Secondly, drama has a clinical connotation. Diagnostically, it is referred to as Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD). Although most of us can be histrionic on occasion, as is true with the other Personality Disorders, an individual with HPD exhibits a pervasive pattern of excessive emotionality and attention seeking beginning in early adulthood and the behavior is apparent in different settings. Although there are numerous criteria that describe a histrionic personality, individuals with HPD are overly lively, dramatic, enthusiastic and unusually open about personal issues - all in an effort to draw attention to themselves. What also distinguishes HPD from extroverted or out-going persons is that if they are not the center of attention, they will typically do or say something dramatic to return the focus of attention on themselves. Although qualities of HPD may be attractive at first, they tend to wear thin or become difficult for others to manage over time. Without minimizing the relationship difficulties of HPD individuals, it is important to note that personality disorders develop as a result of childhood experiences as a means of coping with one's environments.
As we tackle Energy Zapper #2; Drama, I would like to offer this definition:
|Healthy or Unhealthy Drama?|
And then, because of those elevated sensory emotions along with those sensational details,
we eagerly anticipate and desire more!
As you become more aware of the drama around you, begin to identify it as being either healthy or unhealthy for you - not anyone else, just you! What do I mean? Let me give you an example. My sister and I have a little saying about how each of us responds to drama. She's like a duck - everything pretty much just rolls off her back. If she is in a situation or relationship that involves drama, she handles it with respect and reason. Afterwards, she can walk away and leave it behind her.
- Boundaries regarding exposure. I often say, the degree of exposure to someone or consumption of something is a predictor of the degree of consequence - either positive or negative! Do what is healthy for you! You decide how much or how little you want to spend time with someone or do something that you know will involve drama. And you know how it will affect you!Take care of yourself. Set solid boundaries around your degree of exposure to and consumption of drama and implement them!
Set & Implement Boundaries!
- Boundaries regarding participation. Drama can be happening all around you and you can choose not to participate. Of course there are the obvious choices of leaving the room, or walking away from the situation, or turning off your electronic devices, etc. Or, you can implement two communication tools - reflect and redirect. By calmly reflecting back a drama-infused comment in a rational manner (so the individual knows he/she was heard) and then redirecting the conversation to a different topic usually will curtail drama, at least for the moment. Try it out. If it works, great! If the drama continues, implement stronger boundaries such as excusing yourself from the conversation or exiting the situation. You are not being rude; you are taking care of yourself!