Published on April 1st, 2018 | by Jerry & Pat Hocek0
Please Hold The Drama
I have breakfast at least once a week at the Maywood Pancake House. They serve a pretty decent gluten-free toast. I usually sit at the counter that faces a large, muted flat screen television running captions. I personally haven’t subscribed to any network or cable TV in quite a while. I subsist just fine on streaming movies and shows. My first inclination here is to passively complain about the news media… how contrived and overly dramatic it all is. However, I’ll assume that most of our readers are already aware of that.
I must confess that I never had much interest in media drama because I can be highly adept at generating my own drama without any outside help. I don’t even slow down to rubberneck while passing an accident. My parents were hard-working, young immigrants that escaped Communist Czechoslovakia. They were 24 years old when they fled with hope for a better life in America.
Years later, during one of my visits to the old country, I took a cold, hard look at the charming environments of my parents’ respective home towns. I couldn’t imagine what they thought and felt after arriving in the U.S. a month earlier as they rented their no-frills railroad apartment in a fairly distressed neighborhood in Jersey City. I couldn’t imaging doing this at age 24 with a 2-year old in tow—me.
Needless to say, my parents had a lot to deal with as they made their way in a new world. With all this on their plate, I recall that gaining their attention usually came at a premium. I typically had to act out in unfavorable ways in order to sometimes simply be seen and heard. This is what children do. They are quick to figure out how to influence their environment by whatever means necessary in order to have their needs met.
Unfortunately, this pattern carried over into adulthood, and my life has not been uneventful, to say the least. Last April, I was presented with circumstances that made me much more aware of my attraction to drama. However, it took almost an entire year to become vigilant and disciplined enough to start clearing this pattern.
I sometimes do a little research before I write these letters. This month, I came across an interesting article on the Psychology Today website titled Excessive Attention Seeking and Drama Addiction. You can access it by pointing your browser here: Tinyurl.com/dramaadd.
Author Billi Gordon, Ph.D., believes that the addiction is well-rooted in our physiology. He writes, “Excessive attention seeking is not a character flaw. It is a brain wiring response to early developmental trauma caused by neglect. The developing brain observes its environment and wires itself accordingly to survive in that world that it presumes will be like those experiences. Newborns are extremely dependent on getting their mother’s attention for survival. The more their needs are neglected during early development, the more the child equates getting attention with survival and safety. In turn, the more he or she develops the belief system that it is necessary to go to whatever lengths to get attention.”
So now I have an excuse!