One of my favorite clients, and good friend, has one of those diva daughters.
You would never pick out this family to be producers of a diva.
They claim they did not produce her. They claim she arrived in full diva demeanor.
Their diva is not at all like their other children who are smart, talented, good natured, productive, delightful human beings. Their diva is different ... she is all about being the diva. If the costs of her diva-ness impinges on other family members, this is highly irrelevant. They after all, are not the diva.
Over the years we have had numerous luncheon conversations about the diva. It is a terrible worry with underlying issues of guilt for this mother. I have very low tolerance for the diva syndrome children of this world. But I have heard and observed enough over the years to be grateful I never mothered one of these creatures. Those who are diva parents suffer. Terribly.
Of course I have asked how on Earth these delightful people got themselves in this
all other family members take a back seat to the diva lifestyle.
Parent is more than a word, it's a responsibility. The answer is these children, from day one, demand far more than normal people. They are exhausting, they are cruel in their selfishness, they will wreck a long planned family event if their appearance isn't perfect or their clothes are not new or their hair didn't co-operate with their intentions. The divas have no focus outside of self.
It is their pathology.
In this family, the diva is a 7th grader. As in she is 12 or 13 years of age. She is a "performer", participating in little theatre, childrens theatre and some school special events. She does not do any sports. Obviously one cannot be a team diva. She is obsessive about her appearance, obsessive about performances. She requires an expensive voice coach because her talent in this area is not stellar but she views this as a necessary diva skill. She is relentless in her pursuit of physical perfection. She is relentless in her pursuit of all things diva. There is no cost too high to the family at large for the diva to not have her needs met. Her family is happiest when she is away. With good reason.
Imagine my surprise when this friend called and asked me to "help" the diva with her new room.
" I love you but no", was my immediate response.
Also, I could not imagine she had run this idea past her diva. This diva, like all divas, has an exquisitely tuned self preservation mechanism. Trust me when I tell you she is aware of my diva intolerance. Back when she was 9 or 10, her mother and I had made plans to attend an art festival together. As we were leaving, the diva announced she would be joining us. About half way to the festival I was so horrified by the diva monologue and the incessant demeaning of her mother I pulled my car over and told her to get out. The diva declined. I got out and pulled her out of my car , walked down the road a span with her in tow and called her Dad to come get her now. Her mother never said a word and never got out of the car. I however spent the time waiting for her Dad explaining to Miss Diva that I, as a sane individual, indeed did have the right to divest myself of her pesky presence.
As an aside, years ago there was an equestrian diva at the center where Mermaid trained. Her parents were not at all reticent in asking others to transport, feed and house their diva to numerous training or competing events. Being a diva there were no limits on her incessant demands, her needs as well as her preferences must be met above all other criteria. I had several chats with her parents about her diva behaviors being unacceptable. They got it but like other diva parents I have known, they were unsuccessful in correcting the diva behaviors. There came a day when I drove off and left her. Calling her parents to say they would have to fetch their horror child as she was not welcome in my vehicle, nor actually, in my presence.
My friend explained they were all having a difficult time adjusting to life in chaos from the recent move. The diva had claimed the largest room and had "given" her bedroom furniture to a younger sibling so she, the diva, would be the only one to get new bedroom furniture. Now the diva was pressing her parents about pricey new furniture in black, white and mirrored surfaces. And, she had announced she wanted a "faux" painter to come in and do her room in zebra.
My friend said, " Fishy please help me. I cannot bear all this strife but,
I really don't want a zebra room in my new house".
" Take her shopping at Goodwill and buy some paint"
" Okay, take her shopping at Salvation Army and buy some paint".
" Are you going to help us Fishy?".
"I certainly am. Show her the price of the furniture she wants and tell her when she has earned the funds by doing chores she can have the furniture. Until then, give her an inflatable mattress".
" Please Fishy."
" Why on Earth did you even agree to give this child the largest bedroom and new furniture?"
" It was our best option. What do I do about the Zebra room?"
" Just say no".
" I really wish that worked for us, but you know it does not."
"Okay, get an estimate from a painter on what it costs to reverse zebra'd walls. It should be about $800. Tell Diva once you have escrowed the $800 from canceled voice coach appointments you'll talk."
" Can you come tomorrow afternoon? She will be home between 4 and 6.
After 6 she has a rehearsal."
So I stopped on my way home yesterday. Greeted my friend, motioned for her to stay put while I went upstairs to the the new diva domain. Diva was standing smack in the middle of the room projecting her most commanding demeanor. She inclined her head ever so slightly to acknowledge my presence then commenced announcing her expectations. When she finished her presentation of criteria she indicated she would receive my response.
" Sure thing diva," I said,
" Awesome idea! Nothing I would like better than to see you minimized"
" What!", she shrieked, " What does that mean".
" It means diva, that you will be so overpowered by graphic walls you simply will fade from sight."
The new diva domain is going to be a lovely shade of turquoise. There will be a tall, dramatic white headboard with black chests flanking the bed, , a mirrored dressing table , a very sculptural black chair, zebra sheets and possibly zebra edged drapes. It will be dramatic and beautiful. Very diva but without faux'd walls and without the overpriced, tacky, glitzy furniture.
Her mother is relieved.
I am sure her relief will be brief.
Whatever new grief tomorrow brings,
it won't be zebra's walls in her new house.
Peace be with you my friend.