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eye, spectrum

Niles the Balance Tree, Part I

Posted on 2012.04.09 at 09:13
Current Location: 67114
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I've been thinking a lot about drama. Specifically, what causes it. Practically, what you can do to alleviate it. Perhaps more importantly, how to identify it! Because once you know which beast you're dealing with, the proper sequence of events can be followed.

Few of us sadly ever get the opportunity to face our accusers directly - we have to rely on hearsay - and for anyone who's ever played the childhood game Secret (where kids sitting in a circle whisper something to the person adjacent them in turn until it comes back around entirely devoid of anything resembling the originating statement) knows how any reply you make to a third-party will undoubtedly be misconstrued.

Despite knowing this, many adults continue to play the game. And they play it very, very well. And by well of course I mean poorly, because everyone except those playing know that it always gets worse - never better.

You can easily identify a drama king/queen by one of the following statements: "I don't usually talk about people, but...", "I hate to repeat anything, but..." or the self-fulfilling ubiquitous, "I hate drama, but..." Once you'll see the pattern you'll soon realize - even if they do not - they they are ALWAYS talking about people, repeating things, or seemingly embroiled in - yes, drama! Its the, "buts" which define their behavior.

I am many things. Not all of them flattering. Nonetheless, if my inadequacies become an issue or have caused a problem and someone points it out to me I immediately respond defensively and start justifying my actions.

No, wait. That's what other people do. I simply acknowledge their concerns and admit my shortcomings, as I am aware they exist. I know when I am trying to justify my actions and when I've made an honest mistake. I will readily admit to anyone which is which. Those who revel in drama will always doubt good intentions and always assume they're a target. Always. But this is a learned response and absolutely can be unlearned. That being said, some people go a lifetime with the knowledge that they were fucked over once, and despite a near-perfect existence since then, are always "at the ready" on the outside chance they're going to get fucked over again. What kind of life choice is that?

I myself am not immune! Just like men who wear dress shoes with bluejeans or the guy I passed in the hall today who I know nothing about save this - that he is a union worker - something which colors my opinion of him; I too, struggle. But struggling is at least an acknowledgement that an issue exists, and can therefore be overcome. The trick is to keep that shit to yourself - though admittedly some feel that not gossiping or whatnot is akin to repression. Drama is not healthy self-expression and falls outside the scope of this entry - seek professional help.

This now is the part for the lovely anakngtinapa who found herself unknowingly offending people by using previously politically-correct phrases which later fell out of favor. As an aside, who can keep up with what is and is no longer politically correct? But back to her, it all goes back to drama. I'm beginning to understand that if you feel a certain way about something, or hold an opinion about anything, you're basically limiting the course of your life forever by not opening yourself of to that which may run contrary to it. And given that most opinions are not based on facts-at-the-time and/or personal experiences, limiting any action based on opinion without considering that which is subject to change is not very life-enriching.

Couple this with the fact that people are going to believe whatever they want to, up to and including ignoring facts or changing reality to fit their world view all the while refusing to believe anything anyone ever says contrary to their opinions is not a personal attack on them, what can you do?

Because you know you cannot please all of the people all of the time, its simple: Do whatever the hell you think is right. If you're going to piss off somebody regardless of your actions, make sure you can live with yourself and defend your own actions according to your code - no one else's. Nothing is going to change their reaction anyway. Far too many people are far too concerned about far too many things. I have enough to worry about myself without worrying about what other people say or do.

So go out and enjoy YOUR life, the way YOU see fit. Remember the one-rule in doing so - do not harm others. And I'm not talking about someone else choosing to be hurt by your innocuous actions - that's a choice; If you can take personal responsibility for your own feelings, so then, should they.



michelle1963 at 2012-04-10 01:05 (UTC) (Link)
The interesting psychology in the adult version of "Secret" is that there are very few players who actually believe they enjoy the drama. In many cases, I would hazard to guess that virtually everyone in the game chain would deny enjoying drama. They rationalize their part in the game with the idea of "informing" or "staying informed", or with supporting another's need to vent, and yes, as a defense against being surprised over any bad talk about they themselves. None of them feel responsible, because each is only one part of the chain, never realizing that by participating, they are wholly responsible.

