Are You a Drama Queen?

by Andrea M. Darcy
Reviewed by Dr Sheri Jacobson

Often called dramatic? Or even a ‘drama queen’? And not sure if it’s true or not? Drama can be a sign that there are other issues at play, so it’s worth indulging in a moment of self-honesty if this might be you.

Are you overly dramatic?

Do you tend to:

  • React first, think later?
  • Go from from happy to sad or angry at the drop of a hat?
  • Often get accused of turning small things into big things?
  • Indulge in black and white thinking? It’s either or, all this or all that, never in between?
  • Rewrite what happens to you into exciting stories that people will want to hear?
  • Tell such stories to whoever will listen, and sometimes catch yourself embellishing a bit?
  • Feel bored and uncomfortable if there is nothing of note happening to you or around you?
  • Often say “I”m right” and “You are wrong”? Find it difficult to let go of things?
  • Blame others when things go wrong?
  • See everything as urgent and important?
  • Have romantic relationships that are fiery and intense? Often short-lived?
  • Overshare about yourself, and gossip despite saying you won't?
  • Love things or hate things but rarely feel in the middle?

Why does it matter?

Drama kills intimacy. It pushes away people you love, whether that is friends, your family, or partners.

It can also cause issues in the workplace, with people being afraid to interact with you, or not taking you seriously.

What if you are a ‘fun’ drama queen? If it’s all comedy, all the time? You might make people laugh, sure. But again, it might be harder to maintain truly intimate and connected relationships.

Even 'fun' drama keeps people from getting too close, particularly as the real you is so hidden behind the stories nobody knows just who or what they are dealing with.

And others eventually get exhausted when life gets serious but you can’t… and they back off. Long story short, drama might feel exciting in the moment, but in the long run, it can be pretty lonely.

Why am I such a drama queen?

We certainly live in times where drama is encouraged, if research on social media and attention-seeking behaviour is to be believed. But in general, a compulsive need to be dramatic tends to be linked to bigger reasons than just your online interactions.

1. You are addicted to negative thinking.

Negative thinking is composed of cognitive distortions, things we tell ourselves are real that actually aren’t (black and white thinking is one). And it can all be quite addictive, to the extent that we can’t see a balanced viewpoint anymore. Everything seems endless drama in our head, even if what is actually in front of us isn’t.

As for always turning every little thing into a big dramatic story where you ‘did it again?” A research study actually linked cognitive distortions to an increase in self-deprecating humour.

2. You are depressed.

Depression means we can no longer see a balanced perspective but only a doom and gloom one. In this case your drama will be very negative and ‘worse case scenario’.

Research found that depression even has its own dramatic, 'absolutist' language, with depressed people more likely to use phrases like ''always', 'nothing', 'completely'.

3. You are trapped in victim mode.

If we are trapped in the victim mentality, we need other people to feel sorry for us to feed this identity. And so life becomes one endless drama after another, every molehill becoming a 'them against me' mountain, creating the endless sympathy we crave. Whereas if we stepped into our personal power and started to take responsibility for our life and choices, there would be less drama.

4. You experienced trauma as a child.

We can end up stuck in the victim mentality and addicted to negative thinking because as a child we experienced trauma, such as physical or sexual abuse. Our sense of self and our esteem were decimated, and we don’t think we have any value. Drama gains attention so we can feel we have that value we struggle to see.

5. You have borderline personality disorder.

Borderline personalty disorder means that you lack the emotional ‘skin’ others seem to have and are highly sensitive and overreactive, particularly to feeling rejected and abandoned. Your emotions will go from zero to one hundred and you will constantly pick fights or play a game of push pull with others. Life is endless drama and it is hard to ever feel good.

It can also be a learned habit

If you grew up in a chaotic household, where you witnessed a parent acting out with temper tantrums, gossiping, or victimhood to receive attention, it can be a learned habit. Or it could be the opposite. If you were, say, the least favoured child, or weren’t given attention, you might have learned to tell stories or make a big deal of everything simply to be given the attention a child needs.

What can I do if I am addicted to drama?

Therapy helps. You can look at what happened to trap your mind in ways of thinking that mean you tend to choose drama over peace. You will learn tools to create more balanced thinking. And therapy will raise your self-esteem, so you can recognise you don’t need to be exciting to be liked and appreciated, you just need to be you.

Need help dropping the drama and learning who you are without it? Use our easy booking tool now to find a therapist who can help at a price to suit your budget.

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Andrea M. Darcy is a popular mental health writer with training in coaching and counselling, and is the lead writer and editor of this blog.

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