In this article, I want to talk to you about those people who seem to be "thirsty for drama," who live and create in their lives more or less conflictual situations and later they complain and they victimize themselves that their life is so hard and they behave as things would be worse than they are.
Maybe you are impressed by their stories who appear to be movie stories, you feel pity, compassion, or you want to help them, to ease their difficult situations they are going through, you try to do something, but each time you feel like everything’s in vain, maybe you feel frustrated because you try too hard but everything you do has absolutely no effect on them.
Why is this happening?
First of all, these people tend to exaggerate their stories, they exaggerate when they tell their experiences, they turn a trivial or unimportant story into a real drama, and they do that because they feel things much more intense and they perceive them to be far more serious than they are - their minds create all kind of meanings and find those explanations that allow them to further feed their need for drama. But at a closer look, their stories are not as dramatic as they seem.
Second of all, your need to help them comes from the fact that they try to place responsibility of their own feelings and experiences on you - they use manipulation pretending to be victims. Maybe they manage to make you feel guilty if you don’t go all out, if you aren’t there for them, if you don’t pity them or if you don’t try to save them one way or another.
Third, these people play some psychological games that they aren’t even aware of. They give you the impression that they need help, they want to ease their situation, they seek you to complain or to release their anger, but their purpose isn’t really to get help, to get out of the negative situation they are in, but to exacerbate their feelings (the more you talk about what you live and feel, bringing all your sensations, thoughts and emotions in the center of your attention, the more they will amplify), to induce you the same feelings so you can dramatize with them.
People who have dramatic personalities generally have a chaotic life and they create crises and conflicts around them. Their relationships are characterized by quarrels, exaggerations, discontents, and often end up in scandalous proportions. It's like they are looking for exactly what doesn’t work, as if they are focusing exactly on what doesn’t go well to cause other tense situations, to exacerbate the conflicts.
They tend to take everything personally, as if everything would happen only to them, and they feel they can’t control the negative things they are going through although they were the ones who created the premises for them to evolve this way. It’s hard for them to detach and to see things from another perspective. They always feel people talk about them, but in the same time they talk about others. They often express their opinions without taking into account the circumstances or the consequences. It’s like they have no “filter”.
Why would anyone choose to live this way, in spite of the negative consequences?
-when you focus on what is external, when you keep your mind and your life busy with all sorts of self-induced problems, you become distracted from what’s really important - yourself, your wounds and discontent, your desire to find fulfillment in your own life. It takes effort, awareness, responsibility, and commitment to create a life as you dream it, and not all people are willing to embark on a process of personal development, to heal their wounds, to become aware and accept their defects and qualities, and to do something for their evolution and happiness;
-if you are used to drama, if you have lived in conflicts, if your limits were poorly set, you will have the tendency to repeat what is familiar to you, you will react and behave as you have been taught so far;
-if you lack stimulation in your own life, you may end up enjoying the way you feel under the influence of hormones released from emotional reactions like anger, and so you will long again and again after the same sensations;
-when you create rumor around yourself, when people are talking about you, when you’re a subject of gossip or scandal, you will have other people’s attention, even if it’s a negative attention and therefore, you will satisfy your need to feel important.
Despite these psychological "benefits", drama draws into our lives a lot of negativity and chaos. So, we can choose to live in an emotional roller-coaster, in conflicts and physical and psychological suffering, or we can choose to change our way of relating to ourselves and to what is happening to us. Of course, it won’t be easy at the beginning, we are talking about thinking, emotional and behavioral patterns, but every person can make beneficial changes in his life if he has the will and the desire to do so.
What can we do when we deal with drama queens / drama kings?
We'd rather not get into these people's games. It would be best to stay neutral, not to get too involved. All of our efforts will be in vain and will consume our energy because these people seek attention and validation because they either felt unimportant, rejected, invisible and they lacked affection - and thus they try to prove to themselves and to others that they count too, either they didn’t succeed in developing the skills needed to cope with the adult life, or they didn’t succeed in changing their negative beliefs about themselves and managing their dysfunctional emotions. So, we are talking about a way of being which has its roots in aspects that come from childhood, aspects which are deeply impregnated in their mind and personality. And when something from the present reminds them of their past, they will react exaggeratedly and dramatically and they will try to involve you in their story. But nothing can be done if they don’t solve their inner problems, if they don’t decide to start a process of self-knowledge, personal development and personal growth.
The only thing you can do is to set clear limits and boundaries of interaction. To know when to intervene and when to step aside. When they make a scene or they behave inappropriately, don’t pay attention to them because you will reinforce and encourage those behaviors. It is also important to decode their language, that is, to see the reality behind the fabulous stories they say.
Did you deal with such people?
Dr. Ursula Sandner