Dr. Scott Lyons (@drscottlyons) is a neuroscientist focusing on cognitive psychology and the impact of mindfulness on mental well-being, founder of The Embody Lab, host of The Gently Used Human podcast, and author of Addicted to Drama: Healing Dependency on Crisis and Chaos in Yourself and Others. [TW // Self-harm and suicide are discussed.]
What We Discuss with Dr. Scott Lyons:
- What drama addiction is, and why it’s so much more than just seeking constant attention from others.
- How to recognize drama addiction in yourself and others.
- How to grasp the ways in which drama addiction affects your well-being.
- How to build and uphold boundaries in our drama-ridden lives.
- How to heal a drama addiction and live a more peaceful, less chaotic life.
- And much more…
Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider including your Twitter handle so we can thank you personally!
Whether we’re watching it play out on our screens and social media feeds or experiencing it in our relationships and workplaces, many of us find ourselves exhausted by the seemingly never-ending torrent of drama in our lives. While some of us long to escape the drama, others dive in headfirst — and both groups desperately need a solution.
On this episode, Addicted to Drama: Healing Dependency on Crisis and Chaos in Yourself and Others author Dr. Scott Lyons joins us to discuss why some of the drama queens and kings in our lives might actually be addicted to drama. Some folks thrive on crisis while others manufacture it, but it’s not normal to live a life consumed by chaos. Here, we learn to recognize drama addiction in ourselves and others, grasp the ways in which drama addiction affects our well-being, build and uphold boundaries in our drama-ridden lives, and much more. Listen, learn, and enjoy! [TW // Self-harm and suicide are discussed.]
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
Please note that some of the links on this page (books, movies, music, etc.) lead to affiliate programs for which The Jordan Harbinger Show receives compensation. It’s just one of the ways we keep the lights on around here. Thank you for your support!
This Episode Is Sponsored By:
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Miss our two-part conversation with former gangster, pimp, and mob enforcer Mickey Royal? Get caught up by starting with episode 548: Mickey Royal | A Pimp’s Secrets of Mind Manipulation Part One here!
Thanks, Dr. Scott Lyons!
If you enjoyed this session with Dr. Scott Lyons, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Instagram:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com.
Resources from This Episode:
- Addicted to Drama: Healing Dependency on Crisis and Chaos in Yourself and Others by Dr. Scott Lyons | Amazon
- The Gently Used Human Podcast with Dr. Scott Lyons
- The Embody Lab
- Dr. Scott Lyons | Website
- Dr. Scott Lyons | Instagram
- Dr. Scott Lyons | Facebook
- Dr. Scott Lyons | TikTok
- Dr. Scott Lyons | LinkedIn
- Dr. Scott Lyons: What is Weaponized Empathy? | Mindbodygreen, TikTok
- 90 Day Fiancé | Prime Video
- Taylor Swift | Website
- Nathan Paul Southern and Lindsey Kennedy | Sourcing Cyber-Slavery | Jordan Harbinger
- Is Stress Contagious? Studies Say Yes — And Here’s How to Deal With It | Vogue
- Confirmation Bias and the Power of Disconfirming Evidence | Farnam Street
- The Drama Triangle Explained | Leadership Tribe US
- What Does “Rat Park” Teach Us About Addiction? | Psychiatric Times
- Remembering 9/11 and What We’ve Learned About Its Impact on Mental Health | Columbia University Irving Medical Center
836: Scott Lyons | Overcoming an Addiction to Drama
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Coming up next on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:02] Scott Lyons: You know, like if we think about your nervous system as a bank, you get a hundred dollars. For every trauma, it's like $10 that is no longer in the bank to be used towards adapting to something else. And then that adds up over time. And then you just become less resilient and efficient and all of a sudden your entire bank account is depleted and you are not adapting functionally to the world anymore.
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[00:01:54] Today on the show, whether we're watching it play out on our screens and social media feeds, or experiencing it in our relationships in workplaces, many of us find ourselves exhausted by the seemingly never-ending torrent of drama in our lives. While some of us long to escape a drama, others dive in headfirst, and both groups desperately need a solution. Today, Dr. Scott Lyons joins me to discuss why some of the drama queens in our lives might actually be addicted to drama, like real addiction, the real deal, not just like a figure of speech. Some folks thrive on crisis, others manufacture it, but it is just not normal to have your entire life be consumed by chaos. Go figure.
[00:02:33] So in this episode, we'll learn to recognize drama, addiction in yourself and in others. Possibly even more important to do in yourself, of course. Grasp the ways in which drama addiction affects your well-being, and we'll learn how to build and uphold boundaries in our drama-ridden lives and a whole lot more. And by the way, I had no idea drama addiction was even a thing. So this episode was especially enlightening for me, and it shed a lot of light on past behavior from friends and acquaintances. That just makes, well, it makes a lot more sense now, and I think you're going to feel the same way. So here we go with Dr. Scott Lyons.
[00:03:05] I didn't know that you could actually be addicted to drama. I mean, we all know dramatic people.
[00:03:10] Scott Lyons: Sure.
[00:03:10] Jordan Harbinger: But I didn't know it was like a disease.
[00:03:13] Scott Lyons: It's definitely a phenomenon.
[00:03:14] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:03:14] Scott Lyons: That you can get attached to something that becomes a distractor from pain, just like any other addiction.
[00:03:20] Jordan Harbinger: The distraction from pain thing—
[00:03:22] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:03:22] Jordan Harbinger: —makes sense. The reason I wanted to do this episode was I think a lot of people, we either are this person.
[00:03:27] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:03:27] Jordan Harbinger: Or we know somebody who's like this.
[00:03:29] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:03:29] Jordan Harbinger: And we don't think they're dramatic because they've had a painful, traumatic upbringing. We just think like, "Why does he call into work because his roommate got a fender bender in a parking lot? It doesn't make any sense."
[00:03:42] Scott Lyons: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:03:43] Jordan Harbinger: And we just can't figure out these people's angle and what their problem is.
[00:03:47] Scott Lyons: Yeah. Why are they making mountains at a molehill?
[00:03:49] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:03:49] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:03:50] Jordan Harbinger: I want to back up though. How did you even get interested in this? It sounds like you yourself had, maybe a little—
[00:03:55] Scott Lyons: I maybe—
[00:03:56] Jordan Harbinger: —brush some of this—
[00:03:57] Scott Lyons: —a little brush with an addiction to drama.
[00:03:58] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:03:59] Scott Lyons: Yeah. And I grew up in a family, very much addicted to drama, a whole lineage of it.
[00:04:05] Jordan Harbinger: Ah. My father's father was a drama queen.
[00:04:08] Scott Lyons: My father's father's father was a drama queen. There's certainly a lot of trauma, transgenerational trauma in my family.
[00:04:15] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:04:15] Scott Lyons: And I think one of the ways it really showed up is through their own propensities, their way of creating chaos and living and thriving in crisis.
[00:04:26] Jordan Harbinger: And you picked that up, what, as a kid?
[00:04:27] Scott Lyons: Absolutely. The environment was super chaotic.
[00:04:30] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:04:30] Scott Lyons: And the ways they coped with it was like, crazy humor and making situations bigger than they were. And there was a lot of intensity in the house for when it really didn't need to be there.
[00:04:42] Jordan Harbinger: I read in your book that you tried to run away from home—
[00:04:45] Scott Lyons: Mm-hmm.
[00:04:45] Jordan Harbinger: —and stay in the hospital. Tell us what's going on there. Just so people get a flavor for kind of your—
[00:04:50] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:04:50] Jordan Harbinger: —your own flavor of drama.
[00:04:51] Scott Lyons: I mean, you know, certainly when I was in high school, I had a really rough time, a rough go with it. I had a lot of learning disabilities. I was going through a lot of my own discovery process of who I was, and there was a lot of challenges at school, in that home. And in the extreme desire to get out to break free, I faked my own suicide.
[00:05:15] Jordan Harbinger: How do you do something like that?
[00:05:16] Scott Lyons: Yeah. I mean, there are times in my life where I was pretty depressed.
[00:05:19] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:05:19] Scott Lyons: And there were serious attempts, but it was this desire to, what I call later in the book, weaponized empathy.
[00:05:26] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:05:26] Scott Lyons: Which is, if I can get you through creating a situation big enough to feel what I'm feeling. Then, maybe I won't be in as much pain.
[00:05:35] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Almost like misery loves company, but on steroids.
[00:05:38] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:05:39] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:05:39] Scott Lyons: And there's lots of variations of that for those who are addicted to drama. It's like, I can't receive perhaps the validation or the comfort you might be able to offer me because of a lot of different conditions. Because, well, for one, if I received and accepted your compassion, that would probably make me too vulnerable. And the intimacy of that would create too much contact with my own underlying emotions, which feels dangerous. And so I do whatever I can to get you to feel what I'm feeling without actually feeling or receiving the compassion that you might have for me.
[00:06:16] Jordan Harbinger: This is a little bit complex.
[00:06:17] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:06:17] Jordan Harbinger: So we'll probably have to break some of this down.
[00:06:19] Scott Lyons: Sure. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:06:20] Jordan Harbinger: So when did you find out? Okay, I'm addicted to drama. That's the problem. Because I would imagine when you're in these situations—
[00:06:25] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:06:25] Jordan Harbinger: —you think, no, this is really an emergency.
[00:06:28] Scott Lyons: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:06:29] Jordan Harbinger: My roommate's fender bender in a parking lot in an office building really has caused for me to like quit my job on the spot and run out the front door to go to the hospital where for some reason or whatever.
[00:06:39] Scott Lyons: It absolutely feels justified because that is their reality.
[00:06:42] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:06:42] Scott Lyons: And so it's really hard to recognize an addiction to drama or something that feels skew from your response to what's actually happening in reality. Yeah. I think it was in my late twenties. I was in the midst of a big breakup and just really sad, really depressed, having some significant medical conditions and I realized the only time I felt better, like energized alive again was when I would contact my ex, which was a pretty toxic situation.
[00:07:15] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:07:16] Scott Lyons: Or I would get into a fight with my parents or my sister, or watch a violent movie, something that would get me a stress response and that hit of stress, I suddenly felt more alive again. And it occurred to me at that time that that's maybe not how I want to live my life.
[00:07:29] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:07:30] Scott Lyons: That I am going for the hits of stress in order to feel awake, alive, feel better.
[00:07:36] Jordan Harbinger: Geez. It sounds like, and I'm not trying to pin this on you, but it sounds like serial killer stuff or like Dexter.
[00:07:41] Scott Lyons: Wow. We went there.
[00:07:42] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. You know, like have you ever seen that show Dexter where he is like, "The only time I feel focused is when I'm talking to the demons," or whatever? And he is like throwing a, he's throwing another killer over the boat edge and he is like, "This is my time to be alive." It's not the same thing.
[00:07:56] Scott Lyons: Isn't that wild that we would love to watch a show where—?
[00:07:59] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:07:59] Scott Lyons: —essentially we're watching someone's killing other people.
[00:08:02] Jordan Harbinger: So I stopped liking it and I was—
[00:08:04] Scott Lyons: You did?
[00:08:04] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. And now, I don't watch movies where people get shot all the time. And it is happened sort of after I had kids. I was like, maybe this isn't good for me.
[00:08:11] Scott Lyons: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:08:11] Jordan Harbinger: And I certainly don't want my kids to see it.
[00:08:13] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:08:13] Jordan Harbinger: And when you have little kids, you don't have any time to watch anything anyways.
[00:08:16] Scott Lyons: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:08:17] Jordan Harbinger: So, yeah, I just haven't seen that stuff for years.
[00:08:19] Scott Lyons: Well, it's kind of amazing. Nobody wants to be involved in drama.
[00:08:23] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:08:23] Scott Lyons: But they're interested in watching it on television or being told about it, other people's drama.
[00:08:27] Jordan Harbinger: That's not untrue. Yeah, definitely, I mean, I will say 90 Day Fiancé makes an appearance here and there in my life, and I'm always like, "These are idiots. I want to watch the next one."
[00:08:37] Scott Lyons: And yet, yeah, and you're connected to it. You're attached to it.
[00:08:40] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:08:41] Scott Lyons: There's still that like, what the hell is going on?
[00:08:43] Jordan Harbinger: Look at the mess you've made of your life.
[00:08:45] Scott Lyons: Look at the mess. And yet, you can't pull away from the mess.
[00:08:47] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:08:48] Scott Lyons: Except that what's wild is their mess has a contagious physiological response in your body.
[00:08:54] Jordan Harbinger: That sort of response really is something that I think is quite fascinating.
[00:08:58] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:08:59] Jordan Harbinger: You would think that, and I guess it is true, that a healthy mind would go, hey, this isn't what I meant by feeling something. And yet it's an unhealthy mindset to have. And yet the mind is like, "I'll just cause all this other problems." Just so I feel, is it dopamine that you get a hit off of? Or what?
[00:09:14] Scott Lyons: Yeah. So if we take it back a few steps, like why would someone create their own suffering?
[00:09:19] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:09:19] Scott Lyons: Essentially.
[00:09:20] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Why?
[00:09:20] Scott Lyons: Like, why, why, why would you create more chaos and crisis? Or why would you seek it out? And the reality is it doesn't make sense. It makes sensation.
[00:09:32] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:09:32] Scott Lyons: Sensation in the body, and that sensation helps someone feel more alive to an underlying numbness that happens as a response to trauma.
