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Disengage From Other People's Drama!

There is a common trend amongst many people in our society that when someone feels down or off in some way, we try to make them feel better. Sometimes we can even try to take on that person’s problems and solve it for them. The biggest challenge that surfaces from this type of interaction is that it creates a dependency issue for the person with the problem(s). If someone is always there to make you feel better or fix your issues, you will begin to rely on it. This dis-empowering behavior prevents both parties from becoming truly self-sufficient and independent.

A couple of weeks ago I was in L.A. visiting a special girl named Jill that I recently started dating, and on the eve of my birthday I had a very profound experience that allowed me to break free from this behavior in my own life.

We had just finished having a fantastic dinner with friends and we were on our way to a karaoke bar, so I could continue to face down my fear of singing in front of people. As we left the restaurant I was feeling great, but as we got closer to the bar I felt a huge wave of resistance surface. Out of nowhere I became tired, indecisive, cranky and was very much stuck in my head. As we walked into the bar I felt my whole body clench with fear. I didn’t stay inside longer than a minute before I had to retreat outside for some air. I was noticeably upset, even though I was trying my best to hide it.

In past relationships, whenever I felt like this, the person I was with would always try to figure out what was wrong with me, how they could cheer me up or even how they could solve my problem. I even experienced this sequence of behavior with my mother for most of my childhood. So it is safe to say that I had an unconscious habit of interacting this way that still found a way to surface every so often in certain situations.

But this time around something completely different happened. Instead of getting all caught up in my drama, Jill just held the space for me to work my way through it on my own. She didn’t try to get involved with my inner dialogue, she didn’t provide options or possible solutions, and she didn’t take me by my hand and drag me back into the bar. On some level I wanted her to just fix it for me, but she refused. What she did do was provide unconditional support in whatever I decided to do and disengaged from my drama completely, giving me space to work through it. Even though this agitated me–because I was clearing through the remains of that old pattern – I still felt empowered and safe.

As a result, after about 20 – 30 minutes I ultimately decided to go back into the bar, get up on that stage and belt out a tune from the depth of my soul.

It was another empowering experience of overcoming my fear of singing in front of people, but none of it would have even been possible if Jill had engaged in my drama. In fact seeing her not engage in it was actually one of the most empowering things I have experienced. It inspired me to take a hard look at myself, get my act together and move past the old pattern that had been holding me back from experiencing any sort of sustainable intimate relationship with a woman.

I realized that every time I got others to help solve my problems, I was giving them my power. Now I am not saying stop asking others for help. But what I am saying is that there comes a time in the process that we need to value our own inner voice more than the opinions of others. Otherwise, we will never truly experience the coveted freedom and independence that we all truly long for.

When it comes to helping other people, Jill showed me how powerful holding space for someone can truly be. This form of non-confrontational support gives another individual the power to feel their way through the so called storm without depending on any external sources. Holding space is not about giving someone a flash light so they can see their darkness more clearly or showing someone an easier path to take. It is about beaming your own light so bright that the other person feels safe enough to find their own way through whatever they are experiencing.

Although it is a natural tendency for many of us to engage in other people’s stories and drama, I believe this behavior holds us back from truly experiencing ALL that life has to offer. After all, we all have enough to deal with in our OWN lives; we don’t need to burden ourselves with other people’s drama, too!

Take Action Challenge:

Do you try to solve or fix other people’s problems for them? Are you engaging in their drama? It’s time to disengage! Every day for the next week take a hard look at your relationships, and take a step back from playing an active role in other people’s problems. If / when you are asked specifically how to solve their problems, mirror the same questions they ask you back to them, while providing unconditional support, encouragement and love so they can figure it out for themselves!

If / when you notice the inner “rescuer” surfacing, remember; stay in your own truth and shine your own light even brighter, while letting go of the desire to solve the problem for them. The best help you can provide is to EMPOWER them so they can find their own way!

Give it a try and let me know how it goes :)

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Michael Eisen is the founder of the Youth Wellness Network, an organization dedicated to inspiring and empowering youth across the globe to live happier and more positive lives. Michael is teaching his first online program this summer called Living the Empowered YOU. To learn more about Michael and the Youth Wellness Network, visit: www.youthwellnessnetwork.ca, connect with him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter: @youthwellnet

  • Ema

    Thank you so much for this blog. I am a person that would like to help every single person on this world, especially to the people that I love. I will take your advice and let people solve their problems while giving them support. Much blessings.

    • http://www.youthwellnessnetwork.ca/ Michael Eisen

       Thanks for the comment Ema! I am happy you will take this advice and put it into practice. The greatest gift you can give to others is not solving their problems but empowering them to solve them on their own! But yes – always show up with support and love – it allows the process to go a lot smoother!

