We all know that one person who always has some major catastrophe happening in their life, or can’t fulfill basic agreements with others due to their being emotionally distraught. While there is nothing inherently wrong with being a drama queen, it can have an effect on one’s personal well-being, relationships, and career results. In terms of business, it can end up costing an organization more than just money, but harmony as well.
I worked in a boutique playschool and preschool in Malaysia for a little while. I ended up becoming the principal and running two schools simultaneously, and the one thing that made my eye twitch with fervor was when one or two of the staff would start playing emotional games or partake in some form of drama. Things like gossiping, taking a small matter and blowing it out of proportion, or using an issue that has nothing to do with them and MAKING it about them really frustrated me. It not only affected the school but it impacted the children, work ethic, the morale of other staff and even our sales would suffer as a result. Experiencing drama in an organization made me realize how it can cripple people and a business as a whole.
Granted, many of us have the “drama queen” tendency, myself included. There is something addictive and alluring about pain, though many people would disagree (consciously at least). We, as a species, love drama – just look at some of the T.V. shows we watch (I am looking at all you Game of Thrones fans)! Our society idolizes drama!
We love going through a rough patch and receiving love, support and attention from people around us, or being called “strong” or “tough.” While this feels good, it gives us an incentive to create and experience MORE drama in our lives. Drama becomes an addiction – one that is hard to break, but not impossible. There is a difference between humbly responding to an ordeal in order to achieve a solution and parading your pain around for the world to see how “you can get through this,” or “how unfair life is.” To reiterate, you can:
- respond to a situation or,
- you can wallow in the situation.
Why People Love Drama
There are many negative payoffs associated with wallowing in painful situations – some of which include
- being praised for your struggle,
- receiving attention from others,
- on an unconscious level, it may make us feel important,
- having an excuse to not fulfill your agreements (i.e. “I wasn’t able to complete the report because my mom and I got into a really bad fight.”).
The Different Kinds of Drama Queens
This person knows everything about everyone, and where they may be your best friend to
your face, they are also the first to talk about you behind your back in an unconstructive way. If they are upset with you, you may be the last person to find out and it most likely won’t be through them, but some third-party who had nothing to do with the situation!
Chugga Chugga Choo-choo! All aboard the pity train! People that display whining behaviors suffer from a victim mentality. Nothing in life is fair, they have it worse than everyone else, and even if a friend is genuinely coming to them to seek support, they have an experience that can top theirs any day. Instead of supporting their friend and lifting them up, they may willingly join them in the mud. If it isn’t “woe is me” all the time, the next thing they seek is for someone to come and save them.
Jumping to conclusions, overreacting and being over-emotional about situations are the trademarks of this particular drama queen. They are great at throwing tantrums, blowing situations out of proportion and taking everything personally (even if it has nothing to do with them). These are the kinds of people who are addicted, either consciously or unconsciously, to feeling angry, upset, frustrated or disappointed and may do things (intentionally or unintentionally) to stay in this frame of mind for prolonged periods of time. They complain but don’t do much to change the situation.
This person usually starts drama, either consciously or unconsciously. There is a saying from my beloved Malaysia, “Don’t poke a pit bull with a stick and not expect to get bitten.” Instigators have a whole wagon full of sticks and go around poking everything and everyone. If they are mad at their boyfriend, they will go and flirt with someone else in front of him. If they are bored, they may stir up some stuff just for the thrill of it. They know your buttons and will push them simply because they can or out to get revenge.
The “I Hate Drama” Drama Queen
This person can be either one or all of the above-mentioned examples, the only difference is they claim to hate drama…yet it follows them around everywhere! Unbeknownst to them, the one common denominator in all they experience is they are always where the drama is. I am guilty of this, let me be the first to say.
As someone who is recovering from my own private addiction to drama (which we all have, so don’t act like you’ve no idea what I am talking about), this is why I found it fitting to write about this subject: because I have been all of the above and then some. I have been the gossip, the instigator, the reactor, the whiner AND the “I hate drama” drama queen. My one goal now is to quietly go through life and observe, without making anything or anyone wrong for how they are. Granted, I am no expert at this but I am enjoying the journey.
In summary, there are many reasons people participate in drama. It could be because our society idolizes pain, it could be because we simply are unaware of it and/or it could be because the negative payoffs we get from being a drama queen are just too good to pass up. All I know is this: the first step to solving a problem is admitting you have a problem in the first place.
Wishing you all the best!
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