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Family-of-Origin Dynamics and the Office Drama Queen or King

Posted by Dr. Holly Latty-Mann on

So often we ponder why people do the things they do. We want to know and understand the triggers. In this way we perhaps can help disenable whatever those unproductive behaviors.

At first blush most people see drama queens and kings as troublemakers creating unnecessary drama through indirect and/or dysfunctional communication. From the perspective of the “dramatic ones,” they are defending themselves from what they perceive as threatening behaviors from others. They have yet to change their childhood programs and thus can end up engaging their environment not unlike Don Quixote attacking the windmills. They score touchdowns in the wrong end zone. They bark up trees where no cats exist. How can this be?

Not always, but often times, drama queens and kings grow up in families where they witness senseless arguments between their parents, which then can trickle down amongst them with their siblings. It is during these times, the adrenaline system of the children will activate placing them within the fight or flight response mode.  Multiple warning signals (e.g., parents’ raised voices) can tax the adrenaline system in a way that not unlike an addiction, the child becomes addicted to this energizing chemical.

Fast forward to post graduation years in which the workplace or home-place likewise produces opportunities for more drama. In other words, consider the need for an adrenaline fix but no stimulus out there to activate the adrenaline system. Unknowingly (and sometimes even knowingly), this adult child creates the drama that expectantly will deliver the much desired adrenaline rush.

Once the rush is over, there can be tremendous regret in realizing the aftermath did not create the desired result. Admitting ownership is fairly rare amongst the drama queens and kings; they thus tend to double up their efforts to prove their original stance was “right”.   This explains how oftentimes those addicted to drama engage in black-white thinking, which is the antithesis to mature, reasonable perspectives and subsequent decision-making.

The good news is that through programmed self-awareness AND self-responsibility initiatives, these self-defeating and other-defeating behavioral patterns can indeed be eliminated or certainly ameliorated.