Thriving on drama
You might be familiar with one or two people who have been trapped in relationships that thrive on drama. They break up, get back together, break up again, and the cycle continues..
HUMAN beings are by nature suckers for drama. Not only do we seek it out in news, movies, page 3 and Sunday tabloids, but often in our personal lives.
But there are some people who thrive on high drama. They like to create it. They feel most comfortable when they're surrounded by it.
You might be familiar with one or two people who have been trapped in relationships that thrive on drama. They break up, get back together, break up again, and the cycle continues.
You expect drama from teenage relationships because they are self-conscious and have raging hormones. But why does it seem that some adults never make it out of that stage of life?
Asiphe Ndlela, a psychologist based in Illovo, Johannesburg, says most people trapped in such relationships identify with wounds they can't heal.
These wounds become part of them.
She says for the most part, drama becomes a mindset.
"Human beings are trained into drama, by their cultures, society and sometimes families. So we can attract drama ourselves, either because of our own personalities or simply not being prepared enough.
"For couples trapped in the break-up cycle, it is very hard for them to decide whether they want to stay in such a tumultuous relationship."
Ndlela says constant drama is not only a lot of work for the individual who is creating it, but it is also very draining for those around them.
But she says there are certainly times when drama is sincere or even justified, and you can sometimes have so much fun with your dramatic date.
"They are very rarely boring and when they like something you do, they really know how to tell you.
"So drama isn't always that bad. That is, unless your drama has consequences in your life that don't feel good."
She warns that drama can be harmful when it becomes uncomfortable, often for everyone but the instigator.
Ndlela says in order to nurture a healthy, long-lasting relationship, drama must end. "Too much drama is a major drain on our time and energy. It undermines trust.
"It sometimes leads to overt violence, and generally it leads to misery, regardless of its form.
"No one wants to spend time with someone who chronically injects some type of chaos into their life.
"Dramatic behaviour consists of over-the-top reactions to relatively minor incidents. It is unpredictable, unreal and confusing.
"Ideally we want to have relationships that are mainly peaceful and based on reality and trust. Drama goes against what we want when dating."
She says some personality styles are more prone to drama and for some people, drama is a comfort zone.
"Children raised in chaotic homes, especially those characterised by drug or alcohol abuse, may go on to re-create that chaos in their adult lives. For them, drama is normal.
"It may also be a way to avoid feelings that surface when things around them get too calm."
People use drama for self-validation. "Contrary to the belief that drama queens are full of themselves, think they are great and important, and just want other people to notice it, in fact," Ndlela says. "The opposite may be true. Many drama queens are insecure. They don't think they want attention, but creating chaos proves they exist."
How do you identify drama queens in your life? Ndlela says to avoid drama queens it is important to identify them before you date them!
"Some people have narcissistic personality disorder or other problems. They are more prone to hysterical, self-serving, attention-seeking behaviour. They can be very manipulative and will reel you in to play cat-and-mouse games with you.
"They tend to (adopt) the role of the victim."
You can spot a drama queen when the person has the capacity to turn the smallest issue into a major event.