I came across a very interesting article on Personality Disorded people, drama & blame.
The only part I don’t agree with is this:
Whether we are aware of it or not, being raised in “drama” families determines the theme for the rest of our lives.
I like to think we can re-write the script. Or at the very least, add a lot of comedy to the drama! 🙂
I found the article interesting because my mother has a tendency to assign blame and get angry over the simplest situations where blame and drama are uncalled for and completely unnecessary.
The day of my brother’s wedding, she & I went for a manicure with a friend of hers. The salon was in a shopping plaza. She didn’t call to ask which store they were near, no big deal. But she freaks out when she can’t find it and instead of just sitting and thinking for a moment drives out onto a busy road where she’s freaking out about not being able to find it. I get the idea to call the nail salon to ask them. Apparently, I’m “wrong” for doing it from my phone by calling 411 and she screams at me to hang up and call from hers since it’s in the memory. Of course, we save no time whatsoever as I have to 1) hang up and 2) figure out how to dial dialed calls from an unfamiliar phone. The way she went on you would have thought vultures were circling in the desert and we were out of water. Or the Donner party and winter was setting in. If we’d pulled over in the parking lot, we could have had a nice, drama free resolution to the problem of being lost. Instead we had the usual drama, blame and frayed nerves.
Even an observation of something neutral can become a drama/scream/blame fest. One time around the holidays, she was having a bunch of my stepdad’s side of the family over. She’d put out one of those big hero sandwich platters from a grocery store about a day or so before for another gathering. I’d had one of the sandwiches in the interim and it had sandwich slime, I threw it out and didn’t say anything because her deprivation as a kid causes her to freak if people waste food. But then I found out she was going to have this as part of the food, not realizing it had gotten slimy. So I was faced with the dilemma, mention the slime and risk a tirade or let her have that and risk people getting sick and/or her being embarrassed about having food which was slimy.
I knew if it were me, I’d want to know in enough time so I could do something about it. And I didn’t want anyone to get sick. So I tried to phrase it as neutrally as possible, “you may want to check on the sandwiches because I had one and it was a bit off.” Cue dramatic, angry “WELL, WE’LL JUST THROW IT ALL OUT AND WASTE FOOD AND MONEY, WON’T WE” Complete with snarl, raised voice, etc (all directed at me).
In the meantime, before she could get to calling me an ungrateful b***, etc. my stepdad went to check on the sandwiches. They were so bad, the dogs wouldn’t even eat them. He ended up cajoling her out of her tantrum. She didn’t even apologize to me for yelling at me or for letting her know while there was still time to do something about it. If I’d been planning to serve people food and someone gave me the heads up while I could still do something about it, I’d be grateful, not angry. I’d hate to have people over and then have them tell me they couldn’t eat the food because it was slimy!
The thing is, this was no one’s fault and there was no need to get angry. She just had to blame someone and rage about it.
This quote also stands out:
Drama people have little tolerance of other family members feeling good about themselves, and they’ll often overtly or covertly attack the family member that demonstrates the most joy.
Thinking back on it, this is pretty typical. When I was little, I used to giggle and smile a lot and I was very imaginative & playful. I had 4 imaginary friends instead of just 1. But the more I was yelled at and snapped at, the more I retreated. My brother once commented that my father and I were more happy, go lucky types than he and my mother.
Even as an adult, she seemed to enjoy when things went wrong for me. She seemed to get much more joy out of that than accomplishments.