Dear Barb – Defeating the Drama

Dear Barb:

I can’t believe my sister did it again! She ruins every special occasion and she just ruined Easter! She is so self centered that if all the attention is not on her she makes a big fuss. I feel sorry for my parents as they try to accommodate everyone. I have two other siblings and we all have children, except this sister. She is even jealous of the attention my parent’s show to their grandchildren. On Easter Sunday my brother-in-law began playing the piano and singing, so we all attempted to join in and sing along, at this point Carol begins singing out of tune and mocking my brother-in-law’s singing. Of course the kids all start laughing, because That’s what kids do. We try to point out to them that it is not right to make fun of people. Then Carol has a meltdown and says we are ruining the kid’s fun, and the kid’s side with her and it ends up becoming a big issue. My parents try to calm everybody, but Carol ends up leaving or sitting in another room and refuses to come to dinner. I have told my parents not to invite Carol, but they said she is family and we should all try to accommodate her. Do you have any suggestions on how we could prevent this from happening so we could enjoy our times together as a family? Miranda.

Hi Miranda:

It seems most families have at least one person whom we’ll call a “drama queen” who wants, or needs all the attention. I agree with your parents to a point; however I don’t believe everyone has to accommodate your sister. In order for there to be a blow up, your sister has to provoke a certain reaction from you and your siblings. I assume your sister has always been prone to the dramatics and through the years has obviously gotten the reaction she needed from others. You and your siblings are probably not as tolerant of her behaviour as you were previously, since you’ve put some distance between each other, and therefore react more negatively to the drama. As family members you all have a choice as to how you are going to react to this behaviour. When she attempts to create a scene, ignore the conduct and move on to something else. For example, if she begins to mock your brother-in-law’s singing he could stop and calmly state that he will continue at a more appropriate time. Thus when your sister doesn’t get the reaction she craves she may stop the attention seeking behaviour. I know it is difficult to do, as you will have to grit your teeth and turn the other cheek, but I’m sure you and your siblings can do this for your parent’s sake. don’t forget, you are modeling this behaviour for your children, so if you don’t want all the drama to be carried forth to the next generation make sure it stops now!

Email your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.

%d bloggers like this: