Life | Social Media

Drama Queens & Tricoteuses

By on March 9, 2018
Drama Queens

Drama QueenThe Drama Queen

Let’s be honest, we’ve all been there and done the whole Drama Queen thing.  We all have events happen in life that we don’t like or we can’t control and we all have a need to vent.  We want the world to know!  We want tea and sympathy!  And people to agree with us!

In real life, this is usually self-limiting in terms of both behaviour and reward.  We tell our nearest and dearest, they say ‘there-there’, make tea and serve it with cake and platitudes.  We feel better, we move on.  On social media, however, the role can become rather more problematic both for the Queen and the others around them.

On social media, there are vast numbers of people we can reach out to and although we call them ‘friends’, in reality for most of us they are little more than acquaintances at best, strangers at worst.  By posting on social media we get a huge reward for our dramatic behaviour in terms of quantity – and also sometimes – quality of response.

Sadly, if we already have attention seeking issues and we allow the  Drama Queen to become our default go-to persona every time we go online we can spend our whole life in a state of heightened angst which is perpetuated and encouraged by our so-called ‘friends’.

The other side of this is, of course, the age-old Boy Who Cried Wolf – if our every other post is some catastrophe, offence, or suicide threat, on that one day when we actually need someone everyone is going to roll their eyes and think, ‘more of the same’.

When we are in full Drama Queen mode we are in desperate need of attention; we want people to notice our plight, empathise and be on our side.  At this stage, we are particularly vulnerable to the Tricoteuse.

The Tricoteuse

This person thrives on drama – especially other people’s.  They will be more than happy to give the Drama Queen every ounce of attention he or she may feel they are lacking and keep on coming back for more.  They are often happy to take the moral high ground on just about anything and tell us how right we are and how awful the other person/people is/are.    Sadly, however, they

Tricoteuses
Les Tricoteuses – women who knitted at the guillotine whilst heads rolled

really need some drama in their own life so they will not exactly be giving us the chance to move on.  Instead, expect all sorts of moral indignation and bosom shelving.  They are also more than happy to exacerbate the situation by making ‘helpful’ suggestions of what one should do next, or how they would do this that or the other ‘if that happened to me’.  Of course, they would do no such thing but are quite happy to watch others do so.

Often this may stop short of actually encouraging someone to engage in criminal activity, although I have seen people suggest that someone smashes up a house as an act of revenge, or trash someone’s car.  Whilst revenge may be fun to fantasise over and it might make one feel better in the short term it can also end up in all sorts of trouble that will make the original issue pale by comparison.

Of course, at this stage, the Tricoteuse who is always on our side, will be conspicuous by their absence having moved on to the next, much safer, drama.

Naming and Shaming is one of the key phrases of a Tricoteuse.  Again, we’ve probably all been there, I know I have told people to do this in the past and I do believe that there are circumstances where this could be appropriate (bullying springs to mind).  However, if this is just an act of revenge on our part we should maybe consider how that makes us look, what benefit anyone will gain, will it end up with a visit from the police, and ultimately are we just being guilty of bullying and harassment online?  Remember also that however bad we think someone’s actions are, people have actually killed themselves as a result of being publicly shamed.

This is a strange relationship – the Tricoteuse is not being supportive for altruistic reasons or because they are our friend. He or she is not encouraging us to help us although they might actually believe this to be the case.  In reality, they feel important and involved in something because guess what?  Either they have an empty life or they crave attention almost as much as the Drama Queen.  On top of this for some people, there is an element of schadenfreude:  They are actually getting off on watching you explode.  If they can spread the anger, hate and angst further afield they will and if they can big themselves up in the process and make themselves look good, all the better.  If you believe in vampires, look no further than the habitual tricoteuse.  They will literally feed off your anger and upset until you are sucked dry.

Friends

A friend, online or in real life, may well comment on our drama.  They may well empathise and say how awful something is.  In fact, they may do all of the things we will see in The Tricoteuse.  The difference is that a real friend will not encourage us to break the law or continue to wind us up in order to perpetuate a situation. Often they are attacked by the Tricoteuse for not being supportive enough or perhaps suggesting that they are ‘taking sides’ against us.   A real friend, or even actually a half decent human being, will try their best to calm the waters, and will not offer advice that will land other people in the poop.

 

And finally, if our lives are always filled with unpleasant dramas we should consider that maybe we are the ones bringing it to the table.

 

 

 

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Life | Relationships

The Forgiveness Delusion

By on December 30, 2017

To Err is Human, to forgive Divine

 

I thought I was pretty good on forgiveness. Even my brother who was pretty savvy with people once said to me (regarding a decade-long argument with a family member), ‘I wish I could forgive it but I can’t, I haven’t got the grace to do it. I wish I had your grace, you manage to forgive people, even for the most awful things’. At the time I would have agreed – now I am not so sure.

I would say that I am mostly pretty good on forgiveness. If someone gives me an apology for something I usually take it and mean it. I also believe I can recognise flaws in my own interactions with others and will apologise readily and mean it.

But what if someone has done something so bad, so terrible, with such long-lasting effects that you simply cannot find it within you to forgive?

“To err is human, to forgive divine”, said Pope in his poem An Essay on Criticism. On one hand, I would agree – we all make mistakes and we could all use a little forgiveness. Sometimes our behaviour is understandable, there are real and valid reasons why someone acts in a certain way. It could be upbringing, it could be mental illness, a traumatic event, it could be a lack of social skills. Oftentimes the knowledge of these things does indeed allow us to forgive because we can understand the reasons why something happened.

On the other hand, a reason is not the same as an excuse. Repeating the same behaviour over and over again when one could have dealt with it the first, second or even third time, pretty much negates the reason as an excuse in my book. Systematic abuses of people over decades, being repeatedly left as a result of this and still not looking at oneself, still blaming someone else, anyone else, again removes any possibility of using any reason to excuse yourself.

ForgivenessSo I repeat:  Yes, there are reasons, but having a reason is not an excuse, it does not excuse it or exempt one from the responsibility for or the consequences of that action, and we still need to atone or make good for what we have done, if indeed that option is still open to us.

I’ve tried, I really have. I actually believed for a long time I had succeeded. I maintained polite relations with this person. I accepted a half-hearted apology. ‘I must have really hurt you and if I did I am sorry’, all the time looking confused about what one could possibly have done that was so bad, despite having been told probably hundreds of times over a decade.  This is a half-arsed apology in my book and merely becomes self-seeking and irrelevant when used to precede an attempt at reconciliation. But that said, I thought I’d accepted the apology and moved on. I was wrong. I’m still angry and the fact that they thought I was so stupid that I was going to give them another go at destroying me just makes it worse.

Some things I can remember as clear as day (mostly things I don’t really want to) and others I cannot recall at all. This is distressing because my children will remind me of things and I genuinely have no clue what they are talking about. It isn’t that they can expand and I go ‘oh yeah, I remember now’. It simply isn’t there in a place I can get to it.

I know I could go and see someone, get these memories back but if I have repressed good memories I have obviously repressed them alongside something not so good. What if the stuff I can’t remember is actually worse than the stuff I can? Do I want to deal with those and the inevitable fall-out that would occur?

What makes it worse is watching them come out of every situation smelling of roses, twisting the truth so they are the perpetual victim. So I cut the ties as far as I can and I try to remove them, expunge them from my psyche.

I’m not even sure why this is all coming up at a point where I have been away from the situation almost as long as I was in it. I want to cry as I write this but tears just will not come.

And so, forgiveness is just not in me for this particular person.

I hope it comes soon, I’ve had enough of them.

 

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