All issues, drama, chaos and confusion can be traced back to the same source. A broken agreement.
Somebody didn’t hold up their end of an agreement and decided to go in another direction.
Most of us make agreements all day with all sorts of people.
Many of these agreements are not verbalized.
They remain silent, hidden, agreed upon with no discussion regarding what it is we are both needing in this situation and what it will require from both of us.
We all prefer mind reading, hints and suggestions, and my personal favorite: passive aggressive behavior.
While none of these things work long term they do provide endless hours of entertainment and create predictable and unsatisfying results.
Why focus on some forward movement when we can whine and moan about what somebody else in not doing?
So what does an agreed upon course of action look like?
For starters we get very clear about what we’re agreeing to do and what we will not participate in despite the consequences.
For many years, I agreed to be the broke, whacky, fucked up artist because it allowed me a space in my family and an opportunity to claim an identity.
Years later I met my wonderful husband who asked: Why would you choose to live like this?
With that one question my life was transformed.
My identity then became one of financial solvency, savings accounts, artistic expression (beyond the desperation that goes with being “discovered” and “picked”) and home ownership.
I switched the agreement with my family of origin and folks still ain’t happy.
I switched our decades long agreement without discussion with or consent from them (family).
I’m not sure if people don’t want you to change or feel threatened because now the agreement (in most cases to play small) is threatened.
Folks get their dander up when you switch up the game.
I’ve been agreeing to all sorts of tomfoolery at my job with my young people that is based in fear and with no input from me (silent agreements).
I will come in swinging with a simple, effective, agreed upon set of rules and they will get on board or move along.
I plan to push, demand and orchestrate a very different type of agreement between myself and my students. Our previous agreement was based on me surviving the homophobic environment that limits my ability to share intimacies and personal anecdotes (my strong suit that provided great teacher -student relationships).
For one, I allowed myself to shrink and be less than my brilliant self.
No one should ever allow themselves to be reduced.
As I begin to show up and be less dependent on being “safe” (which means being unseen), I change our silent and highly dysfunctional interaction.
I must keep in mind that folks prefer fucked up and familiar as opposed to new, exciting and uncertain.
Whenever we change our agreed upon dealings, there is a major upset and some immediate and unforseen push back. It shows up in all sorts of interesting ways and has only one function- stop change and prevent new agreements/arrangements.
What most of us perceive as drama is honesty showing itself as anger, disappointment and a refusal to see things from another’s viewpoint.
Most of the time when things are not going as planned (our way), the immediate response is to find the cause and assign blame.
Finding blame (a highly effective tool for preventing any serious dialogue or change) is always a way to find fault with another and make sure nothing changes.
Here is the drama portion- one person wants change and the other is getting all their needs met or at least enough of them to adamantly resist change in any form. Hence, drama.
Or better yet, one party changes the arrangement without notifying the involved parties and much discussion never occurs about the changes.
While this might provide chuckle worthy material for sitcoms and movies, it wrecks havoc on real relationships no mater what our true intent.
Here are a few suggestions to prevent this type of foolishness in everyday life.
Ask- what are we trying to do and what did you agree to do? Fell free to share the same information with your conversation mate.
Tell the Truth- How many times have we rehearsed the truth in our minds and offered something else when given the chance.
Get super clear on the vision of the type of relationship you are trying to create.