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The rollercoaster antics of a drama queen can put you on overload, and wipe you out.
They’re the Sarah Bernhardt of energy vampires. They have a breathy flair for exaggerating small incidents and make them off-the-charts dramas. Life is always extreme, either unbearably good or bad. They spend life flitting from crisis to crisis, energized by chaos and histrionices. We dare not ask how they’re feeling–they might tell us. As a psychiatrist I’ve observed that a drama queen’s parents often equated concocted “disaster” with intimacy.
Years ago, I was amused to see that a magazine had a “Drama Queen for a Day Contest.” They described their winning contestant as, “She came. She puked. She conquered.” A stark truism about how this vampire operates on a subtle energetic level. The way they drain is to exhaust our life force with intense emotion; then they go in for the kill.
My patient Greg felt this after working with Joan, a new employee. The two consulted together on computer projects but because Joan always had a drama brewing in her life, she’d consistently leave Greg hanging. One week, Joan suffered food poisoning, “almost died.” Another week her luggage didn’t arrive on her flight–the World War III she waged with customer service made her late for work. Then her vintage pink Mustang, “her baby,” was towed yet again! By the time Joan left his office, Greg felt tired and used.
If you suspect someone may be a drama queen, take this quiz. Answering “yes” to at least two questions is suggestive. Three or more “yeses” indicate a sure thing.
Drama Queen Quiz (from Positive Energy)
Protect Your Energy by Breathing Deeply and Centering Yourself
With a drama queen, setting limits will reign in their emotional extravaganzas. Greg had to continue telling Joan, “You must be here on time to keep your job. I’m sorry for all your mishaps, but work comes first.” By staying calm and also shielding himself, he didn’t fuel her hysteria. Understand: this vampire doesn’t get mileage out of equanimity; they only win if they succeed in jangling you. To keep your calm practice this exercise.
The moment you sense a drama queen revving up, take a slow, deep breath to center yourself. Breathing is a wonderful way to quickly reconnect with your life force so their in-your-face intensity won’t sear into your energy field and cause burn-out. Keep concentrating on your breath. Tell yourself you know what’s happening, and you can handle it. As I remind my patients: you have power here. I know how easily we can lose it. But, when beset by this overheated drainer, you need to own that moment. Do so by letting your breath release tension and ground you. This will keep you from getting caught up in a drama queen’s story.
Adapted from Dr. Judith Orloff’s ”Positive Energy: 10 Extraordinary Prescriptions for Transforming Fatigue, Stress, and Fear into Vibrance, Strength, and Love ”