I hate drama as much as you do. But can we avoid it?
Every book I read has a distraught character stuck in an eternal fight.
Every movie I watch ends with the protagonist crawling out of a path of obstacles and suffering.
The media portrays romance more like a torturous tug-of-war than a genuine, deeply connected relationship.
If you’re here, you might be wondering:
- Do relationships have to be filled with so much drama?
- How can I have a marriage with less drama?
Jachym and I have gone through both worlds. We suffered through years of drama, conflict and resistance. There used to be moments where our relationship problems were the first things that I thought about in the morning and the last thing that I fell asleep to.
Did these problems make my heart pound? Yes, but in the worst way.
Through drama in our relationship, my life was filled with anxiety, fear and pain. More than that, it was an intricate cycle that would repeat again and again. It’s an emotional web that ties you and your partner together in a dysfunctional dance.
Drama is the energy-draining pattern that divides you and your spouse apart.– Natasha Koo
Now that we’ve worked through the issues, our marriage is full of what we need deep down: connection, love and acceptance.
Without the drama, I can finally feel the joy and peaceful harmony that Jachym and I share. When all the emotional stories and conflicts drop away, I actually notice what’s most important to me.
And that’s our happiness.
I’ve learned that if you’re stuck in a drama, you’re not living your life. You’re stuck in a story, playing out emotional acts and getting lost in it all.
When the drama consumes your life, it’s hard to know how to get out of it. The problems are so convincingly real.
After all, we’ve been trained through all the books, movies and TV shows that drama is normal. But deep down you might feel differently. You might have sensed that love is something more pure than the push and pull of an emotional drama-coaster.
So if it’s your personal happiness that you’re after, then you’re in the right place. If you want to create more drama so that your life or relationship seems slightly more exciting in the short-term, then this won’t resonate with you.
If you’re here to do some good for your life and your relationship, then let’s get started and understand how we can stop drama in your relationship and what it’s all about in the first place.
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What is Drama in a Relationship?
Drama is a repetitive occurrence of emotional turmoil in a relationship. Those dramas are often unconsciously staged because the person needs it.
Why do they need it?
- It’s their way of getting attention
- They’re addicted to the emotional turmoil that the drama creates for them.
- They have unresolved pain or trauma that they need to address to stop the cycle.
None of those points above are bad. We all have our issues and unhealthy ways of relating. This is only one of many. But just because we have it, doesn’t mean that we keep it.
You can take charge of this situation, turn it around and stop the drama for good in your relationship. It’ll lead to healthier and happier marriage.
Are You or Your Partner Addicted to Drama?
Can you even be addicted to drama?
According to this article from Psychology Today you can:
“Drama causes the pituitary gland and hypothalamus to secrete endorphins, which are the pain-suppressing and pleasure-inducing compounds, which heroin and other opiates mimic.”
In layman’s terms this means your brain is producing pleasure inducing chemicals that get you off. Because your brain likes those chemicals, you keep recreating situations that are dramatic so that your brain gets stimulated.
Like any addiction, the amount of stimulation has to increase because you’re getting numb to the previous stimuli.
But how do I know whether there’s an addiction?
Check in with yourself:
- How many relationships have you had where there was frequent emotional turmoil?
- How often do you have this kind of emotional turmoil in your relationship now?
- Are your friends always trying to help you with some emotional crisis?
- Are you getting bored when you meet someone stable, who isn’t drawn into your drama? You may just feel there is no spark.
Those questions get you to really examine how you’re showing up in your relationships. If you have constant emotional turmoil, the likelihood is that you’re addicted to drama.
The other option is that there is unprocessed pain that you keep reliving so that you finally process it. We won’t focus on that second option in this article.
How to Stop The Drama in Your Relationship
To address the drama in your relationship, we first need to learn the mechanics of how drama sustains itself.
1. Map Out the Drama Dance
In each scenario where drama keeps recurring, you are dancing the same dance with your partner over and over again. If you want to break the pattern, you have to stop repeating the same steps.
John is upset. His wife hasn’t slept with him for two weeks. It’s the same story over and over again. They have good sex and then it stops. Once he gets upset, she’ll get upset too. After that, they’ll make up and they go back to having sex regularly.
This is the dance:
- Regular sex.
- Stop having intercourse.
- Blow up.
- Resume normal sex life.
We can make the drama dance a bit more general which would look like this:
Now let’s go back to our example of John. It’s a lot easier to explain things when we have a concrete example rather than something abstract.
How would you help John to break out of this pattern?
In our opinion, he can’t do anything about his wife not wanting to have sex with him anymore. Therefore, he needs to start at step three: blow up. That’s his way in to stop drama in his relationship.
2. What’s the Story You Tell Yourself?
Whatever your partner does, make sure you stay with your internal experience. What makes John act up is not the absence of sex, it’s how he’s making meaning of that event.
Me: ‘What happens when she doesn’t sleep with you?’
John: ‘I get upset. Every morning I hope she’ll be responsive to my approaches, but she usually rejects me. I feel hurt when she does that. At some point I can’t handle it and I blow up. I tell her how she doesn’t love me.