[00:09:41] Jordan Harbinger: It seems like it's a spice of life, but it's almost like there is no dish. It's only spice if you just do this too much.
[00:09:47] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:09:47] Jordan Harbinger: Right. There's no—
[00:09:48] Scott Lyons: Well, that's why you have to keep upping it.
[00:09:49] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, like an actual drug.
[00:09:51] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:09:51] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:09:51] Scott Lyons: That's what makes it an addiction.
[00:09:53] Jordan Harbinger: Oof.
[00:09:53] Scott Lyons: It's that we form a tolerance level and then we have to keep upping that spice of life to keep feeling something.
[00:09:59] Jordan Harbinger: That could get pretty messy. I would imagine if you're talking about, "Oh, I have to contact my ex. Well, okay, so what's worse than a major blowup inside my family or faking my own suicide?"
[00:10:09] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:10:09] Jordan Harbinger: Like you mentioned you'd tried to do.
[00:10:11] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:10:11] Jordan Harbinger: Where do you go from there if you have to keep stepping it up from there? I mean, at some point you're just, burning everything down.
[00:10:17] Scott Lyons: Yeah. You find it and you burn a lot of villages along the way.
[00:10:20] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:10:20] Scott Lyons: Or a lot of communities, or a lot of relationships, however, you want to see it. There's a lot of destruction that happens as part of this addiction.
[00:10:28] Jordan Harbinger: Geez. But then, of course, how do you come back from that? Because if you take all the spice out of the food—
[00:10:33] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:10:33] Jordan Harbinger: —and your tolerance is through the roof, it'd be like quitting heroin, cold turkey, or whatever.
[00:10:39] Scott Lyons: That is a variation of what it felt like.
[00:10:41] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:10:41] Scott Lyons: Yeah. When I stopped engaging in revving myself up.
[00:10:45] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:10:46] Scott Lyons: Or finding the situations, or stop talking to the friends who would kind of enable them.
[00:10:51] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:10:51] Scott Lyons: Life felt really boring. I felt like I, no one was going to like me. I wasn't going to be important in the world. I was just going to be like a blob on the couch for the rest of my life.
[00:11:03] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm. So you're worried other people will also think you're boring.
[00:11:06] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:11:06] Jordan Harbinger: So not only are you bored, you're like, "Everyone else thinks I'm boring too. My life is over.
[00:11:10] Scott Lyons: Yeah. I remember saying to my therapist along the way, it was like, "I'm not really engaging in this, getting that hit from the stress and trying to fill myself up again from the stress. I'm afraid I'm not going to be funny anymore. Will you still want to see me?"
[00:11:23] Jordan Harbinger: Your therapist is like, "You know, I'm getting paid for this, right? It's fine."
[00:11:27] Scott Lyons: You know, you're paying my kid's college tuition with this, right?
[00:11:30] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. My mortgage is coming through. You're still welcome in the office.
[00:11:33] Scott Lyons: Yeah, exactly.
[00:11:34] Jordan Harbinger: So drama is like any other drug, but the problem is you make it yourself. So not only does it hurt you from the supply side and the demand side, but also you can't just like delete your dealer's phone number or whatever people do to get off drugs, right?
[00:11:48] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:11:48] Jordan Harbinger: You can't just move to a place where you don't know any suppliers because you are the supplier.
[00:11:52] Scott Lyons: You are the supplier.
[00:11:53] Jordan Harbinger: So wherever you go, there you are, and you're just causing problem. You can move to China and you're creating your own crap over there.
[00:11:59] Scott Lyons: Well, and that's the hard part. It's like, oh, wherever I go, there's always so much chaos with people.
[00:12:04] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:12:04] Scott Lyons: And like they're always attacking me and I'm a victim to the world.
[00:12:07] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:12:08] Scott Lyons: And it's really hard to like turn the focal point and be like, oh, wherever I go, there I am.
[00:12:13] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:12:14] Scott Lyons: And this is a continual situation. Maybe I am—
[00:12:18] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm, what's the common denominator to all these problems in my life? Yeah.
[00:12:21] Scott Lyons: Oh, it's me. I'm the problem.
[00:12:22] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:12:23] Scott Lyons: I mean, Taylor Swift song, you know that was, she nailed it.
[00:12:26] Jordan Harbinger: It does certainly. The whole book sort of sounds, seems like a Taylor Swift song at some point.
[00:12:30] Scott Lyons: I hope she sings it sometime.
[00:12:31] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Yeah. You can charge for that. You pay for your therapy bills. All right.
[00:12:36] So what are some symptoms of being addicted to drama? Can we list a few just so that people, I think, can identify it?
[00:12:43] Scott Lyons: Yeah. So there's the symptoms from the outside.
[00:12:44] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:12:45] Scott Lyons: And then there's the symptoms from the inside.
[00:12:46] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:12:47] Scott Lyons: And the outside is like how we from being in relationship to people who are addicted to drama will see it. So there's always an intensity, there's always a speed, a rushing, a bulldozing. There's extreme in the response, the, the situation and the behavior don't match up—
[00:13:06] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:13:07] Scott Lyons: —from the outside.
[00:13:07] Jordan Harbinger: Meaning what? Like, like I mentioned the example was a roommate gets a fender bender, dude runs out of work, quits job on the spot.
[00:13:16] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:13:17] Jordan Harbinger: What am I looking for? Like, the reaction is disproportionate to the stimulus.
[00:13:20] Scott Lyons: Exactly.
[00:13:20] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:13:20] Scott Lyons: So like, my mom gets a text that her haircut gets canceled because there's a snowstorm and her response is, "Oh my God, why does this always happen to me?"
[00:13:30] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:13:31] Scott Lyons: "I needed that haircut today and everyone always cancels on me."
[00:13:35] Jordan Harbinger: Interesting.
[00:13:36] Scott Lyons: And so it's like, you know, you go back and you slow it down and you're like, oh, so it's disappointing. That she had to cancel. But the disappointment is this extreme response that becomes globalized to one's entire life.
[00:13:49] Jordan Harbinger: Is it catastrophizing? Is that part of it?
[00:13:51] Scott Lyons: It's catastrophizing?
[00:13:52] Jordan Harbinger: Because I can imagine, like, I needed that haircut today, and if I don't have it, then when I go to this thing tomorrow, everyone's going to think I'm schleppy, which means they're going to think I'm not qualified for the job, which means I'm going to get fired.
[00:14:02] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:14:02] Jordan Harbinger: Or not promoted, which means that I'm going to die homeless or something.
[00:14:05] Scott Lyons: Exactly.
[00:14:06] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:14:06] Scott Lyons: The story, just like you're putting logs on the fire of the story.
[00:14:09] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:14:09] Scott Lyons: And it just builds to this extreme heat that you can't actually deconstruct it back to what was the underlying emotion that I bypassed by going into the extremes.
[00:14:19] Jordan Harbinger: But not everybody who catastrophizes is addicted to drama, right? Some people just think of the worst-case scenario like yours truly. And I don't enjoy that. I know that some of it is my attempt at problem-solving, but it doesn't happen to like, every time in my life, it happens when—
[00:14:34] Scott Lyons: Well, drama is a survival strategy.
[00:14:36] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:14:36] Scott Lyons: And so we all have the capacity to utilize the survival strategy.
[00:14:39] Jordan Harbinger: Gotcha.
[00:14:40] Scott Lyons: Have you ever, I don't know, thought about an ex?
[00:14:43] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, sure.
[00:14:44] Scott Lyons: For no apparent reason or gone back and just read the text messages.
[00:14:48] Jordan Harbinger: That I've not done, no.
[00:14:49] Scott Lyons: Oh, good for you.
[00:14:49] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:14:50] Scott Lyons: Me either.
[00:14:53] Jordan Harbinger: Of course not.
[00:14:53] Scott Lyons: No, no. I've never done that. But it's like going back—
[00:14:56] Jordan Harbinger: That's funny.
[00:14:56] Scott Lyons: —into what will obviously create a little suffering.
[00:14:59] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, I see. I see. No, I have not done that. Yeah.
[00:15:01] Scott Lyons: Or I mean, so many people have done that or some variation of like replaying what happened at work over and over again.
[00:15:08] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:15:08] Scott Lyons: Changing the story slightly, trying to be the hero of the story or what you would've said, and you're having a stress response just by thinking it through, just by reading those texts you're getting that hit of cortisol. You're being flooded with it.
[00:15:21] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:15:22] Scott Lyons: And why are you doing it? You don't have to do it, but something is driving you towards it.
[00:15:26] Jordan Harbinger: That is quite fascinating and I think a lot of people listening right now are watching right now are probably like, "Oh my God, I do that."
[00:15:33] Scott Lyons: Yeah, for sure.
[00:15:33] Jordan Harbinger: But there's a difference between people who do that occasionally because they're going through something and people who do it habitually with—
[00:15:39] Scott Lyons: Absolutely.
[00:15:40] Jordan Harbinger: We're out of, they're out of eggs. I can't believe it. Why does this always happen to me? Right? And then there's other people who are like, but this breakup is terrible.
[00:15:47] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:15:47] Jordan Harbinger: So of course, I'm looking at our photos or whatever.
[00:15:49] Scott Lyons: Yeah. It's a scale.
[00:15:51] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:15:51] Scott Lyons: Like anything, it's a scale and so it's like we all had the capacity to go and do that. Yeah. Why am I looking at their photos when I could go towards something of like peace?
[00:16:01] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:16:02] Scott Lyons: It's the same question of like, why am I going towards something that's going to create more suffering in me or those around me? I don't have to actually go back and reread that text for the 10th time.
[00:16:12] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:16:12] Scott Lyons: I don't, and it's a choice. What you're describing is the lack of choice for those addicted to drama. I keep going back into it. It's like throwing yourself down a hill and just rolling in the momentum of it. You can't stop.
[00:16:25] Jordan Harbinger: You mentioned before, it's because we're trying to distract ourselves from trauma. So does being addicted to drama sort of allow us to focus on outside events instead of our unmet needs—
[00:16:36] Scott Lyons: Needs feelings, trauma, yes.
[00:16:37] Jordan Harbinger: I'm thinking of people who people cut themselves or otherwise do stuff like that.
[00:16:41] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:16:41] Jordan Harbinger: And you find, there's a thing with little kids where they bite themselves sometimes.
[00:16:46] Scott Lyons: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
[00:16:47] Jordan Harbinger: And you find out it's because they can't manage whatever stressful emotion, but if they're doing it a lot—
[00:16:51] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:16:51] Jordan Harbinger: —doctors are like, "What's going on in your house where your three-year-old keeps biting himself?"
[00:16:55] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:16:55] Jordan Harbinger: And he's bleeding.
[00:16:56] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:16:56] Jordan Harbinger: My kid, when he was two, if he get really mad, he would bite his own hand. And he did that a few times and I was like, "Oh my God, I've read about this." He stopped. But I know that some kids were in let's say abusive situations, they'll do this. And adults who are in bad situations will cut themselves.
[00:17:09] Scott Lyons: Mm-hmm.
[00:17:09] Jordan Harbinger: Is this kind of just another version of that self-harm?
[00:17:12] Scott Lyons: Yes, absolutely. It's a way of distracting, it's a way of sort of flooding your brain with something else that is perceivably less vulnerable. Less dangerous than the underlying emotions that are involved in some aspect of trauma.
[00:17:28] Jordan Harbinger: Gosh. And so when you hear about things like cutting, for example.
[00:17:30] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:17:30] Jordan Harbinger: Some of it's really bad. I did an episode recently on human trafficking. And they're talking about these young girls from like Vietnam or whatever, Burma.
[00:17:38] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:17:38] Jordan Harbinger: And they're being forced into like gross, you know, sex work in these casinos on the Laotian border. And they're cutting themselves. And it's because they're being abused all the time. And so this sounds like a, I don't want to say lesser version, because drama can also destroy your life, but it's maybe a less sort of obvious version.
[00:17:56] Scott Lyons: It's a less obvious version. And the other component of the cutting is to also feel something.
[00:18:02] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Okay.
[00:18:03] Scott Lyons: It acts in dual purpose of distraction and sensation building. So, you know, part of trauma response is to grow a layer of numbness around it. And it's like an inflammatory response. We protect ourselves. And in that protection, we feel less. And you know that old saying like, "I think therefore I am." It's not quite right. I feel therefore I am. I know my existence in this world because I feel feelings, I feel sensations. I can taste food. Whatever it is. It lets me know. It reaffirms my aliveness. And when that dead ends, as it does in response to protecting ourselves from underlying trauma, we feel dead in the world. We feel like a walking ghost. That's how I used to refer—
[00:18:49] Jordan Harbinger: Wow,
[00:18:49] Scott Lyons: —to myself as a kid, to my parents, I said, I would say like, "I feel like I'm a walking ghost."
[00:18:54] Jordan Harbinger: Hmm.
[00:18:55] Scott Lyons: Of course, they didn't know what I was talking about.
[00:18:57] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. It's hard to relate to because I'm like, what does that mean to not feel anything? I don't think I've ever had that. Yeah.
[00:19:02] Scott Lyons: We all had the capacity to dissociate, to disconnect, at least to some degree from the intensity of what we're feeling.
[00:19:09] Jordan Harbinger: Hmm. Okay.
[00:19:10] Scott Lyons: Or distract ourselves.
[00:19:11] Jordan Harbinger: Sure. That's—
[00:19:12] Scott Lyons: You know, that's probably more easily relatable for some than others.
