Psychology of drama queens

Working with a Drama Queen / Histrionic Personality Disorder

Working with a Drama Queen / Histrionic Personality Disorder
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Medically reviewed by Scientific Advisory Board — By Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC on July 15, 2016

Its hard to miss the drama in a conservative work environment where things are relatively calm. Granted there are pressures and tensions at the office but nothing compares to the constant barrage of theatrics. One person seems to stand out in suggestive appearance, inappropriate behavior, and a need to be the center of attention. In modern culture, these people are frequently called drama queens. But in psychology, they are labeled Histrionic Personality Disorder. A personality disorder is pervasive, meaning it exists in all environments such as work, home and community. Individuals who fall into this category seem to have a constant flow of drama following them everywhere. Some of it is outside of their influence, but some is the result of poor judgement. Histrionics are characterized by the following in work settings:

  • Validation – An insatiable need for approval from co-workers and supervisors. This manifests by being easily influenced in order to gain even more approval.
  • Tasks – Has great initial enthusiasm for projects but lacks follow-through. Will begin a task highly motivated and committed but has difficulty finishing when the excitement dies down. Needs immediate gratification and becomes agitated with any delay.
  • Relationships – Quickly attaches and clings to co-workers calling them their best friend when the feeling is not reciprocal. Often co-workers will avoid them in an attempt to set better boundaries. Will seek out the excitement of new relationships and abandon old ones.
  • Day-to-day – Is impulsive and likes to engage in risk taking behavior. They are easily bored with routine and jobs that perform the same tasks over and over. They tend to act out to gain attention and when it is not received, they act out even more. This results in depression when they are not the center of things.
  • Responses – Is sensitive to stressful environments, worries excessively, is flippant with responsibilities, and lacks specific detail in speaking. They can be emotionally expressive and manipulative, but also very shallow and fake.
  • Ethics Engages in inappropriate seductive behavior with people who are in other relationships or where there is a potential for conflict such as employer/employee. They use their physical appearance to sexually attract others, wear revealing clothing, and then will follow through with promiscuous behavior.

Because of this behavior, many Histrionics do not last too long in a job which is a shame because they tend to be highly creative. Their energy level and enthusiasm can be exciting to be around. While it may seem they work better in unstructured environments, too much flexibility can invite even more risk taking behavior. They function well in environments where the rules are constantly reinforced and there are frequent rewards.

Last medically reviewed on July 15, 2016


Medically reviewed by Scientific Advisory Board — By Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC on July 15, 2016

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Why Some People Seem to Live for Crisis

Medically reviewed by Scientific Advisory Board — By Kurt Smith, PsyD, LMFT, LPCC, AFC on September 25, 2019

We all have one of those friends. The one that seems to thrive on drama and is always involved in one crisis or another. It may even seem like when everything is going well they go out of their way to either find or create some kind of crisis that requires everyone else to stop and pay attention. After a while it can become exhausting.

Have you ever wondered if there is some underlying reason that drama seems to follow some people? It can’t really be fate or coincidence — can it? No, it’s not.

The Psychology of a Drama King or Queen

The truth is that there is a portion of this behavior that has a biological basis. Some people are just wired for more extreme emotions. They are naturally more exuberant or feel more deeply affected by difficult circumstances than others. But that’s not the only factor. A tendency for strong emotions or not, the drama queen (or king) is also likely influenced by the life experiences they have had as they’ve grown.

For instance, children who experience neglect or who have a parent with mental health issues can be more likely to engage in attention seeking behavior. It’s understandable to a degree — children crave the love and attention of their parents. When that’s not given there are consequences to that child’s developing personality and coping mechanisms. They may act out, have tantrums, or create problems at school. As these children grow, the attention seeking behavior can begin to manifest as drama-filled situations and constant crises.

Many times these individuals, often unknowingly, are also trying to live in a state of distraction. When the drama dies down and things are calm there is more time to think. This can mean facing things in their lives that they want to avoid and bury. Unfortunately, no amount of drama and distraction will keep underlying issues at bay for good. Eventually they will need to deal with whatever problems they may have or have had. The anxiety that arises from these issues will typically produce a chaos response that provides the needed relief.

