Are you and/or your family often faced with drama? Is your experience that everything is a big deal – coming off as a stage production or a play? Is your life full of explosive emotions and irrational outbursts? Are situations often blown out of perspective? Conflict and ups and downs are part of everyone’s lives but everyone does not react with great emotion nor do they seem to need to have the stage or be constantly upset about something or another. That kind of behavior can be toxic to other people and certainly is in a family situation where family members are steeped in dramatic behaviors.
What can you do when you find yourself caught up in drama queen behaviors? How can you remove yourself from the poisonous atmosphere?
- The first step is to recognize that the drama is happening. At times that is so obvious that anyone can see it. At other times you can quietly slip into it or get pulled into it by another person. Become an observer of your environment and watch the behavior of others.
- Set boundaries for yourself. Don’t let yourself get dragged into the drama. When you get sucked in you are letting the other person use up your energy. Dramacool How much will you allow them to take from you? That is totally up to you as you set your boundaries.
- Learn the pattern of the drama. Be watchful and learn the themes and trends. What sets off the drama, what are the typical behaviors, how does it usually end? Know what to expect in terms of behaviors and reactions.
- Clarify what you would rather have happen. How would you like that person to behave? What exactly are the behaviors that are offensive? What would the appropriate behaviors look like? Write this all down so you can be clear on what you want to experience.
- Have a discussion with the person right after the next occurrence happens. Tell them your observations and the consequences of the current behavior. Help them determine what they would rather have happen. Then do a gap analysis with them to help replace the negative behaviors with positive behaviors. This can be a very difficult thing to do. It may be that the person would benefit from a coach working with them through this process. You may find that you too could use some coaching to work through how to do this yourself.
- When the person exhibits better behavior do not forget to reinforce it with positive feedback.
Steps one to three will work well to get yourself out of the toxic environment. You may decide to just walk away at that point. If you decide to go on to steps four to six you may be able to create some behavioral improvement. But remember that many people are addicted to the attention they get from acting out.