Oh, drama. Aren’t we all familiar with it in some way in our lives? :)
We all know about TV dramas or movie dramas. And most of us are at times intimately familiar with the real-life dramas like those which play out on the news every single day.
But how many of us are or have been involved in our own real-life dramas? And are we ready to let them go?
I’m almost convinced that many of us have come to believe or learn that to have some level of drama in our lives is just a given. After all, we are exposed to this type of dynamic 24/7 now, with TV, movies, and traditional and social media all around us. So maybe we’ve just come to expect that our lives are bound to play out in similar fashion.
But what would happen if we challenged that expectation? And how could we really get out of this drama cycle that seems to take over our lives?
Have you ever wondered what your life would be like without the drama that may be a part of it right now? It may actually be more peaceful. It may free up a lot more of your energy, as I’m sure you are aware that being involved in drama takes up a lot of energy (physical, emotional, and mental energy!) And in freeing up more of your energy, you may really be able to devote that energy to things which may really make your life much happier.
And happiness and peace are what we really want in our lives, right? ...Or are they? ;)
If so, you’re in luck, because today I have two steps that may help you to opt out of any current drama in your life and avoid becoming part of much of it in the future. :)
Step One: Understand How Drama Really Works, and Acknowledge Any Role You May Be Playing in It
Okay, you may think that this is actually two steps right here. But bear with me. I really think these steps go hand in hand. Once you understand how drama works, it can be super simple to pinpoint any role that you may be playing in it with or without realizing it. ;)
I’m so excited, and you’re in for a treat—it’s my first GRAPHIC in the middle of a blog! Yay! (It’s the little things...) ;)
I know that I myself am a very visual person, and I thought a graphic might really help you here with understanding this concept.
In 1968, a doctor named Stephen Karpman conceived of a very brilliant concept. He called it “the Drama Triangle.” He envisioned that there were 3 roles that were active in most drama dynamics: the roles of Persecutor, Victim, and Rescuer.
And now...drumroll please...the visual. :)
The persecutor is obviously the supposed “bad guy.” The one who bullies. The one who commits the crime. The one who we like to hate. The one who secretly plots evil. The one who seemingly starts the problems. The one who provokes. If you think for about 2 seconds, I’m sure you can imagine a person who’s played this role in your own life. We can also certainly find many examples of them in media stories as well.
The victim, again, obviously, is the person or people who the persecutor seemingly attacks. Those who are or who are supposedly helpless or powerless. Those who are unjustly treated by the persecutor. Those whose lives are constantly in shambles. Even those who feel attacked for whatever reason—this is important, because, as we are all likely aware, not everyone who claims to be a victim really is a true victim of what they claim to be. But more on that later. ;)
Then there is the rescuer. The person who steps in, saves the victim, and seemingly saves the day. Pretty much any superhero or “good guy” in the movies. The “handsome prince” who saves the “damsel in distress.” The people who come to the aid of those affected by disaster.
Now—here’s where things can get tricky. In dysfunctional environments, people can and do switch roles in this triangle. And doing this keeps everyone stuck in often energy-draining cycles of drama. (Trust me on this one. I’ve lived through a lot of them.) ;)
For instance: What if the rescuer rescues the victim? Seems great, right? But then the persecutor might get mad and come after the rescuer, making the rescuer their new victim!
---Real-life but completely hypothetical and made-up example—An employee (let’s call him the victim) feels upset by another colleague (let’s call him the persecutor.) The employee vents to his boss about the colleague. The boss (let’s call him the rescuer) then confronts the colleague.
Or, maybe the victim will become angry with the persecutor and resentful of the rescuer. Then the victim may turn into a persecutor of both of them!
---Real-life example—The employee (V) in the above example feels ashamed for not taking his frustrations to his colleague (P) first. He also feels mad that his boss (R) confronted his colleague separately and without his knowledge. So the employee badmouths both his boss and his colleague to others in the company.
Or, what if the rescuer rescues the victim and then secretly expects some kind of payback from the victim? If the victim doesn’t pay up in the way the rescuer expects, the rescuer may turn into the persecutor of that victim!
---Real-life example: The boss (R) decides to load even more work on the employee (V) as a form of uncommunicated “payback” for confronting his colleague (P).
OR, what if the persecutor tries to play the victim against the rescuer?
