It is common for those who fall into addiction to share certain personality traits – this is sometimes referred to as the ‘addictive personality’. One of these characteristics is attention-seeking behaviour, and this can be in the form of an addiction to drama. Some people always seem to be in the middle of some major drama, but the reality is they are often making mountains out of molehills. This type of behaviour can be dangerous for those entering sobriety, and it can be used as a justification to relapse.
Individuals can be addicted to drama in a number of different ways. Some of the symptoms of this type of attention seeking include:
- spreading gossip can cause a great deal of harm to others – even when the information being spread is true, it is usually presented in a way to cause maximum damage -people who spread gossip are basically trying to profit from the suffering of others
- using the truth as a weapon is a tool of manipulation that is used to cause harm to others without having to suffer negative consequences – individuals who engage in this behaviour will often use the defence ‘I’m just saying’
- starting conversations with the intent of inflaming prejudice and hatred – people who do this online are known as trolls
- making mountains out of molehills occurs when people exaggerate even simple challenges to make it sound as if they are dealing with some major catastrophe
- making a big deal out of the effort you put into a project – for example, deliberately staying late at the office just to give the impression that you are the hardest worker
- enjoy getting into arguments online
- deliberately stirring up situations to make them worse – for example, reminding the boss that one of your colleagues was late
- sharing other people’s private information or private work related information online (this is a modern version of gossiping)
- adding details to the events you are describing in the hope of making them sound more interesting – this might appear harmless, but it is just another attempt to win attention.
If you are addicted to drama, it can harm your relationships and harm your reputation. Other people can act interested in gossip and tall-tales, but it does not mean they respect you for engaging in this type of behaviour. If you develop a reputation for making mountains out of molehills, it can harm your career and could mean you will not be offered any promotions. The attention seeking behaviour is also a sign of low self-esteem, meaning that you will not be feeling comfortable in your sobriety. All the negative consequences created by your addiction to drama can eventually become a justification to relapse.
The first step to breaking an addiction to drama is to know that you are doing. All people engage in some attention-seeking behaviours from time to time, but this is about recognising a pattern of behaviour. If you regularly gossip, exaggerate, stir-up problems, or get into pointless arguments, this suggests you are addicted to drama.
Once you recognise that attention-seeking behaviour is negatively affecting your life, you can begin to overcome it. This type of activity is habitual – you have learned to do it, meaning that you can also unlearn it. You can use something as mindfulness or the CBT ABCs to identify this behaviour as it is happening, which can give you the power to choose different path. For example – if the urge to gossip arises, you can make the decision not to say anything.