In April 2011, during a heated debate on healthcare at Parliament, PM Cameron told opposition Labour Party’s Angela Eagle to “Calm down, dear.” Even without the “dear,” Cameron was arrogant, entitled and patronizing.
Let’s be practical. Has there ever been a time when someone (usually a male or a parent) says, “Calm down” or “Relax” and the person on the other end (usually a woman or a kid) actually does so?
NEVER is the answer. So don’t be ineffectual.
Getting heated in discussion, being passionate about issues or feelings is (or should be) normal. What’s not normal is to pretend unflappability, to not elevate your voice or cry a little or laugh aloud. I’m not too dramatic–now a pejorative in American culture–I’m alive.
Telling people to relax is not as aggressive as shooting them directly, it’s just passive-aggressive. It’s dismissive, non-empathetic and plain bore-ish. The imputation is we’re being hysterical and that nothing being said is worth paying attention to. It’s controlling: say it the way I deem “right” or I’m not going to listen. And calling people “drama queens?” downright manipulative. Have you noticed that the ones lobbing that insult are usually living vicariously, “stirring the pot” and then calling it drama when someone else emotes, even a little? Projecting, anyone? Scapegoating? You bet.
Well, please don’t let my emotional untidiness disturb your delusional feelings of superiority. I get to feel excited, disgruntled, electrified, fired up, enthusiastic, vexed, sorrowful–and so do little kids. You have the option to listen and respond–not judge. Key word: listen. Focus on what is being said FIRST, then reply accordingly.
Being animated or even intense doesn’t hurt anyone. If you can’t handle vibrancy maybe you need to connect with your more colorful sides, your heart’s fires instead of trying to put ours out.