www.drdavidbakerhargrove.com www.DecodingHim.comSigns of Drama Addiction and How To Overcome ItI wrote a paper in my doctoral program entitled “Drama Addiction: The tempestuousRelationship”. I was intrigued by the topic at the time, because I myself suspected Imay be addicted to drama in relationships. The paper is long gone on some forgotten3.5 disk, but the idea behind it is not. Back when I came up with the idea, the internetdidn’t exist for much and I remember being able to find only one book related to thesubject at the Barnes and Noble. Now, a Google search for “drama addiction” yieldsover 21 million returns. I didn’t look through them all, but even a glance at page 10revealed many of the returns are actually related to the idea of a tumultuous relationshipbecoming so routine it can feel not only normal, but also become addicting.I don’t remember all the fine points of the paper, but the general ideas come back tome. I’ve updated the terminology to better reflect the current time. There are three maincategories drama addiction can all into: Fantasy, Maelstrom, and Longing, or “FML” forshort.Let’s explore each of these in more detail:Fantasy – this is mindset of being in love with love. A lasting relationship does nothave a chance with this person, because he/she is unable to make it past the romanticstage. Once the romance wears off, the relationship ceases to become interesting andthen all sorts of problems arise until the relationship ends. Typically the fantasist willfeel very hurt and wondering why he/she can’t find the right relationship, only to bounceback very quickly for the next person who turns his/her head and the pattern repeats.Maelstrom – So many behavioral patterns can fit into this category, but the behaviorsare largely focused on anything creating turmoil: fighting, suspiciousness, insecurity,controlling behavior, defensiveness and judgment. This person is unable to relax in arelationship and give him/herself the opportunity to trust the other person. He/she reallyand truly thinks while a long-term loving relationship is the number one priority, there isthe likelihood something will go horribly wrong at any minute, so it’s best be on guardand ready to fight.Longing – this person is attracted to people who are unavailable in some way, eitheremotionally or physically, unwilling to commit, or not able to reciprocate theattraction/feelings for whatever reason. This person will fall madly, truly, deeply in lovewith anyone who fits the above criteria, only to fall into despair and bewilderment aboutwhy he/she can’t have this person to love and cherish. It could all be so wonderful, ifonly…People who become addicted to these dynamics have a hard time recognizing howdestructive they are. Typically, it appears the real problems lie elsewhere. Like we sooften do, we tell ourselves lies to shield us from the fear of being vulnerable:
www.drdavidbakerhargrove.com www.DecodingHim.comF – I know I can be amazing in the right relationship. I am so good at giving love. I justhaven’t found the right person yet who is truly deserving of all the love I have to give.M – I want to be in a relationship, but the right person is hard to find. Everyone has anagenda, everyone plays games. I thought I had met the right person in the past, buthe/she always turns out to be someone different than who I thought.L – Why doesn’t he love me? We would be so perfect together. No one can love himlike I could. I just don’t understand why he can’t see what is right for him.It all seems so crazy when you look at it on paper, but many people are easily seducedinto this behavior. Why? There are several reason for doing so.Biological – first the brain, being distinct from the mind, likes to be stimulated. Thebrain loves to fire its electro-chemical impulses. That’s why any addiction is sopowerful. Anything that can cause increased neuronal firing can create anaddiction: alcohol and drugs, sugar, anger and experiences that create excitement likegambling and being in love. The problem is the brain doesn’t distinguish between goodstimulation and bad stimulation. That is the mind’s job. For the brain any stimulation isgood stimulation and will be sufficient. It can be a very powerful pull that can confusethe mind.Behavioral – We tend to learn about the world by watching how others deal with theworld. Since there is no school for relationships, we learn from others whatrelationships look like and what people do in relationships. Media and art make usbelieve romantic love can and should last forever; television and social media alsoteach us partners are not to be trusted and we deserve to be with the people we love,regardless of whether or not he is actually a suitable choice for a mate. Also, a majorityof people do not know how to cultivate a successful relationship. It is a skill the majoritydoesn’t