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Speak to an accredited and experienced therapist to help you stop being so dramatic. Simply click here to connect with one via BetterHelp.com.
Let’s be honest, drama is exhilarating. Being in the middle of a chaotic situation can make you feel alive in a way that little else does…
…emotions run high, adrenaline courses through your body as you’re engaged in a he-said-she-said battle of the ages. People have gathered around, watching the spectacle, with some even throwing in a few “helpful” words.
These were the scenes that made high school interesting!
But wait… we’re not in high school anymore.
While some of us have been out of high school for years, even decades, our addiction to drama has not abated. The only difference is that now it’s less exciting and more exhausting. All the drama has you feeling anxious and stressed out, and it’s affecting your relationships.
If you’ve ever been described as a drama queen (or king), or just feel as if your life is way more chaotic than what could be deemed normal, you might be addicted to drama.
Don’t settle for living a drama-filled life. Don’t get comfortable with the chaos. It only gives you back physical, emotional, and mental stress as your reward.
Instead, find a way to minimize it so you can focus on things that truly matter in the ensuing peace and quiet.
How do you stop being dramatic? Here are 17 tips to help you no longer be a drama queen.
1. Recognize when you start the drama.
If you regularly find yourself in drama-filled situations – perhaps even with random people – chances are you’re the catalyst.
Now, before you get all huffy, let’s look at it objectively. Look back over your life. How many times have you been involved in drama? In all the different situations, what was the common denominator? Most likely, it was you.
It is time to engage in a little self-reflection. Is there something you do that attracts drama? Do you seek out drama unwittingly? Are you attracted to or do you attract drama queens who suck you into their chaos? Are you at home in chaos?
Then, more importantly, ask yourself: why?
Sometimes we mistake drama for attention. This is especially true if we grew up in homes where we were starved of attention or raised by parents or caregivers who were always in the middle of something. Somewhere along the way, we learned to crave attention, whether good or bad.
This first step requires you to be self-aware enough to recognize if you’re causing the drama, and to figure out why.
2. Assess the crisis.
Something has happened. Someone has said or done something that has you on edge. You can feel yourself rapidly losing your cool.
Before you react, assess the crisis. Does this issue really matter in the grand scheme of things? It could very well be annoying. The other person is quite possibly at fault. But whatever has happened, will it matter in the next 10 minutes, 10 hours, or 10 years? Is it worth the stress you’re experiencing or the scene you’re about to create?
Track your thoughts. Is it possible you’re blowing things out of proportion? Could there be another explanation for what is going on? Even if there isn’t, it is unlikely that this will cause the world to end.
Take a deep breath and a few minutes to assess.
Consider the story of the Boy Who Cried Wolf. When he truly needed help, no one believed him and no one came to his rescue. If you make a big deal out of everything, no one will take you seriously when something that is actually devastating happens to you.
3. Build your self-esteem and self-respect.
Are you drawn to chaotic situations because you crave the attention they give you? Do you feel that unless your life is a shambles, no one really cares about you? Do you mistake the attention you receive when people want to find out what is going for their concern and care?
At least for a short while, you’re the center of attention. People are siding with you, seeking you out, and spending time with you. Without the drama, you believe no one will be interested in or care about you. When in actual fact, the drama might be what is driving people away from you.
You need to work on building your self-esteem and self-respect and realize that not all attention is good attention.
Being engaged in one drama after another is exhausting, not only for the participants but for the people who have to hear about it as well. No one who values their peace will voluntarily give it up for a drama-filled life for long. This is probably why you continue to attract other drama queens into your life, because like a moth to a flame, the drama calls them.
Build up your self-esteem to believe in your inherent value as a human being. You have skills and talents and interests that would draw people to you in a healthy way. Love the person you are. Don’t base your self-worth on how many likes you get on social media or how much negative attention you get.
4. Stop being a victim.
Do you feel as if life has dealt you a crummy hand? Have you been wronged in life? Are people constantly treating you badly? Do you deserve a lot more and better than what you are getting?
You might be attracting a lot of your drama because you see yourself as a victim. No one is sticking up for you, so you’ve got to stick up for yourself. People are taking advantage of you, so you’ve got to fight for yourself.
You’re constantly on the attack because you feel you are under attack.
Stop focusing on how people have wronged you. Don’t worry about what people are saying about you behind your back. Adopting a victim mentality is the surest way to make sure you remain a victim.
Instead, look at what is within your power to change. Even if you were victimized, whether you remain a victim is within your control.
5. Live in the moment.
Focus on the here and now. Look at what is evident. Don’t make assumptions about a person’s actions or speculate on their motivations. Live in the moment.
When you live in the moment, you can’t look at the past or predict the future. You won’t be worried about what someone said to you or how you were “wronged,” or even about getting people back.
