Drama Queens

So I said in our poly cri­te­ria that any­body who is a dra­ma queen (or king) is total­ly out of the ques­tion as an SO. And then some­one who shows absolute­ly no signs of being one kept apol­o­giz­ing for sim­ply expe­ri­enc­ing and express­ing her own whol­ly legit­i­mate emo­tions and was afraid that I’d see her as a dra­ma queen. No, not at all. So I fig­ured maybe I should try defin­ing that a lit­tle better.

Feel­ing things is nor­mal. Even when the feel­ings aren’t the “nice” kind—anger, resent­ment, bit­ter­ness, pain, rejec­tion, jeal­ousy, etc. They’re every bit as legit­i­mate as joy, hap­pi­ness, plea­sure, com­per­sion, etc. Express­ing your feel­ings appro­pri­ate­ly is not only “okay” but impor­tant for decent rela­tion­ships. I know all too well from liv­ing here in my head that what I feel isn’t always entire­ly ratio­nal based on what happened—but hey, thoughts and emo­tions are dif­fer­ent things. And I have to acknowl­edge the emo­tions, even when I don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly act on them. As respon­si­ble peo­ple, we con­trol how we act, but I don’t know any­one who can con­trol what they feel. Some peo­ple are more ratio­nal than oth­ers, yes, but feel­ings just aren’t rational.

So—let’s say I’m upset about some­thing that involves Sam. Because our rela­tion­ship is impor­tant, I have a respon­si­bil­i­ty to say, “Sam, I’m upset about X.” Then we can deal with what­ev­er it is. There may be tears involved, and it may take time to work out what­ev­er the issue is, but we’ll do it. Somehow.

If, how­ev­er, I was a dra­ma queen, I might not let Sam know that any­thing was wrong. No, he’s sup­posed to read my mind! And when he failed to do so, I’d get angri­er. And maybe do some­thing like make an LJ post about how pissed off I am and what a shit he is. And talk to my friends about it and get even more upset (tri­an­gu­la­tion, any­one?). By the time we actu­al­ly talked direct­ly to each oth­er, I would be feel­ing all right­eous and might not even be will­ing to dis­cuss it, because hey, he’s obvi­ous­ly WRONG. And every­body who com­ment­ed agreed that he’s a Bad Guy, so see, I’m right! And now we have to deal with what­ev­er the basic issue was AND all the rip­ples from the the­atri­cal tear.

There are cer­tain­ly oth­er nasty DQ characteristics—needing to be the cen­ter of atten­tion all or most of the time, blow­ing minor things way out of pro­por­tion, get­ting hys­ter­i­cal on a reg­u­lar basis, etc. They do seem to be giv­en to tacky pub­lic displays—wanting to dis­cuss sen­si­tive issues in a crowd­ed restau­rant, scream­ing or rant­i­ng or oth­er­wise call­ing atten­tion to them­selves, etc. They fre­quent­ly live in such a way as to cre­ate reg­u­lar crises so peo­ple will run to their res­cue. And from what I’ve observed, they usu­al­ly deal with un-cre­at­ed, legit­i­mate crises poorly—because hys­te­ria isn’t a func­tion­al way to react to emergencies.

Now, I’ll admit that I did­n’t have real­ly high dra­ma tol­er­ance lev­els, to begin with, but my ex-hus­band absolute­ly burnt out the cir­cuits to the extent that I have absolute­ly zero tol­er­ance now. None. If some­one over the age of six says, “I nev­er want to see you again” I take that at face val­ue. Okay, I’m gone. If some­one takes some­thing that has hap­pened between us, blows it out of pro­por­tion, and goes talk­ing to oth­er peo­ple about it with­out com­ing to me and say­ing, “Look, this is upset­ting” and try­ing to work things out—well, we prob­a­bly don’t even have a friend­ship any­more. We cer­tain­ly aren’t going to be SOs.

So—what does “dra­ma queen” mean to you?

Cur­rent Mood: 😕curi­ous
Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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