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X’s Very Public Pity Party October 26, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, People, Spirit & Ego.

When I’m in a bad mood, I tend to keep my troubles to myself rather than broadcasting them about.

If I need to “vent,” I do so privately . . . using my BFF as a sounding board.

If I share “negative news” in my life with others, it’s because I’m in actual need of suggestions or feedback.

Contrast that with the following hypothetical situation:

X is having a bad day and claims in a public forum that s/he is depressed.  Life seems not worth living.

Y comes along and tries to cheer X up . . . offering words of encouragement.   Alas!  Y’s efforts are to no avail.

X insists that no one can alleviate her/his suffering.

Z comes along and offers more words of encouragement.  X remains resolute that NOTHING will cheer her/him up.

A, B, and C wander around and offer advice, tips, and techniques to assist X to recover his/her equilibrium.  Sadly, X rejects the advice and continues on her/his miserable way.

Get the picture?

Instead of suffering in silence, or actually applying the tendered advice, X is drawing all kinds of time, attention, and energy from others . . . while flinging it back in their faces.

Hmm . . .

Maybe X is not looking for a solution to the problem?  Maybe X just wants to get people to focus on her/his misery?

220px-Congrats_bqtYay!  X is throwing a Very Public Pity Party for him/herself and we are ALL invited! 

“Let’s play Pin The Tail On The Eeyore!”

Just remember . . . it wasn’t much of a tail anyway.

In the middle of X’s Very Public Pity Party, D commiserates with X by saying, “You are so courageous for sharing your pain with us.”


Question of the Day from SLTW:

Do you agree with D?  Is it courage?

Or is it something else entirely?

And, if it is courage . . . does that make me a coward for not whining and moaning about my wheelbarrow of woes on a more regular basis?

Related posts:  Look at ME!!! * Don’t Bring Me Down * Your Wheelbarrow of Woe * Pollyanna’s Perfect Life * What Do You Think You Deserve? * Self-Pity Never Fueled A Single Accomplishment (Eric J. Baker)


1. aardvarkian - October 26, 2010

You in a bad mood? Never!

nrhatch - October 26, 2010

On rare occasions, I deflate into a crumpled pile of muddled up mess.

But, over time, I’ve learned how to re-inflate myself quickly and get on with living my life. 🙂

2. Richard W Scott - October 26, 2010

The Drama Queen (yes, males too) syndrome is self-inflicted and used, as you point out, to draw attention. The “queen” is not in any way looking for resolution, that would deaden the “thrill” of it all.

I have learned to ignore it completely. Interacting with it in any way is like trying to tip-toe over quicksand.

nrhatch - October 26, 2010

I have noticed the Drama Queen tendency more often in women than men. 🙂

Everyone is entitled to a bad day once in a while. But Drama Queens tend to blow everything out of proportion and invite EVERYONE (except Cindy!) to come around and witness their pain.

They aren’t trying to alleviate the pain . . . they just want people to SEE their suffering.

After ACTING like life is no longer worth living, and worrying others FOR NO REASON, they bounce back the next day and say things like, “Who me? No, I’m fine. I just needed to vent.”

Grrr . . .

I now steer clear of Public Pity Parties. I just tip-toe away . . . to avoid getting sucked into the quicksand.

3. Cindy - October 26, 2010

Did I miss a pity party? Where? How dare they throw one without me!!!

nrhatch - October 26, 2010


Actually, X is a composite of several people I’ve interacted with in cyberspace over the past few years. At “death’s door” one day, chipper and smiling the next . . . all the time, saying LOOK AT ME!!! LOOK AT ME!!!

Now that I’ve familiarized myself with the signals that Drama Queen’s use to garner sympathy, I refuse to LOOK AT THEM until they stop behaving like a toddler throwing a tantrum. 🙂

4. Joanne - October 26, 2010

I hope this doesn’t imply that we are to X-out all the perceicved X’s in our lives… It depends on the person whether or not it’s courageous to share…

I do agree that if that person is reaching for suggestions and/or concentrated positive thoughts from a like-minded community of positive thinkers — which has been scientifically proven to produce healthy results — then it may be the action an X without a BFF was prompted to look for…

We all need to vent, but if it becomes a regular habit, like you said, with no follow-through on suggestions given, then it is exactly what it is — a waste of time to entertain the X’s in our lives… We need to move on to the Y’s and Z’s 😀

nrhatch - October 26, 2010

When someone discusses a painful experience in order to share something they’ve learned with others . . . that’s courage.

When someone shares a painful experience to spread the message of “light at the end of the tunnel” . . . that’s courage.

When someone whines and moans about “poor poor pitiful me” (solely as an attention getting device, or to garner sympathy) . . . that’s not courage (in my book).

