Reality shows are still hugely popular and apart from watching how other people live their lives, the one thing they all have in common is lots of drama. Any Real Housewives episode, wherever you are in the world, shows conflict in abundance.
In any drama we need at least 3 players, the perpetrator, the victim and the rescuer. Next time you watch a reality show, observe it through different eyes and try and identify the players and their roles.
Typically, someone finds something out that makes them react emotionally – it could be a secret that someone has shared, a partner who is cheating, a friend who has gossiped. This person is the victim, something has happened, and they feel wronged in some way. They then confront the perpetrator (probably helped along by the production team) and the drama starts. Another person enters the scene and tries to mediate or calm things down, this is the rescuer. Quite often the rescuer turns into the perpetrator because the victim finds out more information, or the perpetrator deflects away from themselves and uses the rescuer as a scapegoat. The original perpetrator can then turn into the victim and the original victim can turn into a rescuer. And on it goes. It gets complicated very quickly so keeping pace with all the roles is a tricky business.
If you start to watch these programmes through this lens, you can then start to apply it in your own life. Is there something going on in your life now where you are playing one of these roles? Even if you don’t want the drama it’s very difficult to resist being sucked into it.
So how can you reduce the drama in your life? First, be aware of your role, and second, stop playing! I know that sounds easy, but the drama game can only go on if we all play our parts. With the example I give above, you may think that you should confront someone if they have betrayed you. This may be true but how you approach this can reduce the amount of drama is brings. Perhaps you can confront them privately and start your sentence with “I feel …” – stating your position is empowering and doesn’t require a response. The other person can choose to apologise or defend themselves, but neither is a requirement nor expectation. If you choose to talk to someone else about your predicament, notice their need to become rescuer (or another victim) and get involved. Again, be aware of their role and that what they choose to do is up to them, not because you want them to join in.
Whatever happens in the drama, ultimately everyone ends up as victim, there are never any winners. Some dramas last a few minutes, some go on for years. Remove yourself from the game and resolve to work out what you do with the emotions you feel in another way. You can get your drama fix from the TV!