In a previous blog of mine, “Conflict,” (https://peaceperspectiveblog.wordpress.com/2016/03/11/conflict/) I wrote: “Did you know you have a choice of how to respond to a conflict contrary to your instinctive reactions to participating in it and making it worse? Seems like a silly question, but I think that many of us feel that when conflict arises we must initially fight back at the same level, contribute to the nastiness, and participate in the escalation in order for our viewpoint to be heard. How refreshing to know that we don’t have to do this.”
Before I even heard the term, “drop the rope,” at times, I was already doing it without being aware of the concept.
However, at times I didn’t drop the rope. I felt compelled to continue on with battles filled with utter nonsense. Battles which should have never been battles to begin with and I fought them until the point of mental exhaustion. Years ago, I was completely unaware of the diabolical dynamics of each bizarre encounter I was engaged in. My mind could not, would not, and still does not process the level of insanity of which I had to reason with. Each encounter left me baffled and emotionally drained.
In my futile attempt to comprehend why someone doesn’t understand the basic fundamentals of common sense, common courtesy, and basic human decency, I had an immense desire to do whatever I could to instill logic into an illogical situation. I kept playing till it made me crazy. I couldn’t understand why nothing ever got resolved despite offering every ounce of compromise, peace, and kindness in the spirit of reconciliation and unity.
Then…there came a day when the heavens opened, the light shined and everything became abundantly clear. I stumbled upon a friend’s Facebook post on narcissism and was curious and there it was! The very first article I read told me everything I needed to know and I finally learned what I was dealing with. When that moment hit, I knew once and for all that no matter what I did, what I said, or how I did anything, it was never going to be enough and I’d never win. That is when I learned to “drop the rope.”
In healthy relationships, dropping the rope is easy as neither side desires for a conflict or disagreement to escalate to the point that it threatens a friendship or relationship. Each side attempts to practice an innate self-control and would never overstep boundaries to intentionally hurt the other person. They are well aware that to begin verbally and personally attacking the other person with dialogue that has nothing to do with what is being discussed is completely unacceptable and will no doubt lead to dissension. They understand that whatever is being discussed is certainly not worth jeopardizing a friendship or relationship. Disagreements end when both sides respectfully agree to disagree and the moment is over. Notice I said respectfully agree to disagree. Ending a heated conversation with a series of demands, insults, threats, and punishment is not respectfully agreeing to disagree. It’s bullying.
In healthy relationships, both sides are subconsciously “dropping the rope” because it’s a natural instinct in good, decent people who do not want to fight and understand people are allowed to have a different viewpoint.
However, when you are involved in a conflict or disagreement with a toxic person, it is important that you quickly recognize when you are in a situation that is unresolvable. Not because you are unwilling to resolve issues, but the other party is unwilling. Their main goal is control and they refuse to respectfully accept your point of view while demonstrating authority over you.
So, what exactly is dropping the rope? It’s a beautiful mental tool to utilize when conflicts arise and how to keep yourself peaceful. Think of the old-school game of “tug of war.” If one team should “drop the rope” in the middle of the game, what happens? The game is over. In the case of tug of war, the team that dropped the rope loses. However, the exact opposite is the case when you drop the rope in any conflict. The person who drops the rope wins!
The concept of “dropping the rope” simply means you refuse to continue to engage in an argument that is bouncing back and forth with no end in sight. You assess the situation and determine that is not resolving and getting too heated. Rather than escalating the conflict further by continuing to contribute to it, you calmly diffuse the situation by changing the subject or ending the argument altogether. You do your part to achieve peace for both you and the other party.
Notice I said your goal is to achieve peace for both you and the other party. It’s not meant to be a demonstration of your dominance over the disagreement. When done correctly and lovingly, it is good for both parties. However, with an unhealthy person, even this will look like conflict as they manipulate your good intentions to peacefully end an argument with accusing you of something more sinister. This is confirmation that you are in a no win situation and now dropping the rope not only means ending the argument but departing from their company.
So yes! You are winning because by dropping the rope, you have just achieved peace for you regardless of whether or not the other party does their part in dropping the rope! You have sent a clear message that you wish to no longer engage in a conversation going nowhere and your relationship and your peace are more important that proving a point. You are wise enough to recognize the unreasonable nature of the other party to not accept opposing views and you are doing yourself a huge favor by ending your part in it.
If you dropping the rope and walking away for your peace makes them think they won, so be it! Make it a goal to get to the point where winning means you are secure in your convictions, you no longer need to provide extensive explanations for your beliefs and peace is your ultimate goal.
I wish I had paid more attention to the many red flags warning me things were not right long ago instead of justifying them. I didn’t understand the complexity of what I was dealing with and either tried to reason my way to resolution with each unique scenario to no avail or complied (submitted) for the sake of peace. Dropping the rope is not complying or submitting, it’s recognizing you’re in a no-win situation and your peace is more important.
So my friends, whether you are involved with a narcissist or merely stating your political opinions, when discussions begin to turn into verbal and personal attacks, everything you say is twisted into something you never intended and is now being used against, you are unable to defend your stance or attempt to shut down the most mind-boggling incomprehensible dialogue, do yourself a huge favor and drop the rope!