I have previously mentioned that I believe our lives to be similar in a way to a soap opera or a piece of fiction if you like. Different storylines run independently and concurrently, while characters come and go as each of those storylines run it’s course. Some of those characters might have been only required for one specific storyline, whereas others are a constant in the ever evolving drama surrounding that particular avenue of life.
That’s the way I’ve always seen things. I find it a lot easier to deal with the ongoing process of change and the evolution of my own life story. When a certain storyline in my own life drama reaches its natural conclusion, any characters that were specifically associated with that particular story arc cease to be of any relevance and so find themselves being written out of the overall picture.
Sometimes doing so is a necessary evil. If a certain character in the story is the root cause of upset to the main character, and they’re contributing nothing but negativity and ill feeling to the narrative, then they no longer serve a purpose and should be axed swiftly before they cause any more permanent mental scarring.
But what if the person that is the cause of such ill feeling, such intense emotional stress and deep-rooted mental trauma is a character that has been there from the very first chapter? What if their very presence in the life of the lead character is making the process of character evolution so impossibly difficult?
How do you deal with that if you are unable to simply erase that particular character from your ongoing story?
By writing them out of your overall narrative, you know that you’re going to cause upset amongst the other original characters in the story. But at the same time, by them remaining a dominant force within the world that you’ve created, you are allowing them to continue projecting their own insecurities onto others. The result of which is the other key characters in your story end up becoming stressed and anxious wrecks. Prone to regular depressive episodes and reliant on a cocktail of medication just to see them through the day.
All the while the character that caused all the upset is oblivious to what they’ve done. Because the people that they’ve traumatised don’t want to cause any further upset amongst the cast by confronting them head on about their actions.
So how do you deal with such a situation? How do you manage to keep the rest of the original cast happy while at the same time keeping the damage and upset to yourself at a minimum?
I think the solution is to minimize contact between the main character and the cause of the unhappiness as much as you can. Be civil. Be polite. Be as friendly as you feel. But if that person attempts to project their own insecurities and negativity onto your character in order to make them feel bad or worthless or insecure, then that’s the time to bring that particular piece of dialogue to a close.
Because nobody – no matter who they might be – has the right to make you feel like that. And the more that you allow them to behave in a such a manner, the more damaged you’re going to become.
So with the new year fast approaching, I believe that now is as good a time as any to re-evaluate your relationships with people. For better or for worse.
You only have the one life. You’re the writer of your own story, and you deserve to be happy.