Drama, suffering, self-defeating statements, living in and for crises, upsets and problems can make it difficult to change and grow. When everything is part of the “Soap Opera of Life” we get trapped in the “never ending drama” of responding.
Do you recognize any of these drama-soaked statements?
- “Oh my God!!! I can’t believe that happened.”
- “If you don’t want to go, then I will go by myself (and suffer alone).”
- “Why does it always happen to me?!”
- “I don’t think I can stand it or handle it any more. How much more can I handle?!”
- “I just have so much to do and everything keeps happening – it’s just too much.”
- “I only want to help!”
- “Why does it keep happening?!”
- “You shouldn’t feel guilty. I’ll handle it and suffer, but that should be just fine.”
- (…insert sound of sad violin music here…)
- “I suffer so much for you and you don’t appreciate it.”
- “Suffering and dying for others is my lot in life – it is who I am – it gives me meaning.”
- “I can make them love me if I try hard enough, even against large odds.”
The problem with these statements is that we start to use crisis and problems as a way to frame how we look at and deal with our problems. Suffering insures that everyone revolves around you. Drama insures that you do not have to deal with yourself or your problems. Over time, this becomes our only way of relating to life.
Why Do We Like Suffering and Drama?
When growing up, we learn about using drama to give us meaning. It becomes how we learn about emotions and life. Drama and gossip gives us a way of relating that keeps us involved and yet distant. It teaches us about emotions, but we have to watch so we don’t get stuck in this “developmental life phase.”
As long as we are involved in the “soap opera” we have no time to enjoy ourselves or others. We come to love the crisis, drama, problem to solve, upset, uproar, and feeling sorry for ourselves. “Big deal blow-ups” is the stuff of immaturity and shows we are not grown up.
We find that growing up it is not as exciting as it sets up more responsibility, risk and real life problems. But drama and suffering is exciting; it allows us to have power over others and gives us meaning in life when we don’t feel good about ourselves. It gives us a mission and a role in life so we won’t have to think about growing up ourselves. As we change, we may have to deal with our underlying resentments and anger.
- You have to learn to live with the boring!
- Recognize if you have been stuck in adolescence because of a fear of “growing up.”
- Admit if you have enjoyed being the center of attention and being in the middle of the “Soap Opera.”
- You have to let go of old resentments, unresolved angers, sadness, and what you have lost or didn’t get in the past.
- Work on changing you rather than being so heavily involved with others.
- Know that the meaning of life is not one of suffering and denying yourself so you can be a martyr.
- Recognize that other people may resent your suffering martyrdom and all the emotions connected with it.
- Take charge of your life and focus on what you can do to make changes.
- Focus less on others, realizing that you have first a responsibility to yourself.
- Develop yourself so that you are more stable and healthy for others.
- Quit running from life. Face life with all the struggles that can help you grow. Stop trying to take the easy way out!
- Know that others may still be caught up in their dramas, but you need to grow and mature beyond it.
- Admit that it was exciting yet not an appropriate way of living for an adult.
- Know that problems will naturally happen. You have no control over that. Facing the hard times, doing what you need to do to be an adult takes work, patience, “real” suffering, and facing the challenges.
- Focus instead on solutions and moving forward in your life.
- Know that you do not need daily drama and excitement to enjoy life.
- Start making choices that are “real” and make a difference in you.
- Let go of your fantasies of how you want life to be while facing the realities of what you have to do in life.
- Quit trying to create fantasies of what you want life to be. Face life, grow up, struggle with the real issues and stop looking for the easy way out.
- Give up being co-dependent, saving others, taking care of everything, and complaining about it all in a quiet yet demanding manner.
- Know that you are valuable even if you are not solving everything and suffering through everyone else’s problems.
- You were not meant to suffer and die for the world!
- Quite complaining about what isn’t happening. Work on making it happen!
- Don’t forget to grow up!
- Learn to talk about things outside of being in a crisis. This is the only way you can change and grow beyond all the upsets and problems of life.
Remember that you are of better value to others if you learn to live your life, become a real adult, learn to live with the boring and take charge of what really needs to be done. You know what has to be done. There is no longer a reason to play games with yourself. Take charge and move forward.