There are all kinds of addictions– some are to substances, some to behaviors, and some to situations. One of the less obvious ones is the addiction to drama. Some people just seem to almost constantly find themselves with “fires” that somehow need to be put out!
I’ve worked with many clients through the years, who have grown up in all kinds of chaotic family situations. There’s a certain feeling of familiarity, and even comfort, that develops over time with constant upheaval and confusion. They get to where they expect the unexpected!
Consistency and predictability are seldom a part of this kind of background. My clients have learned from early childhood on, that it’s impossible to know what’s going to happen next. They’ve gotten used to having many different types of crises on a regular basis.
What happens if someday the upheaval stops — when one day is pretty much the same as the day before it, and the day before that? It can feel strange, and even unsettling, to someone who has little experience with a low-chaos lifestyle. They may even begin to feel bored, or anxious — waiting for the next shoe to drop. It’s what’s always happened! Why wouldn’t it continue?
They know how to handle all types of adversity, but they aren’t used to things being too quiet, too calm, for an extended period of time. For some people, what happens is that they start to unconsciously create drama — not necessarily major drama, but some type of stirring up of the tranquil waters of their lives.
They’re too close to what’s happening to recognize the pattern of what they’re doing. That’s where therapy can be helpful. When I sit with clients whose lives seem to be drama-filled, I listen carefully to their stories, ask the right questions, and help them begin to connect the dots.
An awareness of the dynamics at play, can give them the power to look at the choices they’re making. It can help them to see their part in creating the current distress, whatever it is. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but awareness can bring them the power to begin the process.
With drama comes a certain amount of excitement, an adrenaline rush. Life isn’t boring! There’s always something to focus on, to figure out, to be stimulated by. But it also can cost dearly in elevated stress, lowered peace of mind, complicated life situations, unhealthy relationships, and emotional upheaval for loved ones.
If there seems to be constant turmoil in your life, give it some thought. Could you be addicted to drama? What will it ultimately cost you and your loved ones? Help is available if you choose it!
Until next time,