Tag Archives: patterns

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.

Am I the architect of my own problems?

You’ve seen the repeating patterns in your life. You’ve seen the roles others have cast you in, and maybe the roles you’ve created for yourself. You’ve seen that this isn’t working for you. It may, at this point, be appropriate to point a finger of blame somewhere else, and take a dramatic leap out of the story you’ve been trapped in. If you can do that, then it wasn’t your story. But what happens when you point the finger of blame, and then after the drama this brings, you settle down and find that you’re back in that same story again, playing the same role?

It is a hard and painful thing to consider that you may be the architect of your own problems. It is the least comfortable outcome to find that you are the one making up the roles and doing the casting that keeps the same story playing on repeat in your life. The good news is that you have great power to change things in this situation. The bad news is that you may put up massive resistance to admitting your own role.

When we spend our time casting other people in roles, we don’t get to know them as people. We just treat them how we treat the story we have about that role. This can be deeply disorientating for the person put into the story. I’ve had a few rounds of people treating me in incomprehensible ways, telling me I am things, or I do things, or that something means something else… This is what it looks like when a person is relating to an idea, not another person. And I think this indicates the best way out of such a mess, too.

If you are making your own problems by repeating stories, all you have to do is quietly stop casting people in roles. No one has to be your twin soul, your nemesis, your mother, your perfect lover, the child you never had… Without creating any drama or weirdness, you can just let go of these ways of relating. Replace it by getting to know people as individuals. Find out who they actually are and where they want to be in your life and you’ll be well under way to creating new stories full of open ended possibility.

Squaring up to this, you may feel silly, or fraudulent, or like everyone can see what you’ve been doing. You may feel shame, and regret and misery. And actually, this is all ok. These are fair and appropriate responses to having been making a mess of things. It’s when we’re unwilling to feel difficult and discomforting emotions that we are most likely to make a mess of things. Fear of our own dark sides can be a big motivator for casting other people in roles rather than properly relating to them. Feel the things, but don’t let it turn into an excuse for mostly just feeling sorry for yourself or you could find you’ve wandered back into the old story again.