Not the play acting type of drama but the real life drama of the emotionally charged rages happening today centered mostly around politics.

I first learned about “drama’s” when I was taking psychology courses and studying personality disorders, in particular Borderline Personality.

A person in drama creates their own screenplay of the situations around them and casts certain people in one of three starring roles: The HERO, The VICTIM, and the PERSECUTOR.

These drama’s are invested with a lot of emotions and creative imagining and are painted in black and white, not taking into account the countless gray areas. In reality EVERYONE at some point in time and in some area of their life has been a hero, a victim and a persecutor. But those in drama assign one role to a person without considering the whole person or the full picture in regards to the past, present, or possible future contexts.

Instead of identifying a particular person’s behavior, a drama condemns the person to the role they are assigned by the dramatizer, the person (rather than a certain behavior) is judged as good or bad. Unfortunately that doesn’t leave room for change in the mind of the one creating the drama; if one behavior is improved, the creator of the drama will look for and even magnify another behavior to prove their character casting was correct.

Drama’s are emotionally driven rather than being logically thought out. Emotionally driven behavior can lead to passive-aggressive and aggressive behaviors. Drama’s can not be taken lightly, they are often hurtful.

How does a person keep out of drama?

First, calm emotions. Calm the fight-flight response. The frontal lobes of the brain do not get the blood flow they need under stress and a person can not think as clearly as they normally would. Diaphragmatic breathing helps and so does mindfulness where you ground yourself in something concrete around you … notice the sunrise, appreciate a growing tree, enjoy the feeling of the water while taking a shower … get into the sensations of your body and let emotional stress drain away.

Second, after you’ve calmed your emotions, step back from whatever is a trigger, and observe it from a distance … like you’re up in a hot air balloon looking thousands of feet below you. Take in the whole scene, look at all the information. Don’t avoid something that’s uncomfortable, just continue to observe it from your higher vantage point. A person in drama will often have a magnifying glass on a certain issue, shutting out surrounding information and making a problem appear much bigger than it actually is.

Third, if you’re a praying person, pray for the situation. Have compassion on yourself and on other people, everyone is doing the best they can at the moment, they would do differently if they could, and we’ll never know the entire complexity of any person, probably not even ourselves (but we should really try to get to know our own self first). Don’t take anything that has been dragged into drama personally, it’s all about the other person, set limits so you aren’t abused and then practice compassion.

Fourth, if someone around you is in drama: if they are calling you names, then simply say it like you see it … tell them that’s the behavior of a bully; or if they are playing the role of the victim, be gentle but let them know they are more than a victim.

BTW, this doesn’t apply to a person who has been abused in some form, a person who has been a victim, that’s not the type of drama I’m talking about here. There are real hero’s and there are people who do bad things. I hold out hope for a person who has had a victim experience, that they wouldn’t become stuck in a ‘poor me’ attitude for years of their life … they are a person who can also be a survivor and/or an activist creating change and/or a compassionate supporter of others who have experienced similar situations.

It’s not healthy for anyone to be cast into just one role. Nor is it healthy for those who type cast others. Let’s work on getting out of drama and really looking at the complex facets and dimensions of the problems around us. Breathe and practice mindfulness. Together we can solve problems. We need each other. We need the full picture and all sides to issues. We don’t need the hurtful emotionally charged rages of drama. Consider and strengthen the areas you have in common with people who don’t share your viewpoint.

Drama is a way of creating separation and division. Most people are united in wanting things like the ethical treatment of animals, clean air and healthy relationships but they see different aspects of the problems in those areas and thus have very different ideas for solutions. Identify shared concerns and then ask others what they propose as solutions. It’s a great way to get out of drama and to learn more about other people’s viewpoints.  And sometimes it may be more appropriate in certain circumstances to avoid emotionally filled topics and thus avoid even the possibility of someone assigning drama roles. Why spoil the fun of a family picnic, instead create happy memories that help build compassion and connection.

Is there any place you’re seeing someone assigning those roles of HERO, VICTIM, or PERPETRATOR? If so, you’re seeing drama. Watch out so you don’t get caught up in someone else’s act.

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