Post by Susan Peabody on Mar 19, 2022 16:07:32 GMT -8
Why love addicts feel the need to create drama and excitement, and what we can do about it.
The Need to Create Drama and Excitement
Most of my book, Addiction to Love, was written about my own love addiction. This is true of the need to create drama and excitement in relationships. Unfortunately, this characteristic has followed me into recovery and can happen even with my friends and colleagues. This is an excerpt from my book about this need within romantic relationships.
Because love addicts are so captivated by romance (it seems like the solution to all their problems), they always feel the urge to see all the events of their lives as dramatic episodes in some great “soap opera.” Furthermore, because love addicts equate drama and excitement with romance, they always feel an unconscious urge (compulsion) to try and create drama. This produces a “high” akin to the “rush” experienced by the drug addict.
There are several ways in which love addicts typically try to create drama. Sometimes they stir up trouble in order to create excitement. For example, love addicts are very good at picking fights when their relationship seems boring. They are also very good at trying to turn an ordinary event into an extra-ordinary experience (just for the excitement). By this I mean that love addicts are not only capable of picking a fight, they will also try to turn an argument into a war (blow it out of proportion) just because this brings an adrenaline rush.
Love addicts also like to create drama in their minds by trying to “read between the lines” and interpret other people's actions. She smiled at me, it must mean she loves me. She didn't smile at me it must mean she hates me. Or they will try to read other people's minds and make assumptions not based on facts. I just know he really loves me no matter what he says. I just know he really hates me no matter what he says. Or they will imagine that their romantic dreams have come true long before there is any evidence to back that up that assumption. This is our third date—I know he is going to ask me to marry him. In other words, love addicts tend to see reality only in terms of their own needs. This can mean they are seeing what is not really there or they are misreading the facts.
Of course, creating drama may make ordinary experiences more exciting, but it also means that unpleasant experiences are over-dramatized and taken all too seriously. This sets the love addict up for disappointment which can lead to unnecessary emotional pain (which in turn triggers the love addict's fears and obsessive behavior).
Furthermore, while the need to create drama and excitement stems from the need of love addicts to have access to the euphoric “high” of romance, it never occurs to them that they might need more excitement than is healthy.
Also, it is very difficult for them to accept that a relationship is often a mixture of highs and lows—or less than a Shakespearean play. This is one of the reasons love addicts never have healthy relationships. They walk away from nice people because they are not feeling excited every minute of the day (they call this boredom), and they tend to be attracted to relationships that are exciting all the time, even if that drama comes from chaos, repetitious fighting, or obsessive behavior. I cannot tell you how many times my students have said to me “I don't think I am in love because I just don't feel that thrill all the time—that excitement and drama.” This euphoria is what love addicts are looking for and they balk at any relationship that does not deliver a constant supply.
⋅ Read about this phenomenon. (For women, I suggest The Agony of It All: The Drive for Drama and Excitement in Women's Lives by Joy Davidson.)
⋅ Look honestly at your need to create drama.
⋅ Ask yourself why you might be unconsciously trying to create drama.
- Did you grow up fantasizing about romantic drama as an escape from painful feelings? Are you now, without realizing it, trying to live out your dreams?
- Do you frequently read romantic novels that portray love as constantly exciting, therefore reinforcing your need for a continuing supply of drama in your relationship?
- Did you grow up in a home where negative drama (chaos) was the norm? If so, are you constantly trying to re-live childhood experiences or cling to the familiarity of that kind of negative form of excitement?
- Do you like drama because you have never learned to appreciate or value the absence of excitement?
- Are you hooked on the stimulus of drama because you are so needy (starved for attention)?
⋅ Consider learning how to appreciate the ordinary experiences of life. Learn to value the absence of excitement—to see it as a resting place in the relationship.
⋅ Try to identify the ways in which you over-dramatize events or see drama where it really doesn't exist. Make a list.
⋅ Try to observe yourself and then write about the times you catch yourself creating drama by picking a fight, exaggerating ordinary events, or fantasizing excessively. You might notice that there is a connection between your need to control and your habit of creating drama. Love addicts like to produce the show, direct it, and write the script.
⋅ Once you know what to watch out for, try to stop creating drama. Consider evaluating events more realistically. It might also help to take yourself, and your relationship, less seriously.
⋅ Learn how to stop yourself in the middle of the second act. Eventually you will learn how to cancel the show before it goes on.
Drama and Excitement.pdf (59.87 KB)