Emotional Inflammation: You Might Be Addicted to Drama if…

Can we have some real talk for a moment? People go around saying they hate drama, yet they are constantly in the middle of it. We are also caught in an endless barrage of drama called the 24-hour news cycle. All of that drama takes a toll on our minds, bodies, and souls. I like to call it emotional inflammation.

Regular inflammation is when the body responds to injury in order to heal itself. For example, when you cut yourself, your body causes the area to swell and sends cells to the spot to heal the damage. At some point, you’ll see a scab, then a scar. This process occurs throughout our bodies. Chronic inflammation in our bodies can not only make us sick, it can be deadly. So what is emotional inflammation? It’s the byproduct of the drama we expose ourselves to unnecessarily.

You might be addicted to drama if: 

…You Often Say You Have No Idea How You End Up in These “Situations”

People who avoid drama do so by recognizing the signs and actively removing themselves from the situation. They don’t accidentally find themselves embroiled in soap opera-like situations without their consent. If you find that you use phrases such as “how does this keep happening to me”, you might be addicted to drama. What you are really saying is you have not yet identified the signs that a situation or relationship might turn toxic. Or, you are saying you know the signs but you wade into the drama waters willingly. Either way, you find yourself in the center of an emotional melee where you are either taking sides or spending your energy in a fight. The truth is, you don’t mind it because it gives you a false sense of importance and inclusion. You secretly wonder what you would be doing if you weren’t in the situation. You wonder if anyone would care about your absence.

…You Think Any Attention is Better Than No Attention

We see this with children who lack affection from their parent(s). They will do anything to get attention, even if it’s negative. We all need to be seen. There is nothing wrong with needing or wanting attention. But when that need leads to self-destructive behavior it can be a problem. One of the most common attention-seeking behaviors that often results in dramatic and toxic relationships is daddy-seeking. This is the phenomenon when some girls who grew up without a steady father figure in their lives go looking for that love from other men. Research shows that the parent of the opposite gender is the one most responsible for developing a child’s self-esteem. For girls, they will largely derive their feelings of self-worth by interacting with their father (or another consistent strong male role model in their lives). When that isn’t there, they will seek their self-esteem in relationships with other men. Often times they will choose men who give them any type of attention, including negative because it’s better than nothing. This isn’t restricted to girls from single parent households. Fathers can be in the home and withold affection. This is just one example of negative attention seeking.

…You Are Always On Social Media

If you always have your phone in hand scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, etc. you are probably addicted to drama. Thanks to the 24-hour news cycle drama addicts can get quick hits of adrenaline and/or dopamine whenever they need. Think about it, how often do you read posts or tweets by a celebrity you don’t like? How difficult is it for you to stop reading? Here’s what’s happening. You’re scrolling through your Twitter feed and see a tweet by a celebrity you don’t like. You say to yourself, and maybe others around you, “that’s just stupid”. This gives you a sense of right or winning. That releases a little dopamine for the brain. Dopamine is the reward biochemical. Your brain likes it. And because it wants more, it will drive you to repeat that behavior. Before you know it you’ve spent hours on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. yelling at your phone.

…You Feel Like Crap

Drama leads to stress. Your mind takes out happiness and sadness on your body. If you have headaches, fatigue, depression, etc. you are likely suffering the effects of emotional inflammation. Here’s the biology of what’s happening. Cortisol is our stress hormone. This is what triggers our fight or flight response. It gets released whenever we feel stress. When all we had to do was run from dinosaurs, our bodies and minds weren’t exposed to a constant flow of cortisol the way it is now. Today, everything is a stressor. This causes our heart rates rise, we store belly fat, and it can raise our blood pressure.

…People Flat Out Tell You

The easiest way to know your addicted to drama is that people constantly tell you. This one is pretty straight forward. However, take it with a grain of salt if is coming from another drama addict. Remember, we see people and situations not as they are, but as we are.

How do you deal with emotional inflammation? Begin to identify the signs that a person or situation is toxic. Other drama addicts will try to pull you into the mess. If someone tells you something that is none of your business, simply don’t respond. When you get looped into something that is none of your business, don’t respond. If a person is always calling you about their problems, don’t respond. The best way to deal with toxic people is to let them fall away. They need your energy to survive. Once you withhold your energy, they will have no choice but to go somewhere else to feed. So, save the drama for your mama and reduce your emotional inflammation starting now.

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Nile Harris
Nile Harris, the Chief Chick, is a word weaver and dream believer with 20 years of experience in healthcare, finance, and education. This aspiring motivational speaker, TED presenter and LinkedIn Influencer is committed to valuing people, driving healthcare access and innovation, and weaving words that move people to action. Her views are her own.
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