Harry dates women with problems, big problems. Katie was bulemic and had a drinking problem. He tried to help her in every way possible, but she dumped him for another guy after eight months. Then there was Melinda, who lost her job but maintained her lifestyle through credit card debt. After bailing her out multiple times financially, thinking they were in a committed relationship, he was stunned to see her at a bar one night hanging all over some other guy. That night, the text messages and phone calls flew furiously for hours, many of them abusive exchanges that did a great deal of damage.
Harry’s friends and family tell him to get away from the “crazy women” he dates, but he feels compelled to continue in the same pattern. He feels bored with stable women. He’s magnetically attracted to the most chaotic woman in the room, who usually happens to be the most physically attractive. Choosing beauty without taking time to assess character has cost him tens of thousands of dollars and untold heartache. Harry is addicted to drama.
What about you? Are you drawn to chaotic, unstable people? Do you sacrifice your values on the altar of chemistry? Do you feel compelled to help people who aren’t taking responsibility for the problems in their lives? Do you create unnecessary drama in your life by choosing chaotic people or by creating chaos yourself?
If the following checklist looks familiar to you, you may be a drama junkie. In essence, it means that you are drawn to people and situations that get your adrenaline flowing both in the positive and the negative. The positive highs in relationships are primarily associated with the earliest enchantment phase of love, so those feelings are not sustainable at a high level over time. Once the initial enchantment period fades, the drama junkie has to find other ways to get his or her “fix.” The following are examples, behavior patterns, that indicate you or someone you love may have this issue:
Inability to handle stress without acting out (i.e., drinking, calling ten friends to complain about what happened, overeating, binging/purging, etc.)
Rapid, knee-jerk reactions when other people say or do things you don’t like; i.e., he says he’ll be there by 7:00 and shows up at 8:00; by then, you’ve left the house and gone drinking with your friends OR the minute he gets in the door you go into a tirade.
Feeling compelled to escalate in relationships when you feel wounded in some way; i.e., she says it’s girls night but stays out until 2:00 a.m. and comes home drunk; you immediately toss her out on the front lawn.
Compulsive behavior when under stress in a relationship; i.e., she won’t answer her phone, so you text message her with angry words for the next two hours, trying to provoke a response
Automatic negative assumptions about other people’s motives without checking them out; i.e., he cancels a date because of work overload and you assume he doesn’t care or isn’t invested in the relationship; you escalate the situation by going out and flirting with other guys at a bar or, better yet, kissing his best friend.
Feeling consumed with other people’s drama; talking endlessly about other people’s dramas; reacting to other people’s dramas; at the end of the day, little was accomplished in your life plan because all the focus was on your toxic relationship(s).
If you’re dating someone who fits any of the above profile, you too, may be a drama junkie. People who really want serenity in their lives and relationships are so turned off by this behavior that when it appears, they quickly move on. If you feel hooked and stay connected to a chaotic person for more than a couple of weeks, then you have the same issue.
What can you do about this? First, take a giant step back and look at your life. Get real about what you want and where you are currently headed. Be willing to sacrifice some excitement in favor of stability. Put your focus on what you want to accomplish in your life: create a vision, have goals, have a plan. People who are focused on making a real contribution in the world, whether it’s through a professional vocation (i.e., doctor, nurse, attorney, etc.), a career (helping a business grow), or creating something meaningful (i.e., write a book, paint a picture, act in a play, perform or create music, etc.), have little time or energy for the cycle of drama.
Nina Atwood is the Singlescoach® and a leading dating and relationship expert with all the answers. Through her professional relationship advice, she has put many men and women back on the road to personal growth, dating success, and inevitably finding their soul mate. She is a licensed therapist and nationally known dating coach with three published self-help books on communication and love. Her expertise is regularly sought by national media. She has appeared on numerous regional television shows and hundreds of radio shows nationally. Nina's web site, www.singlescoach.com is accessed daily by thousands of single men and women seeking leading edge relationship advice. Nina's newest book, Temptations of the Single Girl: The Ten Dating Traps You Must Avoid, was released in January 2008. Nina Atwood takes us on an inspiring journey of self-discovery and relationship recovery in this thoroughly modern fable. Ms. Atwood teaches the reader to pin point which temptations they must learn to resist so that she can claim the happiness — and the man — that she deserves.
When she’s not busy helping people transform their relationships, Nina works with key level executives as an executive coach and trainer; she also facilitates CEO roundtable groups through Vistage International, the world’s largest CEO membership organization. Nina shares the dance of life with her Soul Partner and husband, Mark, and their three cats in Dallas, Texas.