---Real-life example: The colleague (P) hears about the employee’s venting to the boss and wants revenge. So the colleague tells the boss (R) a lie, that the employee (V) did something really wrong that messed up last month’s company figures. The boss, now wondering if he can trust the employee, then confronts him about this.
These are just a few of infinite examples. I’m sure you can think of your own examples in your own life as well. If there’s a “monkey-in-the-middle” dynamic going on, you can bet there’s a drama triangle involved.
Now comes the truth-telling part. Can you see yourself in any of these roles within the dramas of your own life? If so, which roles are you playing? Do you tend toward a particular role, or does it depend on the situation?
This can be an eye-opener and may feel a little harsh at first. But if it does, you can know that your heart is simply admitting the truth of something it already has known deep inside.
If you want to answer these questions for yourself, allow yourself to do so in a very loving, compassionate, yet honest way. You may feel a tendency to feel shame, guilt, or any other number of emotions. If so, allow those to come up. Then, embrace your heart in love, kindness, and compassion.
The thing is, each of these roles can play a part in dysfunctional and energy-draining drama. However, each of these roles can also clue you in to where some of your greatest gifts may also lie.
For example: Do you play the persecutor in certain situations? Do you feel a need to attack others, maybe not physically but verbally or emotionally? Are you great at giving out guilt trips? Do you love to start or participate in the latest gossip train? Or do you turn this energy inward and become super harsh on yourself a lot?
If so, you’re actually tapping into some incredibly powerful energy! The good thing is that you can learn to use this energy in amazing ways so that you’re not persecuting yourself or others but actually standing in that power in extremely loving ways of yourself and others.
In my general and personal experience, I’ve found that those who persecute others or themselves are often those who feel the most persecuted in their own lives. If this is you, you might ask yourself, very objectively, where or how you feel persecuted.
Do you hold some long-held anger, resentment, sadness, pain, or grudge from the past that it may be time to release? Have you been treated unfairly in the past? Are you super hard on yourself?
If so, can you allow yourself the love that you truly deserve? The greatest love you can always find is already right there, deep in your heart. Can you allow yourself to receive it? Also, are there ways that you can direct this powerful energy very healthily and really help others while honoring your own healthy boundaries in the process?
What if you play a victim in certain situations? Do you feel powerless over your own life? Are you waiting for a “rescuer” or someone or something to step in and make your life better for you? Do you feel “victimized” or attacked by others perhaps because you’re really angry at other people or things in your life? So maybe those who you feel “attacked” by are simply giving you an outlet for this continuing drama?
If so, it’s possible that you simply haven’t realized yet just how much strength, capacity, and healthy power you really do have within yourself! It’s all there, just waiting for you to tap into it. It really is!
You may have been beaten down so often in your life that you’ve come to believe that there’s nothing more you can do to make your life better. But you have so much more capability than you may realize.
Even if others have doubted your abilities or have rejected or scorned you, there is still all that possibility within your heart for you to believe that much more in yourself. It is this belief in this resilience and in your own strength and power that can serve as one of your greatest gifts, not only in improving your own situation but in helping others in this world as well.
And what if you play the rescuer? (This is the role that I’ve personally tried to play so often in my past...and never to good results, either! Ahem!) ;)
Do you feel the need, like I once did, to “rescue” any perceived “victims” from their strife? Do you feel the need to take care of everyone but yourself?
Do you feel that you’ve grown and learned something that could really help others, and if only they would just listen to you and your ways, that everything would turn out so much better for them? (Notice even in that last sentence, that this is actually implying that you may think you know what’s best for others.... while you actually may not. ...Yeah, I know. That was a hard one for me to realize too.) ;)
The truth is that this quality may indeed also be one of your greatest gifts as well—when used healthily. ;) How do you use it healthily? The difference, at least for me, lies in the word “need.”
If you feel that you “need” to rescue people, it’s very likely because you’re putting a lot of your perceived self-worth into doing so. The antidote to this is to realize just how worthy, loving, and deserving you are of your own love and care, even if you could never “rescue” anyone again.
Even if you could never rescue others again, you are still so, SO worthy of your own love and care. And you always will be! When you can really feel this deep down in your heart, you will be able to reach out to those who may really benefit from what you can share with them. You’ll be able to let go of the outcome easier, because you’ll be able to just offer help freely, without expecting that others can always receive it and use it. And you will be able to set healthy and sometimes very strong boundaries with those who may not be ready to be “rescued,” or who may not resonate with the ways which you feel you can best “rescue” them.