[00:19:14] Jordan Harbinger: Definitely.
[00:19:15] Scott Lyons: But, you know, dissociation is like, essentially like I take a vacation from my body.
[00:19:19] Jordan Harbinger: Hmm.
[00:19:19] Scott Lyons: I disconnect in a way so I don't have to feel what's here.
[00:19:22] Jordan Harbinger: You hear about that with people who are abused or like trafficking victims.
[00:19:25] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:19:25] Jordan Harbinger: Or abused victims.
[00:19:26] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:19:27] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:19:27] Scott Lyons: It's a brilliant survival mechanism that becomes a pattern of a way of existing in the world.
[00:19:32] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Okay. You mentioned other sort of symptoms, I guess, or in the book, filling your schedule to the brim and then feeling overwhelmed by it, which is something I think a lot of people can relate to. It's like, "Wait a minute, that's something I'm using as a coping strategy."
[00:19:47] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:19:47] Jordan Harbinger: And when you think about it, it could be.
[00:19:48] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:19:48] Jordan Harbinger: Some people overbook themselves and other people do it because then subconsciously they're like, "There's so much going on." Well, yeah, you booked 14 hours of work in an eight-hour day.
[00:19:57] Scott Lyons: Yeah. And then complain about it.
[00:19:59] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Nonstop. Yeah.
[00:20:00] Scott Lyons: Yeah. And then have to vent. And even the venting about it is another hit of that cortisol response.
[00:20:05] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, that's interesting. Living in the future or the past rather than the present through compulsive worry or grudges.
[00:20:11] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:20:11] Jordan Harbinger: Tell me about that. That's something I think a lot of people do.
[00:20:15] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:20:15] Jordan Harbinger: Now that I think about it.
[00:20:15] Scott Lyons: Like you've interacted with people who are addicted to drama.
[00:20:18] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:20:18] Scott Lyons: And maybe, you've even said sorry to them, but the sorry can't be accepted because they're in the constant replay of it, the situation. You know, part of them, of course, wants the apology, but a bigger part of them wants to stay in the pattern.
[00:20:31] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:20:32] Scott Lyons: And so whatever you say is actually fuel on the fire.
[00:20:34] Jordan Harbinger: You know I'm starting to recognize this in a former business partner of mine, I used to say like, why are you always so mad at everybody about all these little things?
[00:20:43] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:20:43] Jordan Harbinger: And he would justify it. And I would go, huh, yeah, I guess he's just really upset about this, but over a period of years it was like you couldn't get anything right with this guy.
[00:20:52] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:20:52] Jordan Harbinger: And I realized it wasn't just happening to me, it was happening to everybody.
[00:20:55] Scott Lyons: Sure.
[00:20:55] Jordan Harbinger: So it'd be like, "Hey, Jordan, can you bring a Chinese food home when you come back?" "No problem. Tell me what you want." You bring it back and then three months later, or three weeks later, it's like, "All you ever get is the same cheap Chinese food," and you're like, "Am I crazy or did you tell me to do that and then get mad at me doing."
[00:21:14] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:21:14] Jordan Harbinger: And you lose track of it because you're not a crazy person. But if you write it down, which I started doing, I started to realize, wait a minute, he's like setting these situations up with me or whoever it is so that there's always something to complain about.
[00:21:28] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:21:28] Jordan Harbinger: It's like normally you go, oh, they got the Chinese order wrong. Who cares after like a few hours? This would be days and weeks of this person always does this and they're doing it on purpose. And the reason they're doing it on purpose is because this, and I'm thinking, wow, you're so smart. You really read this person. I never would've guessed that they're getting your order wrong, specifically to make you mad so that you perform worse so that they can get ahead of you at work. That's an amazing deduction. And now I'm like, that's a hundred percent bullsh*t.
[00:21:54] Scott Lyons: Yeah. A hundred percent bullsh*t.
[00:21:56] They're globalizing it.
[00:21:57] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:21:58] Scott Lyons: They're victimizing themselves in this situation, and all of those are devices of drama. And it's a way of essentially, again, not actually having to be in the intimacy of relationship and maintaining a certain activation in their whole system. And I'll explain what that looks like.
[00:22:13] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:22:13] Scott Lyons: Which is, have you ever had a carbon monoxide detector or, you know, one of those?
[00:22:17] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that.
[00:22:18] Scott Lyons: And then, there's the beeping when the battery's about to die.
[00:22:20] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah. It's so annoying.
[00:22:21] Scott Lyons: So annoying. So I got here to LA and there was a beeping, carbon monoxide detector, and I could not find it. It turned out to be in like a kitchen cabinet, of course.
[00:22:31] Jordan Harbinger: Which is where you always have carbon monoxide, next to the bowl, cereal bowls is where the source of all your carbon monoxide issues.
[00:22:37] Scott Lyons: Yeah. And had I gone into the drama a bit, I was like, why does this always happen to me?
[00:22:41] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:22:42] Scott Lyons: I didn't, I was just like, well, this is annoying.
[00:22:44] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:22:44] Scott Lyons: Which just, you know, is my own progress in this.
[00:22:47] Jordan Harbinger: You have to burn down your apartment.
[00:22:48] Scott Lyons: I've absolutely burned down the house, just so we're clear about it.
[00:22:51] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:22:53] Scott Lyons: So the beeping is like every 45, 60 seconds. Right?
[00:22:56] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:22:57] Scott Lyons: But who's counting?
[00:22:57] Jordan Harbinger: I'm like, vicariously annoyed. Just thinking about how irritating that would be.
[00:23:01] Scott Lyons: You're having a contagious stress response.
[00:23:04] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:23:04] Scott Lyons: We'll talk about that.
[00:23:05] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:23:05] Scott Lyons: That's a fun one.
[00:23:06] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:23:06] Scott Lyons: But in the beeping, in the time in between, you're getting into a preparatory stance. Like, my muscles are starting to engage.
[00:23:13] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:23:13] Scott Lyons: I'm like, you know, anticipating the next sound and my whole body starts to adapt to that anticipation. And what's really interesting here is that my senses, the way I smell, the way I hear, the way I see even my sense of time, the way all of those are organized, and the filters to which the information from the world comes in. The filters of those senses change. They start to morph in relation to this. So if the beeping, for example, is trauma, and I'm always anticipating the next trauma because I've had one. I'm bracing in the space between a stressor or a trauma, my senses start to change. So for example, my sense of time starts to speed up. This is a trauma response.
[00:24:02] Jordan Harbinger: Speed up. Interesting. Okay.
[00:24:03] Scott Lyons: So my perception, we have the same, we're both driving 30 miles an hour down the road. My sense of time is actually different than your sense of time. I feel like we're going to slow or we're behind a car in traffic, for example. And even though we're not late, I feel a certain lateness and anxiety in me, like, we're going to be late while you're like chill. And my sense of taste, I'm all of a sudden more sensitive to bitters. My auditory processing, I'm going to be more attuned to high-pitch noises. My whole sensory system is more attuned to the next beep or the next trauma or the next stressor. And if I'm looking for it, I will find it. And if I don't find it, I feel out of sync with the world. So I'm going to go seek it or create it. So I feel a sense of being in sync or belonging in the world. And that's what happens in addiction to drama. On the inside, it feels like we're out of sync because we are. Our sensory systems have morphed due to whatever, you know, early traumas. And so my reality is actually different from someone else's reality who hasn't gone through trauma.
[00:25:15] Jordan Harbinger: Well, first of all, now it all makes sense, right? Because if your reality's different, then, of course, you believe the drama that you've created—
[00:25:21] Scott Lyons: Absolutely.
[00:25:21] Jordan Harbinger: —is real.
[00:25:22] Scott Lyons: It's justified.
[00:25:22] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, justified.
[00:25:23] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:25:24] Jordan Harbinger: That makes me have a little bit more empathy for these folks because they're not just doing something where they're like, "I'm going to screw everything up."
[00:25:30] Scott Lyons: No.
[00:25:30] Jordan Harbinger: For them, this is the reality and they're probably wondering why I'm not more worked up about things.
[00:25:34] Scott Lyons: And more empathetic—
[00:25:35] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:25:35] Scott Lyons: —towards their, which just reinforces the idea of them being a victim.
[00:25:39] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Like why me, why aren't you validating my issues?
[00:25:43] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:25:43] Jordan Harbinger: The same guy that I was just talking about this sort of drama queen.
[00:25:47] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:25:48] Jordan Harbinger: I eventually just had to cut contact with this guy for various reasons.
[00:25:51] Scott Lyons: But you're still going to send him the book?
[00:25:52] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, of course. No. Well, I'll buy a copy and I'll leave it on his porch.
[00:25:56] Scott Lyons: Yeah. It's a passive-aggressive gift book of the year.
[00:25:58] Jordan Harbinger: 100 percent. Yes, exactly. So a mutual friend of ours who's also no longer friends with this guy back then said, "I don't understand why all my friends cut me off."
[00:26:11] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:26:11] Jordan Harbinger: One of the reasons they're not friends anymore is our mutual friend said, "I think there's a learning opportunity here for you because a lot of the situations you're complaining about are of your own making."
[00:26:19] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:26:19] Jordan Harbinger: And instead of going, "Mmm, I've been friends with these people for a decade and a half, I should probably take note," it was like, "Oh, you're the problem now." And then, they fired that guy. And ended up suing him for some unrelated thing, just to sort of be right. Does that make sense?
[00:26:33] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:26:34] Jordan Harbinger: Like, oh, now we have to fire him because he's saying things to me that make me—
[00:26:37] Scott Lyons: Feel unsafe.
[00:26:38] Jordan Harbinger: —feel unsafe, and reexamine my situation in a way that's uncomfortable.
[00:26:42] Scott Lyons: He's created a self-fulfilling prophecy.
[00:26:44] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:26:44] Scott Lyons: And then even having the lawsuit proves the fact that just how much of a victim he is because there's a defendant and you know, there's a perpetrator in the house.
[00:26:53] Jordan Harbinger: This is also interesting because we had a mediation and or an arbitration-type situation, and the lawyer was like, "My client is really concerned that this keeps happening." And the mediator's like, "But your client filed the suit, so I don't understand. What do you mean your client's concern of this is negatively blah, blah, blah. Like, you filed the suit."
[00:27:13] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:27:13] Jordan Harbinger: And the lawyer was like, "Yeah, you got me on that one." I mean, it was just like, hello, this person was not bothering you and you sued them for nothing out of nowhere and now you're losing the countersuit. You started this. You punched first.
[00:27:26] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:27:26] Jordan Harbinger: What do you mean? Why does this keep happening to me? You're running around punching people basically.
[00:27:30] Scott Lyons: It doesn't make sense.
[00:27:31] Jordan Harbinger: It doesn't make sense.
[00:27:31] Scott Lyons: But it makes sensation.
[00:27:32] Jordan Harbinger: That's the tagline of the book. It doesn't make sense. It make sensation. One of the things I read from the book was they make the rounds and tell the same story over and over so they can vent continually. I'm like, oh yeah, check.
[00:27:42] Scott Lyons: Because each time they do, they get a hit.
[00:27:44] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:27:44] Scott Lyons: And they get reinforced from the outside through enabling. We don't always think about it as enabling. We think, "Oh my gosh, I'm here for you. That sucks. That person was such an asshole to you." It's a reinforcement from people on the outside, but really they're enabling it.
[00:27:58] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:27:58] Scott Lyons: They're throwing little logs on that other person's fire and that person is using those logs to continue to fuel—
[00:28:06] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:28:06] Scott Lyons: —themselves in that heightened state. Going back to the carbon monoxide analogy. All the senses form. And we are in this constant preparatory stance, this preparatory place for looking for the next drama, the next drama—
[00:28:22] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:28:22] Scott Lyons: —the next stressor. And it creates a baseline, like a baseline activation. It's their baseline way of operating in the world. They're heightened, they're looking for stressors.
[00:28:32] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:28:33] Scott Lyons: And if they drop below that, it feels dangerous.
[00:28:37] Jordan Harbinger: Why does it feel dangerous?
[00:28:39] Scott Lyons: Yeah. So one of the things that happens with trauma is your barometers of safety get twisted. And so what it feels like as a kid, even as a young adult or as adult, when you have had some type of trauma, it's an absolute overwhelm or underwhelmed to the nervous system. It's flooding and you feel helpless, and it's scary and it's dangerous.
[00:28:59] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:29:00] Scott Lyons: And in that moment, it feels like death.
[00:29:03] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:29:04] Scott Lyons: And even a small trauma can feel like death because we feel helpless. And if we don't have the resilience capacity to know that someone will help us, there are tools out there to help us if we don't inherently know that it feels like we're going to drown. And so coming into closer contact and relationship with that trauma which we bottle up, we bottle off, and then we numb around that, and then we create stressors to avoid making contact with the numbness and the underlying trauma that's there. And the closer we get to it, there's a signal in the brain that says danger.
[00:29:43] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:29:44] Scott Lyons: You're getting too close to death. It doesn't make sense.
[00:29:47] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:29:47] Scott Lyons: But that is the primal physiology that we exist in.
[00:29:53] Jordan Harbinger: You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Dr. Scott Lyons. We'll be right back.
