Ditch the Drama! Some Lesser-Known Signs of Drama “Addiction”
Hello, beautiful souls!
In this post, we’re going to chat about the Signs of Drama “Addiction”. I used to struggle with Drama “Addiction” and couldn’t see my way out of its cycles, for a LONG time. Thankfully, through inner work, shadow work and Emotional Intelligence work, it’s mostly in my rear-view mirror, but the work required to stay out of the drama trap is ongoing – for all of us.
For some, it’s a sign of an over-taxed or even dysregulated nervous system, which may mean that we are in need of some serious lifestyle changes or perhaps professional support. But for many of us, it’s a behaviourally programmed and normalized way of being in this world, as we see “drama influences” ever day in the news, social media, politics, the entertainment world and in much of society in general. Drama “Addiction” is something we’ve likely all participated in, and something we’ve likely all been a witness to. The “making mountains out of molehills”, the tendency to always or often have some major problem to solve or “fire to put out”, the friend with constant relationship issues, the never-ending “OMG, I can’t believe it” or the “why does this always happen to me?” stories that are so upsetting, alarming or unbelievable.
DRAMA is addictive.
At some point or another, most, if not all of us have had our moments of drama in our lives, and the hope is that we always find either a silver lining in it or a golden nugget from which we can grow and learn not to repeat the same mistake twice. But some people may unknowingly be continuing cycles of drama in their lives while believing they are so “over it” or “above” the “Drama Queens or Kings” of the world. Here are 10 lesser-known signs of Drama “Addiction” that you or your loved ones might be experiencing:
1. Being easily offended or triggered
I am not referring to serious psychological “trauma triggers”, as this is a sensitive topic that is best-dealt by a mental health professional. Instead, I am talking about being highly reactive to the things in daily life that stir up difficult emotions in us. You can see it in people who often say, “Can you believe they did/said that!?” or “How dare they ___”. There’s drama written all over this.
2. “Black or White” Thinking
“Us versus Them”, “Win or Lose”, or “Right or Wrong” mentality, to name a few. There are more than 50 shades of grey in how we each think, behave, speak, see the world, and conduct our lives. It’s important to be open-minded, otherwise, we can be riddled with hang-ups. And I’m not talking about being open-minded when it comes to breaking the law or intentionally harming someone. That’s pretty black and white, yes, and it’s NOT ok. So, since the majority of us stay within the limits of the law and have no intention of harming others, and since we have choices about how we live our lives, and how we react, respond and feel about the difference of opinions, behaviours, choices of words we use, and even our sense of humour, we must accept that there are many ways to see, be and live in the world. And the more closed-minded or closed-hearted we are, the smaller our capacity to handle the differences we see in others. Discernment is the answer. And there’s A LOT to talk about that in a later blog. J
3. Perfectionist-orientedWhen we tend to want to get things just right, this can put a lot of pressure on us to overthink, over-analyze, over-prepare, or overdo things. And it can also compel us to give up altogether. The result of being perfectionist-oriented can be that we may be highly critical and judgemental when we “make mistakes”. When we are highly critical of ourselves, we are also often unaware of just how highly critical of others we might be. Watch for this toxic trait. It’s more common than you think.
4. The Comparison Trap
“Keeping up with the Jones’” and F.O.M.O. (fear of missing out) are two of the ways that many people unconsciously compare themselves to others. We see how others live, spend their money, parent their children, decorate their homes, get invited to events, hang out with people, dine at restaurants, read books, follow influencers, watch shows, buy products, and the list goes on. We feel the need to keep up, be in the know and feel relevant within our communities. But where does it end? When we live more “outside of ourselves” than inside our own hearts, we can become gossipy, feel inferior, or just plain drained. D.R.A.M.A.
5. Watching Too Much News/Racing to the Obituaries Section
I recall a time in my life when I was alarmed by those that made a habit of going straight to the Obituaries when they received their daily newspaper – so they could see who and how many people died each day. This is seemingly normalized nowadays due to the pandemic, and perhaps it’s an unpopular opinion to say that we might benefit from taking a little step back from it and strike a balance. What about all the other things going on in the world, and in our own lives? Sadly, there are tragic deaths every day and we cannot bury our head in the sand, or deny the time it takes to feel the sadness and grief that goes along with the passing of loved ones (this is VERY important), but what about LIFE? It’s a biological fact that when we focus too much of our time on the deaths, travesties, and scary things going on in the world through the mainstream news (which by the way have perfected the “formula” on exactly how to capture and keep their audience’s attention), the logic centre of our brain shuts down, and this can seriously reduce our capacity to do much else. The amygdala hijack is real. We deserve to be informed, yes, but being too focussed on, and influenced by the negativity in the world, keeps drama front and centre in our lives. We deserve to experience reality, but reality must also include joy each day.
