6 steps to defuse a drama queen and get your life back By Unstuck

Drama queens crave admiration and attention, but can’t or won’t give it back.

When we work with a drama queen, our days often consist of putting out their fires. If we live with one,


  • recrimination, and
  • threat negotiation are our daily bread.

The result?
We’re sucked dry, with
  • less time,
  • energy, and
  • enthusiasm to fuel our own lives. And that’s a shame, because
  • we’re putting ourselves second to other people’s demands.

Emotional vampires

  • Spin small anxieties (a delayed text) into outsize disasters
  • might be a hypochondriac), and demanding support and/or rescue.
  • Obsess over unattainable ideals
  • Regularly top good/bad fortune in your life with a tale of their own.

What it does to you:

You lose your sense of perspective, eitheradopting a skeptical outlook orassuming that disaster is around every corner.

drama queens are quick to point fingers rather than take responsibility.

What drama queens do:
  • Take minor provocations as personal affronts, whether they’re meant that way or not.
  • Find a scapegoat every time they screw up.
  • Throw others under the bus, including you, to get what they “deserve.”

What it does to you:

        • You walk on eggshells around them, and

        • feel guilty when good things happen to you


When the spotlight slips from their self-serving interpretation of the world, they find ways to steal it back.

What drama queens do:

Display volatile mood shifts.
make theatrical shows of vulnerability.
Eschew two-way conversation, but expect you to chime in on their monologue (i.e., “oh no!” or “then what?”)

Never remember what’s going on with you
Dominate social gatherings with personal stories and demands.

Over-share, regardless of what’s socially appropriate
Betray secrets

Make threats, including self-harm.

What it does to you:
You’re left in the wings with a diminished sense of self-worth.

  • drama queen behavior is wired into the brain, due to a varying combo of genetics, trauma, or other environmental factors.
  • This person may even have a clinical personality disorder; so, short of training in cognitive psychology, there’s not much we can do to change them.

change your behavior so you can maintain your positive outlook and energy.
Follow these six steps to keep yourself from being drained by a person who asks a lot without contributing back. The sixth step is optional, to be used as a last resort.

Ask yourself:

  • Does a drama queen’s neediness make you feel important?
  • Does being the sanest one in your crew ease your own sense of insecurity?
  • Do you feel an unnecessary sense of responsibility for these people?

Taking stock of your own contribution can help you shift away from them.

You rush to the aid of your drama queen friend again and again
Decode their language

  • spinning into a vortex of negative thought because they didn’t get the positive reinforcement they crave.
  • Accusation: They’re aggressively deflecting blame for a screw-up.
  • Limelighting: Nothing is sacred. They’ll risk a relationship for the attention they seek.

Set boundaries.

…the person treats you as their personal 911 hotline

Don’t reward their behavior.

  • When they act out, don’t give them more attention.
  • When they break something, don’t replace it.
  • If they hurtle insults and threats and kick up commotion, don’t respond in kind. Take a deep breath, count your many blessings, and stay calm.

Replenish yourself

  • recharge after an encounter with a drama queen,
  • go for a walk or meditate
  • Don’t dwell on the drama because it will only keep you in the negative zone.

distance yourself.

  • you might have to cut ties. Tell them that you need time alone to focus on you right now.
  • Likely, their antics won’t end, so steel yourself to stop answering their demands.
  • you’ll have to fight off guilt — especially if it’s a close relationship
  • ultimately, if things are going to change, we can only change ourselves.

Author: charlesburchfield

I am an artist working primarily with collage.

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