For instance, I do this blog as a labor of love. I really enjoy doing it and take great pride in my work. And of course, I’m honored and humbled if any of you tell me that you’ve gotten anything helpful from it. But my worth isn’t dependent on that. I do it because I enjoy it and because I feel that I want to offer it freely. The outcome is out of my hands.
Do I still have a big vision for my work? Yep! Do I still hope to keep finding more ways to even make a living from it someday? Of course. But truthfully, that is really out of my hands. All I can do is try to put it in front of those who I think may most resonate with it, and put it out there with the intent that it is there for them. They can choose to engage, and they can choose not to. They have free choice, and yet, I still know that I am totally worthy and deserving of my own love, no matter what happens. :)
Now—I promised you a step two here in how to opt out of the drama. It’s really simple—but it takes commitment and practice. Are you ready for this one?
Step Two—Commit To Opting Out of the Drama Triangle Altogether. Also, Commit To Opting Out of the Audience. ;)
Wait—what? The audience?!
Surprise! There’s a twist in this drama! ;) But we’ll get to that in a minute. :)
If you are playing persecutor, see if you can channel your energy in other healthy ways. Allow yourself to feel any feelings of persecution you may have, and allow yourself to direct them at the right people privately and healthily. Go in a room by yourself and speak or yell your feelings aloud. Write them on paper and then shred the paper. Make amends, if possible, with those who you’ve persecuted, or at least allow for time to forgive yourself. Re-teach yourself over time that you don’t have to persecute others or feel persecuted by them. Instead, you can find boatloads of empathy, compassion, and forgiveness available in unlimited quantities. :) And then, take all that freed energy and use it in wonderfully healthy ways! To be determined by you! :)
If you are playing victim, start admitting all of the power which you really do have in your life. Acknowledge any fear you may feel that may naturally arise from considering acting on this power. Realize that in many cases, others can’t victimize you if you don’t let them. Then, let yourself take baby steps, or even great leaps if you feel so inclined, in creating the life you really desire. No matter if anyone else approves or not, your life is yours. Your approval is the most important, and in giving yourself your own approval, you tap into so much more real power to not only help yourself but to help others as well, using good boundaries.
And if you are playing rescuer, allow yourself a period of withdrawal when you don’t rescue anyone. Instead, turn all that love that you want to offer others right back inwards to yourself. Realize that the “need” for rescuing will diminish over time, in proportion to the love you are able to offer yourself. Then, go out and share your gifts with others, this time with healthy boundaries which don’t have effects on your own sense of worth and value.
Now, about the audience... Yes, the audience.
In order for many dramas to exist, they must have an audience. This is especially true of our media and entertainment world.
But here’s the thing: You can opt out of the audience—if you decide not to get drawn in to any one of the three roles of the drama they’re trying to create for you. ;)
I’m giving you a challenge for this week. If you haven’t recently, turn on the evening news. Just for one minute—I promise you, that’s all you’ll need. Also, check the “trending” stories, even in things like Facebook’s newsfeed. Or see what headlines the “entertainment” magazines at the grocery checkout, or the celebrity-paparazzi-esque TV shows have to share with you. Or simply watch a commercial—for a TV show, or for a product.
Now. When you participate in these activities, I challenge you: Try to pick out who is the “persecutor,” who is the “victim,” and who may be the “rescuer” in any of these situations. Hint: I guarantee you that there will always be a persecutor and a victim. So does that mean the media is counting on your natural human desire to side with the victim or identify with the rescuer role? Or does that mean they’re trying to piss you off over what happened to the victim and turn YOU into having “persecutor” thoughts? That’s up to you to decide. ;)
What’s also up to you to decide is if you want to have any seat in these audiences at all. ;) You do have that choice, you know. After all, you are not a victim of the media. Or are you? :)
Here are some sample headlines based on real current stories, and their possible drama-triangle-role answers to (attempt to) get you all worked up. Will you fall for it? Or will you choose to opt out and choose your own inherent inner peace instead?
1. Insurgents (Persecutors) Shoot US Soldiers (Victims) in Iraq
(Will the US turn into the Rescuer? The Persecutor? Will YOU take sides with either role and spend your precious energy involved in this situation? Even if you are affected directly or indirectly by this situation, can YOU walk the higher ground and choose non-violence, forgiveness, and compassion instead?)
