Are we the actors and producers of our own dramas? Part One
We have at least once been a witness to how people create drama in their life. They are get into conflicts with others, nothing goes easy for them, they thrive on drama. The actors in their drama are different each time, but they still remain as the producers and the actor of the main role. Often, they are not aware what the real problem is and they blame others for their situation. I was also the actor in my own drama and in the dramas of others. What I wanted to find out is how to become aware of it and how to get out of it. More about this you can read in the second and third part of this post.
Everybody needs love and affirmation
Imagine a child that is born in an average family. It is small and helpless. For them the love and attention that they get from their parents means life. It’s absence means death. When it is given, the child is happy. When it is not, the child feels deep pain. As they grow up, they come to know that the love and attention from their parents is not unconditional. Actually, it is very conditional. They praise them when they act good, when they collect their toys, later on when they get good grades in school etc. They criticize them when they are bad, when they don’t want to eat or sleep, when they watch TV instead of studying… It is then that the child comes to a conclusion that they will get more attention if they act a certain way, so they adopt a certain kind of behavior.
However, what happens when the parents are frequently absent from the child’s life and are mostly focused on their work or when they don’t know how to properly devote themselves to their child, because they didn’t learn that from their parents? The child, as a highly intelligent being, will do everything that is their power to get what they need and what belongs to them with birth: the love and attention from their parents and their closer environment. They will start manipulating and doing what they see it works. If it can get their attention through sickness, it will get sick. They can also try to get attention through having a fit and angrily closing themselves of in their room rejecting any kind of communication. If the parents praise the child when they get good grades, they will continue to aspire to get good grades. If getting good grades is hard for the child, they will try and get the attention from misbehaving and getting into trouble. Attention is attention, even if it is negative. Any kind of attention is better than no attention at all.
If dramas weren’t useful, we wouldn’t be creating them
Our main problem is that we seek validation of our own worth and seek love from others outside ourselves. That is something that we don’t give ourselves enough of, so we think that our need for validation and love will be met by trying to get some attention from our boyfriend, a little love from our sister, some validation from our friend and boss… It is certainly beautiful when we exchange love with other people. That is something that we should certainly do, to share with others as much love as possible. The problem arises when we don’t share that love with ourselves, so we depend on someone else giving it to us. Very often this is a big problem in romantic relationships. In my opinion, most of us fall in love in with someone who is willing to give us (even if it’s for a short period of time) all of the their attention and who validates our worth through their actions, compliments and gifts. But what we really fall in love is the feeling of our own self-worth. The problem arises when that person leaves us, that feeling goes away also. Since that feeling is necessary for us and when we feel we are losing it, we are willing to do whatever it takes to keep it. It is then that we remember how we manipulated our parents so we could keep their affection and we do the same thing with other people. We get sick, we get mad, we refuse communication, we start conflicts, we create problems in our life so others could solve them, we act like victims, so others could console us, we become the “best housewife, mother, spouse”, we do everything others expect loving ourselves… The variety of tactics is endless, everything from the harmless ones to the ones that are extremely destructive, for us and for others. Simply, we manipulate others with our behavior so that we could accomplish some goal. Most of the time, it is because we want to get love, attention and validation of our own worth from people in our surrounding.
Are we trying to attract the attention of others through our behavior?
When we do something, it is useful to ask ourselves why did we do that and what are we trying to accomplish with that kind of behavior? Why is it so important to us to have all A’s? Why are we trying to fulfil our partners every wish? Why are we cooking for our family every single day? I am not saying we shouldn’t do that, everybody has their own way of life, but for everything that we do we must find the reason why. It is not a good reason to do something just to get someone else’s attention, validation and love. That is not the right motive for our actions. It is not honest. At times people even give up their own dreams and interests just so they could get the validation of others. “Don’t do it, dear. What will otherssay…” is something you have probably heard many times.
Would you do the same thing if no one was watching?
When I am not sure how pure my motives are behind some of my actions, I would ask myself the next questions: “Imagine you are alone in the world, that no one can see you, praise you, notice you or comment about what you are doing. Would you then make the same decision? Would you wear makeup every day? Would you have all A’s in school? This is a way we can find out if what we are doing is for us, or because of others. I am not saying you shouldn’t do things for others. It is nice to give people something they like as an act of love. But not as an act of validation, but as an expression of love.
We have to give ourselves the love we seek from others
When we catch ourselves yearning for someone’s love and validation, it is then that we should look inside ourselves for answers. First, we need to forgive ourselves for the smaller and bigger manipulations. We shouldn’t judge ourselves for them or let ourselves feel guilty. That is only a sign for us to learn how to give ourselves unconditional love and acquire a feeling of self-worth. It is not an easy process and it requires a lot of self-discovery, but it does pay off, because the feeling of inner peace cannot be replaced by anything.
In the next post you can read more about the manipulative behavior of others and how to recognize if we are caught up in someone else’s drama.