[00:29:58] This episode is sponsored in part by Excel University. Do you consider yourself an Excel enthusiast? If you're not, you should get on it. I know it sounds ridiculous, but the Excel is really an incredibly powerful tool that everyone should know. I wish I knew it even better than I did, and that's why I'm taking Excel University, but it's especially true if you want to stand out in a regular job market. I'm fully unemployable, as you all know, but even I still have use for this. So here's a challenge for you. I bet you can discover something new that will save you a significant amount of time. Just take the Excel University speed challenge. It's completely free and fast. It was really easy. All you have to do is sign up, watch some brief videos, complete some hands-on exercises. By doing so, you'll learn about new Excel features that will enable you to work much more efficiently. And a lot of us work in this all day. When I worked on Wall Street, I was in this thing like 24/7. Excel University is an excellent resource for unleashing the full potential of Excel. It's a comprehensive online course that covers everything from the basics to the advanced features. You'll learn how to create and format spreadsheets, of course, use formulas and functions naturally, and even create macros, which is like ha, the Holy Grail of Excel powerhouses. Learning is made enjoyable with gamification and story mode. Just when you thought Excel couldn't get any more fun. Am I right, folks? But if you aspire to become an Excel expert and take your abilities to the next level, this really is the perfect platform for you, and the challenge begins on Monday. So don't wait. Secure your spot today. Go to excel-university.com/jordan. That's E-X-C-E-L-university.com/jordan, and register for free, excel-university.com/jordan.
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[00:33:25] Now back to Dr. Scott Lyons.
[00:33:29] It all kind of makes sense. And again, I'm not disclosing this guy's identity, but he was an abused kid.
[00:33:34] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:33:34] Jordan Harbinger: Like there was a whole kind of complicated past to this. And his whole fam, his family was very dysfunctional.
[00:33:39] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:33:39] Jordan Harbinger: They were also, when I read the book, I was like, the family did this too.
[00:33:43] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:33:43] Jordan Harbinger: They would do something where they would call him and say, "There's an emergency. You need to fly home from California. Your grandmother is dying."
[00:33:50] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:33:51] Jordan Harbinger: And he would book like a seven gazillion dollar flight to fly home from LA and go back to Michigan. He'd be like, "Where's grandma?" "She's in the living room watching TV." "What do you mean?" "She bonked her knee on the cabinet getting ready in the morning."
[00:34:04] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:34:04] Jordan Harbinger: "But you called me and said there was an emergency and she was in the hospital." "Yeah. We didn't need to take her to the hospital. She's got a bruise on her knee." So even he would be like, "What the hell? My family's insane."
[00:34:14] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:34:14] Jordan Harbinger: But then, he would turn around and do something kind of similar.
[00:34:16] Scott Lyons: It's modeled.
[00:34:16] Jordan Harbinger: He just wouldn't see it.
[00:34:17] Scott Lyons: Yeah. It's modeled. It's a modeling that he inherited into his nervous system and is acting from what was, what he learned.
[00:34:25] Jordan Harbinger: After reading this book, I have way more sympathy/empathy for what he was going through. Because I realized, one, he couldn't stop it. Two, it was running his life. Three, he'd never had a chance because it's his whole family. He probably grew up doing this since the age of five.
[00:34:37] Scott Lyons: That was their currency of love.
[00:34:38] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:34:39] Scott Lyons: The intensity.
[00:34:40] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:34:40] Scott Lyons: And you know, when you grow up in a chaotic household, our primal needs as a kid, as even as an adult, is to be seen and heard, to feel safe. And so you will go to whatever extremes, intensely shouting is needed to pierce through the chaos of a family household to be seen and heard, even if it's burning down the house.
[00:35:02] Jordan Harbinger: It's sad. Because I would imagine this also, of course, infects your romantic relationships. I'm guessing you can't be in a relationship with a normal person most of the time unless they're willing to enable this.
[00:35:11] Scott Lyons: Well, I mean, the relationships — you know that intensity that happens in the beginning of a relationship?
[00:35:17] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. You're like super in love and everything is turned up to 11.
[00:35:20] Scott Lyons: Yeah. Yeah. They thrive in that.
[00:35:21] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:35:21] Scott Lyons: And the moment it becomes settled, they start to create tension, they start to find the issues in the relationship. They start to destroy the relationship because outside of that 11 means that you're probably going to start to feel closeness.
[00:35:38] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Oof. I can't have that.
[00:35:40] Scott Lyons: No, I mean, a lot of us have that. It's not like just some extreme like, you know, you are addicted to drama, but there again, there's a lot of ways in which we get in our own way of intimacy because intimacy leads to a sense of connection and vulnerability. And vulnerability leads us closer to feeling more of what we may not have had a chance to experience in our lives.
[00:36:05] Jordan Harbinger: The analogy you give in the book is blowing out a birthday candle with a fire hose.
[00:36:09] Scott Lyons: Uh-huh.
[00:36:09] Jordan Harbinger: The disproportionate response to stimulus.
[00:36:12] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:36:13] Jordan Harbinger: I think for a lot of people it might be hard to define drama.
[00:36:16] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:36:16] Jordan Harbinger: It's like porn. It's like you know it when you see it, but if you ask somebody to define it, It gets hard. Pardon the pun. But then I think over a pattern — feel free to steal that. I feel like you like that one.
[00:36:31] Scott Lyons: I'll use it when I'm on Good Morning, America.
[00:36:34] Jordan Harbinger: That's a good idea.
[00:36:34] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:36:34] Jordan Harbinger: That's a good idea. Yeah.
[00:36:36] Scott Lyons: They like that. That's the perfect place.
[00:36:37] Jordan Harbinger: Live TV is the perfect place to experiment with something like this.
[00:36:40] Scott Lyons: I'm wondering now why, maybe that's why they don't want me on live TV as much, huh?
[00:36:45] Jordan Harbinger: Hmm. Yeah. There's a great, there's a really good way to never get invited back to the Today Show. And that's one of that.
[00:36:50] Scott Lyons: Oh, have you done this?
[00:36:51] Jordan Harbinger: Well, I haven't done that particular faux pas on live TV, but I've definitely done stuff where they're like, "Don't worry, we have a seven-second delay." And I'm like, "Oh, what, should I not have said that?"
[00:36:59] Scott Lyons: What did you do?
[00:37:00] Jordan Harbinger: You know, it's so long now. I don't remember.
[00:37:02] Scott Lyons: Spill the tea.
[00:37:02] Jordan Harbinger: It was really minor actually. I think I said crap. And they're like, "Ooh, we don't really like that."
[00:37:06] Scott Lyons: Oh.
[00:37:06] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. It was, I mean, this is, you know, housewife TV.
[00:37:09] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:37:10] Jordan Harbinger: So they don't, they don't really want.
[00:37:11] Scott Lyons: They don't want.
[00:37:12] Jordan Harbinger: This is also 10-plus years ago, so maybe now you can get away with that. Back then, they were like, mmm. The other thing was I kept shifting in my chair and trying to adjust because I was wearing tight pants. And I had like, you know what happens when you wear pants that are a little too tight? And I remember being like, "Oh, I hope that's not a problem." They're like, "Don't worry, we have a delay. And we just kept switching cameras when you do that." Because I mean, you can't, you're sitting on a stool with your crotch out. It's really obvious when you're like, rearranging things.
[00:37:36] Scott Lyons: Yeah. Many years ago when I was in the arts, I was on a live radio show.
[00:37:41] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:37:42] Scott Lyons: I was singing one of my songs for my show, which was, you know, pretty provocative. And they asked me to call, is it the FCC?
[00:37:48] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:37:49] Scott Lyons: Yeah, the FCC, and ask for, what are the swear words I can't say? And I had called them and I said, "You know, I have this song. There's some words in there. I need to know." And they wouldn't, they said, "We can't actually tell you what the words are, but you can ask us."
[00:38:03] Jordan Harbinger: What?
[00:38:04] Scott Lyons: Which I loved.
[00:38:06] Jordan Harbinger: Can I say? Yeah.
[00:38:08] Scott Lyons: I spent maybe the next half an hour coming up with the most provocative phrases I could possibly come up with. You know, I was in my 20s.
[00:38:16] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:38:17] Scott Lyons: I was a provocateur part of the addiction to drama.
[00:38:19] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:38:20] Scott Lyons: And that was probably one of the funniest times of my life. I mean, I was in a creative high—
[00:38:25] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:38:26] Scott Lyons: —of coming up with the most insane phrases just to see what this per individual would say.
[00:38:31] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my gosh.
[00:38:31] Scott Lyons: And she was trying so hard not to laugh.
[00:38:34] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I'm sure.
[00:38:35] Scott Lyons: Bless her heart, wherever she is right now.
[00:38:37] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm. She's probably telling that story on a podcast somewhere.
[00:38:40] Scott Lyons: If you're listening, please let me know. I will send you a signed copy of my book.
[00:38:44] Jordan Harbinger: There you go. The real prize.
[00:38:47] Drama keeps us from feeling our real feelings.
[00:38:49] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:38:49] Jordan Harbinger: Like turning up the volume on music so you don't hear the screaming coming from inside your soul essentially.
[00:38:55] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:38:55] Jordan Harbinger: And I love, I don't know if you wrote that or if that's just something I put in my notes, but creating that numbness to what's going on in your life really does seem like the key. You start to really understand people who are addicted to drama when you think of it this way.
[00:39:06] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:39:07] Jordan Harbinger: And you start to go, huh, what is this person's life like? If you've ever dated anybody who's addicted to drama, I feel like you can never really get to know them because first of all, something is—
[00:39:17] Scott Lyons: They don't know them.
[00:39:18] Jordan Harbinger: —going on and coming up.
[00:39:19] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:39:19] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. You're right. They don't even know them.
[00:39:21] Scott Lyons: No.
[00:39:21] Jordan Harbinger: You can't crack the shell.
[00:39:23] Scott Lyons: Nope.
[00:39:23] Jordan Harbinger: You're just always kind of bouncing off the outside of this person.
[00:39:26] Scott Lyons: Yeah. Because that's what feels safe, by the way.
[00:39:28] Jordan Harbinger: I guess, that's what feels safe, yeah. What I also noticed, and maybe this is a mix of things, there's a couple of women that come to mind with the drama thing.
[00:39:35] Scott Lyons: Mm-hmm.
[00:39:35] Jordan Harbinger: They would always talk to me like I knew the people that they were talking about. And I always found that so mystifying and I saw this as a sign of somebody who is not a good person to date, where they'd say, "Ah, Jordan, I can't talk right now because Tom is doing," and I'm like, "Who's Tom? I don't know who that is." And whenever I sense that weird—
[00:39:55] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:39:56] Jordan Harbinger: —you should know everybody who's involved in my life thing, I'm always like, this is a weird signal to run, but I can't put my finger on why.
[00:40:02] Scott Lyons: It's definitely a red flag.
[00:40:03] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:40:03] Scott Lyons: It's because they project that the movie of their life—
[00:40:06] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:40:07] Scott Lyons: —everyone is in the know of.
[00:40:08] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. What's going on there? Because I always found that to be a red flag. And I'm like, I don't get it. And I've seen this before and I'm out.
[00:40:15] Scott Lyons: So they are watching their life from the outside. So they expect everyone else is that dissociated connection to their life. It's like watching yourself, understanding yourself from a disconnected perspective. There's a projection then that says, "Oh, everyone else must be watching me, the way I'm watching me.
[00:40:33] Jordan Harbinger: That fills in a lot of blanks.
[00:40:35] Scott Lyons: Okay.
[00:40:35] Jordan Harbinger: And the other thing I noticed about these same folks was, they would talk about people they met three days ago. Like they've been friends for a decade.
[00:40:43] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:40:43] Jordan Harbinger: And then you were talking to those people because you're into some group thing.
[00:40:45] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:40:46] Jordan Harbinger: And I'm like, "So how long have you known Meg?" "Oh yeah, we met on Tuesday." "Wait a minute. She's talking about you to me like you're this protective auntie who is always trying to vet guys she's dating," and they're like, oh, because they've freaking met at the mall on Tuesday and it's Friday.
[00:41:03] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:41:03] Jordan Harbinger: It's so weird.
[00:41:04] Scott Lyons: Intense beginnings.
[00:41:06] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:41:06] Scott Lyons: Extreme endings of relationships.
[00:41:07] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:41:08] Scott Lyons: Not a lot in between. And there's another piece of it too when you talk about, like they're talking to you about someone you don't even know.
[00:41:15] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:41:16] Scott Lyons: Did you ever feel pulled into their kind of tornado of chaos?
[00:41:20] Jordan Harbinger: I'm trying to remember because it's been so long. But I don't know, I'd be making something up if I said yes or no.
[00:41:26] Scott Lyons: Feel free to make it up.
[00:41:27] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Yeah. It's my show.
[00:41:29] Scott Lyons: It's your show. You can do whatever the hell you want.
[00:41:30] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:41:31] Scott Lyons: Yeah. Well, that's one of the symptoms. Those of us on the outside of someone addicted to drama, we feel pulled into their chaos. It is actually true. They are pulling you into their vortex.
[00:41:43] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:41:43] Scott Lyons: In order to feel a sense of belonging, to feel connected, because that is the only safe space. And if I'm in this constant, remember we talked about like my reality is different than yours.
[00:41:55] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:41:56] Scott Lyons: And the underlying experience in me is there's a constant dis-ease. If I'm addicted to drama, there's a constant dis-ease. There's a constant sense of being out of sync with the world. There's an anxiousness that's present, there's an urgency that is constant. And if I can bring you into my tornado and there's a contagious response, you're now feeling anxious, you're now feeling heightened. You're now feeling that extreme sort of stress response. Then, we're in sync. And that is the closest sense of belonging someone addicted to drama can get.
