“Always a drama…always a victim!” – this is a label I recently started giving to a few acquaintances who are constantly entangled in some type drama. And when they blurt out their explanation, they are always describing themselves as a victim. Misfortune is their constant companion.
Here are two quick stories to illustrate what I mean. One of them is a contractor who worked in Iraq with the U.S. Army. I will refer to her with a sobriquet – Drama Queen One. And the second one is someone I met in Chicago, and I will refer to her with Drama Queen Two sobriquet.
Every time I met with Drama Queen One during lunch or dinner time, she poured out her work drama. When she shared with me her issues, I noticed, she was always the victim. Because she didn’t have a good relationship with her co-worker, she would get fired up at a small incident that could be unintentional. In one incident she explained she had just walked away from her desk, and her co-worker sprayed air freshener in the office. She took that as a personal insult. The drama continued for a few months until she was released from her army unit and assigned to a new one.
At her new assignment, she quickly got involved with another drama. She didn’t last two months. She was released from that unit as well, and assigned to a third, by the program manager.
The reputation of Drama Queen One had preceded her arrival at this new assignment. Not even a few days into it she got involved in drama with her co-workers and she was fired. She lost a high-income tax-free job because she couldn’t stop complaining.
As for the Drama Queen two’s story. We met each other at one of the Assyrian cabarets, and made plans to go for a coffee. The day after our first coffee meeting, she called me in the morning crying. She claimed she had lost her parents monthly Social Security checks when she drove home the night before. She claimed she couldn’t pay the rent, and asked for help. So, I helped her.
A few days passed before we talked again. Not even a few minutes into our second conversation on the phone she hung-up suddenly. Then texted me back saying “my brother just got into an accident in front of our house.” I doubted it. I replied “I hope he is ok!. Send me a picture of the accident. She never did.
A few days more passed, and on the third phone call, she shared a story about her mother’s niece – that she was dying in Las Vegas and needed to take her mother to see her. She asked for help. So, I helped her.
By now it was getting predictable. As I expected, the fourth call came from Las Vegas. She asked me for help to come back to Chicago. I said testily: “You are beautiful. I am sure you can manage in Vegas and find a way to come back!”
Appearances are deceiving. Our natural instinct is to trust people and help them. But then we wonder about their life.
I look at these people’s Facebook pictures, and a clamor of voices start in my head: (Why is there always a drama with this person? She is always negative. They look beautiful in those Facebook pictures, but their beauty does not reflect their character, why is there so often an inverse relation between beauty and craziness? Is she lying? Is she taking advantage?) I become discombobulated trying to reconcile how their Facebook persona contrasts with the reality of their life.
Friends and acquaintances, like the above people, suffer from emotional extremes. I find my relationship with them to be taxing and toxic. I’ve started to cast them off as fast as I develop them, in order to reduce stress from my life.
All of us are sometimes victims of adversity caused by life’s randomness. Everyday requires a constant balance between sharing and restraint from expressing our thoughts, complaints, and opinions. We must develop the habit of self-editing. It’s a lustering veneer to our character.
But if you are the type of person who blurts out drama all the time, here is my advice to you – it comes from Stoicism philosophy: Never show self-pity. Never blame others. Never complain. It encourages us to live a dignified, and even elegant, life, and builds moral fortitude.
As for me, nothing remains from these friendships or acquaintances, but a memory of – always a drama, always a victim. And that seems, somehow, even less than a memory.
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