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AIBU: sensitive or drama queen?

(60 Posts)
Shedbuilder Mon 25-May-20 20:52:14

I'm part of a well-established women's social group. Many of us have known each other for more than 20 years. There are around 15 of us and over the years we've had death, disasters, cancer, issues with children and parents and we've supported each other through it all.

A couple of years ago one of us (not me) introduced a friend to the group and she quickly established herself as being super-sensitive. I'll call her B. Early on someone mentioned in front of her that their sister had been diagnosed with cancer and B broke down in tears and swept out of the cafe we were in and of course people went after her to find out what the problem was and it turned out that her own sister had had cancer and it had been a dreadful time and any mention of cancer brought it brought it all back — so would we please not talk about anything like that in front of her. And then not long after someone was talking about their elderly parent and how they probably didn't have long to go and again B got up and fled and was found weeping in the street because it had made her think of her own mother who'd died a few years ago. And of course because people are nice they apologise and say how sorry they are — even though there's nothing to be sorry for. Anyway, it's gone on and on, till it's got to the stage where people are tiptoeing around on eggshells and not enjoying being out in the group when B is present in case they set her off again.

Now we can't meet in reality, we meet virtually on line a couple of times a week on Zoom and usually have a great time. But of course there's no escaping B on Zoom — you can't move to another table at the pub. A couple of weeks ago B threw a wobbly when one of the other women was saying how tough she was finding lockdown. Today it was one of the group's birthday and we all sang what we know to be her favourite song. And there's B on Zoom, getting up and running out of shot and then returning weeping into a bunch of tissues. And all my lovely friends are apologising and feeling bad and not sure what they've done till after the meeting's over when she sends a text to say her ex-partner, who dumped her, always sang that song to her...

I've encountered this sort of behaviour with children and young people but never with otherwise together sort of adults. (B's in her 50s and has a senior-level job in HR) It's having a chilling effect on the group. Some of them say she's just incredibly emotionally sensitive and she can't help it. Others are so busy feeling bad for upsetting her that they lose sight of the fact that it isn't their responsibility to edit everything they say in case it upsets her.

I don't have an issue with anyone feeling sad or moved and crying. But asking that people don't talk about certain things just in case they upset her seems controlling. Today she ended up taking all the attention from the person who was celebrating their birthday alone in lockdown and that really pissed me off. But I'm not as nice as the others. AIBU?

OP’s posts: |
TheHighestSardine Mon 25-May-20 20:58:00

Drama queen. What does the friend who introduced her think? Can she not have a word?

FOJN Mon 25-May-20 21:03:00

She works in HR shock
It impossible for you to manage how everyone else responds but most adults don't demand we avoid subjects they find upsetting. And to be honest I wouldn't be convinced she's genuinely upset but more likely attention seeking.

itchyfinger Mon 25-May-20 21:03:12

Attention seeker.

StatementKnickers Mon 25-May-20 21:04:12

Manipulative as fuck! Why are any of you entertaining this nonsense?

FOJN Mon 25-May-20 21:04:23

And niceness is overrated, healthy boundaries are preferable.

DifficultPifcultLemonDifficult Mon 25-May-20 21:07:15

She isn't sensitive she just likes the attention on her, and finds different ways to get it if the focus is elsewhere.

Not sure what you can do about it besides tell her to fuck off because she is an attention vampire.

Fishfingersandwichplease Mon 25-May-20 21:10:05

This would drive me tolerance for this kind of crap. So what exactly can you talk about?!

FOJN Mon 25-May-20 21:11:35

Would it be possible when she kicks off to say something like, "X needs our support today, if the conversation is bringing up painful memories for you perhaps you'd be better joining us next time"

chipsandpeas Mon 25-May-20 21:12:42

i couldnt be fucked with someone who acted like that

Merryoldgoat Mon 25-May-20 21:12:54

She’s an attention seeking manipulator.

I would confront it.

‘It’s so upsetting as my mother dies last year’

‘Well then, don’t you think Deborah could use your support and experience given you know how she’s suffering!’


