The Root Cause of Drama

You know how sometimes you want, think or feel something, but don’t want to say it?

You feel bad about wanting it, thinking it or feeling it.  Or you’re embarrassed that you do.  Or both.  And more.

So you just don’t say anything. You hold it in.  Stuff it down, maybe. But then your mind twists it all around.

It wants to protect you from feeling bad and definitely doesn’t want to take responsibility for the feeling.

It wants to protect you from disappointment.

So it makes up a story and projects it out on the people around you.

They would never have given you what you wanted anyway.  Never could have understood you.

You begin to believe the story and then you begin to see evidence of it everywhere.

A-ha, your mind says!  See … it’s a good thing you didn’t say what you wanted because you would never have gotten it anyway.

Suddenly, you are sucked in and life sucks.

You are trapped. Can’t say anything because of the story. And yet you can’t stop thinking about it, that thing you wanted a little bit before, now you really, really, really want it.

And you are more convinced than ever that you can’t have it.

Then it starts to scream.  Mine sounds like a child who hasn’t had its needs meet.

The negative self talk kicks in.

“You are trapped.  You’re screwed. How could you let yourself get into this situation … again?”

And, of course, your mind tells you it’s not your fault.  It’s their fault.

Ready to be free?

Stop playing these mind games with yourself.

There is a solution.

Just say it.  Stop judging what you want and what you feel.  Express it.

Allow the expression to be without charge.  Express it from a place of stillness and without emotion.

This thing you want is not right or wrong, it just is.

Your feelings. Your thoughts.  Your innermost stuff  you don’t share with anyone.  It’s all okay.

As soon as you say what you want, think and feel and take 100% responsibility for those wants, thoughts and feelings, you can drop the story about how “they” are keeping you from having it.

Drama will drop away.  Maybe not immediately, but over time as the people in your life who can’t handle your truth drop away.

Start by saying what you are not saying.

Feel free to practice here in the comments.  What is something you haven’t been saying because you think you shouldn’t think it or feel it, but you do?

Let’s experience some freedom together.


  1. LeannaTuesday, March 16, 2010 at 2:46 pm 

    I think the drama often comes about because people think they need to express everything they are feeling or thinking. They think these things are “the truth” or even just “their truth.” But sometimes, it's better to just let things go. To realize how little they matter really. To move on to something else. To not take things personally. To not stuff things down, but to just let it float away and dissipate. To just let the drama go.

  2. Alexis Martin NeelyTuesday, March 16, 2010 at 3:35 pm 

    Yes, I agree. When you can let it go, do. Oftentimes though we tell ourselves we've let it go and we really haven't and now it's become this twisted up thing that wasn't let go and wasn't expressed. A tangled mess.

  3. MicheleWoodwardTuesday, March 16, 2010 at 3:40 pm 

    Drama is often confused with importance – maybe it's due to the false urgency drama can create. And I do believe folks get addicted to the false urgency, because it results in a compelling emotional high, and requires no tether to what's real. Over time, for some people, drama replaces real experiences, real life, real presence, much in the same way artificial flavors replace natural flavors in food. Drama is fake, and man-made. When you commit to living fully, in the present, speaking your truth when it's called for… you've no need for fake emotion. You've no need for drama.

  4. LeannaTuesday, March 16, 2010 at 5:04 pm 

    Oh, yes. I get that way. But when I have “stormy brain” I know it's a sign to keep turning inward, not to look to the other person to get resolution. Sometimes it's also a sign to go to a kirtan or sit on my meditation cushion or walk in the woods. And eventually what I knew from the start, that whatever wrong I thought had been committed against me had nothing personal to do with me, comes through and it's gone.
    Maybe not the best way for everyone, but it works for me so far. I think.

  5. Lily IatridisTuesday, March 16, 2010 at 6:11 pm 

    Hi Alexis,

    I agree! When you hold something negative in too long, it gets larger and does permeate your perceptions and interactions in a negative way. And it causes you to lose objectivity and overreact when you're dealing with people. Not great for productive positive problem-solving! Have been practicing on my hubby of five years for five years, and although very awkward at first, it's not a problem now. I now deal with my parents (finally-yay!) and service providers effectively, but it's the rude unexpected intrusion/ aggression from the “friendly” acquaintance that still usually stuns me into silence. Definitely need to work on responding to that one instead of silently fuming on and off for hours or days afterward.

