What is drama?

Drama arises from conflict. However, this intrinsic connection between drama and conflict is seldomly viewed this way, by the (often) conflict avoidant person slapping the label of “Drama” on others or situations.

Drama is the experience of being stressed out, disgusted, morbidly amused, tormented and/or exhausted by a level of chaos and instability presenting in one’s life. Usually drama involves an ongoing negative dynamic or behavior in your self (which is not usually acknowledged by the person calling out the drama) and another person, that is felt as harmful, and seems to have no resolvable end in sight.

I have learned to be very suspicious of myself when drama is created in my life, even when I wholeheartedly believe it is caused by the other person, group, or an external circumstance.

Let me explain.

It is easy for us all to blame drama on others and external circumstances. But, what we don’t realize, is we perpetuate this drama when we take the easy road, and choose excuses and blame.

It is a misuse of our inherent personal power when we are unwilling to take accountability for the drama existing in our own life.

There is a theorist named Stephen Karpman, who published his work on what is now called the Drama Triangle. This triangle was formulated to help explain social dynamics, where people get into and perpetuate conflict. At the three points of the triangle, are three traditional roles people take on, in order to avoid accountability, which is a misuse of their own personal power. These three roles are the “Victim”, the “Perpetrator/Persecutor”, and the “Rescuer”.

Often to maintain the identity of each of these roles, the person is required to continue to view the other(s) as the source of the problem, and they are the one dealing with the “problem”. The Victim keeps claiming they were victimized, are powerless, or can’t take ownership of their own disempowerment. The Perpetrator/Persecutor is either an opportunist or attempts to find justice, punishment for others, or self-righteous revenge. The Rescuer seeks to swoop in and manage or protect others from feelings or consequences. These three roles perpetuate drama, because they are assuming the problem is solved by manipulating, controlling or doling out “fate” to the person/people/circumstance, as a means to manage their own feelings and identity.

This is not to say there aren’t legitimately ways we are all victimized, end up having to also step in and protect others, or seek justice. However, this triangle refers to conflicts that have no conceivable ending, which is essentially referring to drama.

So, how do we stop misusing power? There are also a variety of theorists who have offered alternatives to the Karpman Drama Triangle as a means to guide people toward ending drama in their lives.

I am not going to get into these multiple theories. However, I will give you a solution that springs from an abridged synthesis of these theories, as well as from my own life experience.

Whenever you are concerned by drama in your life, ask yourself this one question: If I needed this drama to be here, what purpose might it be serving for me, and what does this have to do with my relationship with my self?

Based on what you determine is the purpose of the drama, go about discerning what your beliefs, versus the reality of the situation are, and how to accountably take back your own power, and use it responsibly.

For example, if you keep breaking up and getting back together with someone, even though they are repeatedly breaking their promises and cheating on you, ask yourself what purpose this is serving for you. Chances are your purpose has to do with you maintaining, at times, the roles of victim, persecutor, and savior, when interacting with this person with chronic infidelity. Remaining in these roles let’s yourself and them off the hook for actual growth and resolution.

If you find the deeper purposes, under these drama roles, for remaining with this person are to 1. continue to have hope that liars and cheaters can be rehabilitated, and thus you won’t have to feel hopeless, powerless and victimized, and 2. that you are going to suffer most if you are alone, then you have located where your personal power IS. Your personal power is in: 1. learning to deal with your own hopelessness and felt experience of powerlessness, as well as the fact that you have no control over another’s decisions, this person is indeed choosing to harm you, over and over again, and you have let them do it. And: 2. your power is also in learning to tolerate and work through the feelings that arise around being alone.

When you have found your personal power in seeing where you need to heal and grow within your self, the external drama ALWAYS resolves itself.

In other words, take full responsibility for your part in the drama arising in the first place, and watch the drama disappear.

Coach. Psychologist. Writing about new perspectives, love, relationships, Narcissism, healing, transformation, & culture. www.avapommerenkphd.com

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