When drama characterizes a relationship it is often because drama has become a drug in its own right. For sex addicts high drama relationships often lay the groundwork for sexual acting out. But drama serves other functions that keep relationships from being healthy.
I am not talking, of course, about the kind of unpredictable drama from outside events, such as natural disasters, war or other life threatening situations. I am talking about the relationship or family that is characterized by almost continuous turmoil. In this kind of relationship the focus is on one conflict or crisis after another.
The crisis driven family
Here are two examples of how drama can become the focus of the couple or family interaction. There are probably many other variations on the theme.
Family of origin drama. These are unresolved conflicts and problems relating to the relatives of one partner or the other. These dramas often focus on one or more relatives with problems (legal problems, drug problems, relationship problems, financial problems) and create chaos and conflict between a couple. The couple never arrives at a solution or a reasonable way to deal with the relatives but instead gets wrapped up in blaming and targeting various relatives at various times. Couples sometimes allow these other people’s problems to become all that is talked about. Rather than working jointly on resolving the chaos, the couple is at odds and never come up with a real problem solving strategy.
Chaos and conflict within the relationship. In this situation one or both partners have or create and endless series of problems and crises. One partner may fall into blaming and anger, as when there is the ongoing threat of infidelity and end up “getting even” and creating more chaos. Or one partner may be always in a crisis of some sort, such as a work crisis, a deadline, a perceived threat or any other type of situation that repeatedly takes him or her away and drives a wedge into the relationship. In the latter situation there is often the promise that things will be “normal” after such-and-such is over. But then something always crops up to create more drama.
How drama works as a drug to avoid intimacy
When drama and chaos come to characterize a relationship it is usually because both people have problems with intimate relating. Drugs allow us to escape and avoid all kinds of unpleasant emotions. For sex addicts, a high drama relationship provides a built in excuse to (a) lead a separate, secret life as a way to escape the drama and (b) puts the focus on the crisis rather than the addict so that there is less scrutiny of the addict’s sexual acting out behavior.
Here are some of the ways that drama provides escape from emotional pain in a relationship.
Drama as a symptom, empowerment as the cure
As unstable as high drama relationships are, they are hard for the partners to see. When a relationship is beset by one crisis or drama after another it is important to see this as a symptom. This may be hard for the partners to accept.
We should see a crisis driven life as one in which we feel powerless and inept at dealing with certain situations and relationships. And one in which the chaos is probably not the only or even the primary issue.
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Orphan In Needs » Lastest Drama News (November 25, 2013)
Drama Driven Relationships Are Addictive (May 26, 2014)
Last reviewed: 25 Nov 2013