6. Holding Grudges, Bitterness, or Resentment
Grudges, bitterness and resentment are the lasting effects of when we haven’t moved on from a painful situation. What many don’t realize is how poisonous this is to our heart, mind, body and soul AND that we have a choice here. This blame cycle is how we avoid taking personal responsibility or accountability for our part in our problems, issues, challenges, and setbacks. Holding others accountable for the harm they’ve done is important. Still dwelling in blame against them allows us to hold onto stories that keep us in a false sense of moral higher ground, while not doing all the work required to let it go and move on. Drama! I’ve had a lot of initial pushback from some clients about this one until they did the work required to let go and saw their lives transform.
7. Saviour Complex & People Pleasing
Some people have strong empathy, compassion and a deep desire to always help others. We might be someone that people often come to when they have problems; people look to for help, a compassionate ear, or a shoulder to lean on. This is a gift, and I don’t shy away from it. However, it requires healthy boundaries and discernment to not cross the line from supporting or helping someone into thinking we can “rescue” them. For some, this has the potential for them to take on the role or belief that they can or should save others from their problems. People-pleasing is a similar role. It is the tendency to go above and beyond for the wrong reasons. I encourage going above and beyond, when we can, and for the right reasons. However, in my opinion, there’s so much discernment needed here with our intentions and boundaries, because in many ways, society has taught us to people-please to our detriment. And sometimes, the deeper (and often unconscious) motivation to do so, is to try to feel like a worthier human being, to prove something about ourselves, or to receive praise. Caring for others when we can is admirable and a beautiful and natural expression of being human. And acknowledgement is something we all deserve (but don’t always get) when we help others. This type of “bucket we are trying to fill” will never be full, because in people-pleaser roles, what we may not realize, is that we are already worthy and we don’t need to prove ourselves (and that’s another conversation for another blog). When we take responsibility for things that others ‘can and should’ do for themselves, we actually create the potential for complaints, codependency and misplaced accountability. But when we encourage and support others in stepping up to do what “is their’s to do”, they have the opportunity to learn, grow, and build their own capacity and skills. There is a way to help others, and it’s without enmeshment. But unless we have very skilled empathy, we may fall into this “role”.
8. The “Poor Me” Attitude
Some people have suits of armour that make them impenetrable against harm. Some seem to wear rubber suits, where verbal or even physical attacks seem to bounce right off of them. Some people take the hardships in life like “water off a duck’s back”. But then there are some people that seem to have a suit of glue, where any harm is done to them, sticks. This may be a more complex case of prior trauma, and people experiencing this type of pain that sticks deserve to clear these traumas and heal with whatever supports needed. And somewhere in the middle of these, are those who have an attitude of “poor me” or the “glass half empty” lens through which they see the world. Our attitude forms over time, and it affects so much in our lives. Our attitude is also always a choice, but some haven’t learned how to remove their blind spots to see this.
Leaving things to the last minute is not hard to do these days in this time of overflowing “to-do” lists and very “full plates”. Many of us have too much going on in our lives, which leaves us to wait till “the right time” to finish that “thing” we need to get done. And when we’re behind the eight ball with little time left and we feel stressed, we may end up having to cancel other plans or commitments. We might feel guilty and makeup “stories” about reasons why we can no longer do what we said we would do, or we might find ourselves dumping our feelings of stress onto others, undeservingly. It’s something no one is above reproach on, but it’s the makings of unnecessary drama. 10. Over Focussing on Other People’s Lives
Our need to feel a sense of belonging and to relate to the people in our community is a beautiful part of human nature. But we can take it too far when we focus too much on what other people are doing or saying, and judging what they do or say as if it were affecting our own lives, or thinking that we actually have a say in how they should live their lives. Reality TV, gossip magazines, “Entertainment news” and mainstream news have sadly normalized gossiping, criticizing, judging, trash-talking and even shaming celebrities, politicians and anyone they report on as they see fit. When we give time and energy towards negative thoughts or envy around how other people live their lives differently than us, and when we feel compelled to be the judge and jury about whether those people are good, bad, right or wrong, we are actually disconnecting from our compassionate side, failing to remember that there is so much that we don’t know or understand about what others go through in their life, and thereby drawing drama into our lives.
We all have our moments of drama, but I believe we deserve better than descending into these traps and dwelling there. As we are ready to face our limiting beliefs and behaviours, we can start to shed them and find new ways of thriving, rather than being drained by these ways of living. For the sake of our mental and emotional health, let’s look inward, take inventory, and see what we can let go of. Less drama and more love keep our hearts full and our minds present.
Drop me a line if you have questions, comments or wish to learn more. And stay tuned for my next newsletter which discusses some solutions to help us address these “orientations to drama-addiction”.
In the meantime, please take good care of yourself, and have a beautiful day.