[00:42:29] Jordan Harbinger: Is this why at the end of dealing with somebody like that, you go home and you go, "What the hell is going on? What happened?
[00:42:36] Scott Lyons: Yeah. If you've ever left an experience with someone and you're like, whoa.
[00:42:40] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:42:40] Scott Lyons: What just happened? How did we get from there to there? Congratulations. You're dealing with someone who has some level of an addiction to drama.
[00:42:47] Jordan Harbinger: That makes sense. because I remember talking with my parents, for example, after dealing with somebody like this and they're like, my mom would be like, "I'm confused. So he's mad about what?" And you explain it and it's like, "That can't be the reason that they walked out on their employer and threw a plate across the break room." "Yeah. Good point. Why would that be the thing that happened and why am I now involved in this?"
[00:43:09] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:43:09] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's a good point. I think it's easy to get sucked into this because you don't notice it.
[00:43:13] Scott Lyons: Yeah. And here's the other piece that I was talking about contagious, it's called stress contagion.
[00:43:17] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:43:18] Scott Lyons: It's an actual physiological process. So evolutionarily speaking, I'm running from a dinosaur. I'm going back a few years.
[00:43:26] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:43:27] Scott Lyons: And you're in the cave that I'm about to run into. And you see my pupils, you see my breath, you see the sort of tone of my muscles. You don't know the story. You shouldn't need to know the story. So you have a response. Immediately, your physiology goes, "Oops, we are receiving this, we're picking it up," because there are receptors that are geared towards monitoring someone else's stress response. And you go, "I don't know what the fuck is going on, but I better get stressed up too in order to deal with what might be happening." And then the dinosaur comes and we're able to both keep running. If you don't have that response, you're going to get eaten by that dinosaur while I'm running away.
[00:44:08] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Geez. Interesting. Okay. I mean, humans never existed on the same planet as dinosaurs at the same time.
[00:44:14] Scott Lyons: I know.
[00:44:14] Jordan Harbinger: But you know, we'll let that slide.
[00:44:16] Scott Lyons: Well, thank you, historian. Yeah.
[00:44:17] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. We'll let that slide. What are you a paleontologist now? I get it. I don't need to—
[00:44:23] Scott Lyons: I feel stupid—
[00:44:24] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I don't need to ruin the metaphor here—
[00:44:25] Scott Lyons: —in front of millions of people.
[00:44:26] Jordan Harbinger: That's fine. Nobody listens to this podcast. That's what I always say.
[00:44:29] Scott Lyons: I'm just kidding.
[00:44:30] Jordan Harbinger: Being consumed with the news, being consumed with other people's lives. That was something you mentioned in the book.
[00:44:35] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:44:35] Jordan Harbinger: That last part seems key.
[00:44:37] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:44:37] Jordan Harbinger: That they respond as if they are part of this.
[00:44:39] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:44:40] Jordan Harbinger: I'm trying to remember who this was, and I guess it's not really important, but I have noticed that there are a lot of, for example, the accounts are people that are obsessed with reality television.
[00:44:49] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:44:49] Jordan Harbinger: There's a lot of people that write about this, talk about this, do social media as if they are, let's say, friends with the Kardashians.
[00:44:55] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:44:55] Jordan Harbinger: And they're just right adjacent to this thing that's happening. And I'm thinking, you've never met these people in your life and you never will. Who cares?
[00:45:03] Scott Lyons: And why are you talking about them—
[00:45:04] Jordan Harbinger: Why even talk? Yeah.
[00:45:05] Scott Lyons: —as if they're your friends? I mean that's a huge difference from 10 years ago.
[00:45:09] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:45:10] Scott Lyons: Where we had gossip columns and you know, the beginning notes of reality television, and now every celebrity has their own reality TV show on social media.
[00:45:19] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:45:20] Scott Lyons: And so we're constantly exposed to the world of gossip and heightened realities that aren't actually a reality. They are extreme versions of that person's life.
[00:45:30] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Is there a world in which people don't want things to work out for them so that they have the drama? I mean, it seems like that's the basic.
[00:45:37] Scott Lyons: Totally.
[00:45:37] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:45:38] Scott Lyons: Jealousy is just a fundamental human emotion where we want the worst for people.
[00:45:43] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:45:44] Scott Lyons: Because we can't handle how we feel in relation to them.
[00:45:47] Jordan Harbinger: It's like crisis hopping.
[00:45:50] Scott Lyons: Crisis hopping, I talk about crisis in the book a lot.
[00:45:51] Jordan Harbinger: Crisis tourism.
[00:45:52] Scott Lyons: Yeah. Crisis tourism. Jumping from one topic of crisis to the next and never actually being able to settle because again, settling would bring me below that threshold of stress baseline and bring me closer to the underlying trauma, which is dangerous.
[00:46:09] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. This is more than just a need for attention though, right?
[00:46:12] Scott Lyons: Yes.
[00:46:13] Jordan Harbinger: I want to clarify that.
[00:46:13] Scott Lyons: Yeah. It's hard to be on the outside of those who are addicted to drama.
[00:46:16] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:46:17] Scott Lyons: So we come up with a conclusion that they're just seeking attention. If they could actually receive attention, maybe that would be true. But they can't actually receive the attention that they might be seeking. They can't receive validation. Like if you said to that guy you worked with, "Yeah. That sounds like a really painful experience." He's not going to actually receive that to settle him. He's going to use that as a log to keep him going.
[00:46:42] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:46:42] Scott Lyons: That's a very different thing. When we use emotions like to keep us revved up—
[00:46:47] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:46:47] Scott Lyons: —versus emotions to help us process something and settle us back down.
[00:46:52] Jordan Harbinger: Is this not exhausting to be around then?
[00:46:54] Scott Lyons: Yeah, it's 100 percent. It's exhausting and you will actually go through withdrawal symptoms from it. Not only the person addicted to drama goes through withdrawal symptoms that come down from the catharsis, the drama explosion, but you as having been pulled into it as having a contagious stress response. You get that full cascade, that hit of stress, of cortisol, adrenaline, all of it. And then, you're going to crash. Those on the outside feel that as exhaustion. Those on the inside, those who with an addiction of drama, feel that crash and it is experienced as boredom, and so they're going to need the next hit to keep them going, to feel back more, to feel more alive, to feel that battery pack of stress.
[00:47:34] Jordan Harbinger: This all makes so much sense. I always thought it was a mean-spirited thing when he would create problems, but now it's a hundred percent obvious that he was just addicted to it.
[00:47:44] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:47:44] Jordan Harbinger: There would be times where it's like, I remember one time, in particular, we were getting audited for by the IRS, but we had a lawyer handling it. It was not a big deal. It was just like, hey, we need all these records. The day I was flying to Australia.
[00:47:56] Scott Lyons: Mm-hmm.
[00:47:56] Jordan Harbinger: He was like, "Emergency, we need every credit card transaction, da da, da da." And we sort of knew he was doing this because he did it every time we were going to go on a vacation, there would be something that we had to handle urgently.
[00:48:09] Scott Lyons: Yeah, yeah.
[00:48:09] Jordan Harbinger: So my wife just called the lawyer and was like, "How urgent is this whole thing?" And he's like, "Oh yeah, like in the next three months." So we were like, "Cool, we'll handle it in the next three months." And then it was like, "No, we need it now." And my wife was like, "Tell him we'll do it and then just don't do it," because we know that he's just doing this so that we have a miserable flight. That's what we thought.
[00:48:28] Scott Lyons: That's what you thought.
[00:48:28] Jordan Harbinger: We thought he wanted us to have a bad flight or a bad time.
[00:48:31] Scott Lyons: No.
[00:48:31] Jordan Harbinger: And now after reading the book, it's like no, he just was bored.
[00:48:35] Scott Lyons: His sense of timing, don't forget is urgency.
[00:48:39] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:48:39] Scott Lyons: There is no slowness that's allowed. And so even something that is three months from now feels immediate.
[00:48:46] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:48:46] Scott Lyons: And so you get bulldozed because of that.
[00:48:48] Jordan Harbinger: We really thought, talk about trying to put yourself as the center of attention—
[00:48:52] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:48:52] Jordan Harbinger: —we really thought like he's just trying to ruin our vacation. This is so typical of him, but now I realize, wow, he can't help himself.
[00:48:58] Scott Lyons: No.
[00:48:59] Jordan Harbinger: This is his operating system.
[00:49:00] Scott Lyons: This is the operating system. Absolutely.
[00:49:03] Jordan Harbinger: It makes me have much more sympathy for him because at first, it was like, why is this guy always doing this stuff to other people?
[00:49:08] Scott Lyons: Yes.
[00:49:09] Jordan Harbinger: The team hated it. Obviously, our staff could not stand and work with him.
[00:49:12] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:49:12] Jordan Harbinger: He had high turnover on his side of the business.
[00:49:14] Scott Lyons: Of course.
[00:49:14] Jordan Harbinger: Surprise, surprise. And now I'm thinking, oh, you actually, you have like a disability.
[00:49:18] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:49:19] Jordan Harbinger: You can't have normal interactions with people.
[00:49:22] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:49:22] Jordan Harbinger: Or relationships with people.
[00:49:23] Scott Lyons: He didn't have so much choice.
[00:49:25] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:49:25] Scott Lyons: How is having sympathy for him in this moment? Like, is that relieving?
[00:49:30] Jordan Harbinger: Actually, it feels pretty, pretty nice because it's like it was nice to read this and go, so he wasn't just bullying me and my wife and all of our team for the hell of it.
[00:49:39] Scott Lyons: Mm-hmm.
[00:49:39] Jordan Harbinger: Like he couldn't, he just couldn't do it. He didn't have another way to interact with these people.
[00:49:43] Scott Lyons: So there's a way the stories you formed around it got to release a little bit.
[00:49:47] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I think so. Yeah. And
[00:49:48] Scott Lyons: there's like a real healing in that, I imagine.
[00:49:51] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:49:51] Scott Lyons: Of not having to hold on to the stories that you created.
[00:49:55] Jordan Harbinger: It does make me feel dumb for having put up with all of it for so long.
[00:49:59] Scott Lyons: Mm-hmm.
[00:50:00] Jordan Harbinger: But I also—
[00:50:00] Scott Lyons: Dumb like when someone tells you there was no dinosaurs and people.
[00:50:03] Jordan Harbinger: Not that dumb. I mean, that's really dumb. No, no, um, like, hello, sixth-grade science. No, I'm just kidding.
[00:50:15] Scott Lyons: But it does make me think like, wow, I put up with that for so long. Now, granted, you do crap in your 20s. You're in a business with somebody. You'd let stuff slide that you wouldn't, if him and I were just buddies, I would've cut the cord a long time ago. But we had a successful business. So it's like, what are you going to do?
[00:50:29] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:50:29] Scott Lyons: And at the moment it was like, well, I have no choice. And also it was like, well, for years, I was like, wow, this guy has terrible luck.
[00:50:36] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:50:37] Scott Lyons: Look at all the bad things that happened to him. I'm lucky I don't have all these problems.
[00:50:41] Jordan Harbinger: That's such an interesting point. It's like there's always something happening to that person.
[00:50:44] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:50:45] Jordan Harbinger: And there are circumstances like they can't control the fact that they got into a car accident.
[00:50:50] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:50:50] Jordan Harbinger: The next day, they got robbed.
[00:50:52] Scott Lyons: Mm-hmm.
[00:50:52] Jordan Harbinger: But it's the response to it.
[00:50:55] Scott Lyons: Mm-hmm. It's the inability to get out of those experiences. They get sort of engrossed in them and it becomes all that they are and all that occupies their attention.
[00:51:04] Jordan Harbinger: You mentioned the withdrawal, that stuff, it seems like it makes it harder to get away from this.
[00:51:09] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:51:09] Jordan Harbinger: The relationships I'm imagining can never really be stable until they get therapy for this kind of stuff, right? Because you said before, as soon as they settle in, they start to destroy the relationship and—
[00:51:18] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:51:19] Jordan Harbinger: —that is probably going to happen with every relationship that they're in, wouldn't it?
[00:51:22] Scott Lyons: Yeah, absolutely.
[00:51:23] Jordan Harbinger: Oh man, that's another thing that makes me feel sad because—
[00:51:25] Scott Lyons: It is sad.
[00:51:26] Jordan Harbinger: There were many times where he would get a really nice girl and I thought like, oh, things are great now.
[00:51:32] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:51:32] Jordan Harbinger: Finally, she's grounding him.
[00:51:34] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:51:34] Jordan Harbinger: And that didn't really, the breakups were extreme.
[00:51:38] Scott Lyons: Oh yeah.
[00:51:39] Jordan Harbinger: It was wild. My breakups are always like, you know, "You moved, I moved." Or like, you know, "This isn't really going to work out." And it's like, "Oh, let's not. Okay, well, bye." There's not an ex that I would have to cross the street to—
[00:51:52] Scott Lyons: Good for you.
[00:51:53] Jordan Harbinger: —deal with.
[00:51:53] Scott Lyons: Wow.
[00:51:53] Jordan Harbinger: I would probably be happy to see most of them, honestly.
[00:51:56] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:51:57] Jordan Harbinger: Many of my exes, I'm like, "Hey, what's going on? I see you at a new job. That must be awesome." And they're like, yeah. And it's just polite, sort of like arm's length, whatever.
