Tiki

Crazy-Drama Syndrome

Ah, the Crazies in our lives . . . are there Strategies that can help us deal with them?

I’m sure you know who I’m talking about here. The people who blow up over little things, and turn them into really dramatic BIG things.

Those who like to fan the fire of tiny angst-filled emotional sparks — into all-consuming conflagration!

How do we protect ourselves from being sucked in and devoured by their ever-recurring dramas?

(And they seem to abound in the greater horse/human work-related community! :))

My Hawaii horse-trainer-daughter, Angela, and I, set out to conquer this one evening: Poster board in hand. Colorful marker pens. Mind-Map begun . . .

After working our solutions for the past five years, our Strategies remain sound, and really do seem to help:))

Mind Map

              Example of a Mind Map

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Drama Queen/Control Freaks

Here’s what we came up with — and here’s how we did it.

We started by writing an ever-growing list of the people we know who seem to always be caught in the midst of drama — losing it, causing chaos, blowing stuff up and out of proportion.

Then we looked at their individual traits, habits and behaviors, and began listing some of what they would regularly indulge in:

  • Flip flop — constant change and unnecessary upheaval. When things work, they STOP doing what works.
  • Ask random EVERYBODY for advice. Get confused. Believe the most random/far-fetched answer/person (the internet contributes to this).
  • They make the mistake — but blame others for it (projection).
  • Lack accountability. They seem to have no consequences — yet hold you accountable (even though they are not :))
  • Manipulative. Come with their own agendas.
  • They cause (concoct) the problem/disaster . . . in order to “solve” the problem (to make themselves look/feel good?).
  • Appear as rescuers.
  • No memory/distorted memory of timelines, facts, reality.
  • Lie. Exaggerate. Delusional. Twist. Facade.
  • Bossy/bully, yet insecure.
  • Defensive. Ultra protective of “turf”.

You get the picture . . .

Malibu Lightning 2008

  • Ever stirring the pot. Creating turmoil.
  • Always trying to “prove” themselves
  • Incessant talkers. Gossip. Critical. Yet can appear overly “sugary sweet” . . .
  • Words and actions quite the opposite.
  • Obsessive/Compulsive.
  • Non-problem solvers — they are the problem.
  • Weasel. Downers. Unpredictable.
  • Know-it-all. Accusatory.
  • Make bad decisions.
  • Spoiled — used to getting their way.
  • Not respectful.
  • Volatile. Explosive.

Rearing Stallion

Possible Horse Solutions

Next, as horse trainers, we looked to the one topic we knew the best: Horses.

We made a list of the horses we’d known through the years with similar traits. (Difficult horses. The ones you can count on to blow up, spook, dump their riders and cause problems.)

Then, we listed how we would deal with those horses to better manage them, hoping to find a correlation between the ill-tempered horse, and the human . . .

(After all, we work with our horses to “desensitize” them. Can we do this with people???)

And we came up with a list of Horse Strategies:

  • WORK! Putting a hot/spooky/high-energy horse to consistent work is better than having them stand around idle. (Keep them busy, directed. No extra time.)
  • Cut the feed/carbs. Managing the diet of volatile horses helps curb the problems.
  • Dominance. Horses work off of a pecking order. Who ever moves the other guy wins. Establishing dominance with these horses is essential. I need to be the one who moves the horse in order to gain his/her respect.
  • Exposure. Exposing them to different situations. Habituate them to new and changing environments . . .
  • Apply boundaries — no holes in the fence. If a horse pushes against a fence, a gate, and it moves, he will keep pushing, keep moving the boundary. My job is to reinforce the boundaries . . . keep it solid!
  • Shake up the mix. Change the set-up, the routine. Keep it interesting (Don’t do everything exactly the same every day.)
  • Bribes!! Food. Cookies. Rewards. Cooing. Scratches :))
  • Cool them out. Spray them off. Turn them out. And let them roll . . .

Bath Time!

Dependable Horses and Humans

In contrast, we listed the good horses, and the reliable people we know — and listed out some of their positive traits.

  • Logical.
  • Grounded.
  • Problem solvers.
  • Pleasant.
  • Predictable.
  • Good instincts.
  • Uplifting.

And we wondered, comparing these calming folks to those on our Crazy-Drama list, would it be possible to “train” the others to be more positive, to embrace more of these reliable traits?

Susan Smiling

Human/Horse Comparisons

So we looked at possible Strategies for desensitizing, managing the energy, and coping with our overly dramatic, Crazy-Drama humans.

How do we protect ourselves from them? Prepare for them? Train them?

Can we learn to see these people coming before they get here, before they explode? What can we do to ward off their tirades and keep them from upsetting us???

And we realized, communication is at the core of the issue.

For them, dramatic outbursts and behaviors are their pattern of communication . . .

Rooster“Don’t Show Up for the Pain”

Years ago I worked for a gal, trained in psychology, and I remember her poignant statement to me one day: “We have a saying in the mental health field: ‘Don’t show up for the pain.’ “

As in: If someone is abusive to you, don’t keep going back for more. Cut the cycle.                STOP participating. Go away. Don’t show!