    All the best,


  6. Alexis Martin NeelyWednesday, March 17, 2010 at 1:30 am 

    I think what you are saying IS the best way for everyone when it's something that can be let go and not something that has to change because you are not getting your needs/wants/desires met and they are real needs/wants/desires that deserve to be met and not ignored. This is kind of cryptic, so I'll probably have to write a post that uses some concrete examples. Thanks for the discussion.

  7. Alexis Martin NeelyWednesday, March 17, 2010 at 1:30 am 

    Awesome Michele. How do you decide when speaking your truth is called for and when it's not?

  8. NicholeWednesday, March 17, 2010 at 1:46 am 

    Say it in love. You can't just go around saying what you want because it makes you feel better without regard for how it might affect/impact someone else. I'm saying to censor yourself, but at least take the time to frame it in love. I should know; I didn't always (and still don't always) do this, and once words are released, you can't take them back.

  9. Cherry WoodburnWednesday, March 17, 2010 at 2:34 am 

    Right now can't think of a thing I'm holding in, just got it. “When you won't help me I don't feel supported. I don't think I ask for help often.”
    Good post. For the most part I can say things without a charge but when I'm hurt, that gets harder. I also agree with one of the commenters that not saying everything can be a good idea but not when it's eating at you. Tends to come out sideways then.

  10. MicheleWoodwardWednesday, March 17, 2010 at 12:57 pm 

    Great question! Writer Byron Katie says there are three kinds of business in the world – “My business, your business and God's business.” When I'm deciding about speaking my truth, I first have to ask, “Is this my business?” Because if it is, then speaking allows me to be an advocate for myself, express important things, manage my self-care. But if what I want to say is really about “Your business”, then what I may be engaged in is… telling you what you should do, telling you where you're wrong… and that's not truth – that's ego. If I find I have an ego-driven need to set someone straight, I don't do it. Because while it's fine to have an ego in your care, you just can't let it drive.

    From approaches like Crucial Conversations, I also spend time on what I hope to gain by speaking my truth. Again, if there is ego involved, I stop. If there is self-care involved, I say what needs saying.

    Truth is relative, and often differently from alternative perspectives. I have learned that things I've held to be “true” turn out to be something else all together. In fact, I know that things are true at the same time they are not true at all – going all woo-woo on you – and I am absolutely fine with that understanding. Speaking what's true for me, in this moment, without judgment of me or of you – that's what's called for.

  11. Lori B.Friday, March 19, 2010 at 5:51 pm 

    YES, I know what you are writing about here! I have been reminding myself -A LOT LATELY- of this – I am better and life is better when I am who I am. When I try to hide my dreams and desires, I cannot let them go, and I just get depressed, because I am re-cycling the desire and the rejection of the desire, burning up a lot of energy, for naught but more stress. Better to risk activating the idea than trying to sit on it and keep it a secret.

    In truth, I have been pretty well able to bring my dreams to life, so by my own example, I have no reason to think I can't be successful with more and bigger dreams!

  12. EconGrrlWednesday, March 24, 2010 at 2:51 pm 

    I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I want my worklife to be easier. I want to ignore the clock and really connect to my friends and my clients.

    It's not very 'professional'; it doesn't pay the bills, but that is the desire I've been squelching.

  13. Greg_EvansWednesday, April 7, 2010 at 1:42 am 

    I want to be free of my addictions.

  14. Jenna MartinThursday, April 8, 2010 at 12:51 pm 

    I want to totally change my lifestyle but I know it will negatively impact my relationship.

  15. Lee StraussWednesday, May 26, 2010 at 1:37 am 

    Hi Alexis, Stubbled on to your site doing some research on building a successful business, sure hope that in the very near future I saved enough money to purchase you LIFT program (package 3), anyway that's not why I am writing here. As a beginner coach, I can really identify with what your talking about here, it like we out of the same mould, I have very similar conditioning to you, I too need to be BEST at what ever I choose to do and if I not then I feel stupid and I do it to prove my worth, I not sure who it is that I need to prove it too, but I have the feeling I need to prove it.

    I take heart in that there someone else out there taking a similar journey to myself, and I do hope our paths will cross.

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