Drama addiction — we all want to feel alive, but some people are addicted to drama because of it
Have you ever had that friend who always has some sort of drama going on? There’s always some life or death problem to be solved and you cannot spend any time with them without it being hijacked by a perceived emergency?
You may have the friend who is always getting out of the same relationship or going through some new form of drama every other week —drama that they expect you to suffer through with them.
Or maybe you feel like the drama in your own life is never-ending.
People are addicted to drama. A great many. And it is easy to see why. What isn’t easy is addressing it.
Why? Because we don’t talk about it. Because we share all these platitudes on social media that weaponize the concepts of loyalty and companionship. Because emergencies make us feel important and give a cocktail of adrenaline and dopamine. But, mostly, because a great many of us are dead inside. And the drama of an emergency is an easy way to feel alive.
We all just want to feel alive, to feel passion, to feel life. We all want to feel— even if only subconsciously. We all want this on an innate level. The only difference between us is how that comes out. But it does come out — always.
Some people live a creative life and that makes them feel alive. While some people get drunk on the power of harming others. There are those who become addicted to substances, sex, gambling, food, and the like. Some people have the natural ability to live a balanced life and find passion all around them. But many people do not.
There are decidedly good things that make us feel alive and there are things we perceive as bad. But excess of any asset becomes a liability and there is some good in the worst of things. So, as always, it comes back to balancing our human nature.
Finding passion in our work, having sex, loving others, and having a purpose all make us feel alive. some things make us feel so alive that we will revel in the memory of them for eternity — watching a child born, seeing the mountains or the ocean for the first time, surviving a near-death experience, saving a life, etc. Then there are little things like cheering on our favorite team, running, exploring, painting, performing, playing air hockey, making muffins, or whatever a person’s thing is.
But pain makes us feel alive too. Oh, does pain make us feel alive. Fight or flight makes us feel alive. Emergencies make us feel alive. Being needed, facing uncertain doom, and being the center of attention all make us feel alive. Pain, drama and turmoil make some people feel more alive than anything else in their life. And, of course, feeling alive in this way is better than not feeling, at all.
It comes as no surprise that, in a world where a majority of people don’t have access to feeling alive in ways that serve them, many people resort to living in a perpetual cycle of drama. I understand this dynamic completely, as I have been one of them.
Many people never get to paint, travel, take up ice skating, open a Christmas tree farm, have fulfilling relationships, or do anything that makes them feel alive. For a lack of resources or enthusiasm, many of us live monotonous lives that do not fulfill us whatsoever and surely don’t make us feel alive. Some of us were born into the drama and addiction. While, for others, it is an acquired skill.
To make matters worse, people don’t tend to call out their friends for this negative drama-centered lifestyle because of the weaponized perceptions of loyalty, companionship, and authenticity. We are told in a million platitudes that we are supposed to stand by those we love, no matter what, if we wish to be good people.
The internet is littered with quotes and sayings that condemn anyone who is not there for the people they care about — through thick and thin. And it is this propaganda that stops many people from setting boundaries with the drama addicts in their lives. It is this belief system that reinforces the drama addict’s beliefs that they have a right to hold their loved ones in an endless loop of chaos.
The sad thing is, the codependent friend of the drama addict is not helping them, by co-signing their bullshit and allowing themselves to be held hostage of their drama. They are only making it easier for their friend to continue the soul-sucking cycle. But, even worse, they are harming themselves in the process.
If you have people in your life who are addicted to drama and you have recognized a pattern, you do not have to participate in the negative pattern to be a good friend. In fact, a good friend wouldn’t. Setting boundaries may be hard, but good friends do hard things. And staying in the drama only makes the situation worse, not better.
If you have read this far, and think you may have some sort of drama addiction — or any addiction for that matter — do not be discouraged. You are one of the many. But you could also be one of the few that decides to change their lives. If you wish, of course.
Written by Holly Kellums