One of the sure signs of healthy recovery is the avoidance of drama. Not only in one’s love life, but every area of life: career, social networks, friends, family, etc.

Drama tends to be created not so much from one source, but rather from the collective thoughts, actions and communications of a group. The bigger the group and the more incapable its members are of “putting out the fire” so to speak, the worse the drama can be.

Years ago, I learned that when issues arise within a group, you have two choices: you either participate and try and resolve the issue or you bow out and wait for the problems to blow over. If you decide to participate in the resolution of the groups’ issues, you have yet another two choices: you can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. This is where it gets tricky, because many people don’t recognize that they are one or the other. But here’s a great way to determine if you are causing more of the drama or helping to abate it. Ask yourself:

  1. When I participate in group issues am I thinking in the best interest of myself or the group as a whole?
  2. Are my comments meant to help or hinder the group?
  3. Are my comments self-serving or hurtful to others or will some benefit come out of what I have to say?
  4. Am I gossiping? Spreading rumors? Talking behind others’ back? And if so, will any of that serve to help the drama to subside?
  5. Am I putting myself in others’ shoes before I share my thoughts?
  6. Am I waiting a day or two before saying something I may regret?
  7. Am I trying to be tolerant and understanding of other people’s issues that are sometimes brought into the drama? So often we forget that unhealthy people don’t always say what they mean or mean what they say. Sometimes when people are under a lot of stress, we need to have more patience for them and their behavior.
  8. Am I reacting with my head, my heart or both?
  9. Am I mentally/emotionally in a good enough place to participate in resolving issues? Or will I be bringing my own set of personal problems into the drama?
  10. Do I have all the facts?

It’s so hard to take accountability for being in the middle of something you probably should not be. And part of the inherent problems with Love Addicts specifically is that they are drawn to drama. Why? I believe it’s because of several factors.

  • We seek out people and situations that help us disengage from ourselves. We do not want to deal with our own personal problems, as they are too painful, so we prefer to deal with the problems of others. In this way, being drawn to drama is a defense mechanism.
  • Many of us do not have the social skills of tolerance, patience and compassion. Our growth is stunted due to the fact that we have refused for many years to face our own problems, so when it comes to conflict resolution, we have either never learned how to resolve conflicts, or we resolve them in a way that tends to lack compassion, tolerance and patience for others.
  • Many LAs, depending on our stage of recovery, are going through an egocentric, narcissistic phase. When a human only acts on his or her own behalf, a level of immaturity becomes apparent. Egocentric people cannot make decisions based on the best interest of the group. They tend to make decisions based on meeting their needs and their needs only. Accusations fly, regretful comments are made, mud is slung.

Lastly, no one person ever exhibits all these traits (OK, maybe they do). Usually, drama is the product of many people. One little snowflake goes unnoticed. A gazillion is a snow storm. So, it is always in our best interest to give every individual the benefit of the doubt when it comes to seeing drama as a whole. I like to believe in Maslow’s theory of motivation: that every person in the world, no matter what they say or do, is motivated by a need to be loved. When I remember that, I tend to have much more compassion for selfish or thoughtless behavior. And my own way of dealing with drama? Avoid it. When there is an issue and intelligent, considerate people sit down to resolve that issue, there is no drama. There is successful conflict resolution. If that is not present, I do not participate until there is. For more info on successful conflict resolution, click here.

4 thoughts on “Drama

  1. Hey,
    in light of today this is interesting.

    T I’m going to do my usual taking it apart thing, it’s not meant as an attack. I hope you know I think your great.

    I have to say that I do find what you have written a little patronising. I also happen to think you are a clever and interesting lady who writes some other great stuff. But The tone of some of what you have written is like you have ‘cracked it all’. I don’t buy that. It sometimes lacks humilty and comes a across as superior. I don’t think you mean it though, I think you are just really trying ot reach out and tell poeple about what you have learned. No ones perfect and maybe this is just your way…. I can be super assertive and come across as aggressive. I know this.

    You say some really positive things In the above.
    One thing though is you might have define ‘drama’. Trouble is what you may consider dramatic may be just the way some poeple are. why is that wrong? If poeple actively seek drama out and it has a detramental effect on their life then thats actually soemthing else.

