Detecting your own drama, and stepping out of it

Are you being emotional or are you dramatising the situation?We can be emotional vs. dramatising the situation.

I’ll briefly outline how I see these two processes, and I think the differences will show us why the first one hugely benefits us, and the second does not.

I’ll conclude with some technical tips on how to step out when you find yourself trapped in a dramatising mindset


Emotion is natural to a healthy human being, but our western, logic-oriented society does not deal with it well. The western mind often tries to makes sense of (understand) emotion, and our scientific culture advocates the usefulness of that

Emotion however, doesn’t care about understanding, it only cares for one thing: To be acknowledged & felt through

Feeling an emotion is a great way of touching it, and although ‘feeling it’ may sound like a simple task (which it is), but a simple task isn’t always that easy to do

Several complications hamper this simple act of feeling, for example:

Emotions can be unpleasant, and as such you may feel reluctant to get into them

Emotion can also be intense, and as such may trigger fears that if you allow yourself to feel that, things may get out of control

Emotions can also be very different from the expectations of your conscious mind. When that happens, many different barriers to ‘simply feel’ quickly emerge. These barriers all act as reasons to refuse acknowledging the emotions, which is contrary to what emotion needs in order to unwind.
Hence there is a conflict.
Reasons to refuse emotion include: they’re silly, they should not be there anymore because you’ve dealt with it, or you shouldn’t feel this way because you’re supposed feel something else

You may notice that each of these opinions has its own emotion attached: Reluctance, rejection, anger, fear, impatience, despise ..not very nice feelings usually

When these ‘secondary’ emotions (emotions about emotions) come up, they’re added to the knot of emotion that is already there, which does not exactly help the unwinding process. Let alone that any refusal to acknowledge the presence of an emotion isn’t a great start to feeling it 😉

However, there is no way around it: Emotion stays with you until it’s felt all the way through. Denying it, or burying it somewhere deep won’t make it go away, it will eventually re-emerge, in a similar or morphed form (emotional trigger spots, development of twisted behaviour to work around these spots. Long lasting emotional knots inhibits healthy micro flow in your body and as such may eventually lead to physical disease)

Note: I don’t mention sharing /expressing emotion as a requirement for natural processing. I see these just as alternate ways to get to the act of feeling. Processing is about feeling, not a bout sharing. However, If sharing/expressing works for you, then certainly use it, just be aware that sharing/expressing can also work against truly feeling, for example if the person you’re trying to sharing engages into talking you out of it, instead of fully accepting your emotional state, how irrational it may seem to them. In such a case you’re just collecting noise and you might better off finding other ways to reach the feeling state

Emotion is stored in Layers

Note 2: Emotion, like consciousness, is stored in a layered way, very much like an onion. All of the mentioned complications add their own layer to the onion, and each layer can be released by feeling it

To illustrate this: There is this idea going around that certain traumatic events stay with you forever. I invite you to question this idea. Yes, memories stay, but the emotional attachment does not have to. However, when trying to look at the situation in this way, a emotional complication might show up: Thoughts/feelings that letting go of the grief equals betrayal towards the loved one. This is good example of a complicating factor, and Feelings First sees such feelings as just another layer to unwind separately

One additional thing: Human consciousness is unable to multi task 1
What seems like multi tasking is actually switching quickly between different tasks. Realize that this switching degrades the quality of the delivered work

Now .. the same accounts for thinking logically and being in an emphatic feeling state: many meditators already indicated it, and now also MRI imaging has shown that these two states cannot occur simultaneously and run through separated circuits in the brain 

You may wonder why I mention this, you’ll see later on 🙂

Experiencing emotion

After this introduction, it is easy to define a healthy state of experiencing emotion: You simple experience it without any above complicating factors. When truly experiencing emotion,

-there is just 1 or a few topics involved
-there is not a big story circling around it, and therefore thinking is minimal
-there is no arguing with, denial of, or judgement about the emotion

You simply experience the waves of emotion as they present themselves, and that’s it. Your acknowledging attitude towards the emotion, combined with the absence of thinking (eg explaning or justification) about it allows you to truly feel, which facilitates the natural unwinding of the emotions. These properties make experiencing emotion a very healthy state to be in

The process of dramatising

are u dramatising the situation?Dramatising is totally different from experiencing emotion. Here, the complicating factors are fully present and active.