[00:52:03] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:52:03] Jordan Harbinger: For him, it's like, you have to not go to this thing because this person is in the same room as you and if she sees you, you are going to lose an eye.
[00:52:13] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:52:14] Jordan Harbinger: Because of the way you handled that situation.
[00:52:16] Scott Lyons: Damn.
[00:52:16] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. It was always like, holy smokes.
[00:52:18] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:52:19] Jordan Harbinger: And I remember seeing some of his exes back when we were in college.
[00:52:22] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:52:22] Jordan Harbinger: And she'd be like, "I just want you to know, you don't have to worry about coming to my bar where I work. You and I are cool, but I cannot, if he comes in, he's in—" and I'm like, wow, and this is like, I didn't hear about what happened between you two and it's I heard a different version of the story I think or whatever it is.
[00:52:39] Scott Lyons: Probably wildly different versions where the friend who was more addicted to drama—
[00:52:43] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:52:44] Scott Lyons: it was the victim.
[00:52:45] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
[00:52:46] Scott Lyons: A hundred percent. And would find all of these facts that could be justified the victimness by these just cherry-picking everything that could possibly support their belief system, that they're the victim.
[00:52:58] Jordan Harbinger: I just remember a couple of occasions where I'd be like, "No, you don't understand. What happened was he brought this other guy to the party and that guy started to fight and then he just went home and he was kind of drunk, so he turned his phone off." And she's like, "Oh, I see we're going to have to have a conversation about what actually happened." And I'd be like, "Oh, yeah, maybe we do because that's what I heard." And it's like, oh, that's not, that's not the whole thing, man.
[00:53:21] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:53:21] Jordan Harbinger: That's not really what happened.
[00:53:23] Scott Lyons: No.
[00:53:23] Jordan Harbinger: It was a big mess.
[00:53:26] Scott Lyons: But most of us do that. We filter out the information that doesn't confirm our own experience.
[00:53:31] Jordan Harbinger: Sure, yeah.
[00:53:31] Scott Lyons: It's a confirmation bias.
[00:53:32] Jordan Harbinger: It seems almost like narcissism, right? Because everything revolves around you, but it's not quite the same thing, huh?
[00:53:37] Scott Lyons: Yeah. There's an aspect of narcissism because, from the inside, you feel trapped in yourself.
[00:53:42] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:53:43] Scott Lyons: You can't actually make connection with other people. You can't reach out to someone else, and so it is self-centered. It is self-focused because there isn't the capacity to be an intimate relationship.
[00:53:54] Jordan Harbinger: But also you can never really admit that you're the one who made a mistake or something, right?
[00:53:57] Scott Lyons: No.
[00:53:57] Jordan Harbinger: There's a lot of deflection or projection involved.
[00:54:00] Scott Lyons: Absolutely. There's a lot of strategies to reinforce the belief system or reinforce the reality because we all know that there's nothing more chaotic or frustrating or dangerous to some degree than a skewed reality. It feels cacophonic. It feels crazy-making, if our reality is challenged. That's for everyone, whether you have an addiction to drama or not. If you said The sky is blue, and I said, "Hmm, maybe, maybe not. I think there's actually a bit of green in it." It's confronting. So saying to someone, "Whoa, I get that you responded this way, but it actually, this isn't what was actually here. This isn't what is in reality." And they will go to whatever links they need to protect themselves and protect their reality.
[00:54:48] Jordan Harbinger: In the book, there's a drama triangle.
[00:54:49] Scott Lyons: Mm-hmm.
[00:54:49] Jordan Harbinger: Can you go over this a little bit? I thought this was quite interesting, and especially because even if you're not the one who's involved in the drama in a way that you think is, is you're not the source.
[00:54:58] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:54:58] Jordan Harbinger: You might be kind of a part of it.
[00:55:00] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:55:01] Jordan Harbinger: Like I was, and I never would've thought, oh, I'm a part of this problem.
[00:55:04] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[00:55:04] Jordan Harbinger: I was just kinda like, oh yeah, you know, he's my roommate.
[00:55:07] Scott Lyons: So you mean like how you're kind of being part of someone's story, you're helping them fulfill their story, their belief system, that they're the—
[00:55:15] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I mean, you have persecutor, rescuer, and victim. Maybe that's something else.
[00:55:19] Scott Lyons: Oh, the drama triangle. That drama triangle.
[00:55:20] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:55:21] Scott Lyons: Yeah. Essentially they're different roles we take. We kind of filter through, I'm the perpetrator, I'm the hero, I'm the victim.
[00:55:29] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:55:29] Scott Lyons: These roles that one takes keep them out of actually being, again, in relationship to themselves. If I'm the hero, like I'm causing trouble, I'm stirring sh*t up in the office, for example.
[00:55:41] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:55:41] Scott Lyons: I'm the one gossiping, and then there's tension that happens and I come in and I'm the hero. So I've created the drama and then I've been able to position myself as the hero. Or people come at me at work because I stirred all this crap. I was gossiping and suddenly I'm the victim. Or I can absolutely be the prosecutor where it's like I stir the drama, I'm creating the gossip. People are mad at each other and I say something like, "Hey, creating this tension in the workplace is wrong. You're really harming other people."
[00:56:15] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:56:16] Scott Lyons: So they're different roles I can take to sort of justify what I'm stirring.
[00:56:22] Jordan Harbinger: Does a lot of this depend on environment? You talk about the rat paradise experiment.
[00:56:26] Scott Lyons: Mm-hmm.
[00:56:27] Jordan Harbinger: Speak to that a little bit. I thought, at the very least, the rat experiment was interesting.
[00:56:30] Scott Lyons: Yeah. So that comes from understanding a new model of addiction. So in previous experiments, you put a rat in a cage where they were alone and you give them the option of water or water with heroin in it. They're going to go and they're going to party with the heroin and likely die like there's a high morbidity rate. That was our understanding of addiction for a long time. Oh, they just, they're genetically predisposed. It's just about the genetics. They got a brain disease and they just go for the heroin. They get a taste of it, and it's actually just about the drugs.
[00:57:04] Then, later there were more experiments to go, "Hey, what would happen if we created an environment that felt really good for the rats?" Like a park, a playground with other rats and toys and really good food. What would happen in terms of their choice-making? And what they found was when there was like a safe environment to which they could play and grow in, they didn't ever choose the heroin water. And if they did, they didn't go back for much. There was little if no death rates—
[00:57:38] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:57:38] Scott Lyons: —to these rats from the heroin overdose. And so it really demonstrated that the issue was not in the drug, just like the issue is not in necessarily in the drama. What was the circumstances that made them get attached to it? What was the purpose that attachment was serving?
[00:57:57] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:57:57] Scott Lyons: Which is to essentially fill in the gap of a lot of void, emptiness, pain, trauma. And we know that safe environments, which may or may not have happened for us in our own childhood will create the circumstances that allow us, the choices we will make or the voids we will or will not need to fill.
[00:58:18] Jordan Harbinger: Got it. Okay. So as part of treating people who have an addiction to drama, I assume you have them attempt to set up a safe environment somehow?
[00:58:27] Scott Lyons: Yeah. Well, this is the tricky part, right? Because if we're talking about how a safe environment and being around people, a sense of belonging—
[00:58:35] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:58:35] Scott Lyons: —is really what we're talking about, creates the conditions to feel better, to feel supported, to fill themselves up with something better than the void, then they can get out of the addiction. But the problem is they keep burning down all the relationships. They keep destroying the ecosystems to which they enter into. This is the challenge, this is the problem with the cycles. They keep destroying that, which could support their healing process. I mean, as a therapist, and I've talked to a lot of other therapists, these particular individuals are challenging in therapy. Because it's like the moment you start to validate them, they don't take it in. They only want to hear that they're right, that their reality is right. And if you start to challenge it to be able to slow the thinking down, to slow the addiction down, to be able to get to underneath, they'll attack you, not physically.
[00:59:26] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:59:26] Scott Lyons: But they'll say like, "Oh, you're always judging me. You're always, you don't believe in me." And they destroyed that relationship that could offer them the guidance in towards healing. It's a long process of building a lot of trust.
[00:59:40] Jordan Harbinger: You mentioned that sometimes the drama doesn't always have to be extreme, right? Sometimes it looks just like ADHD. You mentioned your friend who you visited and she just starts scrolling on her phone.
[00:59:50] Scott Lyons: Mm-hmm.
[00:59:50] Jordan Harbinger: Tell me about this.
[00:59:51] Scott Lyons: Yeah, I mean, wherever we can get a stress hit. We'll take it. And so it might be scrolling through the Internet. It might be just listening to a couple of friends gossip. It doesn't have to be this extreme of getting into a massive fight with someone.
[01:00:07] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:00:07] Scott Lyons: There's all different entry points or devices of drama. That's a funny story where my friend essentially was, you know, she just had a kid and we were catching up and she got pulled into the rabbit hole of the Internet and was just scrolling and like going mindless, but also getting, you know, having some, it's not like we're just mindless, it's we're getting entrapped in social media.
[01:00:29] Jordan Harbinger: Is that what you call like revving, where you're just juicing your engine up?
[01:00:33] Scott Lyons: Revving is definitely juicing your engines. And so you might stop and look at something of like, oh, a picture of an ex or like someone else's story or even a nice emotion.
[01:00:41] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:00:41] Scott Lyons: A nice experience on someone, it's still, you're going to have a reaction to it. And in that story, I couldn't get her attention and I was telling her a story about what was going on with my family, and so I just turned on some music and did the strip teases to get her attention.
[01:00:55] Jordan Harbinger: As one does.
[01:00:56] Scott Lyons: As one does.
[01:00:58] Jordan Harbinger: Dr. Scott Lyons, your daddy issues, everybody on full display? Yes. You're enabling.
[01:01:05] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[01:01:05] Jordan Harbinger: That's really funny. I'll have to remember that trick.
[01:01:09] Scott Lyons: Yeah, no, it works.
[01:01:10] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:01:11] Scott Lyons: It definitely—
[01:01:12] Jordan Harbinger: It's a good way to get kicked out of an airport lounge though.
[01:01:14] Scott Lyons: Is it?
[01:01:15] Jordan Harbinger: Well—
[01:01:15] Scott Lyons: I've gotten invited into airport lounge just because of that.
[01:01:18] Jordan Harbinger: Surprise. Surprise. All right. Depends on the airline, I guess. Wow.
[01:01:23] Scott Lyons: But that's—
[01:01:24] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[01:01:25] Scott Lyons: That goes back to that threshold statement again. It's like it takes that much more to pull someone's focus. This is a bigger issue. Around media and the ways in which there's an up-leveling of capturing and maintaining your attention through heightened stimulus, through violence, through sexual—
[01:01:43] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[01:01:43] Scott Lyons: —innuendos, through intense language. All of these ways that essentially say, "We're going to capture your attention so we can sell to you."
[01:01:54] Jordan Harbinger: This is The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest, Dr. Scott Lyons. We'll be right back.
[01:02:00] This episode is sponsored in part by ZipRecruiter. So I have some business ideas like rent-a-pet, where people can rent pets for a week or even a month. You can choose from a variety of animals, dogs, cats, birds, exotic animals like snakes, lizards, maybe some sort of dangerous cat. Great if you want the companionship of a pet without the long-term commitment. Or another business professional apology service where you can hire somebody to apologize on your behalf so you don't have to take the hit. Perfect for those who are too embarrassed, too uncomfortable, too narcissistic to apologize themselves. You know who you are. Whether you're starting a new business or a growing one, if you want to be successful, you need the most talented people on your team. Like for your professional apology business, for example. That is where ZipRecruiter comes in, and right now you can try it for free at ziprecruiter.com/jordan. ZipRecruiter is an online platform that streamlines the entire hiring process, making it faster and easier for you to find the perfect candidate for your job opening. What sets ZipRecruiter apart from other hiring platforms is their matching tech. So instead of you sifting through countless resumes, ZipRecruiter does the heavy lifting for you. They scan thousands of resumes, identify the people with the right skills and experience for your job, and actively invite them to apply. ZipRecruiter's technology is so effective that four, four out of five employers who post on ZipRecruiter get a quality candidate within the first day. So you could have your next superstar employee for your rent-a-pet business in just 24 hours.
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[01:03:41] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by Better Help. It's common to become engrossed in fulfilling other people's needs without considering your own people pleasers, et cetera. It doesn't just have to be that. I mean, we all fall into this trap at some point, uh, many of us anyway. Finding a balance between self-care and others is just crucial for maintaining positive relationships and overall well-being. And as the saying goes, putting on your oxygen mask before assisting others is absolutely essential. Fortunately, therapy provides the necessary tools to discover a healthy balance in life, allowing you to support others without sacrificing yourself. I am a strong advocate for seeking therapy as they've personally benefited from it during difficult times. Therapy teaches stress and anxiety management strategies and can help address potential issues before they arise. Like what Jen and I did before moving in together. Additionally, therapy offers a secure and confidential space to process complex emotions, heal from past traumas, develop healthy coping mechanisms. Thus I bring you Better Help, an online therapy platform that provides convenient, flexible counseling services. Simply complete a short questionnaire. Get matched with a licensed therapist and switch therapists at any time without any extra charge. Got to click
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[01:05:20] Now for the rest of my conversation with Dr. Scott Lyons.
[01:05:25] It's wild though that she's so sucked into whatever Instagram.
[01:05:29] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[01:05:29] Jordan Harbinger: That you're like. All right, I guess, I'm taking my pants off now. You couldn't just say, "Hey, Rachel. Rachel, remember we were talking about something." You had to be like, "And I'm naked."
