A few years ago, my ex-sister-in-law, Jennifer, committed a what I consider to be an extreme breach of etiquette. My ex-husband and I had just returned from a trip to visit his family and I was back to work on Monday. When I had gotten to work that morning, I had a misunderstanding with two co-workers. I ended up venting on my blog–probably not the best idea, but nobody at work knew about the blog. Still, I made the post pretty general and non-specific. Jennifer apparently took it as I was talking about the family and proceeded to call my other sister-in-law and my mother-in-law to tell the story and apparently blow it completely out of proportion. She also said that I had said something rude to her dogs, which I didn’t! She also misunderstood that. My mother-in-law was upset and my ex-husband basically asked me to apologize to his mother. Nobody would listen to me that Jennifer misunderstood and that it wasn’t what it seemed. I ended up shutting down the blog and did not speak to her for a long time. Even when I did again, it was strained. Am I wrong in thinking that she could have stopped all that by asking me a simple question about who the post was about? 0424-12
One of my pet peeves in life are drama queens who ramp up the family drama needlessly. It’s as if the drama queen or king is just lying in wait, like a stalking tiger, for something to happen so they can bounce on it, maul it and leave it a bloody mess that someone will try to clean up or the victim crawls off mortally wounded. Drama queens don’t care for the truth as this will often diminish or extinguish the drama entirely. It’s all about the drama as if they need the emotional angst it generates to survive.
Drama queens in families will use it to create barriers between family members and new spouses so that they never feel welcomed into the family. It is a powerful tool in the passive aggressive manipulator’s arsenal.
The way to deal with a drama queen/king is to set the parameters of how they will relate to you very early in the relationship.
1) Become a person who refuses to listen to family, work or group gossip. A drama queen/king NEVER tells their intended victim what their issues are with them. It always makes the rounds of the grape vine first behind the person’s back. If you refuse to listen to gossip, you become a roadblock to perpetuating more drama. My question upon hearing some fresh gossip about another family member is to ask, “Have you talked with So-and-So about your apparent offense against him/her? (No.) I suggest you speak with him/her soon to resolve your obvious offense. If you do and the problem is not resolved, I will be happy to mediate a resolution between you two for the sake of family harmony. Until that time, I really do not want to hear it.”
2) Become known as a person of integrity. Never tells lies, never validate a lie by not giving due diligence to finding out the truth. If someone tells you a fantastic tale of evil on the part of another person and you are tempted to believe it or have it negatively affect your relationship with that person, you have a duty to get the other side of the story before it negatively colors your relationship. Many years ago I was told a detailed story about another family member that I promptly believed without any effort to ascertain the other side of the story. For six months I was very cool towards this person until I realized what I had done. I called the person in question, got his side of the story which included corroborative evidence that what had been gossiped to me had actually never happened. I apologized profusely and vowed to never be sucked into someone else’s drama again without researching it further. In fact, I will tell dramatists that I will be double checking their story for veracity if it has the potential to blow up relationships.
Relationships may blow up but let it be because a drama queen or king got exposed for being the source of the unnecessary drama as opposed to some innocent person being wrongly cast as the catalyst for drama.