Sunday, 19 April 2015

Drama fuelled blame games and Jeremy Clarkson

I briefly heard on Radio 4 this morning someone mentioning that Top Gear Presenter, Jeremy Clarkson said he had a cancer scare two days before he allegedly punched his producer.

Now I don't know all the details of that but how do most people feel when they hear news of a cancer scare?  I'm sure you have a few but the intended emotion is often to make you go Awh, give a hug or feel sorry for the person.

In Neuro linguistic programming we talk about how we are responsible for our actions and need to behave in an adult way.  So instead of holding our emotions inward and then erupting, we explain our situation so it can be handled in an adult way.  We can't expect people to forgive us for aggressive behaviour related to something they know nothing about.  And equally we can't expect people to punch people because they have had challenging or bad news. It used to be called Anger Management more recently it's called resilience.

There are three models in behaviour that are often very linked.  The Blame Cycle, the Drama Triangle and Parent Adult Child model.  What are they and how are they linked?  I could write a whole book on them but in short:

The Blame Cycle can also be called he House of Looking Good.  People want to be right. If someone is right another person has to be wrong.  The person that thinks they're right blames another, the other makes an excuse and aims to justify that they are right and so the cycle continues.  It's a game of unhealthy EGO. Only when you have a healthy ego and look at the ideal outcome can you overcome this behavioural cycle.

If you behave like an adult you are more likely to get the other person to behave like an adult.  Parental behaviour can, in this model,  nurture or control, which in turn can create childish or stubborn behaviour.  We see it when bosses act like their parent and it creates childish responses in their staff. Adult behaviour creates a sensible discussion.  Adult behaviour is about two people being respectful, listening and sharing information.  Adult behaviour doesn't involve blame. It's not accusing the other person,  it's listening to the other person and then finding ways forward. The ways forward require both to take responsibility.

Sometimes I think the relationship between the media and politics can be a mixture of Parent - Child behaviour. Even in the Radio 4 programme this morning in the section called "norman's wisdom", the journalist said politicians have to learn not to moan, not  to attack the media but to 'take it'. Sounds quite like the Parental Media telling the Childish Politicians they can't misbehave or they will write about it and prove they, the journalists, are right.

That leaves one other behavioural pattern: The Drama Triangle.  The Drama triangle needs three people to play it out.  It can only happen if all three people choose to buy in to the game.  The names are quite extreme but the behaviour can be quite subtle.  One person plays the role of victim. another who persecutes the victim and then a rescuer who intervenes.

So Jeremy Clarkson, we could argue is playing the victim position in the triangle, with this announcement.  He is positioning the BBC to be the persecutor and he's asking us the viewer to be his rescuers.

Victims tend not to take responsibility for their vulnerability.  Rescuers get into trouble when they help out victims rather than supporting them.  A small difference. but an important one.  Only when a victim takes responsibility will they get out of the drama triangle. The other journalist on the programme said "Jeremy Clarkson does not need rehabilitated". Don't we all need to challenge and improve our behaviour?  Don't we all need to recognise our blind spots?  Don't we all need to seek an outside eye to help us learn? Or are the blind spots leading the blind spots?

The Jeremy Clarkson announcement is really intriguing because most people would be ridiculed for playing this information into the media.  Or at least strongly advised to put in some kind of disclaimer  e.g. "It doesn't make my actions right...".  However it shows someone playing very childish behavioural patterns.

There is a saying we get what we deserve.  I hope the British public realise that supporting this kind of behaviour is condoning this type of behaviour.  There is no need to blame,  to tell off Clarkson.  All that will do is push him into the blame cycle.  Of course he can do any behaviour he pleases in one sense.  It is a free country and the free speech argument is abound.  The question is do we want to be supporting this behaviour on our screens?  Being an adult explains clearly that certain behaviour is inappropriate and if they continue then there will be consequences.  The BBC did this.  They gave Jeremy Clarkson a chance, from what I have read. If that person then doesn't take responsibility for inappropriate behaviour those consequences need to be implemented. So as a result it is their choice to cross the line when they knew very clearly the consequences.

Jeremy Clarkson is obviously looking for a route back into TV.  We need to ask ourselves what kind of behaviour do we want to see on our TV.  And do we want to be cast in his drama triangle, bought into the blame or be parental to a childish plea? Or do we expect adult behaviour from our presenters; responsible broadcasting choices from our media so we can see behaviour on the box that our children can emulate.