Audio Version (08:51)
Do you feel like drama and chaos follow you around while others have seemingly calm and relatively drama-free lives?
Now, you may argue that you hate it and can’t understand why it keeps happening to you. But on a deep-rooted psychological level, you attract those things because they feel familiar.
Whether it’s chaotic relationships, workplace conflicts, or personal crises, the drama can become addictive, keeping us in repetitive patterns.
Understanding the psychological, biochemical, and developmental factors behind this addiction is critical to breaking free from its grip and nurturing a life of stability and emotional well-being.
Otherwise, you’ll likely become stuck in a seemingly never-ending cycle of turmoil and unpredictability.
To watch the extended version of this article, click here.
Before we begin, this is another personal one for me.
In previous articles, I’ve mentioned that I grew up in a chaotic and drama-filled household. My parents were shockingly bad at managing their emotions or dealing with any kind of adversity in a calm and measured way.
Everything was a drama, from me not being able to find my gym kit to an unexpected bill. It didn’t matter how ‘big’ the perceived negative thing was; everything was met with the same level of drama.
So, this topic is one that I’ve done a LOT of research on, as I know that chaotic childhoods (which many of us have had even if they weren’t accompanied by negativity) most often create chaotic adult lives.
So, let’s dive in.
Psychological Roots of Drama Addiction
The human psyche is complex, and various psychological elements contribute to the addiction to drama.
For some of us, the chaos provides a sense of excitement or stimulation, becoming almost like an adrenaline rush that keeps us engaged.
Others might have grown up in environments where chaos was normalised, leading us to subconsciously seek it out as a familiar and comfortable state. Additionally, individuals with low self-esteem or unresolved emotional issues might gravitate toward drama as a way to seek validation or attention.
Biochemical Aspects of Drama Addiction
The addiction to drama also has biochemical underpinnings. Engaging in or witnessing dramatic events can trigger the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine, adrenaline and cortisol.
These chemicals are associated with pleasure, excitement, and heightened arousal. Consequently, when we experience these intense emotions, we become addicted to the rush we get from those biochemicals. We then naturally seek out drama as a way to maintain their release, much like chasing the high from illicit substances or thrilling activities like watching horror movies, skydiving, rock climbing, etc.
Dr Joe Dispenza has done an incredible amount of work on this. His research has shown that we become addicted to these biochemicals to such an extent that when we aren’t getting them, the brain will create a false negative scenario, such as worrying about something that may or may not happen. This triggers your stress response, automatically releasing adrenaline and cortisol, the hormones your body craves.
Childhood and Upbringing
Childhood experiences and upbringing play a significant role in shaping our propensity for drama addiction.
Those raised in chaotic or dysfunctional households may normalise chaos as part of daily life. Witnessing or experiencing constant conflict, instability, or emotional upheaval during formative years can wire the brain to perceive chaos as normal, potentially leading to a subconscious attraction to similar situations in adulthood.
Additionally, a lack of healthy coping mechanisms or emotional regulation learned in childhood can perpetuate this cycle of seeking chaos as a means of managing emotions or seeking validation.
Calmness = Unease, Discomfort, Boredom
For individuals raised in chaotic or drama-filled households, the experience of calmness can evoke a sense of unease or discomfort. Growing up amidst constant turmoil, conflict, or unpredictability, they become accustomed to chaos as the norm.
In such environments, calmness may feel foreign or unsettling because it contrasts sharply with the familiar atmosphere of heightened emotions and tension. The absence of drama can create a void, leaving you feeling strangely out of place or anxious in tranquil settings, waiting for the next shoe to drop or Maxwell’s silver hammer to fall.
Also, individuals accustomed to chaos might equate calmness with boredom or insignificance. The absence of drama may seem dull or unstimulating, lacking the adrenaline rush or excitement they’ve become accustomed to.
In contrast to the intense emotions and constant stimulation of a chaotic upbringing, a calm environment might feel strangely empty or devoid of meaning. This perception can lead to a subconscious rejection of calmness as undesirable or unfulfilling, perpetuating a cycle where individuals unwittingly seek out drama or chaos to feel engaged or validated.
Some people who experience this will pick a fight with their partner over nothing just because calmness feels unsafe or unexciting. Others go on social media and get angry over something someone posted that may have nothing to do with them. Some may be involved in extreme sports.
Calmness and Suppressed Emotions
Calmness may also trigger discomfort because it exposes suppressed emotions or unresolved issues from a difficult past. In moments of tranquillity, without the distractions of chaos, you may find yourself confronted with suppressed feelings of anxiety, fear, or sadness that were overshadowed by constant turmoil.
This emotional confrontation can be overwhelming, causing a subconscious aversion to calmness as it brings forth buried emotions that were easier to ignore in the chaos. The unfamiliarity of dealing with these emotions in a calm setting can contribute to a feeling of unease or vulnerability.
The addiction to drama and chaos can be multifaceted, stemming from psychological, biochemical, and developmental factors.
By addressing underlying issues, developing healthy coping mechanisms, and fostering stability, you can get free from the grip of drama addiction and move toward a happier, healthier life.
Self-reflection, awareness, and a commitment to nurturing emotional well-being are critical. Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix. You have to do the work EVERY DAY, and you have to be vigilant!
Your subconscious is a tricky customer. If it’s not getting its daily drama fix, expect it to throw in errant negative thoughts at the most unexpected times! Or you may find that you react to something entirely disproportionately to what it warrants.
When the next drama arrives, and that’s a when not and if, STOP and instead of going down your usual programmed response, take a step back. Look at it through the lens of what you now know and ask yourself what you can do to minimise its impact.
In the next article and video, I’ll discuss ways to break free from drama addiction. So, please remember to like, comment, subscribe, and if you hop over to YouTube, hit that notification bell so you don’t miss it!
I love getting your feedback. It helps me know what’s important to you. So, if you have anything you’d like to add on this topic, or if there’s something you’d like me to cover in an upcoming video, leave it in the comments section below, and I’ll add it to the list.
Finally, thank you for your continued support.