After years of professional counseling experience with clients… after years of working in various offices and businesses… after years of being human… I have arrived at this conclusion:
“drama” is America’s #1 addiction.
Think about it.
What do you deal with and get frustrated with the most? DRAMA. Whether it’s the person who misread your words or body language, or the email that seemed a bit “off”, or the relationship that played out weird… our constant concern – and quite often, our constant craving – is the drama that will soon follow whatever experience we had that ignites a twist of tale and woe for us and others to wonder about, consider and talk through until we are blue in the face.
The fear of drama keeps you from walking out the front door without your makeup on. Seriously. Ever had that “I wonder who I will run into” thought when you don’t look your “best”? It is the thought of who you will run into, what will they think, and what they might say to another that is enough to drive you crazy.
And the fact we spend an exorbitant thinking about it is even crazier.
The other day, I went out to lunch with my dear friend, Trudy. Having been bitten by the drama bug before, I literally said to her, “Watch… now there will be a rumor that I am a lesbian because we are here together.”
Labels. Judgment. Fear. I hate that feeling.
But that feeling is real. Why is that? Because it has happened. It has happened to me, it has happened to you and it has happened when we least expected it. And frankly… it hurts.
Why do people create drama? The truth is, it distracts them from their own life. It actally makes them feel better about themselves. When they whisper the words, “Did you hear . . . .” and get the enthusiastic response back that echoes, “Seriously?!? What on earth?!” they feel “connected” to another in a way that makes them feel better and, in a strange twisted, safe way.
May I offer a word of caution… Whenever someone tells you something about one person to make that “connection” remember this: If they are willing to talk about someone, they will be willing to talk about you.
There is no further proof of America’s addiction to drama than our obsession with the lives of celebrities. Look at the local magazine rack or glance at any number of television “news” shows… we are addicted. This morning I was watching the TODAY show – they were talking about how Seal and Heidi Clum are splitting up. Why is that any of our business? The Dutches of Whales – beautiful Kate… they saw a slight scare on hair line on her head and made a huge deal of it. Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore and their big break up. It went on and on…
The key in all of this is that if I know someone else has it worse than me, then I can feel better about my life. What a bogus version of reality. The troubling part is the cycle that is created. When you do learn of someone who has it “better” than you, what do you do? You have to create more drama so you can feel better about yourself again! Does that sound familier? A drug addict comes down off their high, the alcoholic starts feeling the uneasiness of sobriety, the addict to pain killers starts feeling the pain, the eating disorder feels an extra pound… What do they all do? They numb again.
The challenge with the drama addict is that its not a diagnosis – its not something we have an AA group for. There is no medication for it. Yet, it is very real and affects thousands of people. Just look at kids… drama is why kids tease each other and why they say hurtful, horrible things that lead the tortured to do extreme things -- even suicide. Being the brunt of the rumor or drama makes people do crazy things. It makes them want to drink more, hide more, eat more, be more angry. In their hurt, they can lash back with starting another rumor.
What makes me so sad is no one ever stops and asks, “Would I want someone to say this about me? How would I feel if someone talked about me like that?” It seems to me that all of us would do well to think of the bigger picture at play and consider where our need to “do drama” is coming from. Perhaps then we could really get to the root of the issue and find the healthier path that gets us to what we really want: peace with ourselves.
I want to encourage you… When you hear someone talking drama about someone else, tell them to stop. Standing there and listening is no different than agreeing. Walk away. Take a stand. Be courageous. Lets do our part to stop the madness… to stop the drama!