From the Rector…
There are those in the world who want to be burdened with carrying other people’s loads. When their inclinations are from a place of exclusivity—not sharing those burdens or in order to meet some need or expectation they have of themselves or believe others have of them—it is typically unhealthy and a movement toward co-dependency. I like to call those folks Drama Llamas.
Drama Llamas design a world in which there are heroes, victims, and villains. The Drama Llama is the hero (though they can become the victim in their own eyes if no one is allowing them to be the hero). Everyone else gets divided into victims and villains. The victims and villains are not static—you can be a victim in the eyes of the Drama Llama one day and the villain the next. These roles are interchangeable in order for the Drama Llama to thrive and control the world around them. By casting a person as victim one day and villain next, they are manipulating a person to embrace a particular role—preferably that of victim. When the hero can come to the rescue of the victim, then the hero feels good about themselves and the victim also feels good about the hero. Subsequently, the hero rewards the victim with positive affirmation, but (and here is the rub) the victim is not empowered. They are simply helped in their moment of need and then the hero moves on. This is, in part, why the Drama Llama is so unhealthy in relationships and contributes to co-dependency.
The role of villain is no better. It involves a judgment from the Drama Llama around motivation and outcome. This judgment is what characterizes the villain as such. The villain may or may not be doing a bad thing or even a wrong thing, but because they are doing something counter to what the Drama Llama desires, then they are labelled the villain. A Drama Llama will even villainize someone they thought was a victim if the victim does not accept their help or doesn’t need their help in the future.
Harry Potter is a Drama Llama at times. He only reluctantly lets others help him and is always ready to run off and save the day until he realizes that it is only in relationship and the empowering of other people that will lead to the ultimate victory over Voldemort. Those are the tells of a Drama Llama—a person who always wants to step in and save the day but doesn’t let anyone else be a part of the solution.
Drama Llamas seem to have a good heart—and they do. They’ve just gotten it twisted up somewhere in thinking they are the only ones with the ability, skill, desire, and courage to save the day. Typically, a Drama Llama is really avoiding their own dragons, so they rush off to fight other people’s. Its hard to be a Drama Llama—they don’t want to suffer so they spend their lives trying to avoid the cause of their own suffering by dealing with anyone else’s suffering, or perceived suffering, that they can find.
Jesus is not a Drama Llama. He is a hero—but one who shares and empowers the work of salvation with others. He bears our sins as he is inviting us to bear one another’s burdens and share in one another’s sufferings. He doesn’t keep the work or the glory all to himself. He doesn’t villainize others, though he does pity those who are stuck and can’t move forward and calls them out if he has too. He also doesn’t victimize others—he empowers them to be part of his healing ministry—lifting them up and sending them out—to continue his teachings and work. The Drama Llama keeps it all to themselves. It is their name associated with the victory. Their accolades that are sung.
I call these folks Drama Llamas because they seem to be helpful. They carry a heavy load up a high mountain. But the burden we allow them to bear will eventually crush us. Our burdens feed their sense of purpose and when we have no burden for them to bear, or try to bear it ourselves, or give it to another, the Drama Llama is immediately threatened and find themselves out of relationship with us. They certainly don’t know how to let us be the hero in our own story and rarely in someone else’s. Sadly, Drama Llamas too often become toxic in our lives. Even more distressing, Drama Llamas become toxic in their own lives as well. When we allow a Drama Llama to play the hero—we feed that toxicity which is detrimental to both the Drama Llama and us.
Light and Life,