When people are in pain and reach out to gain NEEDED support . . . I’m happy to take the time to provide the support needed.

But when they reach out (repeatedly) just to “play the victim” without ever putting any of the suggestions or encouragement to good use . . . I do X them out of my life (at least while they’re in the middle of throwing a pity party for themselves).

Nowadays, I test the waters . . .

I see X “drowning” . . . I toss a life line.

If X grabs onto it and works to improve their situation with a bit of their own effort . . . I stick around to make sure X makes it safely to shore.

But, if X rejects the life line, and starts moaning even louder about being a victim of life . . . I leave it to others to struggle (in vain) to save X from X’s habitual way of dealing with the world. 8)

5. loreen lee - October 26, 2010

I don’t know! It can be strange what will sometimes ‘pull a person around’. Telling her she has courage, as just about as much chance as any other ‘gambit’. Take for instance, a well renowned mayor up here. A man in a destitute state, had fire, police and other officials attempting to stop him from throwing himself off a tower. The ‘mayor’ came alone, and said: “Come down from there, this instant. Everyone’s got more important things to do than to deal with this.”
That could have precipitated a suicide, but the man came down. Telling her/him that she/he is courageous could have a similar effect. I will state again that we cannot ‘know’. Motivations vs. intentions again. That drama queen, may be suffering from PTSD. Who’s to judge?

nrhatch - October 26, 2010

The Mayor’s comment is perfect . . . everyone’s got more important things to do than deal with people throwing public pity parties for themselves (whether they’re standing on a bridge threatening to jump or “pissing and moaning” in the middle of a public forum solely to attract attention to themselves).

From your description, it’s clear that the Mayor didn’t say the individual was courageous for wasting people’s time. Instead, the mayor called the person a big fat time-waster. I applaud the Mayor for reminding the “jumper” that, instead of drawing time and energy from everyone willing to look their way, he should make up his mind and act:

“Either climb down or jump. Your choice.” {{Geronimo!!!}}

6. loreen lee - October 26, 2010

Addendum (This might be provocative to some of you, grin grin) But if – let’s call him/her Q gets upset at the parade of emotion of X, whose to say whether or not Q might have some issues of his/her own. I can see no positive synchronicity here. Just treating a problem with another problem. No solution, no opportunity, no creative impulse for growth of either individual. Sometimes, the blogs, I have found can resemble in some ways the dramatics of a queen. This can be taken in the positive sense, that they are the way to ‘air one’s views’. But who sets the standard, whether it be the web and virtual experience, or real one-on-one situations? (grin grin grin grin grin)

nrhatch - October 26, 2010

I don’t get “upset” with the X’s of the world . . . they are FREE to do as they please with their time.

I just stop allowing them to waste mine. 🙂

7. loreen lee - October 26, 2010

Just wanted to add that people I think define what constitutes a drama queen in different ways. Couldn’t a drama queen also be someone who is always, (as you might say, I don’t know, ego bragging about how ‘good’ they are, etc.) It just means to me, the dramatization or exaggeration of specific actions, feelings, i.e. behavior. In this case, whether they be considered positive or negative characteristics, it may be seen as a form of attention getting. But I’m also aware of a lot of people who attract attention, if this is the intent, because they feel insecure about something, and they really are afraid of attention, or attract attention because they are introverted basically, and feel they have to exaggerate to make their presence known. It is interesting, that behavior can be ‘acted’ out in the opposite way to the internal feelings, etc. of the actual feelings, etc. of a particular person. The behavior ‘compensates’. Oh! the human personality is a complicated phenomena.

nrhatch - October 26, 2010

Indeed! The human personality is complex.

Despite its complexity, when we observe others long enough, we can see shared patterns of behavior emerging.

As we discussed the other day, I don’t know WHY Drama Queens feel the need to scream for attention . . . but I can see that the immediate motivation for their “very public pity parties” is to get everyone to STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN. 8)

Now, after testing the waters (see my comment to Joanne), I tiptoe away to avoid getting sucked into the time sucking quicksand.

8. souldipper - October 26, 2010

It takes some skill and experience to determine if a person is seriously interested in resolution or if the person is enjoying the wallowing.

If I’m not sure, I may reach out. But I won’t be pulled in.

A good motto I’ve heard, “I can carry the message, but not the person.”

nrhatch - October 26, 2010

Initially, I give EVERYONE the benefit of the doubt and rally round to lend support.

But after they’ve “cried wolf” once or twice, bouncing back the next day without bothering to apologize for all the time they wasted . . . I assume from that point on that they are NOT really on the verge of suicide.

I’ll toss out a quick life line. If it’s ignored, I go find something else to do. You summed it up perfectly . . . “I may reach out, but I won’t be pulled in.”

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