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Ending the Drama Drain

Regardless of where you live or work, at some time in your life you’ll find yourself surrounded by drama. You may not have created this drama or know the details involved, but somehow you find yourself being part of it. Most of drama isn’t serious or particularly worrisome, but it is an energy drain.

According to psychologist Dr. Eric Berne, people assume different “roles” in psychological social games to achieve social benefits. Dr. Berne explains there are three major roles to be played. The victim plays the helpless person or the one who falls prey to the persecutor. The rescuer is the one who notices the offense and says, “Let me help.” They look for situations they can rescue and foster relationships where the victim becomes dependent upon them. The rescuer is always saving people and feels overworked and stressed much of the time. Lastly is the drama king/queen or persecutor/bully. This person mistreats others and shifts the perspective of the situation, so they can rationalize by saying, “They deserve it.” They are instigators and good at finding victims.

If you take an inventory of your current relationships, there is a good chance you will see drama acted out frequently. It’s in your home, work place, and among friends. You may even find yourself playing a role. Once you get comfortable in a specific role, it is difficult to stop unless you break the cycle. Below are suggestions you can begin practicing today that will help you break the cycle of drama and restore the energy drama drains.

  1. Focus on a higher purpose. When you find yourself in the middle of a drama cycle, flood the conversation with something more meaningful than the petty drama.

  2. Assert yourself and take responsibility for your situation. If you set yourself up to be a permanent victim, you’re only making yourself look helpless. If you’ve made a mistake, don’t blame others or punish yourself – be accountable and responsible for righting the wrong.

  3. Take care of yourself. Rescuers rescue to feel good about themselves, not knowing that their rescuing enables victims to stay in a victim role. Practice more self-care behaviors. Spend time pampering yourself or build upon your personal interests.

  4. Change your perspective. Practice being more empathetic to others. Instead of reacting to everything you see and beginning a drama cycle, give people a break.

  5. Practice strong boundaries. When you see active drama going on around you, you have a choice of joining or avoiding. The social rewards of joining a drama cycle rarely outweigh the energy lost.

Drama is often thought of as petty and harmless; however, with social media, I have seen catastrophic effects on relationships and career. Life is precious and there is limited energy. Spending your time engaged in ideas and behaviors that give your life meaning will leave less time for drama.


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