A few months back we received a listener question asking about drama queens. Why, he asked, did he keep attracting these women – women who have drama with exes, friends, and all other areas of life? He asked if he should move to a different part of the country? Our advice, as I recall, was to suggest he look at which aspects of these women he was attracted to and to determine if those are qualities that are just part and parcel of a “drama queen.” If so, he may need to adjust his criteria or learn to accept that, deep down, he is attracted to these women and needs to learn how to accept them. Given that a person can only change themselves, I still think that it’s good advice. But something is still bothering me.
I’ve noticed a tendency to lump people into broad, largely negative buckets of traits: Drama queens (and kings), crazy women, doggy men. It starts out as a joke, but we start to rely on it as a crutch. Isn’t it easier to just accept that you’re “crazy” rather than do some self-work to get your life in better offer? Isn’t it easier to just “be a dog” than it is to live up to a higher standard? Isn’t it easier to dismiss a potential partner because of some superficial complaints rather than to dig in, understand, and have compassion?
That’s a lot of questions but, while my question mark key is still working…
Rather than write off a woman as being a drama queen, wouldn’t it be better for all involved to look at what she’s doing and try to understand why she does it rather than to dismiss it as making life with her difficult? Who said the best life is the easy life? Heck! Who said life was easy?
For example, a divorced parent needs to maintain some degree of contact with “the ex” for the sake of the children. That makes life hard. Certainly it would be much easier to just run away from one’s responsibilities (and there are plenty of people who do just that). If she’s working a stressful job she hates, wouldn’t it be nice to learn why she sticks it out anyway? Maybe fear of income loss? Maybe there aren’t lots of job openings in her field? Maybe she has other issues she’s dealing with and adding a job search to the plate is just too much right now. So, what does she do? She puts her head down and gets it done anyway. Pay now with the hope to play later. That sounds rather admirable to me.
Sure, a perfect person would put everything in proper perspective – take risks and win, learn from all past mistakes, become enlightened. Let me know when that person pops up, will ya? Until then, can we stop dismissing people as crazy, because they’re trying to figure out the complexities of life? From the outside everything looks like there’s an easy answer. We think we know how a parent should handle an unruly child, how a lover should deal with a deceitful partner. We have no skin in their game. We can’t know all the bits and pieces that figure into their decision making. The compassionate thing to do is give them the respect to figure out their own path.
Or is that just crazy talk?
Steve is the founder of Straight Talk Entertainment and currently produces and writes for the audio drama Aural Traditions, recently voted Charleston City Paper’s Best Local Podcast. He’s also an Information Security professional and avid shark tooth hunter.