Office Diaries

An insider's guide to success in the workplace

How To Handle a Drama Queen

Drama, being a close kin to high maintenance, may manifest itself in behaviors that look different across the continuum of masculinity to femininity. Read More

Actually, I think drama queens care too much about others' feelings

From an armchair psychology amateur…

I don't think Drama Persons feel safe in the world. I don't think their behavior is about anthing except pure survival. Love, comfort, trust—they have never experienced any of these. I would think it impossible for any Drama Person to "grow up", because their frame of reference does not include the emotional tones which everyone seems to expect they should just somehow know & understand.
Yes, all adults are responsible for themselves; at the same time, people can only change and grow with what they already comprehend. You're explaining Green & Blue to people who don't understand what these "colors" things are you're talking about.

I am a Drama Queen. And I don't understand what you mean by "growing up". I'm afraid all the time, because my best is never good enough. What matters is ultimately not what I think; treading water in this competitive world requires social approval and constant confirmation that one is "good enough".

Good point

I could see how that could be true too. I read this today, which I think applies.

So it's that tricky relationship between self and others that can be confounding. Are you a drama queen, who needs attention? Or are you dramatic?

A caveat: Deep down, I do think it's about what you think and believe about yourself, albeit underneath your concern about others. When you believe you are actually good enough, and even better than good, it renders what others think secondary.

How to Handle a Drama Queen

Reading this article hurt my heart. I hope you meant a person who needs/uses/loves drama BUT doesn't have a diagnosis of mental disorder. A case in point, a family member was always called a drama queen by her parents and ignored, belittled, discouraged and never really responded to about her fears. Example: she started cutting at 12 but it was just considered another bid for attention and ignored. At 23 she was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder after she crashed, dropped out of college (a Dean's List student), attempted suicide 5 times in 18 months.

What we know now was if she had been taken seriously and her fears and anxiety addressed in a serious and respectful way when she was 12, she would be a better functioning adult now at 25. Instead, there are two little boys, 4 and 6 who live every day with trying to deal with a drama queen mother who never had any treatment, support,or acknowledgement as she was growing up. Thank God, with Dialactical Behavior Therapy skills she is finding a new path, I think it's harder now than it would have been at 12. And what she remembers is that she was never understood or respected in her family.

OH my God, NO

I'm talking about ego and manipulating others for attention due to a distortion of self. That said, belittling is never okay and no matter how I talk about setting boundaries to take care of yourself, I never mean to say that people should treat each other absent a loving heart.

Appreciate this article, but...

Thanks for the article - it's important to know how to set boundaries and spot people who try to pull you into their issues. However, it's not so easy to disengage when they are family or friends (or patients, for that matter) - and you actually care about them.

We're all vulnerable in some way. Isn't part of the problem of the borderline/drama person the fact that they feel tremendously isolated by their emotions and the perceived abandonments of others?

We live in a very self centered society. No wonder a large number of people feel abandoned, and are therefore dramatic - and simultaneously might be either extremely self-centered or extremely sensitive to the emotions of others.


So it has to start with one caring for oneself. The more we model that behavior the closer we get. But someone who uses emotional outbursts to manipulate others, is equally not okay, and abusive in its own right.

Donna, you write that people

Donna, you write that people who use emotional outbursts to control others are abusive. I disagree. I think that mature people don't get knocked sideways by those outbursts. I think that if they do, they have issues of their own and should not pojnt the finger at anyone else.

A mature well-adjusted person doesnt feel threatened or discombobulated, or God forbid 'abused' (sheesh is that the word of the decade??) by someone else's weakness. If they do, their problems are more severe than the so-called drama queen.

So, stop tilting at stereotypes. You seem very shallow. Just saying.

Victim speaking out

Hi Donna,
I am married to a drama king. On the surface, everything seems perfect. Then he will pull his stunt. Being unavailable. Very unavailable. When confronted, he would deny it that he did it on purpose or even claimed amnesiac episodes. Sometimes, if I let the trigger sequence pass, he will do a double take and literally 'point' out the trigger. For example, the presence of an incriminating receipt that potentially could trigger a complaint from me.

I was on a string for a good fifteen years. I told my counsellor my worse fears. Could this nice, popular and seemingly balanced individual be playing games with me? I was beginning to feel I was the drama queen each time during our many dramas.

Until I was able to see his little games for what they really stand for, I could not see light and felt rejected, lonely, and yes, demeaned. Not to mention confused. I am a rational person and therefore he has had to put in a lot of subtle work before I react. On hindsight, he had really, really tried to get his hidden message across.

I am learning to react in the supporting or 'extra' roles instead of the main roles as and when I realize I am in another drama 'staged' by this drama director/producer of a husband, after 15 long years.

I do not hate him because I think(too much) he wants me to act out his personal grief from time to time.

He is a wonderful person otherwise so I choose to think we are in this together. If I can represent his grief, then surely I might be able to represent recovery. Unless, I choose to leave him, yes, we are in this together.

I have suffered, but I have also also practiced detachment first hand because otherwise I would have drowned.

The article you have written describes the other type(open) of drama queen, but my type, well, yes, they exists.

If you identify with me or is also an actor on a string, see the games for what they are. They are just games. And if u asked me for tips, well, here goes.

1) it takes 2 hands to clap.
2) by the time the perpetrator gives up, u would have also been healed
3) it is not ur fault.
4) u may be paranoid, but it is not ur fault.
5) care for yourself first.
6) get professional help to identify and ascertain who is in what role.

im a victim of a drama queen

I called off a friendship because of her drama, always plotting and manipulating things and she is now my worse enemy, she won't stop the drama, she showed her worse side when I called off the friendship, she is now on my face showing off new cloths, shoes, etc im just not comfortable with d drama and I dont do drama please advice what do I do


Sorry, I don't understand, "she is now on my face showing off new cloths, shoes, etc im just not comfortable with d drama and I dont do drama."

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may quote other posts using [quote] tags.

More information about formatting options

Donna Flagg is the author of Surviving Dreaded Conversations and a New York City-based dancer.


Subscribe to Office Diaries

Current Issue

Just Say It

When and how should we open up to loved ones?