    We all have times when we are dramatic. Different levels and frequencies for different people.With a desire to grow this is hopefully worked on and not somthign that we seek to ease our pain.

    Its how you use your ‘drama’ to move you to the next spot that matters. stagnating in any stage of emotional behavior is bad, including the individual who doens’t get invloved, who stands back and feels ‘better’ for not being like the others. This can be in many ways way more destructive. It’s can often be laced with passive agresstion, the most difficult and harmful form of human verbal conflict. In some ways the mud slinging is easier because at least its all out there. Many families operate in that way and it passes, things do get resolved.

    My mother always says I go thorugh a stage of extreme anger, I rant, I whine, I vent, then it goes. This is me. My mum listens, my friends listen, then its over. Its all a bit dramatic but its part of the process.

    I know not to make calls at this time, or etc but I also do not think I have to change.

    Its seems to me you are aiming for some utopian ideal of an individual. Where the enlightened express nothing. I think this is wrong. I don’t think we should encourage this. It implies we are telling poele not to ‘feel’.

    Poeple can ‘feel’ whatever they want, they might sob dramatically for an hour then go out and do some of the most striling resolution you have ever seen.

    Often those sitting back and letting poeple just’ sort it out amoungst themselves’ are making themselves complicit to suffering through their complacency. Sometimes you have to stand up and dramatically tell poeple you will not accept soemthing, you may challenge the bully, or say what no one else will say, everyone may laugh behind their hands at you. NO ONE may agree with you, but if you have enough faith in your self you will do it all the same. You might not be shouting but you def going to be dramatic.

    Now I guess in respect of LA this isn’t what is going on. BUt I think you have to respect that poeple are going to be dramtic and you have to be brave enough to step in at the right times and fight a little. Nothing ever got cleaned without getting your hands dirty. Is standing back always right. You don’t need to enageg witht he emotion or the arguments.

    I think the check list is good, but perhaps a little unrealistic. I think simply removing yourself from a situation before you deal with it is simple and sound. Most poeple are more level headed after a cool off.

    I left the board today because I had to put myself first. I was saddened by what was being said. I cannot abide cruelty, I alsways strive to stand up for the weaker person, pretty dramatic huh?! Also I have little left to give the board due to home life. The board has changed dramatically recently too, I think my time is done.

    Just my two pence ,
    alll the best



  2. Hi M– I always welcome your input. But here’s something that needs to be said, which maybe was not stated in my original post: we are talking about two different things: drama and emotional expression. SOmething that you might need to know about me: I am Italian, I laugh, I cry, I show a full range of emotions (I don’t really show anger anymore, though, not because I don’t feel it, but because I have learned what I believe is a more mature way of expressing it. And let’s face it: in order to have a relationship with others, expression and emotion needs to be expressed, but there are right ways and wrong ways. There are hurtful ways and compassionate ways. It’s all in the delivery). But Drama is not the expressing of emotion. It’s rather a situation or sequence of events that is highly emotional, tragic, or turbulent and out of control.

    Part of our responsibility to recover for ourselves is to learn better modes of communication. Avoiding drama is not necessarily burying one’s head in the sand. It is choosing not to participate until individuals who need to resolve an issue can do so with respect, compassion and consideration for others. Are drama queen wrong or bad? No. The world loves dramatic people. Why else would Merryl Streep earn 10 million for a movie. The flair and beauty of a person though does not have to trickle into his or her communication with others. To be emotional is one thing. To be spiteful, gossipy, hurtful, intolerant or disrespectful is another.


  3. yes I knew you were Italian, I have Italian family. I’m irish and a whole load of other nationalities. I kind of think it goes without saying that there are right ways and wrong ways of expressing anger. I’m not encouraging pernicious behavior!! I think to say that someone who is dramatic is not compassionatwe or considerate is wrong. I am all of those things and plus some 🙂

    I think it’s also prety subjective,a dogmatic approach is not necessarily a realistic one. Again I reiterate, sometimes the bravest poeple are the ones who walk straght into the fire. To think that other poeple will ever be exactly what you want is again realistic. I watched a man bully away at someone, I’m proud to say I stood up to him. This is the kind of thing i mean. I think your on the right path though.


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