Drama belongs on tv. I find it fun to escape reality and tune into the foibles of the characters on This Is Us, even though I know that the producers are intentionally tugging at my heart. Once a week I am fair game on the couch with a snack in one hand and the clicker in the other.
But drama in real life is not so much fun. It rarely makes me feel closer the way resolving an issue with an open and honest discussion does. The goal is to feel strong and whole and I don’t see self-indulgent emotional outbursts contributing to that end. How do you deal with drama that inevitably shows up?
First, physically step back and evaluate. How do you feel about what the person is saying? Why is he/she saying that? Are you understanding the intention behind the words? Which of your buttons are being pushed?
Second, take action. Stop the verbiage if it is abusive or not respectful with a comment that puts a brake on the person speaking. Or, if you need more information ask a question or make a comment that shows that you feel for what he/she is feeling.
Third, leave. Risk losing a part of the relationship if staying for a continuation of the discussion is too upsetting. Breaking it off and ending the trajectory of the words has a benefit, too. Refusing to engage and enforcing your boundary makes it possible to start over with different rules of engagement if you want to.
You deserve to feel seen and heard and so does your partner. I believe that finding a place where power, respect and compassion are valued is the winning ticket.