One of my favorite books, The Celestine Prophecy, introduced me to the idea of Control Dramas, of which there are four (Intimidator, Interrogator/Critic, Aloof, and Poor Me). There are frequent questions about the Control Dramas, how to recognize them, and most importantly, how to step out of the drama. All these questions have prompted me to write a bit more about each of the dramas. Since the recent questions started with “How do I step out of my Poor Me Control Drama?” I’ll start there.
When we’re feeling “Poor me” – we’re feeling like life is throwing lemons at us. It feels like things aren’t fair and everything stinks. It feels like too much is laid on our shoulders, too many burdens, and not enough caring. Often, we feel all alone in the turmoil. We become angry, whiny, irritable, and sad. So, when someone comes around, we have lots to complain about.
Our loved ones may attempt to offer words of encouragement. But rather than feel better, we feel like they just don’t understand us. They may offer suggestions to help solve our problems, “Have you tried this? …” and we start to wonder if they’re even listening.
We just want to feel better… Wah!!!
How to get out of this mindset?
Step 1: Acknowledge the Poor Me
The first step to getting out of this mindset is to recognize and acknowledge where we are.
As you may recall from previous articles (Control Dramas Part 1)- the Poor Me Control Drama is the one where we are whining, complaining, and feeling like life is just throwing rotten-ness all over the place. The Poor Me person acts and feels helpless to do anything and just seems to stay in the misery. Being able to recognize that’s where I’m heading right now is a powerful step to stepping out of it.
Step 2: Acknowledge and Name the Feelings
Then, as I realize I’m heading into Poor Me, the next step is to acknowledge my feelings.
I have to be willing to say, “ Right now, I’m feeling _____.” and then fill in the blank with your word.
Some examples include: snarky, sad, irritable, grouchy, angry, annoyed, upset, hurt, disappointed, cranky, whiny, mistreated, and there are so many other feelings that might go into that blank line.
Aren’t I supposed to do some positivity stuff? How is saying I feel like crap, going to help me stop doing Poor Me?
Let us recall from The Celestine Prophecy that the Control Drama dance is a way of avoiding the truth, while manipulating for energy. Acting out a Control Drama is a way of saying that being authentic is too difficult to put forth the effort. Or sometimes we fall into Control Dramas because we feel that being authentic is too scary to face. So, rather than engage in authentic communication, we try to dance around the issues, hurts, upsets, and challenges and play the Control Drama game.
Stepping out of the Control Drama is facing the truth, and this truth includes how I am feeling right now, even if those feelings are uncomfortable and not so full of cheer and positivity.
Being willing to state (out loud) that you’re not in a good spot in your head and heart right now is honoring the pain that you’re struggling with at this time. It is taking a powerful step toward authentic, brave, vulnerable, transparent, and honest communication. And stating an honest communication like,
“I’m feeling snarky” also takes responsibility for that feeling. It doesn’t attempt to push the feeling onto someone else. (Like “You’re making me mad” puts the blame for my mad onto to the person in front of me). Taking these steps is a big challenge, but the rewards are so incredibly worth the effort.
I recognize that in many homes, schools, and communities we’re taught that it’s NOT okay to have those feelings.
We hear statements such as:
“Nice girls don’t get mad.”
“Good boys don’t get upset.”
“Big kids don’t cry.”
I was taught things like that too by parents and other adults who were afraid to face those big feelings.
I’ve since learned that it is HUMAN to have feelings. All of them: sadness, anger, irritability, fear, anxiety, and even snarkiness.
(Okay, I guess I should confess that I don’t even know if snarky is a word, but it sure seems like a good word for a feeling that is made up of thorns, vinegar, and lots of grumbles.)