  • Southerngirl33

    Wow, now THAT is something I needed to hear. I have always turned to my loved ones to “fix me” . It all goes back to the relationship with our parents, like you said. As a mother I want to forever remember to give my daughter space and empowerment. So brilliant. I hope you continue to blog for TDL.

    • http://www.youthwellnessnetwork.ca/ Michael Eisen

      Hey Southerngirl, I am SO glad my blog and my experience inspired you! I am also thrilled to hear you will remember to give your daughter space and to empower her to make her own choices and be able to solve her own problems too! It is the greatest gift you can give her :). I post a blog on TDL every Saturday, so come back next week and leave another comment! :)

  • Dana Lynne Curry

    Hey Michael–
    What an amazing blog! Your words and experiences are such a beautiful message! I have been on rescue/rescuer missions all my life UNTIL NOW–and it’s empowering all around. Can’s wait to take your course, “Living the Empowered You!” with my kids–we’re all taking it together! (Mastin K. hooked me up with the idea!–he’s one of my mentors!)
    Blessings to you and the work you do! Check out my blog at funfreeME.blogspot.com. where I try to translate some of these grownup dialogues around transformation down to kids!
    Take care and thanks so much for sharing amazing YOU with amazing US!
    ;0) dana

  • Dana Lynne Curry

    Hey Michael–
    What an amazing blog! Your words and experiences are such a beautiful message! I have been on rescue/rescuer missions all my life UNTIL NOW–and it’s empowering all around. Can’s wait to take your course, “Living the Empowered You!” with my kids–we’re all taking it together! (Mastin K. hooked me up with the idea!–he’s one of my mentors!)
    Blessings to you and the work you do! Check out my blog at funfreeME.blogspot.com. where I try to translate some of these grownup dialogues around transformation down to kids!
    Take care and thanks so much for sharing amazing YOU with amazing US!
    ;0) dana

    • http://www.youthwellnessnetwork.ca/ Michael Eisen

       Hey Dana! Thank you so much for your comments! Glad to hear you have stopped the rescuer mission :). So happy to hear you and your kids are taking my course starting next week! I checked out your blog and looks great – just emailed you to set up a time to connect too!
      See you in the virtual classroom on Tuesday :)
      Michael

  • Joyce Fetterman

    This is a most excellent post.  It will take some practice for me – at work and in my personal life.  Thank you.

    • http://www.youthwellnessnetwork.ca/ Michael Eisen

       Thanks Joyce! Keep it up – you can do it!!

  • megred

    I really like your messages, but I find myself having a hard time staying connected because there seems to be a lot of focus around the details and specifics, especially in relation to you.  Just a thought that the power and emphasis of your messages could be increased with less focus on the details that led you to your lesson / insight and more focus on the universal truths and elements that lie at the foundation of all of life’s lessons.  I find the extensive details around your experience block my ability to fully connect with your message.  That said, I realize this is my ‘problem’, but as I’m a fan of constructive criticism, just wanted to offer my perspective.  

  • No More

    I ended a dating relationship because the person not only dumped their problems on me but others (friends, neighbors, family, colleagues, etc.) as well. I knew more about their problems then I knew about him. It became clear to me that he, in some way, enjoyed being a magnet for this kind of drama. Every day it was something new. Midway through the 2nd month, it was too much. I moved on. 

  • http://www.omgisthatreallyme.com/ Omgisthatreallyme

    Hi Michael

    Thanks so much for a great post.  I could really relate to your situation but in reverse – I help lots of other people with their lives and rarely ask for help myself but your post gave me an insight into the perspective of someone who decided to step up and deal with an issue on their own. 

    It’s also helped me think more deeply about why people leave me alone when I’m struggling with an issue

    Thanks so much for sharing xx

  • Suemac

    Thank you for reminding me that my “rescuer” urges don’t have to be stifled completely, just hushed up! I see that dynamic at work in my life every day – my husband has multiple serious health issues and it’s difficult sometimes for me to find the balance between rescuing and being a loving wife. He has ongoing cardiac issues, which can bring extreme “drama”, and one of the challenges for me has been to learn to live calmly while acknowledging that a crisis could occur at any moment.Your blog helps me realize that, when it’s NOT a crisis situation, I have truly learned to adopt that stance of simply holding the space for him to take responsibility for himself, while being supportive and caring at the same time. As both a caregiver and spouse, it’s an ever-shifting challenge to fill those roles in a way that is satisfying for both of us.