And in looking for our solutions, Angela and I wondered: By reducing communications with our Crazy-Drama people, by not showing up for their pain, can we protect ourselves         from them?

PeaceLimit Communications

Rather than answer their calls, can we let them leave a message?

Rather than get angry, upset at their behaviors or tirades, can we train ourselves to put on emotional earplugs?

Train ourselves to stop repeating their annoying behaviors and hurtful words in our own minds, and to others?

Stand Up — Enforce Boundaries

Can we learn to diffuse their energy?

Deal with what needs dealing with, but not dwell on it. Stand up to them, as needed.      Stand our ground. Then let them go!

Ignore their actions, their tirades. Pray for them. Love them. But enforce our                boundaries with them.

Love

Putting our Theory into Action

I got to test the theory out one day, when a certain woman confronted me while I was working, shoeing a horse in a barn — for someone else. (Yes, turns out this woman was on our original Crazy-Drama Mind-Map list!)

This lady barged up to me, invading my space, and began talking at me about a close-to-home, emotionally charged topic of her gossip-driven obsession.

~~~~

My immediate thoughts:

Are you kidding??? I don’t want to hear what she has to say. I cannot let this person interrupt my concentration — emotionally, she’ll ruin me!

If I take my mind off of my work right now, I can really mess up what I’m doing on this other lady’s horse.

I can’t afford to hear what she has to say. Not here — not now!

So I decided to stand my ground. To put our theory on limiting communications into action.

Barn Silhouette

Standing Ground

Bent over and holding the rear hoof of the lovely mare I was working on, I looked up and told her:

I cannot talk now. Please, go away.

This is my workplace, my office . . . 

Right now, I need all my concentration to work on this horse.

Call me on the phone later, if you want.

This is not the time or the place to talk.

~~~~

With that, she walked away.

Ruffled, I began calming my nervous system (with deep breaths), and focused on one thing:  Working on the hooves of that lovely mare.

DawnHoof Working

Success!

I would never have known how successful this approach would turn out to be.

She never called. She never confronted me again.

Every time I saw her after that, she politely said hello.

That was it — end of drama!

Nipped in the bud.

Cut off at the beginning of the gossip cycle.

Crystal CatLessons from the Animal World

It seems we can learn from the animal world around us.

Stand our ground, and set our boundaries.

Become more aloof, like a cat . . .

Apply some of the same strategies with difficult humans as we do with our spooky, difficult horses.

We don’t have to show up for the pain.

In many instances, we can walk away — and surround ourselves in a more pleasant circumstance . . .

Molokai Hybiscus

More Ease, Less Tension

Since Angela and I have been working these strategies, we’ve seen some refreshing results.

We seem to be managing our work and life with more ease, less tension.

We seem to be surrounding ourselves with more reliable, grounded individuals.

And that makes our work, and our Lives, happier :))

We have learned to: 

Reward good behavior.

Nip bad behavior in the bud.

Work on calming our own nervous systems.

Look for joy and dependability in ourselves, and in those we work with.

Focus on the positive.

And be ever on the lookout for, and protecting against, the Crazy Drama symptoms — not only in those around us, but within ourselves — being aware of and reining in, our own personal flaws and weaknesses :))

(Turns out our Strategy even helps with our own behaviors — see my Post, Ride Life :))

Dawn

North Shore Dragon Head

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Like what you’ve read here? Visit Dawn’s horse blog: Soul Horse Ride

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…/< >\ …/< >\ …/< >\

Shadow Dawn &amp; Angel

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Copyright 2018

Photo credits: Dawn Jenkins, Dawnhoof working: T. Turner

 

 

 

28 thoughts on “Crazy-Drama Syndrome

    1. DawnSeeker / DawnHoof Post author

      Thank you :)) It helps to have a response prepared in advance to what might otherwise topple our apple carts! Angela is my daughter-from-another-mother — we’ve worked closely for many years and share a deep passion for horses :)) I’m grateful to have her in my Life to exchange professional insights, as well as warm mom/kid wisdom. We all need more of that! Best to you — I enjoy your horse insights, and love love love the post about your awesome horsey Aunt :)) Dawn

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  1. http://theenglishprofessoratlarge.com

    Hi, dear Dawn. I appreciate what you have had to face. I learned, years ago, dealing with my students’ parents, to first say something positive and then continue with the not-so-positive by starting the next sentence with “And ” instead of “But.” I also learned to bless them and go on my way. We don’t have time for negativity in our immediate lives; we have to face too much of it in society. I send you beautiful thoughts on which to float and a lot of love.

