How to Take The Drama Out Of Your Communications?

How to Take The Drama Out Of Your Communications












My aim in this article is to help you:

  • Recognise when you are in the drama triangle
  • Reassure you that you are not alone
  • Resource you to get out of it.


What is a Drama? 

Drama is when you spend more time talking about someone rather than talking to them. Drama is when your insides feel permanently in a knot or your head is clouded and unable to communicate what you truly want. Drama is whenever you do speak it is misunderstood, misinterpreted and it causes conflict. Of Course their are many other examples but hopefully you get the idea.

 The Drama Triangle

The drama triangle is a psychological and social model of human interaction in transactional analysis (TA) first described by Stephen Karpman, in his 1968 article “Fairy Tales and Script Drama Analysis”.  Below is an explanation from Caitlin Walker and Sarah Nixon’s   one year self coaching diaries and if you want to find out more I highly recommend the book From Contempt to Curiosity

The Ego States



You may blame or PERSECUTE someone else, from this position you are likely to believe it is the other person that has to change. You are likely to look for evidence to prove your point. You are likely to ignore any evidence that contradicts your point. You may be shouting and clearly angry. You may be calm or even smiling. You will be pointing out that someone else is in the wrong. You will be unlikely to be taking any personal responsibility for change.

This is when you believe and we do truly believe in the moment our happiness or success or the lack of it is someone else’s fault. You will hear things like:


  • If they just did ……….everything would be okay
  • If they were motivated we would all be happy then…
  • If they were not so idle, rude disrespectful then…




A different ‘Drama’ role is that of VICTIM, from this position you are likely to believe you are powerless. You are likely to look for evidence to prove your point and again, you are likely to ignore any evidence that contradicts your point. You may be shouting and clearly angry. You may be calm or even smiling. You will be pointing out that someone else is in the wrong. You will be unlikely to be taking any personal responsibility for change.

You might hear:


  • Is it just me that can think for myself
  • It seems like it is only me they can’t get on with
  • I have worked so hard and given so much how come they don’t appreciate it




Another and often deceptive ‘Drama’ role is that of RESCUER, from this position you are likely to believe you are helping everyone else. You are  likely to look for evidence that you have to keep doing what you are doing.

You are  likely to ignore any evidence that you are maintaining a problem. You are likely to train other people to behave like victims or to dis-empower them. You are likely to pacify persecutors and build up latent anger towards them. You are likely to burn out as what you do is unsustainable.

You might hear:


  • If they are not going to do it well enough I will have to do it myself
  • I have to do that or they will feel left out
  • Can I suggest you do…



Do you recognise yourself yet? Do you recognise someone you know? 

I promise you,  you are not alone and if you can spot someone else in the drama triangle then it is very  likely that you are there with them too. Perhaps as persecutor because you think they have to change not you??(Just a thought)

Many businesses are stuck in drama right now. Many personal relationships fall apart because they end up in drama and of course  everyone is someone else’s difficult person. 

First Step, is to recognise when you are communicating with others from one of those ego states. You can share this with a trusted friend and ask them to notice if they think you are communicating from drama. You can also observe your own language and be mindful of your intention.


You can practice here by reading these statements and determining where in the drama triangle you think the person is:


  • If you they were a good employee they would make time for follow up
  • They just want to be paid for nothing
  • They want their cake and eat it




  • They don’t appreciate me
  • They don’t have the same pressures as I do
  • I have to come up with all the solutions and ideas, no one else ever contributes




  • I have to do it because they won’t get round to it
  • I have to do it because they will get stressed otherwise
  • I have to do it because they are not skilled enough yet


Can you recognise Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer now?

How to get out of drama?


  1. Get really clear what you would like to have happen. Ensure your language is solution focused. It is what you want not what you don’t want
  2. Have confidence in asking for what you want and need
  3. Develop compassion and understanding for the difference between what is said and what is heard and give evidence based feedback

If you want to know more about ‘how’ to get out drama check my video: “How to do, delegate or ditch with confidence?” where I share 3 communication tools that can help you take the drama out of your communications.


 About the Author – Sheryl Andrews – The Strength and Solution Detective

Sheryl Andrews, Founder of Step by Step Listening is well known for her fast speaking and highly motivational passion. But what many of you may not know is that in private behind closed doors she was also no stranger to challenging conversations, lapses in self belief and an overwhelming sense of not being good enough. Sheryl use to find it difficult to speak up and have her needs met despite the fact she could and would encourage everyone else to do exactly that. A series of 3 events in her personal life forced her to stop and learn how to take her own advice.

Today Sheryl runs retreats and one to one sessions resourcing you to do more of what you love, delegate or learn how to do what you don’t and ditch the critic that says you can’t. Sharing a communication tool kit and collaboration tool kit that will transform the way you think, feel and understand those around you. Sheryl and her team will be your strength and solution detective whilst you train your inner critic and those that around you to listen in a way that motivates and inspires you.