Me: ‘What if, her not sleeping with you doesn’t mean that she doesn’t love you?’
John: ‘… I never thought of that. Why wouldn’t she sleep with me if she loves me?’
John believes that his wife’s withdrawal has something to do with him. It either means that she doesn’t love him, or that she doesn’t find him attractive anymore, or that he’s not man enough for her.
Do you see how his reaction is based on his perception about himself? He immediately takes it personally when she stops being intimate with him. It’s about him; not about her. But he projects the problem onto her. By the way, we all do this.
What do you do with those stories that ensue in your head about the situation and your partner?
You simply stop engaging with those kinds of thoughts. But often that’s not enough, you need to dive deeper into your experience.
3. Stay With Your Emotions
What causes John to lash out?
His feeling of abandonment. Him feeling not worthy. Him feeling not loved. His blowing up is a way to vent his feelings. When he does blow up, he’ll affect his wife and she’ll have her emotional reaction. Do you see how they’re dancing together?
Here’s how you break the dance: stay with your emotions.
Don’t blow up at your partner because they didn’t answer their phone. Don’t blow up because they’ve provoked you.
Rather, stay with what your experience is:
- What emotions am I feeling?
- What are the sensations in my body?
- What’s the story that comes with those emotions, if there is any?
The cycle of drama is built on reaction from both partners.– Jachym Jerie
When you stop being reactive to your emotions and become responsive, you gain the power to transform this dynamic.
4. Talk With Your Partner
Address the drama-cycle with your partner. Show them how the dynamic plays out and ask them to join in to find a solution. You’re both part of this dance. You can change the dynamic yourself; and it’s even better if both partners are fully on board.
If your relationship isn’t built on a solid foundation of communication, you can check out this article here.
By doing this and the previous steps, you’re taking charge of the situation. You’re not letting things go haywire in your relationship. Talking to your partner and making a clear stance against drama in the relationship, is another way to take full ownership of this dynamic.
You’re not taking a stance against your spouse, you’re taking a stance against a dysfunctional pattern in the relationship, which you are both a part of. Make sure that you communicate to your partner what your intentions are.
‘I’ve noticed that there are certain topics that keep stirring a lot of turmoil into our relationship. It doesn’t feel very good to have this happen to us. I’ve done some reflecting to see what’s happening and I’d love your input on it. Please help me see how I am contributing to this dynamic. I know this conversation can be a bit unpleasant for both of us, but I firmly believe that if we can address it as a team and we can grow beyond it.’
Why it works:
- Start with an observation that’s neutral. You’re not blaming it on your spouse.
- Let your partner know how you feel about it.
- Invite them to join the conversation.
- Invite them to point out your contribution.
- Let them know you’re a team against the problem.
This introduction can be expanded upon, depending on your partner and you. We write this example just to inspire you, not for you to copy it one to one.
Make sure you at no point:
- Tell them off
- Blame them
- Criticize them
- Use contempt
If you stay away from those four points, you’re very likely to create an environment where it’s easy to talk about your relationship.
Now let’s move onto the last key to get rid of drama in your relationship.
5. Presence Doesn’t Support Drama
The past has no power over the present moment.– Eckhart Tolle
Here’s the antidote to drama: be here now.
Drama needs the past. But all that the past is is a thought construct. It’s not even accurate. Every time you access a memory you change it.
You’re reacting to thought.– Jachym Jerie
Being present is something that is available 24/7. It isn’t something that hides under your couch. All it takes is to notice when you’re lost in thought and stop engaging with them. Come back to your breath and your physical body.
Your mind can travel anywhere it wants within seconds. Your body always remains here and now. It’s anchored in this moment. The more you stop engaging with the negative thought patterns, the more you’ll be present to your partner.
Your spouse is having an emotional reaction. You being present means to be truly there for them. When you get lost in thought yourself, you’re back in the drama-dance.
Bring It All Together to Stop the Drama Cycle in Your Relationship
You now have the blueprint to stop drama:
- Reflect on your past and current relationships to see how drama has played out in those situations.
- Map out the drama cycle. How does the drama keep recurring?
- Stop engaging in the stories that fuel the drama.
- Be fully present with your emotions and dive into them. They’re part of what makes the drama cycle go around.
- Talk to your partner about your discoveries and let them join in to find a solution.
- Stay present. Use your body to come back to the present moment. There’s no drama in the now.
Remember how I mentioned that we’re often bombarded with drama in the media? How every love story seems to be a difficult path full of sacrifices, sweat and tears?
Today, you can break that cycle. You can stop giving into the idea that love has to be full of suffering, distrust and pain.
In fact, it’s Jachym and my mission to show the world what love is really about.
Imagine seeing your partner for who he/she really is. Imagine feeling deep appreciation and unconditional love for your spouse. Imagine sitting across from one another and sensing the most heart-warming and satisfying connection.
Trust me when I say that it is possible. We’ve created an exceptional relationship by dropping the drama away. And it’s possible for you too.
Take the first step of the drama-free relationship blueprint by reflecting on your past and current relationships to see how drama has played out in those situations. This is the beginning of your love story, one that you have control over.
Stop the drama. Stop the fight.
Find your truth. Find what’s right.
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