Calling someone “dramatic” is all too common of a phrase today – many people call someone this when they feel their reaction is unwarranted or when facial expressions/body language are viewed as more exaggerated than needed. In fact, women face this more than men, typically, and research has shown that women already must deal with the burden of keeping thoughts/feelings down. While many people use this term, is it appropriate to do this? The Odyssey Online claims that this is inappropriate, as calling someone dramatic “emphasizes a negative connotation to how you think they should be feeling rather than how they are actually feeling.”
Dr. Jill Weber, relationship expert and author of The Relationship Formula Workbook Series and Having Sex, Wanting Intimacy – Why Women Settle for One-Sided Relationships, explained for the Huffington Post that “because emotional upsets have been pushed away for so long, the emotion generated and expressed is often disproportionate to the circumstances”. For many women, being called “dramatic” has forced them to react less to upsetting situations that anyone would be upset over. Many women and men are sensitive, and this should be a positive trait because that person is willing to express their emotions with you.
Alongside the term “dramatic” comes “sensitive” and “emotional”. Writer Amy Monticello described so eloquently the struggle of emotions today by stating, “Sensitivity actually refers to a nuanced perception, which means I’ve long understood the subtext of being called “sensitive” in a culture that values a more stoic response to suffering. The quieter you bear your burdens, the stronger you’re seen as being, and expressing one’s pain is equated with an affect, a hyperbole of feeling. The problem with the term “sensitivity” is that it refers to receptivity, not reactivity.
Indeed, some instances occur where the person seems to be inflating an issue that you feel doesn’t need so much intense emotion, but who are we to tell others how to feel? Expressing that they are being “dramatic” or “sensitive” is productive in what way? The only outcome to telling someone this is either arguing because of the rude statement or causing the other person to shut down, which isn’t fair to them.
Society’s expectations of how someone should react, how someone should behave, and how someone should deal with pain and suffering ultimately limit a person’s capacity to feel, cope, and work through issues. Holding these intense feelings and emotions in is what causes us to seek unhealthy outlets to manage our distress.
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