asking for what you need in relationships.

You are wise, strong and loving for taking care of yourself in this deeply respectful and nurturing way.

I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below!

All my love,

Jey
 

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6 people have commented
  1. I have a question – how does one navigate the waters when that person we’ve been close to for so long recognizes the shift in our behaviors and approach to conflict and rejects it? For example saying things like “don’t coach me” or that we are being righteous or behaving like we are better than them?

    • Oh Christine, I have had these moments. They make me boil. And then, I recognize the humor in it. In the past I have showed up a blubbering, egotistacl, mumbly worded, damsel in distress mess to conversations. Then suddenly here I am grounded, focused, present, clear in my communication and my desires like a sovereign queen. I get how the other person can be like, “What the hell? Stop it. You’re annoying.” And still, there is so much more potential for all of us when I show up that way. So, what to do? Tell them. “I know I’m showing up different. I’m trying something different. I believe there is a better way to communicate. Can you allow me to evolve as a person and the way I desire to communicate? This is not about coaching, it is about connecting”. Keep the conversation pointed where you want to go. Teach them who you are now. Be patient as they come to know you. The next time you converse like this, it will not be so foreign. Teach them how to love and communicate with the new version of you, in conversation. It just takes a little patience and time, for you both. Love you sister. I know this is challenging. It’s so worth it once it’s integrated. Does this resonate as helpful?

      • I love that any time I ask you a question, you show me that the answer is SIMPLE. Yes it resonates with me to just say it like it is: “I’m trying to show up differently, better. I think it’ll be helpful for both of us.” It also reminds me of my own personal mantra “I teach people how to treat me” – with every interaction, I have an opportunity to demonstrate what flies, and what doesn’t. Thank you Jey!

  2. I too have a question – what do you do when you aren’t being listened to, when you aren’t being taken seriously? To me this feels like a complete lack of respect for me, trying to figure out what I’m doing ‘wrong’ in this situation and/or how many chances you can give a person? Thank you so much.
    Live Ashleigh

    • Sometimes if you tone it down, people can’t hear you. I hear that you don’t need their approval or permission to make it clear you are not messing around. Is it possible it is time for you to really show how serious you are? How can you communicate more straight forward, clear and keep your focus on where you want the conversation to go? If you aren’t being listened to, why are you there? What would happen if you stopped show up, literally or figuratively? How do you know they are not listening. Some of these would help me to reflect with you if you could answer now Ashleigh and some of these questions are just for you to process, feel in and trust your quiet or fierce inner knowing. You deserve to be listened to.

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