The other day I began to wonder what the definition of drama really is. It occurred to me that without a clear definition, people may not realize that what they are in the middle of is indeed drama. I reached out to Donna Zajonc of The Power of TED* (The Empowerment Dynamic*) because they are in the business of addressing Drama! Donna replied that they don't use a common definition; that they prefer not to narrow the definition and instead hear the words their clients use to describe drama.
It made sense and yet I did pause when a friend pushed me to be more specific. Here is a definition that came to me in a quiet moment of reflection:
Drama is an escalation of emotional reactions to a person, situation or event that negatively impacts judgement and results in behaviours that disempower individuals and relationships.
As I began sharing this with a few people the reaction was consistent: "Yes, that's it." There are some key words here such as 'escalation, reaction and negatively'. They all define some of the characteristics of people who are in the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT). I witnessed this myself when a store closed as I was rushing to get a final purchase. Another potential customer shrugged and walked away. I felt myself feeling slightly angry and a little frustrated. Another person became verbally upset and began shouting at the clerk and making gestures. We all had the same experience and I noted the difference was that one of the three of us 'escalated' their 'reaction' in a very 'negative' way. Even though I felt some emotional charge around it, I didn't act out. I was somewhere on the continuum between the first person who took it in stride and the third person who over reacted.
Now that I have the language and understanding of the DDT and TED* I am pretty sure I experienced drama frequently throughout my life. I say that because now, I see it everywhere. Of course I am very much tuned into it because I coach and train on The Empowerment Dynamic on a regular basis. The gift of knowing is powerful because I have been able to face many challenges in recent years with a far better response than I know I would have in the past. This is the foundation of living with integrity and peace.
Ms. Daryl Wood is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a Certified TED* Practitioner and graduate of The Co-Active Leadership Program. After facilitating life-changing Women's Retreats for 17 years she is dedicated to sharing the The Empowerment Dynamic (TED*) material in organizations and with individuals eager to transform their relationship with themselves, others and situations.