What it means to be a Drama Queen

by | Feb 27, 2016

The catastrophizing reactions of the Drama Queen.

"All the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players"  said William Shakespeare.

For many, even those who are not pursuing an acting career, dramatic reaction and the role of Drama Queen are central to their existence. They speak using extreme language at both ends of the worst/best spectrum. Their  body language conveys exhilaration or abject misery. [Tweet "The Drama Queen knows no middle ground."]

Drama Queen

Drama Queen

Sexist language

Firstly, this behaviour is assigned a female characteristic, even though men and women can exhibit these behavioral traits. This is another form of benevolent sexism. Drama Kings are out there in numbers. No one means anything by it. But it's damaging. It's also referred to in some cultures as "Princess" behaviour, which also implies spoilt, entitlement and petulance. This is perhaps even worse. It's also used when dealing with people who are "high maintenance."  [Tweet "But it's important to know that your drama persona can be a diva or a divo."]

Whether male or female it can still be challenging if you have a relationship either personal or professional, with a Drama Queen or King.

Would you like to turn your relationships around at work or in your personal life? Take a look at - Relationship Mastery: Business Success and Personal Joy

Catastrophizing

A Drama Queen exhibits an irrational thought process when the individual anticipates worst case scenarios known as catastrophizing. This is self-explanatory. They see a catastrophe in every situation. A lost client becomes potential bankruptcy. A job rejection means a life of poverty as a homeless person.

A second element is projecting negative thoughts onto the future. "I always fail" / "I will never .." / "Something is bound to go wrong"

Because we believe something will go wrong, we make it go wrong. We think ourselves into a negative outcome. Read: 6 daily habits to boost your confidence

The lack of middle and measured thinking, means that the Drama Queen or King can become paralyzed to find real solutions to meet their goals and a life of contentment and fulfilment. There are different degrees ranging from mild "hissy fit" outbursts, which are generally met with an almost affectionate and indulgent response "you're such a Drama Queen." On the severe end, they can be part of a clinical condition on the DSM scale.

Causes of Drama Queen Behavior

In extreme cases  a Drama Queen can be highly emotional and attention seeking, with an excessive need for approval.  This can be rooted in childhood trauma, whether actual or perceived, including childhood neglect.  If a child is not given the recognition they need, exaggeration and over reaction maybe what is needed to get attention.  A Drama Queen, is never able to recover from what has happened in her/his past and the behaviour can end up driving people away, despite having many other excellent qualities. Some of these characteristics can be associated with a Borderline Personality Disorder.  Some scientists also suggest the condition can be caused the way the brain is wired.

How to react

At the mild end of the behavioural spectrum, especially in the workplace; you can deal with it by encouraging your colleague to reframe their negative thoughts with positive affirmations. Read: Two-Part Practice to Build Self-Confidence and 3 tricks to downsize self-doubt

"I am bound to lose the order... I always make mistakes in pitches"

"I have excellent sales skills and even if I get nervous I know how to deal with that"

With more serious behaviour, there is no point engaging with a Drama Queen. On a personal level, you have to draw your line in the sand and tell them the catastrophizing theatrics don't work for you and they are damaging your relationship. This type of behaviour does tend to produce a fight or flight reaction, with avoidance being the most common and effective.

In the workplace, Drama Queen behaviour is toxic and expensive to handle in terms of lost time and energy dealing with it, both at the time of the incident and coping with the fallout afterwards. Very often professional help is the only solution.

Staff Writer: Career Contributor
3Plus welcomes any writers to join 3Plus as a Staff Writer. If you are an expert in Job Search, Career and Mentoring or just want to share your experiences, contact us! We would love to give you a voice!

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