Constant Drama Means Long-Term Problems

The strange thing is that friend who is always surrounded by drama or dealing with a crisis is also often very charismatic. These people tend to be extroverts and others can be drawn to them, especially those who suffer with self-esteem and self-confidence issues. The drama queen can influence the opinion of others by over-blowing situations and riling people up. At times this can be on the behalf of those who may not naturally stand-up for themselves. The consequences to this can range — sometimes the results are positive and other times negative. Eventually, however, the constant engagement in over-blown, dramatic behavior will lead to problems.

People who seem to thrive in with constant drama often have trouble maintaining long-term relationships. As time goes on no amount of charisma can offset the frustration and exhaustion that is created by the drama queen’s hectic and stressful behavior. In fact, many people who are drawn into this behavior can find that their own anxiety levels rise to unmanageable levels.

In addition, the highs and lows of drama ups and downs can have serious health effects on a person who lives in this state. The stress that these fluctuations create in your body can produce excess adrenaline and cortisol that affect the functioning of other systems within the body. Add to that high blood pressure, sleep and eating disturbances and you have a recipe for a cascade of potential health problems.

There is another issue that those who are prone to drama seeking behavior often face — depression. As those around them lose interest and patience for their behavior, or as they are forced to face the underlying issues they have tried to ignore, the drama queen becomes very susceptible to depression.

Depression is a serious affliction. It’s much more than just feeling sad, or pouting because you’re not getting the attention you want. Untreated depression can cause many additional problems in daily life, careers and relationships. The most serious risk being the possibility of suicidal ideation or behavior. Chaos making can also be a sign of depression as well as a way to hide it

So if your friend’s drama and constant crises are starting to wear on your nerves, take some time to consider what may really be inspiring their behavior. It could be that they are actually in need of some help with more than the latest drama. Or — could that be person you?

a female type that everyone got

A woman who looks charming from afar, but up close is not only unbearable, but also dangerous for your nerves - how to survive next to her?

Marta Ketro


Women's psychology

Personality types


It is impossible that you have never met a woman of this type. You may even have become friends with her, but it is unlikely that it ended well, because the Queen of Drama is essentially a vampire, and you either need to have inexhaustible energy to feed her, or be an ice biscuit that is too tough for her. nine0003

As a rule, this is a woman with a bright appearance, if not beautiful, then unusual, with lively eyes and an expressive voice that simply makes you listen. And this is the first trap. With truly acting intonations, the Drama Queen will tell you how she woke up in the morning, drank coffee, got dressed and went to the office. On the way, a series of events happened to her, in which there was nothing special. But she will tell you all of them, and you will become fascinated to listen, because the tone of her narration suggests that something incredible is about to happen. After half an hour, you will realize that you just listened to the account of how the day of this half-familiar woman went. Congratulations, you have just been robbed of your time and a certain amount of emotion spent on empathy for who knows what. nine0003

The thing is that the Drama Queen is sure that every shade of her mood is priceless and deserves close attention of the public. From the first minute of meeting, she will tell in detail about her feelings about this evening, this cup of coffee and the weather outside. She will try to get the most response out of you, and by the end of the conversation, you will feel squeezed out, as if you were watching an extremely nervous show, being tied up and with your mouth sealed.

Because the Drama Queen is deaf. Everything that you have to say on the merits of the matter, she will skip, reveling in the sounds of her voice. She is absolutely indifferent to the experiences of the interlocutor, if you try to get close to her, you will understand that she needs only free ears. She will hear you only when she needs a cue to continue the story. For example, she wanted to be offended by you. nine0003

A scandal out of nothing is her profile. You said something wrong, you were silent, looked wrong or laughed at the wrong time. Anger and resentment will spill over your head suddenly and inexorably. It may seem that you are her lover or eternal debtor - the demands will be so exorbitant and strange. But she will cry with real tears, and you won’t be able to brush it off just like that, you will have to apologize and somehow atone.

