I reached over to answer the phone—3:00 a.m., obviously an emergency. But it was only Sandy, calling to complain about her neighbor. “I know it’s late but I just had to call. You’re the only one who understands. . .” Exhausted and resentful, I’d just been ambushed by a Drama Queen. I’ve known them all my life.
Charismatic, colorful, and compelling, these people (and there are drama kings out there too) sweep you up into their personal melodramas. They need you to help solve some urgent problem. So you do. And then there’s another problem and another until you realize that for these people, problems are a way of life. They want an audience. They crave attention, using urgent problems to control you. By responding to their demands, your life becomes hijacked by their daily dramas.
When I was in grad school, I had two drama queens in my life—Sandy the chronic complainer and Susan, who’d be at my door with a nervous breakdown the night before a paper was due. Susan’s life was a parade of perceived emergencies and I was her paramedic. One memorable weekend when she had tickets to a play, she convinced me to break my date with a new man in my life to babysit her pregnant poodle—because I was “the only one she could trust.”