Drama Addiction: Are You Stuck in a Toxic Cycle?
Everything always going wrong? Ask yourself these questions.
Do you think that your life should be a reality TV show since it’s just a series of dramas every year?
Are your friends and family in a position of constantly getting you out of some sort of actual or emotional crisis?
If you said yes, life must be tiring for you and people around you.
Actually, it seems mostly tiring for others because you must be gaining some thrill out of all the drama, or you would re-evaluate your decision-making process to stabilize your life.
For example, Denise is 30 years old. She has gone through one relationship per year for the past 10 years, which begins with an elated emotion, introducing the guy to her friends and family, asking their opinion, then fighting with friends and family members about their opinions. She fights to get a commitment from them, finally moving in with the guy and telling him about her friends and family’s negative opinions. She says it’s just to prove to everyone that they are wrong, but then there’s fighting weekly till the relationship breaks up.
Then she feels shame, hurt, and embarrassment, and faces the friends and family’s “I told you so” attitude, which she fights anyway. Then she rests in her low self-esteem for a bit until she gets the strength to go back out there for dating.
Her commitment to her goal of getting married is clear. However, the desperateness of achieving the goal does not allow her to evaluate what form of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are workable and which are not in choosing a mate, evaluating them for marriage, and establishing communication and conflict resolution. Therefore, she keeps repeating the same thoughts and actions hoping for miraculous different results.
As Denise’s experience adds, her hopelessness rises. Her self-esteem and confidence lower, and her reputation in the eyes of her friends, family, and community lower as well, which raises her powerlessness and hopelessness. Now she has created a vicious cycle.
Denise began doing the exercises from the Awareness Integration model to distinguish between her thoughts, beliefs, emotions, behaviors, and the impact of these in her life and her relationships with her mate, friends, family and the community at large. She was able to assess the skills that she did not have and had never acquired from her family.
Denise realized that she was feeling anxious when her relationship was going well and love was in the air.
Her anxiety would stir up her fears and then she would begin fighting with her mate about mundane daily matters since she could not fight for a negative future that hadn’t happened. She had the insight that since her parent’s marriage was rocky and filled with fighting, she had never seen a healthy marriage, so when all went well, she felt like a fish out of water and she began flipping to create chaos to feel at home again.
Noticing this unworkable cycle, she acknowledged her emotions, shared it with her partner, re-envisioned what she wanted in her relationship, and then acted accordingly toward her goal.
Craig has a fifteen-year history of work with seven companies that all ended with him fighting with his boss.
He subconsciously began a passive resistance toward his boss’s directives. When his boss would confront him, then he would be verbally rebellious. Then, he would request other co-workers to back him up. But just like his siblings at home, they would follow the boss’s directives, and Craig would feel hurt and betrayed.
Then he would fight with his co-workers about this matter, and it would end up in the boss’s office again and finally in HR.
Craig realized he had to either gain the skills to have his own small business so that he would not be an employee or to follow his boss as an authority figure and learn to follow direction. When Craig could see that these were just roles people play for some hours during the day for the purpose of the efficiency of production, he stopped feeling like he needed to fight to prove that he was more.
This realization and implementation helped him stop fighting with his boss. He even learned leadership roles and moved to a management position where he could see the balance of receiving direction from upper management and giving direction to the employees that he managed.
So, if you are exhausted from finding your self in a middle of a dramatic vicious cycle, ask yourself the following questions:
- What is my complaint?
- Is this complaint in one area or several areas of my life?
- What is my result in this or these areas?
- Which one of my thoughts or beliefs has contributed to this result?
- What emotions are constantly arising for me that are contributory to this result?
- Which behaviors are creating this result?
- What is my assumption about how other people are thinking and feeling about me?
- How do I observe other people behaving toward me in this area?
- What is the impact of my assumptions on my result?
- What do I think of myself, and how do I feel about my self in this area and about this result?
You can end the vicious cycle and create the result that you intend and deserve by being aware of how you contribute and taking responsibility for the outcome. The skills that you create will help you get to where you want to be and work toward your intended result, which will help eliminate conflict and drama in your home and work life.
This guest article originally appeared on YourTango.com: How To Break Your Addiction To Drama (And The Toxic Cycles You’re Stuck In).
Psych Central. (2017). Drama Addiction: Are You Stuck in a Toxic Cycle?. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 19, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/drama-addiction-are-you-stuck-in-a-toxic-cycle/