Denial, judgement, dramatic ideas (e.g. there is no solution possible, or I will never learn this) all add their layers of emotion to the onion

The complications make you oscillate between thinking and feeling, so you never get to the point of truly feeling.  As a result, the emotional pond never reduces, but just grows and grows .. until it overflows and a (existential) crisis emerges or the dramatising person collapses due to exhaustion

Pardon me for putting this in a slightly dramatic way 😉 but I do this to show that the dramatising state really does not compare to experiencing emotion state. Due to internet/ social media, we see a lot of drama flying by nowadays, and people often mistake this for healthy emotional expression is not

Dramatising only inflates already intense emotions, leads to tunnel vision and as such distorts the sense of reality

When a dramatising person wakes up the next day, the (self-induced) crisis has probably subsided, and some of the most acute emotion might even have been processed automatically during sleep. However, not all stuff gets processed automatically, so a dramatiser is usually up for a next round soon, no because of their situation, but because of the way they deal with their situation

Last but certainly not least: Seeing other peoples drama, and calling them names, e.g. ‘drama queen’, is really easy, so please don’t waste your time on that

Seeing your own drama (we all get stuck in there from time to time) is much more challenging, and therefore more  usuefult to invest in 🙂 read on for some handles on how to detect your own drama

What to do if ->you<- find yourself in a dramatic state?

We all slide into a dramatic state from time to time, and in order be able to step out, we first have to detect it somehow. However, drama detection is easier said then done

Regarding feeling, what works against you is that you’re immersed in your own bubble of feelings all the time. Differences in feeling are the easiest to notice, however certain feelings representing your core values will be present continuously, and therefore you’ll likely not notice them anymore. As core calues are often in play in dramatising, 24/7 pure sensory detection is not easy. To help, I’ve compiled a simple checklist of ‘red-flag’ symptoms

Here’s the checklist

  • You think a lot, and these thoughts trigger strong feelings, which makes you oscillate between feeling and thinking
  • Your thinking circles around in a story, which seems to rest on facts, but actually rests more on ideas/ beliefs about supposed facts
  • You attribute a strong sense of truth to these ideas/ beliefs, which generates its own set of strong feelings
    For example: When time is a factor, you may feel the urgency to act, but it seems you cannot, because ..X. (the feeling added to the mix is ‘freeze’)
    You also may feel it is too late to act .. you missed you chance … again! (the feeling added to the mix is ‘judgement/regret’)
  • Thoughts containing words like ‘inevitable’ or ‘only option’ indicate tunnel vision which is always a red flag. When you are able to broaden your perspective, other options always turn up, unless the house is on fire of course 😉
  • Being emotional is usually part of a dramatic state, but be aware this emotion can be overwhelming as well as subliminal. Therefore, seeming absence of emotion is not a sign you’re not dramatising
  • What is often there is a building sensation. When it feels like more problems appear by the minute, this is definitely a ‘red flag’

The moment you realize you’re in a loop/circle, and some kind of ‘truth’ seems to keep you there, this is reason to question theat ‘truth’. Emotional complications that show up when you do so, can be worked with by sensing them through, read on below

Stepping out of the dramatising mindset

Dramatising is a domino effect

Certain feelings triggering certain thoughts triggering more feelings along the same lines

It’s quite difficult to think your way out of drama, as thinking usually circulates within the current emotional context, which is never positive when you’re dramatising. Thinking from that state therefore only creates a domino effect, which is also known as the downward spiral 

Going into the sensation of the current emotional context, which we do here at Feelings First, gives you much better chances to get out. Provided you do it right, working from sensation will result in a release of the emotion underlying your current context. As a result of the context change, your thinking will relax & clear up automatically

Summarizing: When you feel calmer, your thinking changes, your perspective changes as well, and a wider angle will present itself .. it is really that simple

However, you still need to be aware of being the drama, before being able to decide going into the sensation of it. That’s what’s this article is for, to provide you with a set of gentle alarm bells to shake you up in the more difficult moments 😉 The free introduction course provides you first tools to find release through sensing, check out the button below

We all need to acknowledge some set of truths in order to be able to live our lives. Feelings First is not about negating the concept of truth, but to make you aware of how the truth makes you feel, provide tools to unwind those feelings, and see how this unwinding influences the ‘truth’

If this sounds vague, the way forward is to go hands-on with it, that’s what the intro course is for. It’s free, quite useful, so try it out and see if you can get it to work for you

The intro course is useful because realising you’re dramatising the situation is a great step, which may relax you a bit, by itself it’s not enough to rise out of it. You need something to help you unwind the underlying emotional currents, because as long as those fly around in your system it will be difficult for a broader perspective to form

The hands-on course is designed to let you experience first-hand that unwinding feeling changes your thinking lines. Getting hands-on allows you to verify some of the statements made in this article.

In consciousness work, experiencing the effects is your main tool of validation, so don’t assume anything but:

🙂 t r y i t o u t 🙂



1. Think You’re Multitasking? Think Again (popular) Cognitive control in media multitaskers (more scientific)

2. Think or feel? Can’t we do both? (popular) Empathy represses analytic thought, and vice versa (more scientific)

Photo Credit: .Andi. via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Carbon Arc Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: One_Penny via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: marfis75 via Compfight cc


Article is free to share, non-commercial reuse, with proper attribution.
More information: by-nc-sa