Dealing With Those Who Are Addicted To Drama

Have you ever met someone who loves to create drama in their lives? Maybe you are one yourself? Some people don’t feel fully alive unless there is something to be embroiled in, something to get indignant about, to feel hurt over. It’s different to being passionate about something. Sometimes a passionate person committed to a cause can convey drama, when really they are just being true to the issues that are really important to them.

The real drama creator sees the negative in most events, and cannot believe it when things aren’t going their way. Of course, there are many reasons why this might be. They might have a victim mentality. They might have a feeling of superiority and are incredulous when they are rejected or an obstacle is placed in their way. They might have issues from past experiences that simply haven’t been worked through. But life can present us with these challenging personalities whether we like it or not. So how do you deal with someone who thrives on drama?

Do Not Over React Yourself

People who love drama want you to react, either to them or with them. Don’t play into their hands. If you play along by responding in anger or with insult, you become reactive too. You do not want to get entangled in the drama. It can be challenging when the negativity is aimed at you, so use your integrity to know when it is time to walk away.

Generally, your best response is to say, "I’m sorry to hear that", and let the other person finish their ‘drama’ or ‘story’ before engaging any further. Although someone who tends to be overly dramatic generally gets worked up over nothing, there are times they may have a right to be a little upset or angry. By keeping things in perspective yourself results in one of two outcomes: Either you will be helpful in keeping the other person better balanced, or, they will find you are ‘no fun’ because you refuse to get outraged/sad/angry or whatever.

Listen More Talk Less

It can be difficult to listen to other people’s drama. But sometimes they just need to get it off their chest. Look for the underlying message in what they are saying. Are there any constructive solutions you can suggest? Even if you are the one in the firing line, if you can manage to detach yourself from the situation you’re less likely to respond by doing or saying something you may later regret.

When you feel you have gotten the story, offer a suggestion or two, offer a little sympathy maybe, and see if the conversation changes topic. If not, may be there is an appointment you need to be at or a phone call you need to make. Offer to talk more later, and exit.
Try and judge if there is something solid for this person to be so upset about, or if they are just gossiping to create more trouble (or they are working on an agenda that just isn’t apparent, yet).

Hold Your Own

While calm detachment is great, there are some things you shouldn’t tolerate if someone is aiming their hostility at you, whether it’s warranted or not. However, this doesn’t mean we don’t stand up to injustices either. Stand up for yourself, walk away if necessary, and use appropriate language, for example "The way you’re speaking to me makes me feel hurt/sad/angry. I’m ready to hear what you have to say when you calm down."

Cut Your Losses

Sometimes, the people closest to us are drama creators. If a drama creator is someone close to you, know where to draw the line in your relationship. If ongoing drama is affecting you emotionally and creating a strain on the relationship, what is the healthiest thing you can do? Consider creating some distance, even if temporarily, giving you both a little breathing space. Also, you can try and communicate that you are willing to listen and help if the discussion can be dialed down emotionally and become more solution oriented. Tell this other person that you care, but that you just do not function well when things become overly emotional (which may or may not be true, but you can at least give this other person a reason to get practical about any situation).

Hard as it is to admit, you may be one of those people who can only handle a little drama now and then. Dealing with those addicted to drama may be something that you may never be good at. This is something you need to admit to yourself. It may just be too draining for you, or be pushing you to do or say things that are unkind. In this case, you may need to limit exposure to those who live and die with dramatic displays.

Dealing With Another’s Drama is A Skill

Developing skills to handle difficult people is a lifelong process. Dealing with someone who is addicted to drama can be emotionally challenging, especially if the one creating the drama is a close friend, partner or family member. However, by using some of the above strategies can get you started developing the skills you need to keep you and your relationship with them healthy. Try and keep sperate what issues are yours and what issues are theirs. Typically, those generating drama do not grasp that their issues are not a problem for everyone else, as much as they try and make it so.

For many of those who approach life in an overly dramatic way, being dramatic is the only way they may feel they can communicate. So, keep things in perspective on your part. A little compassion can help you stay balanced in the face of those who are determined to turn everything into a drama.

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