The Drama Review (March 31, 2017)

Dear close-to-losing-it drama participant,

I say “close-to-losing-it” because I figure that if you’re reading this epistle, you may be ensconced in some crazy-making drama that has you drooling, rocking back and forth, and muttering to yourself. You might’ve recently Googled the Federal Witness Protection Program hoping to download an entrance application.

Or that drama person in your life might have you feeling a tad homicidal.  Sandra Crowe wrote that it’s hard to know what to do with difficult people since strangling isn’t an option in her subtly entitled book, “Since Strangling Isn’t An Option.”

I talked about the same things in my lacklusterly entitled book, “How to Solve Your People Problems.”  I’m sad to say that my book didn’t even make honorable mention at the Interesting-Sounding-Book-Title awards presentation.  My title has all the appeal of a documentary called, “The Proper Use of Toenail Clippers.”  But alas, that title was not my idea but was selected by someone else who shall remain nameless.  Let’s just say the name rhymes with publisher.

But book title comparison is not what I had in mind for this “weekly” commentary. I put “weekly” inside quotation marks because I have this sneaking suspicion I may miss a week here and there.  If this sounds like I’m trying to excuse my under-performance before the under-performance occurs, you have highly-developed perception abilities.  I plan to send it out every Friday but I know how I am with New Year’s resolutions and all that.  So, I’m asking you to advance me a few grace chips.

I have several intentions for this missive, which I’ll describe shortly.  But I would say my top-of-the-list purpose is to help those who’ve been caught up in dramas to know they’re not crazy.  Drama participation makes sane people feel nuts and they sometimes lose the distinction between drama and reality.  Greg Lester says that dealing with dramas is like being in a plane with no instruments, at night, in the middle of a cloud.  You have no reference points so you don’t know whether you’re flying up, down, horizontally, right-side-up, or up-side-down.  I hope this will provide a lodestar of sorts, a tractor beam that pulls you through the mucky fog and some much needed anchoring for your sanity.

I plan to launch a few archeological expeditions into the mysterious internal worlds of drama people.  Why are they the way they are?  What makes them tick?  What makes them do what they do?  Do they know what they’re doing? And how can we handle it if and when we can’t find satisfactory answers to these questions?

How do they suck people into their dramas?  We’ll seek to understand their drama-enticing methods so that drama-enticement becomes less likely.

How can we resist drama-participation and what happens if we do? Sometimes—oftentimes—it gets worse before it gets better.

Dramas occur on individual levels where the drama people are neighbors, co-workers, family members, or “friends.” But they also occur on wider levels where the thespians are figures of public notoriety, renting space in the collective brain.  We’ll look at how masses get manipulated into groupthink echo chambers in which they stop thinking for themselves and give Machiavellian leaders the power to do their thinking for them. And this isn’t new.  It was happening even before Cher was born–maybe longer.

Finally, I’d like to provide a place of reprieve, a place to gain perspective, a stepladder for climbing above the fray, and maybe a break room where you can laugh and see some humor in it. One of my all-time favorite TV shows was The Office.  It was a spot-on portrayal of what it’s like to go to work every day in an office run by a self-absorbed, un-self-aware narcissist. A lot of people have told me they couldn’t watch the show because it was too uncomfortable watching Michael Scott’s narcissistic drama playing itself out.  Others have said it just felt great to watch the show and laugh because when they got back to work the next day, the drama there wasn’t so funny.  There’s a reason they call it comic relief.

So, that’s what The Drama Review is all about.  I sincerely hope you’ll find it insightful and beneficial. And if you’ve got pesky drama people in your life (we all do), I hope this provides you with some helpful alternatives to homicide.