In the same vein, you can’t jump to conclusions about someone’s reaction or assume what their response will be.
You can’t change the past and you could be wrong about the future. Save yourself the hassle of worrying about the two and live in the moment instead.
6. Act rationally, not emotionally.
We rarely know when we’re being reactive or responding emotionally, particularly when we’re in the situation. That’s why taking a five-minute “time out” when you notice you are getting triggered is crucial. When we react emotionally in any situation, it’s almost guaranteed to start some drama.
So take a quick break to calm down and think things through. You will be less likely to blow things out of proportion or say something you’ll regret later when you choose to approach the situation rationally.
7. Don’t participate in gossip.
There’s nothing beneficial about getting involved in gossip. It might be fun to listen to when it’s not about you. But when the gossip is about you or your name gets mentioned in the he-said-she-said chronicles, it can be hurtful, embarrassing, and damaging to your reputation.
Have you noticed that even if you just listen to the gossip, somehow your name gets wrapped up in the drama or perhaps the very person carrying around other people’s information shares your business with others too?
When it comes to drama, it’s best to avoid gossip altogether.
The next time someone brings gossip to you, try praising the person being talked about instead. It tends to suck out the momentum in the gossip. For example,
“Did you hear what happened to Kelly?”
“No, but I did notice how put together her report on the project is. She always goes the extra mile on her work.”
Depending on how entrenched you were in the rumor mills, it might take a while for you to get out of the loop. But once you do, you’ll find that you have less drama in your life and more time to mind your own business.
8. Let go and forgive.
Do you find you relive events that happened in the past? Are you constantly thinking about how people hurt you, old fights, and past drama? Do you make assumptions about a person’s present or future actions based on what they did to you in the past?
A fixation on past events holds you captive and unable to grow and move on. Forgiving, letting go, and moving on is less about the person who offended you and more about you putting down that heavy burden. Obsessing over how people have hurt you saps your energy and steals your joy.
When you choose to let go and forgive, you take back control over your emotions. Now you can stop being angry, bracing up to be hurt, or contemplating about getting people back.
9. Process your emotions.
Drama is usually a mask for deeper emotions, which we fail to uncover and process. It is often easier to fly off the handle at a perceived slight than to examine the emotions we are feeling and why.
For example, suppose someone made an insensitive comment that hurt your feelings. Instead of examining your feelings to figure out why this person’s comment had such a negative impact, you get confrontational and trade insults.
When such incidents happen in the future, take time out to process your emotions. You may find that your initial reaction is just a mask for something deeper. Maybe your anger might actually be covering your fear of abandonment.
Try writing your thoughts down in a journal to help you process what happened, how you feel about it, and to put things into perspective. Journaling is an excellent tool to use to help you take a step back from the drama, tune into your emotions, challenge your negative thoughts, and focus on the positive.
10. Reflect on how you handled the situation.
Did you handle that situation or drama well? Are you proud of the part you played in the incident? Instead of burying any feelings of shame concerning the role you played, why not reflect on it? Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you regret anything that you said or did? Is there anything you wish you could change?
- Did you lash out at anyone who was trying to comfort you or help you?
- Do you feel you might have hurt someone’s feelings and need to apologize for anything you said or did?
- Did you make any unfair assumptions about anyone or the situation?
If you answer yes to any of those questions, find out what lessons you can learn about what triggered you and how to make better decisions in the future.
11. Speak to a therapist.
It’s difficult to help ourselves overcome past trauma. We’re too close to the problem to look at it objectively or find a solution. A licensed therapist is an objective third party who will listen without judgment and provide methods to cope with and address your issues.
Speak to a therapist who can help you unpack the trauma that may be driving your thirst to seek negative attention or addiction to drama.
A good place to get professional help is the website BetterHelp.com – here, you’ll be able to connect with a therapist via phone, video, or instant message.
You might not think your problems are big enough to warrant professional therapy but please don’t do yourself that disservice. Nothing is insignificant if it is affecting your mental well-being.
Too many people try to muddle through and do their best to overcome issues that they never really get to grips with. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, therapy is 100% the best way forward.
Click here if you’d like to learn more about the service BetterHelp.com provide and the process of getting started.
12. Don’t feed into other people’s drama.
Are you easily dragged into other people’s drama? Do you regularly get calls requiring you to sweep into action like a superhero to save a friend? Have you noticed that you spend a significant amount of time and energy resolving someone else’s problems?
While you want to be a supportive friend or relative, you cannot continue to be engaged in their chaotic lifestyle. It is not good for your reputation or your mental health. Stop feeding into other people’s drama. Every time you sweep in to provide a solution, you enable their negative behavior and teach them that this is appropriate.
