Drama is draining. No, I’m not talking about watching a movie or stage performance. I’m talking about being exhausted by people who seem to be addicted to chaos and conflict. They’re always troubled, attracting problems like a dorm room collects clutter. The type of people who are constantly at odds with the world around them and who would like you to champion their cause too. With a forearm to their forehead and pain in their voice, they are constantly in need of sympathy from everyone they know. What can we do -- what should we do with people who unknowingly wear the label “Drama” like a merit badge?
My guess is, you feel trapped by them as they dominate every conversation with their latest dramatic circumstance. I’m also guessing you occasionally feel obligated to step in and remedy their “critically desperate” situation. Ask yourself, how healthy is this for you?
Maybe you’ve noticed a pattern, after a while anyhow, either you can’t solve their problems or once you do, they are right back in another crisis. Why does this cycle keep on repeating? Perhaps their identity has become that of a victim, and...
And you can’t rescue a perpetual victim -- because they don’t really want to be rescued. The more you intervene, the worse the situation becomes. What they really want is your full undivided attention and they want you to take on their anxieties. Actually, they want you to care more about their problems than you care about your own responsibilities. In fact, you could say these victims of drama are selfish. What can we do when we are in relationships with drama-centred people?
Number one, realize we can’t fix them, only they have the power to change. We can help by pointing them to resources or solutions, but we can’t save them. It is compassionate or empathetic to say, “This situation is obviously painful to you. If there were some healthy way that I could be helpful, I would be glad to help. But, I simply can’t change the situation. I hope the best for you, and I’m here for you, but again, this is out of my hands.” Also, we can establish healthy boundaries in the relationship to prevent them from taking advantage of our time and energy. Next, we can refuse to engage or participate in their drama -- that means don’t get sucked into their mess when they try to drag you into their drama. And finally, we can model a lifestyle of peaceful calmness. Does this sound too harsh?
Our deepest obligation to others is to help them mature in Christ, it’s not necessary fixing their woes (real or imaginary) and we are certainly not called to enable immaturity. We are called to love one another, and love refuses to assist in an arrested development. Only one person on earth had the ability to resolve every problem that was presented to Him, but did He?
Jesus didn’t didn’t try to fix every mess that people laid at His feet. “Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?”” (Luke 12:13-14 ESV)
I think it’s very liberating to realize the One who could meet the demands of people every single time, didn’t. You and I don’t have to feel guilty when we don’t rush in and try to rescue people who are addicted to drama. Sometimes the best help we can give people isn’t the quick fix they hope for, instead, we help people best when we follow Jesus’ example.