Drama is a result of people interacting with each other in an unhealthy way.
It happens when both parties agree on one assumption: That neither person is enough.
Each person assumes that they are not enough to get everything they want or need by themselves so each one tries to get what they want from the other person by playing a pretend role.
In the book “Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Caring for Yourself”, Melody Beattie outlines three specific roles that people fall into that create drama:
When we experience drama with another person, it’s because one or both people are trying to fit each other into one of these roles.
Some people get so used to playing one of these roles that it becomes part of their identity. They almost can’t have an experience of another person without placing them in one of these roles.
Maybe you know someone who always pretends to be a victim no matter what the circumstances are. When someone takes on the victim role, they try to fit other people into the other two roles. When they are with you, they are trying to figure out whether you are going to play the part of the hero, the villain or a fellow victim.
Maybe you know someone who always tries to be the hero. When a person takes on the hero role, they are always trying to fit you into the victim role or the villain role. They will always be trying to fix you or shame you.
Maybe you know someone who always end up in the villain role. You can’t seam to ever trust them because they always seam like their up to something, but when you talk to them they talk as if they are the victim.
Does any of this ring a bell in your life?
When people play out these three roles (they are almost always played out unconsciously), the interactions can feel really unsettling and down right terrible. We can end up with hurt, angry or depressed feelings and not really have a clear idea why we are feeling this way. We can walk a way from an interaction like this feeling terrible and really confused about why and what to do about it. Then we feel just weird,uncomfortable or scared thinking about the next time we have to see that person.
When we learn to spot these three roles, and can instantly notice when someone is playing one of them and it gets a lot easier to not fall into one of the other roles. We can remain objective and have more choice over how we enter the interaction. We can begin to stop the drama before it starts.
I put together these three acronyms to help myself more easily recognize these roles when they come up and to instantly remember the psychological mindset behind each one.
Here they are:
For the VICTIM:
Villain In Camouflage Taking In More
For the HERO:
For the VILLAIN:
Thanks for reading!