In Drama Queen Part I you learned about Personal Drama. Now discover how the Expressive Profile is wired for drama and uses it for manipulation.
When’s the last time something has really upset you? Three month ago? Three hours ago?
Here’s the thing. Though all of us experience moments of emotional upset, how we outwardly express emotion can be very different. Some people are easily upset, and some are into lots of Personal Drama.
Your Personality is one of the biggest factors in your tendency to express Personal Drama. You might have a reserved nature and display very little emotion. On the other hand, maybe you tend to be very effusive and expressive with your emotions.
Before elaborating on the Expressive Profile, let me explain a little background on different Profile Systems…
There are many Personality Profile Systems available out there – Myers-Briggs, DISC, True Colors, Keirsey, Hartman, etc. These Profile Systems all helpful in understanding the nature of people and appreciating the diversity of strengths people have.
People reveal themselves in how they interact with others. Even voice patterns are a dead giveaway.
Many are based on a four-quadrant model similar to the Four Temperaments Model that Hippocrates developed around 400BC. His ancient profiles are strikingly similar, even though he took the odd approach of basing profile names on body fluids.
I’ve used a number of the Profile Systems. I appreciate the detail of the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, but for on-the-fly simplicity I prefer the Social Style Model. It’s simple, useful and easy to implement. The more widely used DISC Profile is nearly identical.
It’s very easy to read people using the Social Style Model. As soon as their guard is down, people reveal themselves in how they interact with others. Even voice patterns are a dead giveaway.
The Social Style Model is based on two simple questions:
- Are you more of a talker or a listener by nature?
- Are you more emotional or less emotional in nature?
That sets up a grid with 4 distinct personality profiles – Amiable, Analytical, Expressive and Driven.
My natural style? Analytical. I’m constantly seeking answers to questions, especially those that begin with WHY?
- An Amiable person asks HOW? as in “How can I help maintain peace and harmony?”
- An Analytical person asks WHY? as in “Why is this relevant and worth exploring?”
- An Expressive asks WHO? as in “Who do I want to talk to and spend more time with?”
- A Driven asks WHAT? as in “What do I need to do here to win?”
Your natural style? Chances are you’re an Analytical if you’ve managed to read this far. Other styles don’t usually bother with all the boring facts and details. Unless they had a specific reason to read more, they won’t. Analyticals on the other hand, have an insatiable appetite for knowledge and insight.
Expressives? They’re too busy expressing themselves on Facebook, Twitter and their ever-present cellphone to stop and listen to anyone else’s take on things.
You can also use birds to describe these 4 styles – Dove, Owl, Peacock and Eagle. Many find it easier to relate to the symbolism of birds as opposed to words alone.
One of these four – the Expressive Profile (peacock)- represents people that are very effusive with their emotional display. These are the ones that project more Personal Drama and routinely act out in a drama-queen fashion.
I’m not here to pick on the Expressive Profile. Any of these 4 personality styles can be overdone to a fault. Any one style has glaring weaknesses that can be easily compensated by a more balanced approach. Most people maintain some balance, though one natural style will still dominate their personality.
Much of what I’m about to describe is the extreme version of an Expressive Personality. People rarely display such full extremes. For one thing, it wouldn’t be socially acceptable to do so.
Here’s a secret… People are used to acting in certain socially-acceptable ways. The trick is to catch them when their guard is down. Just add stress, liquor, power or wealth in any combination and you’ll see more of a person’s true nature.
Expressive Personality Profile
Are you one of those life-of-the-party types?
To an extreme, an Expressive can be a vain, self-centered Drama Queen with a theatrical, volatile nature.
Expressive people are social butterflies. They’re talkative, energetic, inspirational and fun to be around. They love a good party and are just getting warmed up when everyone else is exhausted.
Their strength is their passion, enthusiasm and ability to influence. They’re born to perform to an audience.
Weaknesses? As is often the case, their weakness is their strength overdone. Their social nature makes it difficult for them to stay on task. “Life is a party” is the motto they live by.
They thrive at social gatherings as opposed to confined work environments. Big on enthusiasm but not as strong on precision or competence, an Expressive tends to be chaotic and may try to fudge their way through things. An Expressive will enthusiastically take on new roles and challenges only to find themselves way over their heads. They tend to get easily sidetracked with their ability to turn any situation into a gabfest or party.