‘My ex used to sing that’

‘Sorry but you’ve taken away the limelight from Helens birthday and I don’t think that’s fair as we made sure we all stayed upbeat for yours.’

Etc. EVERY SINGLE TIME. People will follow your lead and she’ll either stop or fuck off to another group.

SpeedofaSloth Mon 25-May-20 21:13:06

Another vote for attention seeking here.

user1635482648 Mon 25-May-20 21:13:30

The dead mother and cancer I would have compassion for. You don't get to dictate how traumatised someone is because you find it inconvenient or prefer to behave like a robot without emotions. You're not much of a friend if you don't care about distressing someone about past traumas in their life.

The birthday song and similar stuff is different.

You can't lump that all together. It's unreasonable.

Whilst I agree with you that it's not fair to make everybody watch everything they say around someone, I strongly disagree that we do not have a responsibility for the consequences of our actions - intent isn't impact, you don't get to wash your hands of hurting someone (and try to make out it's somehow their fault for having a normal emotional response) because you didn't mean to. That's callous and unethical.

Epigram Mon 25-May-20 21:13:30

She sounds like a pain in the arse.

Merryoldgoat Mon 25-May-20 21:13:52

And niceness is overrated, healthy boundaries are preferable.

This is 100% fact.

Winterwoollies Mon 25-May-20 21:18:01

She’s taking every sad or happy thing that’s happening to another and making it all about herself.

The woman whose sister had cancer must have needed support there and then, but B took that for herself. Same with the person and their elderly parents. Same with the poor woman having a lonely birthday. She’s manipulative and attention-seeking and I don’t blame you for being pissed off with her.

OoohTheStatsDontLie Mon 25-May-20 21:20:33

She is being a total bitch to whoever is going through whatever she has an issue with that day. So someone who is currently going through an issue (eg parent dying) can't get any support, incase them getting support sets off bad memories? And you're all so busy supporting her over her bad memories that you cant support the person that actually needs it.

I'm not sure there is any point in confronting her as then she would have another meltdown and you would be the bad guy. Personally I'd just try and avoid her, or carry on bringing up whatever subject but with a 'trigger warning' for her so she can go and make a cup of tea or something.

She sounds annoying and exhausting

OmgThereAreNoPlanesAboveMeNow Mon 25-May-20 21:20:50

Foes she also scream when emotional? Like, for example if she were to visit Sistine Chapel?grin

On a serious note. As pps said. You need to set boundaries because this is not ok

RandomMess Mon 25-May-20 21:22:23

I am very sensitive but I do my best to keep the tears in and have a sob at home! I certainly don't ask others to not talk about stuff!!!

AriadnesFilament Mon 25-May-20 21:28:34

Attention-seeking, manipulative drama queen.

Megatron Mon 25-May-20 21:33:30

So she turns every situation to be about her? That would do my head in!

HereBeFuckery Mon 25-May-20 21:37:36

Is she my mother? I know she can't actually be, as my mothers emotional vortex of need has killed of almost all her friendships over the years.
If you can, ignore or gloss over this manipulative bullshit, otherwise it gets worse. And worse. Do not give her the limelight. It's like a gremlin. Don't water it. Ever. Just do the British thing of pretending she didn't cry and run off.

HereBeFuckery Mon 25-May-20 21:37:54

*off, not of.

Nosurveysneeded Mon 25-May-20 21:39:58

Oh dear.

Everything has to revolve around her/her feelings/what she deems you can discuss...

Cannot abide people like that. I would more than socially distance that one!

backseatcookers Mon 25-May-20 21:42:08

Ooh please club together and buy her a trip to the Sistine Chapel for when we can all travel again, she would be BESIDE herself there grin

In all seriousness, manipulative as fuck and actually rather nasty. Dictating the mood of the group is such a horrible characteristic and she should know by now she is doing it and be taking active choices to stop that eg through therapy and self reflection.

Maybe she is but hasn't got far with it yet, or maybe she doesn't want to change and will just move from one friendship group to another as and when she's rumbled / called out.

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