When we first started sharing the TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)™ as an antidote to the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™ and its ever-so-familiar roles of Victim, Rescuer and Persecutor, we were frequently asked, “Is drama addicting?”
Somewhat puzzled by that question at first, over the years we have gained more insight into why people ask this question.
Think about the last time you were in a drama-filled situation with another person, an intense circumstance that raised fear or anxiety, or even self-directed drama with yourself. What was it like? Some of our observations are that our hearts beat faster; we might feel anger, irritation, frustration, agitation, or excitement, often accompanied by an adrenaline-rush. Drama and these intense emotions go hand in hand.
If we are dead to our emotions and do not cultivate the life-giving feelings of joy, creativity, pleasure and bliss, then our human need to feel has been thwarted. Deep inside of every human being is an innate need to experience connection with other human beings. If the basic need to feel positive connection and emotions has been denied inside of us or does not seem available, then drama-filled emotions are better than not feeling at all.
That is why drama can be addicting, because it results in some form of connection and the adrenaline allows to feel “alive.”
David recalls a particular person with whom he worked who always seemed to be surrounded by some sort of workplace drama. Over time, David observed a pattern in which if this person did not have a drama to engage in, he would create one, often through some rage-filled confrontation with one of his direct reports or by engaging in manipulative organizational politics of blame and power posturing.
Becoming the person we want to become and having the life we want will not be nurtured by the more negative emotions that drama evokes. Sure, we might feel more alive at times, but after the emotions have settled, we often feel dissatisfied or shameful; that our emotional life is limited to reactivity and drama. And this drama draws us into relating to ourselves and others as victims, persecutors and rescuers. None of these toxic roles will develop the relationships we long for.
The antidote to the addictive adrenaline of drama is cultivating the passion for creating and co-creating with others outcomes that have heart and meaning to ourselves. We do this by adopting a Creator Orientation and relating to others as Creators, Challengers and Coaches. Such passion has its own rewards and forms of excitement that are much more fulfilling, resourceful and effective.