Many people will claim they are “not looking for drama” in their relationship. They mean that they do not want to deal with someone who overreacts or causes what they perceive to be unnecessary problems in a relationship. However, some people will call you dramatic when you are expressing real concerns in a relationship, especially when it has to do with their negative behaviors. Often, these people who not know how to communicate with adult emotions. Drama can be toxic and addictive, but calling someone dramatic can be a subtle sign of gaslighting.
What is Gaslighting?
Gaslighting is when someone tries to manipulate you into doubting your perception, experience, or understanding of events. The goal is intentionally distorting your reality to make you feel like what you are experiencing isn’t real. Gaslighting can come from a romantic partner, a boss, a family member, a friend, or anyone in a position of power in your life.
How is Calling You Dramatic Gaslighting?
Calling you dramatic is gaslighting because it de-legitimizes your concerns. When someone calls you dramatic, they try to deflect the conversation to avoid conflict. For example, they might say that they were making a joke or that you are causing problems by being upset. This way, they can show down an argument so that they can “win”. What makes this worse is you might feel the need to withdraw afterward and silently stew in your anger. Refusing to interact with your partner after an argument is stonewalling and is a red flag for any relationship.
Why Your Partner Might Call You Dramatic
While calling you dramatic is a poor way to communicate a point, consider your behavior from your partner’s perspective. You might unknowingly show issues with codependency, which your partner struggles to name or adequately address. What are the patterns of behavior that lead your partner to call you dramatic? For example, do you always get upset whenever they spend time with their friends, so you pick a fight with them? The argument turns into a crying, screaming meltdown (and calling you dramatic), but the root of the problem is that you feel insecure in your relationship. Why do you feel insecure? Do you have some childhood trauma or issues related to a past relationship you are bringing into this new one? Rarely is it entirely your partner that is the problem in a relationship, and recognizing that is the first step to tackling this issue.
What to do When Your Partner Calls You Dramatic
The center of this issue in your relationship is poor communication about a specific topic or general. You need to work on how you present problems to your partner and be aware of when you might be overreacting, depending on the situation. Meanwhile, your partner needs to learn to see past the tears and work through tough conversations about their behavior. You might be struggling with boundary issues, which is something that can cause you to overreact.
Express How Being Called Dramatic Makes you Feel
The first step is for you to talk to your partner, outside of an argument, about how being called dramatic makes you feel. You might bring in examples, such as an experience where being called dramatic made you feel invalidated or diminished. Allow them to comment on this and perhaps their perspective on this issue. You might get insight into what you are doing to make them feel like you are being dramatic.
Sometimes talking out an issue isn’t enough. Likely, if you are frequently being called dramatic in your relationship, other problems are building in the background. Gaslighting is a symptom of a problem, not the problem itself. Couples counseling can be a good option, even if the two of you aren’t married. You can learn how to identify poor communication patterns and work on any personal trauma the two of you need to work through. Furthermore, you might look into Family System Therapy, which can help you begin to untangle your childhood trauma from your personality.
End the Relationship
As painful as it might be if you are with someone who consistently diminishes your genuine concerns, it might be time to end the relationship. Unfortunately, not everyone is ready to be in a mature adult relationship. People who are unwilling to work on themselves and only want things their way are not worth your time, energy, or effort. Life is too short to waste on someone who would rather make you feel small than work through your real problems.
When someone calls you dramatic, it is a subtle sign of gaslighting. Gaslighting is when someone tries to convince you that your perception of events is incorrect. They do this to shut down arguments, usually about their negative behavior you want to address. Some people gaslight intentionally. However, if many people call you dramatic, you might want to look inward at your behavior. You might unknowingly be causing problems your partner struggles to address with you adequately. Your first step is to talk to your partner about how being called dramatic makes you feel. If you cannot reconcile this issue on your own, consider counseling or even consider ending the relationship. Life is too short to waste on people who make you feel small.
Family Strategies Counseling and Mediation is a child and family therapy office in Homewood, IL. We offer mental health counseling, couples counseling, anger management, and child therapy. See our about page to see which of our therapists currently book in-person and online appointments. Call (708) 798-5433 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for booking information.