Love and the drama llama

Drama llamas are creatures who feel a desperate need to be centre stage, and who will whip anything up into a whirlwind if it means they can stand in the middle of it and draw attention. People who create drama, or amplify it are exhausting to deal with.

I’ve watched on a fair few occasions now as people doing drama have spun their whirlwinds and pushed away the people who were close to them. It’s easiest to do drama with your nearest and dearest and to cast people you know in whatever roles best suit your needs. Most often what the drama-addict seems to do is cast people who were on their side as villains, attackers, abusers and so forth. I note with interest that drama llamas are more likely to assume victim roles than cast themselves as heroes of their own stories.

While I was pondering the mechanics of being a drama llama, it was suggested to me that all drama llamas really want is to be loved. This may be so – it’s such a fundamental human motivation. However, the process of creating drama tends to drive people off rather than drawing them in. If the desire is for love, then the method is inherently self-defeating.

It is easy to mistake attention for love. This is a thing to watch out for when dealing with small children, who are motivated by attention, and will keep acting out to get attention even if the attention isn’t pleased with them. If we don’t get attention for being good, or just for being ourselves, we may seek it by other means. Patterns for life can be set early on, and if you’ve learned this as a way of being it will take some unpicking. The person who seeks attention in ways that elicit less love may be stuck in a cycle of attention seeking, love-damaging behaviour and be unable to break out of it.

I don’t know how anyone stood on the outside of this can make a difference. You can’t save a drama llama from themselves by pouring love over them. I’ve yet to see a drama llama respond well to love from any source.  It may be that this can only be changed from within, that a person with these patterns has to see them and want to change them, and that from outside all you can do is feed the story. You can stay, and be an actor in the drama, you can leave and be a villain and reinforce the feeling of victimhood. You can ask the drama llama to step up and be a hero, and you’ll be manipulating or mistreating them. I have no idea what a winning move is, I’ve never seen one.

We all have stories about who we are and how life works. Often, it is the most dysfunctional stories that we all seem to cling to the hardest. Perhaps because these are stories grown out of suffering, that in some way serve to make sense of an original wound. We cling to the story because we prefer it to challenging the story. We may be protecting someone else. Or, if we’ve worked with a story for long enough, we may now be protecting ourselves from feeling the shame that would come from admitting the story was useless or wrong.

There is no saving someone who does not want to be saved. There is no healing someone who does not want to be healed. You cannot change the story of someone who does not want their story to change.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

5 responses to “Love and the drama llama

  • locksley2010

    I have encountered many drama llamas and have always encouraged them to empower their own selves in their situations….. they don’t want to hear it, they want you to agree with them and for you to say what they want to hear. Perhaps I should take up hunting…. 😉

  • whiterabbitanimation

    I think there is a difference between going through a hard time and whipping something up… It’s tempting, I think, to label anyone with difficulties in their life as a ‘drama llama’, which can lead to them not sharing their problems or seeking help, and which in turn can led to all sorts of awful consequences, such as self-harm and even suicide.

    Conversely, I have observed some outside of the situation make it their business, try to fix and then quite publicly make a meal out of it when their ‘need to be needed’ is not met… To my mind, in such circumstances, it is not the individual who is suffering temporarily who is pandering to drama, but rather the ‘fixer’…

    My loose rule of thumb is about frequency… Does someone always seem to have difficulties, whether these are of their own making or everyone else’s? Does it feel compulsive? Do they seem to seek it out?

    And whoever is the drama llama, then I try my best to be kind. The observation that drama llamas have the same need as everyone to be loved is really important to my mind… Absolutely, we can’t resolve each others problem, that is a responsibility (and a right) for us to uphold for ourselves. We can, however, be supportive, practice patient listening and recognise this truth of where responsibility lies, in a very real and inescapable sense…

    When I can touch in with that, the frustration that drama llama-ering can bring does seem to subside considerably xxx

    • Nimue Brown

      I agree with much of this – I just have a touch of burn out from dealing with other people who just want attention. But I’ve been on the other end of it repeatedly, having genuine difficulty, distress and anxiety treated as though I am making drama for the sake of it.

      I think there’s another post to write, thank you for the prompt!

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