… Life is way too big and time is way too short to get caught up in drama!
Drama doesn’t just come waltzing through your door. You either create the drama, invite the drama, or associate with the drama.
And there are some individuals who absolutely thrive on drama, seriously, they go fishing for it. To them, life seems boring unless there is some sort of action for them to dive into and get their hands dirty.
But … a drama queen cannot exist without an audience! So, the trick is to ignore them completely, do not get involved… the less you feed the drama … the less you will see the drama. A drama queen is like a hungry wolf on the prowl. If only we could understand how unhealthy this behaviour is … you would not give it your time, nor energy. Drama Queens simply want to be the centre of attention!
You can spot a drama queen from a mile away: They don’t mind their business, they are constantly in your lane and they push boundaries, they have no level of self-awareness and no limits. But creating drama for the sake of it, is to seek validation from others. And this is never fulfilling. Self-love is the only kind of stable validation, drama queens don’t understand this, and so they perpetuate the attention, time and time again. It can be exhausting for all involved, even when you’re only witnessing it.
Don’t play the victim to circumstances you created…
Stephen Karpman created the drama triangle which is a social model of human interaction and the model is used in psychotherapy specifically in transactional analysis. According to Karpman – anytime we don’t take responsibility for how we feel, think and act, we fall into three characters that make up the drama triangle. And when we fall into the triangle, we are not facing nor leaning in towards ourselves. We are not even aware of the consequences we have on others and we allow these states to play out, and jeopardise important relationships.
The roles of the drama triangle are the victim, the persecutor and the rescuer. Let’s first take a look at the victim where they may make statements like “it’s all your fault” or “I was forced to do it” or “things will never change, just my luck!” The victim role comes across needy, no one loves me, dependent on others, as a martyr or feeling abandoned or rejected in some way.
Sometimes a victim will play out a victim when they don’t get enough attention and this can come from their imprinting years where they felt abandoned, unloved and not valued. And as a child by behaving like the victim (poor me) got them the attention they were seeking and this can still play out as an adult without realising where it comes from.
The silent treatment is a killer of friendship…
The victim very much plays out the martyr where they can use the whole guilt trip on you, and seeking sympathy. Quite often the victim feels helpless and trapped, they see no way out of their powerlessness.
Some other typical victim traits are staying in an unhealthy relationship where they find they can’t trust their partner nor themselves. They have this mindset that this is all they deserve and get upset with the smallest things. In a relationship, they know how to play the silent treatment, where they withdraw and refuse to communicate. And we all know too well that the silent treatment never solves problems … it only makes them worse. Without communication there is no relationship – communication is the heart to every relationship.
Staying in this ‘victim’ mindset is completely destructive. It can lead to feeling overwhelmed, oppressed or depressed.
This is why it is crucial in these situations, to ask one important question “what might be my opportunity to face, or change, or do differently in this situation?” Because if you don’t stand up, then your victim role that plays out, will at some point look for a rescuer to save the day or even a persecutor to give you evidence that others are always putting you down and bullying you, and so the cycle carries on …
People pleasing hides the real you…
Then the other role that plays out in the drama triangle is the rescuer. This is when one person goes out of their way to please others, they go above and beyond anyone’s expectations, and often say “yes” and do things that often they don’t really want to do. Sometimes the rescuer lives in denial saying something like “what me? I don’t have problems!” They walk around life saying that other people need help more than they do and forever make up excuses for why others behave a certain way. For what it’s worth, I can relate to this style, big time!
A people please (a rescuer) is always seeking how to make others happy or make things better for others. In their eyes it is much more important to meet the needs of others than their own needs. But, really when you look at the rescuer with a magnifying glass, what you see is that what they do for others, they are not doing for themselves, they are avoiding their own needs. In doing so they come across like they are taking control of situations, calm in a crisis, dependable, helpful. But often, these situations really don’t need their attention in the first place because in getting involved in other people’s drama, they are avoiding the ‘self’.
The important question here is “what am I avoiding?” If this is you, it is time for you to deal with your stuff. Putting others before your needs means that you are ignoring something that you need to lean in to.
The tongue is a small thing but what enormous damage it can do…
The final character in the drama triangle is the persecutor who is someone who puts people down and therefore goes one-up. Sometimes they can be mean, aggressive and a bully. Quite often the persecutor acts out of anger, resentment, revenge or a sense of entitlement. Some statements that may come flying out of their mouth may be “you are ruining my life!” or “I told you this would never work, dummy!” or “you are such a jerk, stay out of my way.” They are big meanies. And nothing is ever good enough for them.
Persecutors think that they are superior … They get frustrated because they think everyone should think or be like them. They always need to be in total control of any situation, and so they come across as over-bearing, demanding, with a ‘do it my way, or get on the highway’ attitude. And they can be sneaky and manipulative to get their own way. But underneath all of that is shame, fear and hurt. This once again is something that took place in their imprinting development phase, and if it plays out in adulthood, it has clearly not been dealt with. But once the persecutor can get to the root cause of their anger, they will start coming across in a more loving, respectful way.
As we unpack each one of these characters in the drama triangle, you can see how they can actually play out in relationships. When one is the persecutor, the other can be the victim and then the third could jump in as the rescuer to sort out the drama.
We attract what we are ready for…
Of course, nothing is ever black and white either, and we may find ourselves very strongly in one of these roles, or sometimes in others, depending on what we’re dealing with in our lives. There’s a little part of each role in all of us and we’re each equally capable of playing them out.
But, first and foremost, to grow and be our very best selves, we need to be conscious of what we’re doing – how we’re behaving, why we’re reacting. It’s not as simple as thinking your ‘stuff’ is ever crossed off your list either – it has a habit of playing out over and over, even when you know that you recognise it, and you thought you’d faced it. This is not a bad thing – being conscious of who we are, what makes us tick and how we relate with others is a lifelong journey, and we are richer for every experience that makes us sit up and look at ourselves.
But this is why it is so important to seek time, alone time to invest in ourselves and see patterns at play. The drama triangle does not have to be the ‘Bermuda Triangle’ into which you disappear and can’t get out.
If you invest time on yourself, you can hone your radar to see the triangle in the distance. And then you can avoid it altogether.