Drama is a word that originally meant, “to act”. This is why the word made its debut in the world of performance art or theatre. As it relates to emotional life, drama is a state, situation, or series of events involving intense conflict. Put these two things together and you have the definition of a person who is dramatic. A person who is dramatic is a person who acts as if they are in a state of intense conflict. There is a perception that a person who is dramatic or who is a drama queen, is either over-reacting or is acting for the sake of attention, much like a performer on stage. A drama queen acts as if things are much worse than you think they actually are. Because of this, there is stigma associated with drama. You will often hear people say “I’m done with all the drama” or “he or she is addicted to drama” or “he or she is a drama queen.” So, lets get this out of the way right off the bat… When it applies to the human emotional experience, there is no such thing as drama. And when you make the judgment that someone is creating drama or is a drama queen or is being dramatic, you minimize and shame them for their feelings, which I assure you are very real.
No one overreacts. There has never been a person on earth that has ever overreacted. People react exactly in accordance with the reality that they alone perceiving. And our perspective and realities are not the same. For example, let’s pretend that you are married and that you have the tendency of forgetting to wear your wedding ring. Lets say you left it on the counter after you got out of the shower and forgot to put it back on. Lets pretend that your spouse gets really upset about it and spends the next twenty minutes straight vacillating between crying and yelling at you about it. You may look at your spouse and think, “this person is really dramatic”. After all, you still love them and it is just a ring. All you did was forget to put it back on. Your perspective is that your spouse is either acting for the sake of attention or is overreacting and thinking the situation is worse than it actually is. But lets jump into your spouse’s perspective for a minute. Let’s pretend that your spouse is attached to wedding rings as a visual symbol of love. When you forget your wedding ring, their reality looks like this: My partner has forgotten me or doesn’t love me. This can be compounded if negative memories are involved. Let’s pretend that your spouse was married once before and one day they came home to an empty house with their x spouse’s wedding band sitting on the counter top after they left for good. They now associate a wedding ring left on the counter with being left. So the only reason they seem dramatic is because you do not recognize that right at this moment, you are living in two different realities. You are living in a reality where you forgot to put on a piece of jewelry because you took a shower. They are living in a reality where you don’t love them anymore and are going to leave them. Does their reaction seem so dramatic anymore? No… it seems perfectly called for. You’d most likely react the same exact way if you thought you were unloved and going to be left by your spouse. When we think someone is being dramatic, we have a habit of telling them to be reasonable or to take a reality check. But to ask someone to be reasonable or “look at reality” is to ask them to conform their perspective to your perspective. It is true that sometimes offering them your perspective will help them to feel better. But it doesn’t mean that your perspective or your grasp on reality is correct. When it comes to perspective, truth is subjective.
When someone is acting as if a situation is worse than you think it actually is, that means the situation they are imagining is worse than the situation that you are imagining. Another way of saying this is, the meaning they have added to a situation is more painful than the meaning you have added to the situation. Everyone acts perfectly in accordance with the reality that they are perceiving. In all actuality, a person who is being "dramatic, is currently interracting with a reflection of past trauma that they have experienced and are now projecting onto the current situation. Once you realize that, you will no longer have the resistance you have to the ways that other people act. You will stop minimizing and invalidating their feelings. You will stop shaming them for feeling the way they feel, it will no longer seem like people are overreacting and you wont take their behavior so personally.
People who say “I don’t want anymore drama in my life” usually mean they are sick of the dramatic people in their life or they are sick of the conflict that they have with other people in their life. But drama isn’t about other people, it’s about ourselves. If I experience conflict with other people, I have conflict within myself. I am at war with me. If you are surrounded by drama, you will not be able to take an action step to cut all the drama out of your life because you are the one attracting it. If you cut dramatic people out of your life, more dramatic people will fill their place. What’s more than that, you’re failing to see that you have a way of thinking that attracts conflict into your life. If you are “done with all the drama” or find that you continually end up surrounded in drama and surrounded by dramatic people, here are some questions to ask yourself… Am I a chronic worrier? Do I tend to go to the worst-case scenario? Do I secretly love dramatic situations and therefore want it because I usually feel numb and drama causes me feel something? Do I secretly love dramatic people because being near them helps me to feel more sane, stable and rational? Do I have the tendency to become bored, so I attract drama to entertain myself? Did I grow up around emotionally unstable people and experience conflict as love? If this is the case, has it caused me to expect it in others and only recognizing love when there is conflict? Is there an internal conflict in me, which causes me to feel emotionally unstable, that I am unwilling to admit to or look at and so it keeps mirroring itself through my relationships? Am I unwilling to validate and admit to my own feelings, so not only do they have to mirror themselves through other people, but I treat others like I treat myself by invalidating their emotions?
We need to release our resistance to drama and find a way to approve of it if we are to reduce the amount of drama that we have in our lives. Drama is not a bad thing. It is contrast. Those who have the most drama in their lives have the most contrast and therefore expansion in their lives. No one deserves to have their feelings invalidated by being told that they are being dramatic. Most likely if you invalidate other people’s feelings by telling them that they are being dramatic, you have learned over the course of your life to invalidate your own feelings. You impose this expectation on others as a result of it. Even though you wish you didn’t feel how you really feel, it is time to admit to how you truly feel and not be ashamed of how you really feel. Feeling deep levels of shame for feeling the way you feel is the real reason that you want to deny and invalidate the way you feel. It is also what is causing you to invalidate how other people feel by making the judgment that they are dramatic. If you have a resistance to drama, it is crucial to remind yourself that no one overreacts, including you. You always act in perfect accordance with the reality that you are perceiving.