In general, with the Drama Queen, you will stop feeling like a woman and find yourself in the role of a clumsy man who is not subtle and quick-witted enough. Because she is a girl-girl here, and she is also a princess, and a delicate flower, and the first beauty. As well as the sickest Carlson in the world and the most unfortunate bunny in the world. She does not know how to make friends at all, she is unbearable to share attention with those around her, she is not able to regret and sympathize, and she does not tolerate other people's misfortunes - because she should be in the center, and not some extraneous sufferers. nine0003

What should you do if this enchanting woman approaches you with the clear intention of talking? It is best to run away, hide behind someone else's back and watch how she seduces and torments another victim - you will have a lot of fun.

But sometimes it is impossible to leave if this woman is your colleague, mother-in-law or other relative. Then the basic rule is "don't get involved." You have been handed a ticket to this performance, but you are not obliged to empathize with it. Remember that most of her emotions are fake and you shouldn't do anything about them if you don't want to. nine0003

Of course, with such a policy, this woman will soon become your enemy. Most likely, she will find a man who is easy to pity and try to use him against you. But she herself will not disdain to get her hands dirty and do some nasty things to you. Be vigilant, do not give her unnecessary information, do not let gossip grow - as soon as tension has formed around you, discuss it with those present, draw their attention to the fact that you do not show aggression and are minding your own business, unlike the Queen of Drama, who adores intrigue. nine0003

And remember, the most effective remedy against it is laughter. The drama queen takes herself incredibly seriously and hates being funny. The irony makes her helpless, turning the tragedy into a farce, and the enchanting intensity of passions into the usual incontinence of words. The best weapon against a vampire is a silver mirror, cool, flawless and indifferent.

Signs that you are a drama queen

If you were an actress, then the role in any drama would definitely become yours. We have found several signs that bring out the true drama queen in you. nine0003

Website editor


Women's psychology



Getty Images

You are a cruel perfectionist

The first symptom. It seems that the desire for an ideal order, ideal relationships, ideal work is your plus? No, you're constantly dissatisfied with something! There is such wonderful weather outside the window, but your windows are dirty? The guy seems to be good to everyone, but hasn't he read Dostoevsky? Nothing wrong, right? Nothing at all, except for one thing - small imperfections constantly spoil your mood, and as a result, everyone else. nine0003

You just love heart-to-heart conversations with your best friend

You love them especially when you're given the role of speaker. And a friend, if she is a real friend, will listen to you and nod, saying: “What are you, poor thing! What a scoundrel! We do not exclude the possibility that the girl has long since learned several suitable phrases and does not even listen to your spiritual outpourings, because you never tell her anything new, and her opinion does not interest you. nine0003

All girlfriends need you

Otherwise, how will they, lambs, get married? You have already seen more in this life, you have something to say. And all these tips "don't call first", "don't answer him for an hour" were invented by people just like you - smart and wise. Only you yourself have never used your own advice. Maybe so that others learn from your mistakes?

You are a walking encyclopedia

Whatever you ask, you know the answer to every question. And what you definitely understand best is politics, medicine and relationships with a man. You will prove to anyone that all men are fools, and yours is especially stupid, but a lucky fool - he met a woman like you on the way. And you understand better than anyone how to drive a car, how to run a country and how to cure all the diseases of the world. nine0003

The whole world is against you

Most likely, all volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and delays in public transport are just to put a pig on you. Of course, for whom else! You firmly believe that this world is against you, and you don’t understand why you are so beautiful, so talented, and still so unlucky. All these are the machinations of envious girlfriends and ex-boyfriends.

You don't take jokes

No one can make fun of you because you can't take jokes in your direction. And if someone decides on such a desperate act (not from evil, of course), then you are incredibly offended, pout your lips and go to grieve in another place. And you do it not quietly, but by rattling the dishes, slamming the door and finally throwing the crown: “Chao!” This joker himself is no longer happy that this happened, and will definitely try to make amends. But only the first five times: then he gets bored, and the farewell remark can really turn out to be final. nine0003

Your playlist is filled with sad love songs

So sad that your aorta is about to explode from sadness and heartache. Naturally, these are your favorite songs, and they perfectly describe your state of suffering and poor thing.

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