How to End the Drama in Your Life

The number one cause of drama, by which I mean any situation that upsets you, is the failure to listen. People create drama because they are not being heard. You probably create some drama yourself because you do not feel heard.

What do I mean by “not being heard?”

Being heard means that another human being has received, understood, and reflected back your core message and emotions. Just listening to your words is not enough. And, it is not enough for you to listen to the words of your best friend if you truly want to hear her. You have to go deeper.

If you do not listen deeply, you run the risk of emotional invalidation. Emotional invalidation is one of the most lethal forms of abuse. It kills confidence, creativity, and individuality. It shuts down the pre-frontal cortex of the brain, thus inhibiting reasoning, rationality, and non-impulsive decision-making. It is traumatizing and hurtful. It destroys of love and relationships. It perpetuates grudges, conflicts, and even war. We have all done it and we have all received it.

Here are some common emotionally invalidating statements. Put a check mark against each one that is familiar to you.

Don’t be so dramatic.
Don’t be so sensitive.
Stop being so emotional.
I was only kidding.

You must be kidding.
You can’t be serious.
You are just … (being difficult; being dramatic, in a bad mood, tired, etc)

It’s not worth getting that upset over.

It’s not that bad. (that far, that heavy, that hot, that serious, etc.)

 You are too sensitive.
You are over-reacting. You are too thin-skinned.
You are way too emotional.
You are making a big deal out of nothing.
You are blowing this way out of proportion.
You are making a mountain out of a molehill.

 What is your problem?
What’s wrong with you?
What’s wrong with you, can’t you take a joke?

Time heals all wounds.
Life is full of pain and pleasure.
In time you will understand this.
When you are older you will understand
You are just going through a phase.

Are you still upset over that? It happened a long time ago.
You should be over that by now.

 These statements, and many like them, are deeply invalidating.

We emotionally invalidate our children, lovers, spouses, co-workers, friends, and neighbors, and we do it unconsciously. We emotionally invalidate because it soothes our own anxiety around drama. We also invalidate emotions because we have never learned how to listen to other people’s emotions and respond to them safely.

To end the drama in your life, learn how to listen. As you practice deep listening, you will find that you validate emotions, rather than invalidate them. People around you will feel heard for the first time. They will respect, love, and cherish you for being present for them. And, they will stop the drama.

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