Don’t know how call her now….+44(0)1329 286648

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Case Study – Erica Dent (August 2010 – Dec 2012)

Communication Training For Trainers

EricaDentAbout Erica – Enjoy Discovering Wine 

Erica Dent’s is an award winning wine trainer who found her passion for wine in 1995 when she moved to New Zealand, which led to her completing a one-year, full-time Polytechnic course in viticulture and vilification. The college has its own vineyards and winery, so the course followed a complete annual cycle of the vine, starting with pruning through to bottling and labelling the wine a year later. She also gained work experience at other vineyards and wineries in New Zealand.

Why did you start working with Step by Step Listening?

I met Sheryl at a Solent Women in Business networking meeting in November 2009 and in March 2010 I attended a taster session.  This is when I realised that I quite liked the business of ‘listening to myself’ instead of asking everyone else for the answers.  I knew straight away I needed to get going and booked a one-to-one with Sheryl.

During this first session I discovered that I had a [metaphorical] brick wall which I kept coming up against and, therefore, couldn’t get past it to move my business on. It was as simple as having the realisation that I had this brick wall, which represented my fears in business, and that I needed to work on getting past it.

I was new to the area and struggling to gain clientele.  I noticed that whenever I even just ‘thought’ about selling, it created a knot in my stomach, this was a feeling of great discomfort one that I am now familiar with when I am mentally not comfortable with an aspect of my business.

This was my first of many very productive sessions with Step by Step Listening , in fact, in that first one-to-one session, the wall completely disappeared!

What happened? 

Erica worked with Step by Step Listening for 2 ½ years taking her from sole trader to small business owner. We still keep in touch today and have become really good friends. Nowadays her team and husband are able to ask her the questions and she doesn’t ‘need’ our space because she has created her own. Over the two years Erica attended power group sessions for planning and decision making, one to one sessions for really drilling down and group learning sessions to practice and improve your listening and questioning technique plus a team day to help the team create a team vision for the company.

What difference has working with Step by Step Listening made?

In business

  • I am less tired and I am managing my time more effectively
  • I have more fun as I am not so stressed
  • I get more reward from my hard work, which makes it even more worthwhile
  • I often hear myself using the questions in my head which helps me to get the answers more quickly
  • I have recognise sooner what is working, so I waste less time on what is not working
  • Financially it is working well, meaning less unwanted pressure
  • My client base has considerably increased
  • I have employed two staff and find using the questions really helps me manage them better
  • As a team we are all working to our strengths, seeing results, and more importantly having fun!

As a result of the sessions I was pro-active to recruit someone to do the sales.  I now have someone who finds sales easy and loves it; for me working at my best is teaching and building the business, not selling. I have since found that I enjoy having coffee and talking to people about Enjoy Discovering Wine’s offerings and building relationships, but I am not comfortable at the initial making contact.

You can really have fun in business when you know how you work at your best. When you know what you are great at, then you can employ the right people around you to compliment and do the stuff you are not so good at.

At home

Despite initial doubts about the questions, Andy, my husband, now uses his own version of them which still works for us. We ask the questions to  resolve differences and make decisions, such as which car to buy, whose turn it is to cook dinner etc., in much less time than before.



Why do you keep coming to your monthly session even though business is so great?

Erica said, “It is a space to clarify my thinking, so if something has cropped up in business, it gives me space to think about what ‘I’ would like to have happen, and even when everything seems all okay I always, always have a da dahhh! moment, you know those moments of revelation when you go, oh yeah that’s it.”

I am now a team of three and we have trebled the business. I can now separate work and life a little more, although that probably will never really happen, I love working. I am less tired, work is more rewarding and it is so much more fun.

Who would you recommend to work with Step by Step Listening?

Erica said, “I would recommend anybody and everybody to just give it a try and give it a good try, experience the different ways of listening, and learn a little bit about the questions that make the difference. If you want to run your business on your terms, in your own unique way, and with confidence then, this process is for you.”

“If you want overnight answers by being told by others what to do, then this is probably not the right way for you. The sessions are all about you understanding ‘your’ thinking and having the confidence in your own decisions. The one-to-one sessions are more intense and you get more extreme focus on you and your business only; whereas the Power Groups allow you to gain some insight into how others are having similar challenges and achievements, while you work on your own stuff at the same time. It is a very supportive and encouraging environment to be able to work in, being with other business owners, but still having intense focus on your own business.”

« Return to Case Studies

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I was struggling with a tedious and mundain Excel spreadsheet that required copying and pasting information into columns, but the original information didn’t start out in columns.

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Personally – I was fighting the employed/self employed argument with myself and generally battling with the decisions I had made. Continue reading I Am Now More Confident & More Relaxed

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Belinda was and in fact still is a highly driven and passionate business person and a single mum to two beautiful girls. When I met her she was juggling 3 Continue reading Two Clients Produce 15% of Our Business?

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How accurately are you communicating?

Continue reading Are You Respecting Their Language?

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Continue reading Is Your 8 Year Old A Teen Already?

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Helen earlier this year decided to start to write down her reflections and this piece resonated with me.

Continue reading The Next Generation Can Teach Us So Much

What is a Strength and Solution Detective?

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How To Delegate With Confidence?

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