We’ve all been there. We have a friend, loved one, partner or co-worker who starts complaining about how life has dealt them some pretty rotten hands. They go on and on. They’re inconsolable. We may care and want to help them, but we may find ourselves needing space from their constant pessimism and complaining, which drags our energy down, down, down…
One of the first signs that we recognize when we’re in a Control Drama (or heading into one) is that our energy is in decline.
Recognizing a Poor Me Control Drama
The first step is to recognize what’s going on. If you’re to the point of being able to identify the Poor Me Control Drama, then you’ve achieved a lot!
Imagine this scenario:
A friend continues to complain about problems in his or her life. We genuinely want to help, so we offer some suggestions. They say, “Yes, but…” and give their reasons for why your ideas won’t work. We continue this pattern for a while, giving a new suggestion and getting a new “Yes-But” response until you give up, frustrated that they are just not willing to feel better.
“Why don’t you try this?”
“Have you done that?”
“How about you talk to…?”
Which they counter with another “Yes, but…”
No matter how terrific our suggestions are, they just don’t seem to be willing to listen to our advice. Frustrated with their unwillingness to get out of the Poor Me Drama, we may try other approaches to resolve this Control Drama that we’re seeing:
• Stop talking to them. (Aloof)
• Get angry and yell at them, “Put your head on straight and quit whining!” (Intimidator)
• Tell them that their life is not so bad, and give them some of our own problems, which make their problems seem like child’s play. (Bigger Poor Me)
• Criticize how they’ve gotten themselves into the mess they’re in, and let them know that if they’d just listened in the first place, they’d not be in such a difficult situation. (Critic/Interrogator)
You can see what is beginning to happen here. There is nothing like falling into a corresponding Control Drama to straighten out someone else’s Control Drama, right?
If you recognize yourself having any of the responses, you are definitely not alone, as I’ve found myself in each of those responses, too. And as I mentioned earlier, and will continue to repeat: The first step to stepping out of the Control Dramas is to have the awareness that we’re falling into them.
Okay, we can see that when we are feeling anxiety, there are some unhealthy ways to respond. Let’s look at some other choices that may work better for you both.
Responding to A Poor Me Control Drama
Replace Anxiety with the Source of Divine Love
Fill your heart with as much love and energy as you can. Continue to hold that connection, no matter what your friend is doing or not doing. Then pour from this fullness and offer both your loving energy and a listening ear.
The reality is, offering your advice may not help them at all. Many problems are bigger than what can be solved in a single hour. If you feel guilt-tripped or accused of being part of the problem, let the love connection keep you centered and merely name the game by saying the accusation feels unfair. Don’t ever argue, just continue to say how it feels to you.
Then, let the person talk. By giving your friend the space to talk about their struggles without interjecting, they can be lead to find clarity and insight on their own, opening the door for them to intuit what the solutions might be.