Dr Judith Orloff's Blog

How to Deal With a Drama Queen

Judith Orloff - Friday, October 09, 2015

Adapted from Dr. Judith Orloff's ”Positive Energy: 10 Extraordinary Prescriptions for Transforming Fatigue, Stress, and Fear into Vibrance, Strength, and Love ”

The rollercoaster antics of a drama queen can put you on overload, and wipe you out.

They’re the Sarah Bernhardt of energy vampires. They have a breathy flair for exaggerating small incidents and make them off-the-charts dramas. Life is always extreme, either unbearably good or bad. They spend life flitting from crisis to crisis, energized by chaos and histrionices. We dare not ask how they’re feeling--they might tell us. As a psychiatrist I’ve observed that a drama queen’s parents often equated concocted “disaster” with intimacy.

Years ago, I was amused to see that a magazine had a “Drama Queen for a Day Contest.” They described their winning contestant as, “She came. She puked. She conquered.” A stark truism about how this vampire operates on a subtle energetic level. The way they drain is to exhaust our life force with intense emotion; then they go in for the kill.

My patient Greg felt this after working with Joan, a new employee. The two consulted together on computer projects but because Joan always had a drama brewing in her life, she’d consistently leave Greg hanging. One week, Joan suffered food poisoning, “almost died.” Another week her luggage didn’t arrive on her flight--the World War III she waged with customer service made her late for work. Then her vintage pink Mustang, “her baby,” was towed yet again! By the time Joan left his office, Greg felt tired and used.

If you suspect someone may be a drama queen, take this quiz. Answering “yes” to at least two questions is suggestive. Three or more “yeses” indicate a sure thing.

Drama Queen Quiz (from Positive Energy)

  • Does the person frequently start sentences with, “Oh my God, you’ll never guess what happened?”
  • When a brown spot appears on this person’s skin, are they sure they are dying of a fatal disease?
  • Is this person always making up or breaking up with their boyfriend or girlfriend?
  • When her husband forgets to email one night while traveling, does she accuse him of having an affair?
  • After a few phone hang-ups, does this person call the police, hysterical that thieves are casing their house?
  • If their boss doesn’t instantly compliment their work, do they frantically tell everyone in earshot they’re about to be fired?
  • Protect Your Energy by Breathing Deeply and Centering Yourself

    With a drama queen, setting limits will reign in their emotional extravaganzas. Greg had to continue telling Joan, “You must be here on time to keep your job. I’m sorry for all your mishaps, but work comes first.” By staying calm and also shielding himself, he didn’t fuel her hysteria. Understand: this vampire doesn’t get mileage out of equanimity; they only win if they succeed in jangling you. To keep your calm practice this exercise.

    The moment you sense a drama queen revving up, take a slow, deep breath to center yourself. Breathing is a wonderful way to quickly reconnect with your life force so their in-your-face intensity won’t sear into your energy field and cause burn-out. Keep concentrating on your breath. Tell yourself you know what’s happening, and you can handle it. As I remind my patients: you have power here. I know how easily we can lose it. But, when beset by this overheated drainer, you need to own that moment. Do so by letting your breath release tension and ground you. This will keep you from getting caught up in a drama queen’s story.


    Judith Orloff, MD is author of The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People, upon which her articles are based. Dr. Orloff is a psychiatrist, an empath, and is on the UCLA Psychiatric Clinical Faculty. She synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. Dr. Orloff also specializes in treating empaths and highly sensitive people in her private practice. Dr. Orloff’s work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, the Oprah Magazine and USA Today. She is a New York Times best-selling author of Emotional Freedom, The Power of Surrender, Second Sight, Positive Energy, and Guide to Intuitive Healing. Connect with Judith on  Facebook and  Twitter. To learn more about empaths and her free empath support newsletter as well as Dr. Orloff's books and workshop schedule, visit her website.

    Teresa commented on 14-Oct-2015 04:22 PM
    Is there a way to stop me from absorbing the pain of animals.. ..such as feeling unable to eat meat or fish because of the pain of slaughter or getting caught on a fishing hook.
    Also I become v distressed and angry when my cat catches a bird and torments it before the kill
    Lisa commented on 29-Apr-2016 12:11 AM
    What if the drama queen is my daughter? I want to be supportive but she never seems satisfied until she's provoked me into a fight. I truly believe she has Histrionic Personality Disorder. I have come close to completely cutting her out if my life. But in the end, she is my daughter and I will always love her in spite of all the pain she causes me.

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