So the question remains, do they truly enjoy the drama? Or perhaps they just don't know how not to play the game, which can be so pervasive?

Me? I don't play. Oh sure, some people will try to bend my ear. If it's small stuff, I just let it go in one ear and the other. I never repeat it. Hell, half the time I don't remember it, because I just don't care. If the message is something seemingly important, I quiz the person about where their information came from; whether or not they are sure their facts are accurate, hoping to get them to see the folly of repeating unsubstantiated information ~ also known as crap. However, this is just me trying to get them to stop playing the game when it's apparent someone is going to get hurt. Then as with the small stuff, the conversation stops with me; I don't repeat it. And if the information is something that may affect me (like having to do with the responsibilities at my job), I go to the person who will actually have the answers to get the correct information.

Simple. But then first and foremost, I generally have a need to behave in accordance to my own code of honor rather than the need to fit in. With others, their need to fit in, first and foremost, will make them susceptible to playing the game.
ehowton at 2012-04-10 16:21 (UTC) (Link)
If I had to guess, I would say those who protest the most, reap the biggest reward from it.
michelle1963 at 2012-04-10 02:35 (UTC) (Link)

* The incomplete differentiation of the self and the world, including other people and

* The tendency to perceive, understand and interpret the world in terms of the self.

There are many people who over-rate their importance ~ ironically not because they suffer from self-importance, but because they do not. They are stuck in a childhood phase. The egocentric has a very hard time putting himself in someone else's shoes, and consequently often believes that he is somehow the prime player for most things going on around him.

Co-worker having a bad day, it must be because of something the egocentric has done. There is no consideration given to the idea that gee, the co-worker has a life, and may have many other reasons to be down ~ fight with a spouse, sick kid, no sleep, money worries, ad infinitum. Nope, it's all about the egocentric. This poor individual will spend a day thinking the co-worker is mad at him, when really, he is just not a main player in the co-worker's emotional life.

An egocentric has a hard time understanding intent. He sees only the outcome and is not concerned with intent. You drop and break something helping the egocentric carry groceries, and the egocentric is going to be angry. Bottom line, the jar of olives is broken and ruined; it matters not that it was an accident.

In social interaction egocentric = drama. If you do not choose your words carefully and say something that could be taken different ways, the egocentric will never consider your intent; he will choose the meaning that is most likely to fit his childish worldview, with himself as the center.

For example, if you say, I'm not happy about X, the egocentric may come back with, "That's not my fault." Of course, you never considered the egocentric at fault. You were making a statement about how you felt. But in the egocentric's world, it's never about you; it's always about him.

They will often expect you to read their minds, because how can you not know what is so obvious to them? After all, they are the center of the world.

It's very hard to protect oneself from an adult egocentric. (It's natural in children before the age of 7 or 8 to be egocentric.) You will offend them and not know why they are offended; and the flip side of that is that they will worry continuously about offending others with the most innocuous of behaviors. They will worry about what others think ~ not just their close family members, but friends, acquaintances, neighbors, co-workers. It never occurs to them that most people really do not give a rats about their lives, because of course, they care so deeply about their own (as they should). But again, being the center in their worldview, it means that everyone cares about the egocentric is doing.

So, I've digressed a bit (okay, a lot) from your post on drama, but your post brought this type of individual psychology to mind, because they so easily and mistakenly create drama.

Edited at 2012-04-10 12:34 pm (UTC)
ehowton at 2012-04-10 16:22 (UTC) (Link)
The detail herein sounds like a personal recounting.
michelle1963 at 2012-04-10 19:10 (UTC) (Link)
I've known more than one.
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