To an extreme, an Expressive can be a vain, self-centered Drama Queen with a theatrical, volatile nature. They can become very indulgent and self-absorbed in their emotions. You’ll see them up one minute and way down in the dumps the next.
Once an Expressive Profile gets into a negative spin, he or she can be overwhelmed by negativity and susceptible to dramatic outbursts.
Wired for Drama!!!
Notice how I added three exclamation points to the sub-head? That’s how an Expressive Personality naturally communicates! Every sentence ends with an exclamation!
Guess What? I’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is more BOLD! (taken from “More cowbell” – a popular SNL skit)
MAYBE I”LL EVEN JUMP TO ALL CAPS! (I’ve seen entire pages written in caps)
It quickly becomes excessive if you know what I mean.
The Expressive Profile is into Personal Drama in a big way. These people crave attention and are wired for drama. Emotional display is often over the top and their moment-to-moment mood is obvious to everyone around them.
Calm and cool is boring to them. When they can’t find any excitement they’ll create some.
Expressive people have a tendency to talk loud and fast. Difficult to get a word in once they’re on a roll. They’re not eager to relinquish their hold of the talking stick in any conversation.
An Expressive will talk for the sake of talking, as opposed to only speaking up to make a specific point. Call them a chatterbox if you like. They have a tendency to think out loud and enjoy telling those rambling, shaggy-dog monologues that wander off along various story-lines.
The Expressive Profile is attracted to action and drama. Calm and cool is boring to them. When they can’t find any excitement they’ll create some. Like a fisherman’s tale, they tend to amplify and exaggerate with their stories. The highs are higher and the lows are lower. Whatever it takes to get and hold precious attention.
If their emotional indulgences and self-absorbed tendencies are left unchecked, an Expressive will evolve into a Drama Queen. Increasingly narcissistic, poor listening skills, relentless attention-seeker and more impulsive in nature. They’ll develop a hair-trigger emotional response, particularly with rage.
Do you know anyone who fits the Expressive Profile? Do they have their Drama Queen moments?
Wasn’t that a hilarious video?
Drama Manipulators take full advantage of that. They have no reservations about being loud and demanding in public.
Having helped raised 5 children I can relate to that cute little toddler’s manipulative ways. I can tell you from personal experience, the tricks get much less cute as they get older.
Back in Drama Queen Part I, I mentioned Histrionic Personality Disorder and gave the example of a child throwing a tantrum.
What about adults? How do they use drama for manipulation?
Adults tend to make dramatic displays with more finesse than just falling to the ground kicking and screaming like a child would. Their intention is basically the same – to manipulate an outcome in their favor using drama.
Some Expressive know they can get exactly what they want with Drama Manipulation. They know they can easily get others to back down to their theatrical outrage. You see, most people have low confrontation tolerance and hate feeling publicly embarrassed. They’ll naturally try to avoid or appease anyone making a big scene.
Drama Manipulators take full advantage of that. They seek to dominate others with drama. They’re selfish bullies.
It’s easy to just give in to Drama Manipulation. The problem with doing that is that you’ve now empowered them. They OWN you and will bully you all the more.
Have you ever met a full-blown Drama Manipulator? I worked with one for many years. She dominated the work place and had everyone ducking for cover to avoid her wrath.
I just recently heard a profanity-filled recording of Mel Gibson raging on his girlfriend. A clear case of Toxic Drama. I’ll get more into that in my next post.
Drama Manipulators have no reservations about being loud and demanding in public. They thrive at being the center of attention and believe in the philosophy “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” They know how to play the crowd.
They fully expect others to back down and give in, and they’re often rewarded for their efforts. Theatrics for profit and gain.
Ultimately, people don’t appreciate such Drama Manipulation, and that’s one reason why those with an extreme Expressive Profile have trouble maintaining deep friendships.
Now that you’ve learned about Personal Drama and the Expressive Personality Profile, you’ll be exposed to Toxic Drama in Drama Queen Part III.
Stay healthy and keep smiling!
About the Author: Dr. Joe Bulger is a West Toronto dentist. He’s also the founder of Royal York Dental – a respected dental clinic serving Etobicoke since 1950.