[01:05:39] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[01:05:39] Jordan Harbinger: Right? I mean, that's just, I mean, imagine what you, the amount of force you need to pull this woman away from her phone.
[01:05:45] Scott Lyons: Well, most of us, I mean like if you just walk down New York City streets, it's like how many people are bumping into other people because they're stuck in their phone.
[01:05:53] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:05:53] Scott Lyons: They're not noticing the world anymore.
[01:05:56] Jordan Harbinger: It's a little dangerous in New York if we fall through a freaking manhole.
[01:05:58] Scott Lyons: But that just proves like the technology and the engineers of that technology to capture your attention—
[01:06:05] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:06:06] Scott Lyons: —in this attentional economy are proficient at their job.
[01:06:08] Jordan Harbinger: Sure. Yeah. You mentioned September 11th and how the drama affected people around you. Tell me about that.
[01:06:15] Scott Lyons: Yeah. So it was my first day of school—
[01:06:17] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:06:18] Scott Lyons: —as an undergrad—
[01:06:19] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[01:06:19] Scott Lyons: And I lived a mile away just by — are you familiar with New York?
[01:06:23] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I am. Yeah.
[01:06:24] Scott Lyons: Okay. So I was in Washington Square Park—
[01:06:25] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[01:06:25] Scott Lyons: —where I was living, I went to NYU. So I was walking to my first day of school and saw a plane go into a building.
[01:06:32] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:06:32] Scott Lyons: My first thought was like, whoa, that's an expensive movie set.
[01:06:36] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:06:36] Scott Lyons: Because there's no—
[01:06:37] Jordan Harbinger: That was so real. Yeah.
[01:06:38] Scott Lyons: It looks so, I was like, that's so real.
[01:06:40] Jordan Harbinger: Incredible. Yeah.
[01:06:41] Scott Lyons: There's no way that could happen, like my—
[01:06:43] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Your brain isn't computing that this is a real thing.
[01:06:46] Scott Lyons: No. And then I got to school and then we learned what happened and we all know what happened.
[01:06:51] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:06:51] Scott Lyons: In terms of the second building, et cetera, and the falling and the phones weren't working for one, so I couldn't actually reach my family. And so they had no idea. They actually believed that I was in the building, even though they knew cognitively.
[01:07:06] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:07:07] Scott Lyons: You know, like I was a mile away but to them, it was all the same. And they watched the news over and over again. You know, part of their fear response in their own catastrophizing was like, "We're going to get the news that my son was in the building."
[01:07:22] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:07:22] Scott Lyons: And they watched over and over and over again, like the videos that were coming in of the plane going into the building. And, you know, I just want to give a little trigger warning—
[01:07:32] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:07:32] Scott Lyons: —for those who are listening, this is intense. And so I just want to, you know, the trauma therapist is me—
[01:07:37] Jordan Harbinger: No, no, no. That's fair.
[01:07:38] Scott Lyons: —to take a breath—
[01:07:39] Jordan Harbinger: That's fair.
[01:07:39] Scott Lyons: —if you need it or pause the audio. And I called my parents when I was finally able to get through to my parents, which was, I don't know, 10 hours after the—
[01:07:48] Jordan Harbinger: Oh wow.
[01:07:49] Scott Lyons: —initial event. And they said, "We're coming to get you. Your dad has already made it to Chicago, basically—"
[01:07:57] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[01:07:57] Scott Lyons: "—in his car. We're coming to get you. You're coming home." And I said, "No, no, I'm safe. I feel safe. I feel fine. The event is over. It ended 10 hours ago."
[01:08:09] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:08:09] Scott Lyons: And in their mind, it hadn't ended because they kept rewatching it over and over again. Getting that hit every time it was displayed on the television and their physiology tricked them into essentially thinking it had not ended.
[01:08:24] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:08:24] Scott Lyons: Because I didn't watch the news. I wasn't going to go rewatch that I lived it.
[01:08:28] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:08:29] Scott Lyons: And I also experienced something remarkable, which was community in New York City.
[01:08:35] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:08:35] Scott Lyons: People would walk up to you on the street and just give you a hug.
[01:08:38] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[01:08:38] Scott Lyons: It was wild.
[01:08:39] Jordan Harbinger: Especially in New York.
[01:08:40] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[01:08:40] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, of all places to have that happen.
[01:08:42] Scott Lyons: I was taking a bus the next day and this woman turned to me and she just said, "Did you lose anyone?"
[01:08:48] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[01:08:48] Scott Lyons: And we just gave each other a hug and we cried and it was like—
[01:08:51] Jordan Harbinger: Sure. That would never happen in New York any other time.
[01:08:53] Scott Lyons: No. No. And my parents didn't have any of that. All they had was the constant exposure of the images.
[01:09:01] Jordan Harbinger: Right. The replays.
[01:09:01] Scott Lyons: Yeah, the replay. And they were glued to the television and there was no balance between what they were taking in and adapting and moving all that energy all that stress energy.
[01:09:13] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:09:13] Scott Lyons: It was like sitting heavy in them and overwhelming them to a point that they couldn't even coordinate or organize or even understand whereas I was on the street. I was like moving around. I would walk all the way uptown and then back downtown just to do something.
[01:09:27] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:09:28] Scott Lyons: And we know in trauma work, especially overwhelm is like the sense that the experience just floods you and then you don't have the ability to mobilize to motor that energy out. And that's what gets like stuck in you. And I can explain the physiology more of that if need be, but it's that stuckness that starts to slow your whole system down. It has a lot of different causational effects. You know, like if we think about your nervous system as a bank and you get a hundred dollars. For every trauma, it's like $10 that is no longer in the bank to be used towards adapting to something else.
[01:10:07] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[01:10:07] Scott Lyons: And then, that adds up over time. And then you just become less resilient and efficient and all of a sudden your entire bank account is depleted and you are not adapting functionally to the world anymore.
[01:10:19] Jordan Harbinger: Yikes. I know a lot of families and groups, they create or cause drama to bond with each other. That's like my friend's family growing up that I just mentioned.
[01:10:27] Scott Lyons: Yeah. Yeah.
[01:10:27] Jordan Harbinger: Or a former friend, I should say. That was just the way they related to each other was like, "Let's cause some sh*t and stir it up. And then make everybody's life upended as a result of it.
[01:10:36] Scott Lyons: Drama bonding gives a false sense of belonging.
[01:10:39] Jordan Harbinger: But is it a false sense though? How is it a false sense of belonging?
[01:10:42] Scott Lyons: Yeah, I can deconstruct that. So let's just define drama bonding. It's essentially when one person, and we can give lots of examples in our culture in the last many years, including trolling culture.
[01:10:54] Jordan Harbinger: Trolling culture? I never even heard that, but I know exactly what it is somehow.
[01:10:57] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[01:10:57] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:10:57] Scott Lyons: Yeah. Where it's like, oh, we find something that other people are already a little activated around.
[01:11:03] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:11:04] Scott Lyons: And so we find something that there's already a little stoked about, little flame because we are a little stoked too. We find them, and then we're able to bond together. We're able to connect around what we're both having a little issue about.
[01:11:17] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:11:18] Scott Lyons: And then all of a sudden we create a bigger flame than what was initially there We're engulfed in that flame. So they're drama bonding, they're utilizing each other's experiences in life or what they're already kind of preemptively disturbed about or stressed about to connect. And then, that builds something bigger than what was originally there. I give the example in the book, I'm changing the names for a minute—
[01:11:43] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[01:11:43] Scott Lyons: —than the actual friends.
[01:11:45] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:11:45] Scott Lyons: So I was at a family friend's house and I was with my mom and the kid came home who lived in that house and shared with us a story of this math teacher. You know, she's a teenager, and she's like, "Oh, he's so unfair. He gave me a C. I deserved an A. I worked so hard in studying, da, da, da, da, da." And I know because I offered to help and—
[01:12:11] Jordan Harbinger: It's funny, front-row seat.
[01:12:12] Scott Lyons: Front-row seat and I did my like, you know, friend as a therapist thing, so I was like empathized with her. That sounds really hard and frustrating. I know how it goes, da da da da. And then, she disappeared. She went downstairs and we heard yelling and she was on a Zoom call with all her friends who are in that class—
[01:12:31] Jordan Harbinger: Hmm.
[01:12:31] Scott Lyons: —who also maybe didn't get A's, or were like just supporting her. And then, but have also been frustrated with that teacher and they were drama bonding.
[01:12:39] Jordan Harbinger: Kids use Zoom. That's what I'm taking from this. Are you sure it wasn't FaceTime? I feel like—
[01:12:42] Scott Lyons: That's what you're taking from the story, oh boy.
[01:12:44] Jordan Harbinger: Kids use Zoom? For fun? What a miserable — sorry Zoom.
[01:12:48] Scott Lyons: I don't know maybe they learned it in the pandemic.
[01:12:51] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:12:51] Scott Lyons: And now, that's how they talk.
[01:12:52] Jordan Harbinger: That's so funny. I had no idea.
[01:12:54] Scott Lyons: And you could hear them screaming and getting louder and just like, you know, drama bonding, and he did this, and then I heard this and I heard he like kills his plans.
[01:13:03] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:13:03] Scott Lyons: And they're just making up sh*t at this point.
[01:13:05] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[01:13:05] Scott Lyons: Because they're drama bonding. It doesn't involve truth, it involves a way of creating more stress response.
[01:13:11] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:13:12] Scott Lyons: And it feels good. They feel alive, they feel connected, and they feel a false sense of belonging, which I'll get back to you in a second. Then, she comes upstairs and she's fuming. She's at a 12, and when she came home from school, she was at like a five or six.
[01:13:27] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, okay.
[01:13:27] Scott Lyons: She is more heightened from drama bonding than she actually was from the response.
[01:13:32] Jordan Harbinger: From the event.
[01:13:33] Scott Lyons: From the event. And I tried to intervene and that was probably the worst mistake could have made, especially with a teenager. And she was like, "You don't ever believe me. You are not helpful. Why are you always against me?"
[01:13:46] Jordan Harbinger: Gosh.
[01:13:46] Scott Lyons: "You don't know anything."
[01:13:47] Jordan Harbinger: Gosh.
[01:13:47] Scott Lyons: "You're not a good therapist." My mom leans over to me and she's like, "Just ride it. Don't say anything. This is what's going to happen next. She's going to finish yelling at you. She's going to go have one more Zoom call. They're going to rile each other up. She's going to do some crazy cathartic response. She's going to cry and throw sh*t. And then she'll come back and it was like nothing ever happened."
[01:14:11] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:14:12] Scott Lyons: And I was like, "No way. Absolutely." I was like, "I'm a therapist, I know how this goes."
[01:14:16] Jordan Harbinger: You're right. Yeah. Like, "Mom, calm down. I have a degree in this."
[01:14:18] Scott Lyons: "Mom, I got like degrees up on walls and stuff."
[01:14:21] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:14:21] Scott Lyons: Yeah. And my mom was right. It is exactly what happened. She had to go through this whole cycle, this explosion, this downward spiral, and then it was like kind of nothing happened.
[01:14:33] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Like, "I'm fine now."
[01:14:34] Scott Lyons: "I'm fine. I don't know what you're talking about. It was fine. It was just a math quiz."
[01:14:37] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. No big deal.
[01:14:38] Scott Lyons: And my mom turned to me and she was like, "Teenagers invented addiction to drama."
[01:14:43] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. They probably did.
[01:14:44] Scott Lyons: Yeah. Why don't you write about that in your book?
[01:14:46] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Throw that anecdote in there.
[01:14:47] Scott Lyons: So that's the drama bonding and the false belonging is that it's not sustainable. They're connected in the moment.
[01:14:55] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:14:55] Scott Lyons: That heightened moment of stress, but not necessarily after because they can't sustain connection.
[01:15:00] Jordan Harbinger: Hmm.
[01:15:01] Scott Lyons: And that's why it's false belonging because it's not sustained.
[01:15:04] Jordan Harbinger: Huh. Okay. Interesting. The book does have a lot of strategies—
[01:15:08] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[01:15:08] Jordan Harbinger: —for people who are addicted to drama. One thing, that you wrote that I thought was really interesting, you said emotions are meant to be momentary.
[01:15:14] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[01:15:14] Jordan Harbinger: Any emotion that's longer than it needs to be becomes a story.
[01:15:18] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[01:15:18] Jordan Harbinger: Tell me what that means because I was like, oh my God, that's brilliant. I'm writing that sh*t down.
[01:15:22] Scott Lyons: Yeah. So emotions like a wave of an emotion lasts about 30 to 90 seconds. Anything after that is the story we're feeding to maintain it. We're trying to keep that emotion active.
[01:15:34] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:15:34] Scott Lyons: And we're feeding off the emotion as opposed to processing or metabolizing it. We're not letting it go.
[01:15:40] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:15:41] Scott Lyons: Because there's some belief system. If we let it go, we'll be victims. If we let it go, we won't be safe. Whatever it is, why we won't let go of the emotion, a wave of an emotion, and we might have multiple waves of sadness, multiple waves of joy is in movement. It lasts 30 to 90 seconds before the next sort of wave of something. Or it might be a different motion that could come after. But certainly, you know, for those who are addicted to drama, they're feeding off the emotion.
[01:16:09] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
[01:16:09] Scott Lyons: And trying to do whatever they can and adding all these narratives that never let them process it through.