learn, and probably aren’t aware of the need to learn. Therefore, there aremore bad examples to follow than good.Psychological – The main reason why people find themselves in all this distractingbehavior is they don’t want to deal with their own stuff. It is hard to look at yourunconscious processes and motivations and to truly understand why you do what youdo. It is not only difficult, but sometimes it is pretty ugly too. It feels too uncomfortableand it’s easier to ignore it and distract yourself with all of these really big problems, forwhich there are seemingly no answers.So if you’ve read this far and found yourself anywhere above and think, “I really want tobe different. I want to fix this”, what do you do?First, you have to identify the behavior and admit to yourself it is real. Second, youhave to ask yourself, “What is it I think I’m achieving through this behavior? What is my
www.drdavidbakerhargrove.com www.DecodingHim.comgoal?” Very often, you might realize your goal is to give love and receive it in a way thatdoesn’t put you at risk for being hurt or being vulnerable. Now you have to ask yourselfagain whether you truly believe those behaviors constitute the best approach to solvingthe problem or achieving that goal.Probably not.I very often see everyone so concerned with not getting hurt in relationships they createall of these distractions and barriers that end up hurting them more than if they were todo nothing in the first place. Love that lasts and supports does not come from a placeof defensiveness and suspicion. It comes from a place of giving withoutscorekeeping. It comes from a place of making a continual and very conscious effort toact in the way of the perceived greatest good for all concerned.It is a very hard task which takes a lot of work. Everyday. It’s probably why so manypeople don’t do it. It’s not uncommon to want something and think you are willing towork for it, but then not really put in the effort required and still wonder why it doesn’twork out. It’s human nature.There are no easy answers to this. If it were easy then everyone would already bedoing it.However, here are some places to start:1. Define what love means to you. Love doesn’t mean the same thing toeveryone. We are programmed to think it does, but every person needs somethinga little different. Once you define what love means for you, it will be easier for youto find it with someone else.2. Learn how you use your behavior and your communication as a weapon to controlothers. Decide to give it up. Instead learn and practice communication thatfacilitates understanding and growth.3. Understand a relationship is like anything else in your life you want to keep around:your job, your car or your dog. It needs your attention every day and you have toinvest in it every day. You have to want it to be successful, which is notnecessarily the same as getting everything you want anytime you want it. Theworld doesn’t work that way. If you went to work and just assumed your job will doitself with as little input from you as possible, how long would you last before youwere fired?
www.drdavidbakerhargrove.com www.DecodingHim.com4. Accept the partner you choose is not a person to be changed. He will only giveyou his best in an environment that supports and draws it out. Suspicious,controlling behavior does not bring out the best in people. Neither do efforts tochange them.5. Practice respect.Love, like life, is complex and there are no easy answers. It doesn’t mean the answersaren’t there. The answers are learnable. It may take time, but you may find the time iswell invested.About the authorDavid Baker-Hargrove, Ph.D., LMHC, DAPA is a psychotherapist, speaker, andmotivational coach.Over the past 15 years, he has presented at international, national, state, and regionalconferences and has provided presentations and/or consulted for local and regional lawenforcement in Central Florida. He has counseled over 150 people who are transitioningtheir gender, and considered a community leader, not only as a therapist, but for hisskills being organizer, leader, and adviser to numerous Central Florida non-profitorganizations. In October and November of 2001, he worked at World Trade Centerground zero helping our brave fire fighters and police men and women.He currently owns and operates a mental health and consulting firm in downtownOrlando. The firm sees clients from all over the United States via video conference.What he sees is important is helping people realize and achieve their greatest potential,no matter what in life they are dealing with. We can all be something greater than weare right now.Find out more at www.drdavidbakerhargrove.com.For more free tips and insights on what really attracts a man, how tomake yourself irresistible to him and how to capture his heart, click thelink below.www.decodinghim.com