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    1. DawnSeeker / DawnHoof Post author

      Thank you Patricia :)) I picture your garden blooming with Spring, your cats soaking up the morning sun, and you eating a delicious meal prepared in your cottage kitchen :)) Best to you!!! Love and hugs :))

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  2. Dalo 2013

    Excellent post, Dawn, insight for every piece of life – for drama will always find a way to creep in if not careful. Emotions and passion in life is a great fuel that can be shared, but endless drama for nothing but effect simply depletes the energy around such people. Your post does a great job in letting us, the readers, understand we do not have to become part of the scene and we do have the power to push it away and not get involved. A little horse-philosophy can go a long way as well 🙂 Cheers to a great week ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. DawnSeeker / DawnHoof Post author

      Thank you, kind and insightful Randall :)) This one took a LONG time to edit and get right . . . and your comment lets me know I got there :)) I felt it best to explain the process we used in developing our successful Strategies, and felt it an important piece in navigating the varying storms of Life’s seas. Spring is finally calling out the robins, the tulips and cottonwood leaves, newly budding. Enjoy!!! :)) :)) :)) Always good to hear from you — always appreciate your insights!

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    1. DawnSeeker / DawnHoof Post author

      Thank you!! It’s proved to be a powerful process that’s really helped :)) I got to work on the hooves of a new-to-me Mustang today, and we totally melded into one. It’s a special feeling to enter into the space of another species with a mutual language, and cooperation :)) I’ve got a Horse High tonight from it! Be well — Dawn

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  3. NorCal Zen

    I absolutely loved this post! What insights you and your daughter came up with together. I like using the mind map system. It definitely makes things clearer. I really liked how you described the thought process, and how you successfully applied the results, in your life. Standing your ground, while remaining kind, is definitely an art. Thank you for a most helpful post. Very interesting read.

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    1. DawnSeeker / DawnHoof Post author

      Thank you very much, and I’m glad you appreciate how we got “there” with our horse-related process :)) That’s the best part, other than how much it’s worked for us, that it came out of our vast well of horse knowledge :))

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  4. Samantha

    “Cool them out. Spray them off. Turn them out. And let them roll . . .” – If stating your boundaries doesn’t work, this might 😉

    Just kidding!

    I had a friend once like this. Took me a while to figure out how manipulative she was, always needing to get things done her way. Sucked the life out of me. Eventually I let the friendship run dry, so to speak. Just stopped calling back. I’m not proud of that way of handling it, but I did try to tell her once how I felt about her manners (or rather: lack of) and she completely turned the story around and made it sound like I was the bad person. I gave up.

    I have developed a sincere allergy to these Crazy-Drama people, haha. I try to keep them as far away from me as possible. So far I’m doing well, lol.

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. DawnSeeker / DawnHoof Post author

      Good girl, Samantha — You definitely Cooled her out. Sprayed her off. Turned her out. And let her roll. Real well :)) Glad it worked, and that you are Crazy-Drama free :)) I think the most surprising part of doing this Map was realizing that in certain circumstances, regarding certain topics, I can be Crazy toooooo! It’s helped me observe my own behaviors and keep them in check :)) Best to you, and enjoy the Spring! :))

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  5. micheleballantyne

    Love this post Dawn, I don’t often take time to read many posts, but thought I’d take the time today since you are so good at checking my posts out! (Thanks by the way!!!). I love the description of how you analyzed the person and compared that with training horses. A very interesting concept. I have heard about dog training and how that can compare as well.

    As someone who has struggled with having ANY boundaries for self protection, I loved reading about how you handled a drama queen to create a boundary for your sanity.

    The keep them busy idea is a great one for my husband. I am finally beginning to understand that unless I have a list for him to do . . . he will panic and get me all panicked feeling as he tries to get me stirred up to be doing something, doing something, doing something!!!!! This is the first time I have been smart enough and prepared enough to have a list ready when he came to visit from Florida, and so far so good.

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    1. DawnSeeker / DawnHoof Post author

      Good girl! I really think it helps to have a strategy in place in advance, as it is simpler to sort out knowing what to do without falling for the panic that can arise as the drama tries to surround us, and pull us in :)) Great to hear from you :)) Best to you!!! Dawn

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  6. Wind Kisses

    This was great Dawn. Initially, I chuckled when I saw your mapping. I know that feeling. It is exhausting, and yes always the same people. Lots of times I nod and make it clear I won’t be drawn it with a smile. I love that you and Angela were able to take what brings you balance and feeds your soul to your rescue. If we really look at what makes us “good” and to feel that balance , the answers are waiting for us. Nicely written and great ponder.

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  7. Marija Smits

    I love this Dawn, it’s ever so useful. I think setting boundaries is absolutely key, and yes, clear but compassionate communication (being compassionate with oneself as well as the other person) is key too. The most difficult thing though is when a member of family tends towards the crazy/dramatic life… All the best to you, I hope you’re well?

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    1. DawnSeeker / DawnHoof Post author

      Thank you Marija, all very well here under the looming moonlight :)) I think the important thing to remember is the Crazy-Drama behavior isn’t personal. It’s a spin already in motion surrounding that person, which attempts to sweep us up and in. Hold your ground, set your boundaries and reduce communications . . . then work on your own self, and search out any Crazy/Drama behaviors you might find yourself sucked into. That’s my take :))

      I think you will enjoy the following ride on Starboy :)) Best to you!!! Dawn

      https://soulhorseride.wordpress.com/2018/09/20/the-life-of-my-dreams-i-believe-in-magic/

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