51. Dramatically

I don’t know what the deal is with all the drama going on these days. I wonder if it is a by-product of pampered parenting, indulgence. My buddy Clark says that indulgence is the worst form of child abuse. “You can get therapy for sexual, physical, and psychological abuse and heal up eventually. But with indulgence, you don’t even know you have been abused.” I appreciate the insight. I believe it is profound.

It is truly a disservice to your children to present a peachy world that they are entitled to. I am reminded of a comment made about George W. Bush, “He was born on third base and told he’d hit a triple.” Well, yeah, that creates false expectations in folks, based on false beliefs of superiority or an imagined destiny when their family takes turns kissing their soft buttocks. The expectation grows that they are deserving of special privileges. This false view of the world is not limited to the wealthy. It happens in poor families also. Somehow, as parents insulate their young children, then adolescents, then adult children from the harsh consequences of life, these woefully unprepared folks stumble into the bright lights of real world expectations with soft behinds which cannot tolerate even mild disappointment. Unable to problem solve, they opt for the whiney, screamy, hyper displays we know as drama. Thank you, Jerry Springer.

Hey, it’s good to suffer…if you suffer in a linear fashion and suffer well. At the end of good suffering come wisdom and maturity. Thick skin comes from irritation and toil. A new vision is adopted, one that is more rational, problem focused, and effective. On the other hand poor suffering is cyclical: the afflicted person does not problem solve. Instead heorshe blames and complains and embraces their victimhood. The situation changes or else someone else causes change. The drama child then reinforces hisorher ineffective reaction to pain. The takeaway is that whining and blaming and  pouting achieved their goal. The self limiting strategy is strengthened.

Years ago I recall a young father, husband, drug addict who wanted to claim his just rewards and respect for the first two attributes while completely denying the last. Instead of admitting to his dysfunction and beginning some reconciliation with his desperate wife, he screamed, “I would take a bullet for my family!!!” Now this was a fairly safe comment since no guns were apparent in our safe little counseling room in a former church parsonage. If folks had burst in with loaded guns, I’m not sure that he would have been so loud and bold. His tired wife responded, “I just want you to clean up the mess you made on the stove a week ago. Can you do that?”  He swore on his life that it was as good as done. Wow, he deserved an Oscar just for the counseling performance of the year, best male actor in a drama. He went home and broke a window and went back to Baltimore for more drugs. The kitchen remained a mess without any bullets fired or the death of any family members. It remains with me 15 years later that the intensity of his drama was roughly equivalent to the falseness of his life.  His lies were not getting the desired effect, so he jacked up the volume, rhetoric, and body language.

Oh false drama! See what thou hast wrought?

Anyway, it appears to me that such extreme emotional outbursts are growing more common. I don’t want to hear another word about facebook and the insanity that reigns there. Texting, sexting, facebook posts, and godonlyknowswhatelse have seeped into our modern culture like backed up sewage. We are getting used to the filth, adapting like carp near sewage treatment spillways. We are growing fat with putridity.

How is it that educated adults cannot resist a calculated response to a facebook post that baited them into the semi-public forum? And why is turning off your phone not an option when your ex- calls or texts you 40 times in one day? Do we need driver’s ed class for technology now? Drama, theatrics, exaggeration… remember, it’s pretend.

One thought on “51. Dramatically

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