2. Two-Year-Old Child (Victim) Shoots Sibling (Victim) with Gun in Parent’s Car
(Will YOU be a Persecutor and mentally “attack” the parent? Can YOU mentally step out of Rescuer role for the children and understand that the parents, like all of us, may need to learn their own lessons at times, even if they are extremely unfortunate and pull others into their drama?)
3. Celebrity Woman A and Celebrity Woman B (Both Persecutors Who May Feel Victimized By Each Other) Get Into Heated Fight! Tune In!
(Will YOU be a curious Audience Member who tunes in? Will YOU be powerless to change the situation no matter how heated this fight is? Will YOU be prompted to take one side over another? Will YOU side with either persecutor, making the other the victim, or will YOU feel victimized by either one? ...Seriously, do you really want to waste the energy? And furthermore, is this a healthy example of publicly modeling human behavior which deserves your precious attention?) ;)
4. Woman Brutally Attacked—Attacker on the Loose! More Tonight at 10!
(Will YOU buy into the victim-based unconscious fear that the attacker may come after you, and in order for that not to happen, you must learn more about this story? Will YOU take the persecutor role and be pissed off, wanting justice, when the situation is likely out of your hands? Do YOU really need to fall asleep with graphic details of violence causing nightmares in your head? Isn’t it bad enough that it happened to someone already? If you don’t know the real victim personally, is there really anything YOU can do to help “rescue” in this situation? Did you even need to hear about it?)
5. If You Buy The Product in This Commercial, You’ll Be Famous, Adored, Appreciated, and All Your Friends and Family Will Forever Love You! If Not, You’ll Be the Loser!
(Will YOU play victim to the unconscious desire of wanting status, connection, and approval from others and buy this product over others on the market? Will YOU really allow your own self-worth to be based on whether or not you buy or eat or use a particular product, no matter what this commercial tries to convince you of?)
Tired of playing audience or drama-triangle roles in media-induced drama yet? ;) Or tired of participating in personal triangle dynamics in your own life? I know I am! But, as any healthy recovering rescuer would say, what you choose to do with this information is entirely up to you. :) You can choose to play roles, or you can choose to opt out. Al l can tell you is that by personally choosing to opt out of so much of it, my levels of inner peace have skyrocketed.
Here’s what I’ve personally opted out of in my own life—this is totally true! It’s definitely taken commitment, time, and practice. But it can be done.
--Not buying, or even looking at, gossip magazines at grocery store checkouts and in other places
--Not tuning into the evening or morning news
--Not tuning into any gossipy celebrity “entertainment” programs
--Not watching any TV dramas, soap operas, or cynical biting “comedies”
--Not watching any horror movies or any movies with physical or graphic violence in them at all
--Not clicking on drama-triangle-inspired Internet news headlines or “trending” stories (except for my own particular conscious choosing to try to better understand human behavioral dynamics) ;)
--Not sharing, discussing, or promoting such drama-induced photos, memes, or stories, except rarely and only to make a point in taking a stand for healthier behavior
--Hiding Facebook posts or stories with said headlines or stories
--Avoiding strictly drama-based reality TV shows and personalities
--Not gossiping with others about the business of other third parties (yep—you can lose a lot of friends by choosing to live this way, but you can gain a ton of peace!)
--Opting out of actual toxic relationships, or any relationship dynamics where I’ve caught myself playing massively into the drama triangle, have tried to opt out of it and make amends, and have felt pulled back into it either by myself or others. Toxic relationship—buh-bye! (And yes—I know that one is much easier said than done. But trust me—it is so, SO worth it.)
--Catching myself when I’m actually playing the Drama Triangle game IN MY OWN HEAD! Oh yes—that’s fun—not! And you know you’ve probably done it too! Maybe it sounds a little like this...”I hate myself for doing or not doing ____! I’m such a loser! (persecutor) I’ve gotta stop being so hard on myself! Maybe I should try doing this. (rescuer) But what if it doesn’t work? Then I don’t know how I’ll live with myself! (victim) But I hate myself for....! I’m such a loser!” ...etc, ad nauseam.... ;)
I dare you to try opting out of even one of these things in your life and see if your life is any more peaceful. ;)
And that, my friends, is more than enough drama for today! :)
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Are you curious to explore more about what may have initiated some of your original drama triggers? ;) Check out my first book here. It’s a wonderful space for you to do just that. http://www.francinebrocious.com/all-about-me-book/
No matter what, always remember this: You are deserving, you are worthy, and you are good enough. Keep being you, keep shining, and keep growing!
With great love,