[01:16:14] Jordan Harbinger: What do we do if we find ourselves sucked into the whirlwind of somebody else's drama? What's sort of the practical exercise of, okay, I need to unplug from this?
[01:16:22] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[01:16:22] Jordan Harbinger: But not find myself suffering from withdrawal and going back.
[01:16:26] Scott Lyons: Basically, how do I get out of the toxicity?
[01:16:28] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. How do I get out of there? And of course, if you're the one who's addicted, that's one thing. But if you're just near someone who's addicted, it's probably a little easier to get away from them, I would hope.
[01:16:36] Scott Lyons: Yeah. If you're the bystander, the one—
[01:16:38] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[01:16:38] Scott Lyons: —who's been dealing with secondhand drama. Yeah. So the first is like, ground yourself.
[01:16:43] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:16:44] Scott Lyons: Create a little boundary. Imagine, I mean, for those of you who like imagery, you might create a little wall—
[01:16:50] Jordan Harbinger: Bubble.
[01:16:50] Scott Lyons: A little bubble. As I like to think about it, a protection, and then ground yourself. Take some breaths, feel your feet on the floor. If you're sitting, feel your butt on the chair. Get back into your own body, because what they've done is pulled you out of your own body.
[01:17:05] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:17:05] Scott Lyons: They've pulled you out of your own presence and into their drama. It's, again, their way of being able to feel connection and belonging, false belonging. So come back to yourself. Check in, just even asking yourself, what am I feeling? So that you're separating yourself from the bigness of their feelings. You know, sometimes it is really hard. I'll be honest, even as a therapist, as someone who's gone through all this, who teaches people, there's sometimes still we're someone's pull, someone's tornado.
[01:17:33] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:17:33] Scott Lyons: Vortex is so strong, especially if they're kind of attacking you and you want to justify it.
[01:17:39] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[01:17:40] Scott Lyons: What happened? It might take a couple times of keep coming back to the image of the boundary, keep coming back to feeling your body. Bring your attention to somewhere else. Okay. I'm looking around the room here and I'm seeing the color red, the color white. I'm seeing the color of your eyes, your shirt, whatever I can do to shift my attention away from them.
[01:17:58] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:17:58] Scott Lyons: Even if I can't bring it back to myself yet.
[01:18:01] Jordan Harbinger: Interesting.
[01:18:01] Scott Lyons: These are mindfulness.
[01:18:02] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, mindfulness techniques.
[01:18:03] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[01:18:03] Jordan Harbinger: That's interesting that that's the antidote. But it also makes sense because if you're getting swept up in something, the antidote to that is to un-sweep.
[01:18:11] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[01:18:11] Jordan Harbinger: To grab onto something.
[01:18:13] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[01:18:13] Jordan Harbinger: And the metaphors work, right? It's a whirlwind. Well, what are you going to do? Grab onto something stable.
[01:18:17] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[01:18:17] Jordan Harbinger: Like the chair.
[01:18:18] Scott Lyons: Anchor yourself.
[01:18:19] Jordan Harbinger: Anchor yourself. Yeah. It seems like a lot of the problem with being addicted to this stuff is do these people know who they are without the drama.
[01:18:26] Scott Lyons: No.
[01:18:27] Jordan Harbinger: It seems like the identity is kind of wrapped up in all this.
[01:18:30] Scott Lyons: The identity is absolutely part of this. You know, I often ask clients who are dealing with this. Who are you if you're not important?
[01:18:37] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Like what is all the suffering you're doing giving to you, doing for you?
[01:18:42] Scott Lyons: Who are you if you're not the victim?
[01:18:43] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:18:44] Scott Lyons: Who are you if you're not in a state of suffering, who are you, et cetera? And these are hard questions because they don't know, but they're questions as an invitation to start to find out.
[01:18:53] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:18:54] Scott Lyons: And it takes a lot of time from, for those addicted to drama to recognize, to even be aware of the pattern is happening. They need at least a little bit of space, a little witness to be able to go—
[01:19:06] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:19:06] Scott Lyons: "Whoa. I think I might have just created more of an issue than what was needed. I think that reaction wasn't as big as it needed to be in order to get what I wanted."
[01:19:17] Jordan Harbinger: How do we know if we're the person who's addicted to drama? Because I think a lot of folks will be like, "No, my stuff is real." I mean, that's what we covered earlier in the show, right? Are there sort of telltale signs like, fine, I sort of created this if I'm being honest with myself, and then I definitely wanted to post it on Instagram and complain"?
[01:19:34] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[01:19:34] Jordan Harbinger: You know, is that, are there sort of obvious signs that we're the issue?
[01:19:38] Scott Lyons: Yeah. I mean, if it's like, you know, do you vent constantly? Do you find yourself changing the stories? Do you find that wherever you go, there's always something that's wrong or happening? Do you find yourself like believing the other shoe will always drop? That no matter how good things are, something bad is going to happen.
[01:19:57] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:19:58] Scott Lyons: Is it hard to like soak in and marinate in the good of life? Do you find yourself crisis hopping, like all of these things start to bring some awareness? You're not going to have the awareness in a cycle of drama. If you're in it, you will have no idea that that's what you're doing. The best we can do is start to interrupt it in the beginning, in the revving phase.
[01:20:18] Jordan Harbinger: I see.
[01:20:18] Scott Lyons: When we start getting those hits of stress response, when we start pulling things in before we get into a full state of disorganized activation or disorganized stress response.
[01:20:28] Jordan Harbinger: Getting away from this pattern is tough. And I know this because when I ended my friendship with the person who was also sort of addicted to drama—
[01:20:37] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[01:20:37] Jordan Harbinger: —my wife for a while who worked with all of us, she'd be like, "Why are you doing that? Oh, so-and-so does that." And I realized like, "Oh my gosh, I totally got this pattern from him."
[01:20:46] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[01:20:47] Jordan Harbinger: Not that I was causing drama, but I would vent a lot. And it was almost like the dopamine hit or the whatever of having crises fall in my lap every third day that were totally manufactured.
[01:20:58] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[01:20:58] Jordan Harbinger: It's almost like that was gone and I needed to fill it with something.
[01:21:01] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[01:21:01] Jordan Harbinger: I wasn't causing problems, but man, was I making mountains out of molehills. My wife would be like, "Chill out, man. Who cares? We would just book the flight for an hour later, like, calm down." And I'd go like, "What is wrong with me?
[01:21:11] Scott Lyons: You were going through withdrawal.
[01:21:12] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I was going through withdrawal.
[01:21:13] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[01:21:13] Jordan Harbinger: And it's creepy to think about that.
[01:21:15] Scott Lyons: Yeah. You had a secondary drama response.
[01:21:18] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:21:18] Scott Lyons: That you had the contagious experience. It shifted your physiology not to the same degree as the individual who's addicted to drama, but it shifted your physiology enough to have a tolerance level to have withdrawal symptoms.
[01:21:30] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:21:31] Scott Lyons: And so you filled in the gaps. And that happens.
[01:21:34] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Here's another weird phenomenon.
[01:21:36] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[01:21:36] Jordan Harbinger: We noticed that there was another person in our team who as soon as the crises stopped coming from one side, they kind of did it. I was like, why is this person acting up all of a sudden?
[01:21:46] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[01:21:46] Jordan Harbinger: And it was probably the same thing.
[01:21:48] Scott Lyons: Mm-hmm.
[01:21:48] Jordan Harbinger: A little bit of withdrawal because they didn't have to solve an emergency situation.
[01:21:51] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[01:21:52] Jordan Harbinger: And then they started causing these things. All together we're like, "Hey, we can just have a smoothly running business. You know, that's allowed to happen."
[01:22:00] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[01:22:00] Jordan Harbinger: And I remember us all kind of laughing about this because it's like, "Yeah, maybe we should go ahead and try not having a problem that requires an all-hands meeting every three days. How's that for a change?"
[01:22:10] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[01:22:11] Jordan Harbinger: You know and now we are like that.
[01:22:12] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[01:22:13] Jordan Harbinger: But it was just, it was almost funny because some days my wife and I'll go, "Man, It's been a long time since something really bad happened." And we'll laugh and knock on wood, right?
[01:22:22] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[01:22:22] Jordan Harbinger: But it's not entirely unreasonable because we really were stuck in that pattern.
[01:22:27] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[01:22:27] Jordan Harbinger: The whole and everyone around you, whether they like it or not is really getting sucked into that.
[01:22:32] Scott Lyons: Absolutely. And they're going to start to add a little spice when they get bored or when that withdrawal symptoms start to set in.
[01:22:37] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:22:38] Scott Lyons: Because something feels wrong. Because the crisis became status quo.
[01:22:42] Jordan Harbinger: Right. It did feel like something was wrong.
[01:22:44] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[01:22:44] Jordan Harbinger: What are we missing?
[01:22:45] Scott Lyons: Why are we missing? Yeah.
[01:22:46] Jordan Harbinger: Why are we finding the problems anymore?
[01:22:48] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[01:22:48] Jordan Harbinger: Oh wait. They're just not there.
[01:22:49] Scott Lyons: Yeah. And so we seek or create them.
[01:22:52] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm. Geez. Well, the appendix of the book is full of practical therapy exercises for people to do.
[01:22:56] Scott Lyons: Yeah.
[01:22:57] Jordan Harbinger: There's a lot more, but obviously in the interest of time, I got to let you go, but thank you so much.
[01:23:01] Scott Lyons: Thank you.
[01:23:01] Jordan Harbinger: This is really interesting.
[01:23:02] Scott Lyons: Thank you for having me.
[01:23:04] Jordan Harbinger: I think what we all know as a result of this episode is that dinosaurs and humans were never on the planet at the same time.
[01:23:10] Scott Lyons: You're an assh*le.
[01:23:11] Jordan Harbinger: Well, we knew that. No surprise there. Thank you.
[01:23:15] Scott Lyons: Thank you so much. They weren't?
[01:23:22] Jordan Harbinger: You're about to hear a preview of The Jordan Harbinger Show with a former pimp in how he uses mind manipulation.
[01:23:28] Mickey Royal: A pimp teaches a woman how to manipulate men. So I'm teaching her, but what she notices after the teachings or during teachings that, "Hey, you're a man too," so it's only natural that she works these feminine wildes on you. A smart prostitute will make a fool out of a stupid pimp any day. So any vice you may have, they're just hooks. It gets to the point where you become a narcissistic sociopath. You become empty. You become hollow. You experience no joy, you experience no pain. You want no love, you want no hate. You're just an empty room. You can't love money. You can't hate it. See, the puppet master cannot have any interest, any wants, any lust, any desires, any dreams, any goals, nothing. Why? So he can control your lust, your dreams, your desires. You don't do anything so that you can become everything.
[01:24:20] I have an aversion for women who are six feet tall and like one woman said, "In my heels, I'm 6'5" you're 5'7" but I find myself looking up to you." See, I'm 10 feet tall around her and she's all powerful in my presence so we can't separate. Anything that was insecure about you, that you thought it evaporates.
[01:24:38] You know, I've been shot twice. I've been stabbed once. Mexican mafia tried to kill me in my sleep. I've done three bank robberies in my life, two on purpose, one by accident, knowing what I know, the scars I've received, the consequences that I pay, would I do it all again tomorrow? Yeah, I would. It was that good of a ride. I would not be strong enough to resist the allure. It does have a deep psychological effect, and the only way to avoid the effects is to stay there. Even the woman I told you who lives in the 11-million-dollar house, we just got quiet one time and I said, "Do you ever miss it?" And she said, "Every day."
[01:25:13] Jordan Harbinger: For a chilling peek into the shadow world and the life in mind of former pimp, Mickey Royal, check out episode 548 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:25:22] Love this episode really changed the way I look at people who are overly dramatic. I had no idea why people did that. I thought they just were bored. Turns out there could be a lot more to the story. The book has a lot of practicals on what to do if you're the dramatic one. There's a lot of little quizzes, like if you're addicted to drama, how do you know if somebody else is addicted to drama? How do you set up your boundaries? How to address this in therapy if you need to? How to get somebody else to maybe address this in therapy if they need to? Really, really useful practical stuff in the book. We didn't have time to go through all that today. I didn't want this to be like crapload of quizzes for people who may or may not even need that stuff.
[01:25:57] All things Dr. Scott Lyons will be in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com. You can also ask our AI chatbot if you have questions. Transcripts are in the show notes. Advertisers, deals, discount codes and ways to support the show are all at jordanharbinger.com/deals. I've said it once, but I'll say it again. Please consider supporting those who support the show. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on Twitter and Instagram. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn.
[01:26:20] The best things that have happened in my life and business have come through my network that includes you and I'm teaching you how to do the same thing for yourself in our Six-Minute Networking course. The course is a hundred percent free. It's not like a gross thing. It's not schmoozy. I don't want your credit card. You can find it on the Thinkific platform at jordanharbinger.com/course. It's stuff I wish I knew 20 years ago. I'm teaching you how to dig the well before you get thirsty, and when you're in there, you're going to be in smart company. So give it a shot over at jordanharbinger.com/course.
[01:26:50] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Millie Ocampo, Ian Baird, and Gabriel Mizrahi. Remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for this show is you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting. The greatest compliment you can give us is to share the show with those you care about. And if you know somebody who is addicted to drama or related or close to somebody addicted to drama, definitely share this episode with them. In the meantime, I hope you apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you learn, and we'll see you next time.
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