Addicted to emotions

January 20, 2009


I often observe in myself and other what appears to be addiction to emotions.


An event yesterday at work with a colleague in his 50’s brings this to mind.  Something in a transaction did not go as flusterhe had anticipated.  It affected his commission income negatively.  It was an oversight on his part that ended up in a slightly lower commission. 


He flustered in a very childish manner.  Projected anger at me and a few others.  Threatened to quit.  None of us are his boss.  I suggested he take the issue to the owner for clarification and/or resolution.  He did not.  It appeared that he preferred to just get charged up and go some place emotionally and take us all with him.  The sad part is that this is a repeating pattern with this guy.


I am not judging him.  One reason it is so painful to watch is because I have been there.  I have been the guy who flailed around and upset everyone when some small thing went wrong.  And looking back, I can see that I somehow knew I was affecting and controlling others by my mood and behaviour.


Even though enlightened to the fact that I had been this way at one point in my life, oddly, I find myself repeating that behaviour from time to time still.  I hate it but I do it.  Probably not unlike my colleague.


I ask myself then… are these addictive emotional patterns?  Are we addicted to these feelings and dynamics that we enter into?  Is there some strange euphoria we arrive at in behaving in these ways?  If it weren’t in some manner addictive, why is it so hard to change when truth stares us in the face?

Could this emotional addiction be one of the reasons we return again and again to places of depression, anxiety, pain, and self pity without even being aware we are getting something out of them?  Familiarity if nothing else?






  1. Chaz, this makes a lot of sense to me. I think this is where we get the term like “Drama Queen” and so on. Some people are so numb, so eager for any recognition that they feel something beyond the mundane, that they’ll create an intense emotional situation just to feel alive.

  2. Ya Bandnerd… Drama is legal and accessible to say the least. We can create it on a second’s notice right where we are.

    I am dealing with some people at my step childrens school who appear to be perpetuating drama by enabling crisis. They then decline assistance in solving the crisis. Why?

    So crisis can continue and they continue to be stimulated by it?

    Or perhaps so that they can be the hero and solver of the crisis?

    Hard to say. But certainly there seems to be agenda of some kind to foster crisis (drama).

    It also appears to be everywhere.



  3. “Even though enlightened to the fact that I had been this way at one point in my life, oddly, I find myself repeating that behaviour from time to time still. I hate it but I do it. Probably not unlike my colleague.”

    I can totally relate to this. I used to snap out on everyone and make people around very nervous and stressed out just because I was there. I stopped doing that for sometime now, but sometimes I can’t help it. It’s not as frequent as it used to be though. I don’t know if I can ever stop completely though.

    • Like any well-practiced behaviour, all I think we can do is our best to continually improve. This is were the practice of one day at a time comes from. And the notion of “Progress rather than perfection”.

      For me, knowing that I am improving daily and am better than yesterday is very satisfying. As my colleague has demonstrated, many people never improve. Many in fact get worse and worse. Those who improve are in the minority. Privileged minority if I may say so.


      Ciao. Chaz

  4. There was a time in the recent past that I was “velcro girl” with regards to my emotions. They would sweep me off my feet and as my sponsor used to say, you’re having a brainstorm. She meant this in a visual sense and it was true. The constant bombardment of thoughts that I would give life to.. on and on. This was making me discontent. At about the same time I felt a need to improve the meditation part of the 11th Step and so I went to a community meditation center and investigated without contempt. What I found was a gem! With continued mindfulness practice, I no longer am velcro girl, and emotions do not “stick” to me anymore. They pass through me as emotions and do not define or control me. That is good news for those around me as I do not take them down with me as I used to. Investigation of a spiritual experience led to my sobriety and then again led to my peace and contentment.

  5. Hey MSM… great reply.

    Ya… the emotions feeling like they stick to us. That is a huge burden. And when we are in that phase, we most often have no idea that it doesnt have to be that way.

    Yet we can’t change in an instant. Sounds like you did a lot of work to shed the Velcro Girl characteristic.

    I so remember my version of that. When it felt like the emotions were enveloping me. It felt like they ahd a life of their own and they took over.

    What an amazing discover to find that it didnt have to be that way. Day by day, decision by decision we can improve and recover.

    To me, this is much of the underlying recovery that goes with recovery from addiction to drugs and booze.

    Will check out your blog.

    Ciao. Chaz

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