Damaged Diva

28 Feb

Letterbalm Drama QueenDear LetterBalm: When is my friend going to stop thinking that drama and tantrums are the way to go in life? She’s almost 40 years old – maybe mid-life crisis is aggravating her drama, but grow up, already. All her life she’s had monumental arguments with family and friends, salespersons, co-workers, everybody. She feels entitled to special treatment, and if she doesn’t get it, she yells, calls people names or turns on the water works, always deflecting blame from herself. I used to think she had loose wiring, but now I just see her as a spoiled brat damaged by her parents who pampered her. This means it’s difficult for her to have good relationships (she’s been divorced twice). I’m one of the few friends she has, but I’ve just about had it. What can I say?

–Tired of Catfights

If you’re one of the few who can keep your friend on an even keel, you have an advantage. You might be able to reach her. Has she ever had an examination to see if she’s bipolar or has some other physical or emotional disorder? Perhaps her self-esteem is so low she doesn’t think she deserves normal, mature interactions, so she creates drama. In any case, Ms. L.B. suggests you give it one more try, but don’t expect miracles. And, she hopes you have developed techniques to keep yourself detached and above her fray; repeatedly getting sucked into her crises will wear you down. When she’s unruffled and able to focus, take her aside and keep it brief:

Maria, I’m your friend, and I want you to be happy. But you’re always unhappy because your life is so full of drama, most of it caused by you. I think it would help considerably if you got an evaluation to see, once and for all, if there is a physical or emotional reason for a lot of what happens in your life. Counseling, too, can help you bring things into balance. My dear, you have much work to do before you can get your life on an even keel, but I care about you and want to help as much as I can. Will you start with an appointment with your primary care doctor? I’ll go with you, if you want.

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