I have done a fair amount of discussing with clients, as well as writing about, the effects of emotions on people’s behavior; therefore the impact on managing their lives. When I decided to discuss something about drama I realized that, like many words in our language, drama has evolved into a topic far from its original meanings. While looking for a definition of drama I found that probably one of the most fitting for this discussion came from a popular social source for information, dictionary.com. They have a definition for drama queen, certainly not gender specific here,
“noun” Informal. a person who often has exaggerated or overly emotional reactions to events or situations: You’re such a drama queen! You always have to have all the attention.”
It is more than a little bit ironic that most people can identify a drama queen but no one will admit to being one. This is fairly handy because it allows everyone to be right while condemning everyone else for being wrong. The problem with this is that in managing life, a dependable and supportive social network gets seriously eroded while the need for that network remains just as strong.
If you want numerous examples, without having to actually even immerse yourself in drama, check out social media. Facebook will give you a great number of examples of emotional outbursts from individuals who seem to feel as if their emotional opinion is an adequate replacement for fact or logic. Since we seem to have culturally entered an era of the perpetual political campaign, sources for excessive emotion outbursts are everywhere. As I look at the support for various candidates I realize that the traditional standards for honesty, integrity, experience and accuracy seem to have been left in the dust.
Other examples from Facebook include posts that seem to state, and I paraphrase here, I am who I am and if you don’t like that you can kiss ______________. (Insert whatever appropriate or inappropriate body part you choose here) It seems as if individuals who would appear otherwise thoughtful and reasonable find this sort of post is some statement of their deep-seated need to be an individual. Other examples are responses to people’s posts that are inflammatory through the use of name-calling, vulgarity or the use of gross generalizations. Sometimes those generalizations may look like “don’t you hate the fact that _____________ (insert any political, racial, gender, cultural or religious title here) are only interested in ____________ (insert heinous or in human behavior such as starvation here). Again, no real facts are necessary only excessive emotion and opinion.
Any historical document seems to be fair game for misinterpretation when a dramatic quote is needed. The Constitution of the United States, the Bible, the life of any famous person or an invented person or source seems to be fair game for use in drama wars. It seems ironic to me that people are so willing to make comments such as “you know it’s my constitutional right…” or “you know where it says in the Bible…” The person who does this really has some hidden agenda that now is likely more clear. In reality, the use of this technique only emphasizes an individual’s lack of knowledge and willingness to expand on emotion.
The reason I’m discussing this under the context of managing life is that it is easy, even for me, to find myself embroiled in a senseless discussion with an individual who has virtually no knowledge of a topic or interest in learning about that topic. My response is the same as yours or anyone else’s: my blood pressure goes up, my tolerance goes down and my desire to resort to language that is only going to add to inflamed emotions is almost automatic.
You don’t need to become involved in those conversations. If you review the conversations I have had with you in previous blogs about emotions versus thoughts, you will realize that the more emotion that is involved in a communication, the less that thought is involved. If you find yourself becoming emotionally involved (upset), or if intoxicants are fueling the conversation, take a deep breath and remove yourself. Remember that all forms of electronic devices have an off switch and you can control that off switch. If it is a face-to-face conversation you can end the conversation or change the subject. You are not responsible for other people’s emotions, even though you may be contributing to them, but you are responsible for yours.
You will tend to get back from interactions what you put into them. If you supply drama, you will get drama. If you supply anger you will get anger. If you remain calm you’re more likely to be involved in more productive and healthier interactions. If the individual with whom you are speaking is not capable of having non-dramatic interactions, in life like in Facebook, you can “unfollow” them.
I look forward to comments you may have on this topic. Remember, life is built on choices, choose to be calm, healthy and have fun.