What is drama?
“I don’t want any drama!” What does it mean when people speak of “drama” in a relationship? People use that expression when they are intolerant of the emotions or dramatic behaviors that others display. The term “drama” is used to describe someone who frequently displays a wide range of emotions (usually anger, sadness, jealousy) with high intensity. No doubt, this is uncomfortable for many people to accept or tolerate.
Drama stirs up conflict within a relationship or a group system. The person displaying these intense emotions is not looking for a solution to the conflict, but finds satisfaction in the venting of the emotions. This is a trait that confounds others, who try as they may to soothe the irritated person or help find a solution, but only seem to make matters worse.
Drama is not logical; it is manipulative. The range of emotions displayed do not have a logical tie to the events occurring. Often the emotional display or behavior is not logical because the individual is projecting emotions from their past or has an agenda to manipulate a situation to accommodate themselves. It is not logical or with the intention to make sense out of a situation. The individual being dramatic may not be conscious of these traits or deliberate with their behaviors. Are these traits sounding familiar to you? Do you know someone who displays these characteristics? Or, has anyone described you in these ways?
How can I respond to drama?
What’s an average person to do? Focus on the facts, not the feelings. Does the person focus more on their emotions than the logical understanding of the conflict? Resistance to a logical approach is evidence that the person is more gratified by the emotional display than the resolution of conflict. If this behavior is repeated consistently over time and there is an escalation of intensity, it indicates personality problems and character deficits. Professional help may be needed.
How do you typically respond when a person is acting like this? Is there someone in your life this way? Do you hang on to a dramatic relationship or situations longer than necessary to “fix it”? Maybe you have learned your lesson that you cannot fix anyone else. Have you gone to the opposite extreme and are ready to bolt and leave a relationship as soon as you see any emotional display? How have your experiences with highly emotional people impacted you? Are you the individual struggling with intense fluctuations of emotion that keep you dissatisfied and in chaotic relationships?
If you are healthy, your gut instincts will help you notice “drama” when it is happening. Sometimes people have adapted to high drama and become accustomed to it. You should set boundaries with manipulative people and those who do not regulate their emotions well. It is not possible to change someone who doesn’t want to change themselves or who does not have the insight about their traits. You can gently offer some feedback about your observations. A caring confrontation “speaks the truth in love”. Step away from someone who is not willing to gain self-awareness and take the steps necessary to give up drama for solutions!
It is my role to help clients find a heathy way to express their emotions and develop stable relationships. Counseling can help to gain perspective and tools to better approach high conflict relationships. Contact me for more information about convenient online counseling.