Sunday, April 10, 2011


I found a thought provoking blog post called Are You a Dramaholic? by Carolyn Shannon. In the article, Carolyn draws a distinction between negative and positive drama. She writes: "For years my life was filled with negative drama thriving on the attention it brought me." After many years, says Carolyn, she became wise to her own patterns. "As I stepped onto the path of self awareness I began to realize I was a Dramaholic! I was as addicted to drama as anyone hooked on cigarettes, alcohol, sex or food."

Carolyn gives hope to all the drama addicted people out there, telling them that they don't have to give it up. They simply have to shift focus from negative drama to positive drama, "the WOW moments," as she calls them. "How often a parking spot is right there when needed; how many kind or friendly people we come into contact with each day; unexpected gifts of time, love, money or compliments; all the beautiful pictures Mother Nature keeps creating to awe us" are all excellent examples.

An interesting technique Carolyn uses to bring her out of negativity is an elastic band she wears around her arm. When she realizes she's slipped into negativity, she snaps it and follows up quickly with some form of positivity that comes to mind. The sting of the band brings her back to present moment awareness long enough to shift her attention to thankfulness.

Many of us probably know lovable "drama queens" that make us laugh. For others, dramaholism is truly debilitating, as debilitating as alcoholism. It often robs its sufferers of meaningful relationships. These people generally create their own drama, often in increasingly peculiar ways as friends and family become wise to their time-worn techniques--their delivery methods of choice. (Watch for lies told for no reason at all.) They're simply trying to "get a rise out of you," because that's what dramaholics feed on.

What's the cause of this phenomenon? According to Eckhart Tolle, they are people with heavy pain-bodies (see The Pain-Body: What Is it?; see also a listing of 9 articles on the pain-body). Suffice it to say here that according to Tolle, "the pain-body is an addiction to unhappiness."

Dramaholics can be very hard on romantic relationships. But they can also be a source of great personal growth in that context, so long as you buy into Tolle's view that relationships "are here to make you conscious instead of happy." This works through the mechanism of conscious suffering (see The Road to Emotional Maturity). Writes Tolle in The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment:
[W]henever your relationship is not working, whenever it brings out the "madness" in you and in your partner, be glad. What was unconscious is being brought up to the light. It is an opportunity for salvation. 
So what do you do about that beloved dramaholic in your life? Try not to do anything at all. Non-reaction, it's sensibly called. As Tolle says, also in The Power of Now"If you observe unconscious behavior in your partner [or friend], hold it in the loving embrace of your knowing so that you won't react."

In romantic relationships, non-reaction can be extremely difficult to pull off. Even Tolle admits there may be limits to what can be accomplished. In A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose, he writes: "It would be hard to find a partner who does not carry a pain-body, but it would perhaps be wise to choose someone whose pain-body is not excessively dense."

You might also like: Inner Body Awareness Slows the Aging Process

Photo of Lindsay Lohan courtesy of the LAPD.

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