After all, if for some reason you could not help them out of their jam, would they not find another solution to the problem? Empower them to solve their own problems and not depend on you to do it for them. It will benefit you and them in the long run.
13. Reconsider relationships that only bring drama.
Some relationships are just filled with drama. You already know when you see their phone call that some life or death situation is at hand. If you’re going to be honest with yourself, you’re exhausted by it all.
It’s time for you to reconsider continuing with that relationship. Or at the very least, your level of involvement in it.
Ask yourself, without the drama, what exactly do you have in common? What benefit are you getting from the relationship?
If your interests lie mainly in the never-ending cycle of drama, get off the crazy train and use your energy to develop healthy relationships. If you’re unable to completely cut the person from your life, try going low contact with them instead. This is where you severely limit your interactions, perhaps only engaging with them through a weekly, five-minute phone call. You get space, while still keeping in touch.
You could also try avoiding drama triggers. For example, if discussions about romantic partners always spark an argument or descend into chaos, avoid such topics. This will allow you to maintain your relationship and avoid the drama.
14. Be clear and straight with people.
When you’re clear and straight with people, they tend to deal with you in a similar manner. This is probably the fastest way to extricate yourself from the rumor mills. Gossips are less likely to bring stories to you when they know that you’ll address it by going to the person involved to clarify the confusion.
Don’t speculate, whether good or bad. Simply deal with the facts in front of you and address the matter. Lies and rumors can only thrive when hidden away in secrecy.
If the matter concerns you, address it in a way that brings about resolution and not in a confrontational manner.
15. Find a hobby.
You may be creating drama because you’re bored. You have nothing that is fully engaging your mind or tapping into your passion. So, find a hobby.
Do something you enjoy and that gives you a positive outcome. If you spend hours working on an art project, you’re feeding your desire for artistic pursuits and you get a finished piece as well. Already, that’s far more than you’ll get from participating in any drama.
Or consider exercising. Join a gym or start running. If you’re worn out after a grueling workout, you won’t have the energy to start or engage in trouble. Not only will your well-being and mental health improve, but your physical health will as well.
16. Keep your business to yourself.
Stop telling everyone the issues of your life. You’re only ensuring that your business is everyone’s knowledge by doing that.
The first few times you over-share, you may garner some sympathy. After a while, you become the butt of people’s jokes or end up seeming like a basket case who is unable to handle life.
Neither outcome is beneficial to you. If you truly need an avenue to vent your frustrations, start a journal or see a therapist. Neither will judge you. A therapist may offer a solution, while a journal will not. However, a journal will help you reflect, identify reoccurring issues, and just vent. Many of the people you discuss your problems with don’t even do that.
Keeping your business to yourself also ensures you don’t fuel the gossip mills. You won’t have to worry about who is talking about you because they won’t have any (truthful) information to discuss. This will give you more mental energy to think through your problems and find solutions.
17. Change your reward.
Every behavior has a reward. Engaging in drama or being dramatic must have a positive one (at least as you perceive it) otherwise you would have stopped engaging in such behavior long ago.
So think back to a recent situation that you were involved in and ask yourself:
- How did it make me feel?
- What did I enjoy about the incident?
- What did I gain from being involved?
If you’re starting a journaling practice, this could form your first entry.
Be truthful about your responses.
Once you identify the ‘why’ or what you gain from the experience, you can more easily go about changing your reward.
If you feel you gained the attention you’ve been lacking, are there other, healthier ways to get it?
Did you start a fight with your partner just to test if they really care? Is there a better way to figure out their feelings? Are you starved of affection?
It might have been cute to be a drama queen as a teenager, but it certainly gets old fast as you get older. Not only is it tiring to jump from chaos to chaos, but it’s also tiresome for the people looking at it from the outside.
If you’ve been described as a drama queen in the past, you might have also noticed people distancing themselves from you. Suddenly, they don’t pick up your calls or they’ve stopped responding to your chats or take days to reply. It’s because engaging in your drama saps the energy they need to deal with their own problems.
Be honest with yourself and drill down to the core reason you are addicted to drama. Address the issue and begin to repair the relationships that have already suffered from your addiction.
Still not sure how to stop creating and feeding drama in your life? Speak to a therapist today who can walk you through the process. Simply click here to connect with one of the experienced therapists on BetterHelp.com.
You may also like:
- 10 Warning Signs Drama Has Taken Over Your Life
- How To Avoid Drama In Your Life: 5 No Nonsense Tips!
- How To Escape The Karpman Drama Triangle
- How To Stop Holding Grudges: 8 Things That Actually Work
- 10 Ways To Respond, Not React, In Moments Of Stress
- How To Validate Yourself: 6 Tips For Self-Validation
- How To Stop Explaining Yourself To Others: 8 No Nonsense Tips