Many people enjoy the thrill of being the center of attention, but when that desire becomes so strong that maladaptive behaviors are used in order to gain attention, the result is often quite destructive.
This type of behavior is often common among addicts and alcoholics because it serves as a type of coping mechanism for underlying issues. Attention seeking alcoholics can turn to manipulative methods in order to get the attention they seek from others.
What is attention seeking behavior?
The use of excessive or socially inappropriate behavior in order to gain attention can create numerous problems for an individual and their relationships with others. Some examples of this include:
-Excessive bragging about one's achievements and abilities.
-Emotionally or physically bullying others
-Misusing existing power or authority to manipulate others
-Becoming overly involved in other people's problems, or trying to control others by playing the role of "rescuer"
-Creating drama over minor issues or occurrences.
-Gossiping about others or using other manipulative methods to create conflicts between friends or other loved ones.
-Complaining about health problems, illnesses, or pain to gain attention or sympathy from others.
-Making oneself a martyr by working excessively or pushing oneself to other limits to gain attention.
-Talking excessively, at a higher than normal volume, or dominating conversations
-Making oneself out to be a victim in every situation.
-Wearing sexually provocative clothing or engaging in risky sexual behavior.
Why is it so dangerous?
There are many negative effects that come with engaging in any type of attention seeking behavior. The most obvious is the damage it does to relationships with others. An attention seeking alcoholic will find it difficult to maintain any lasting or meaningful relationship.
Friends, coworkers, and romantic partners will find it too difficult to be around an attention seeking person. Their behavior often creates long lasting damage. For certain types of behaviors, there is a great risk of putting one's own health and safety at risk. Overall this type of behavior makes it impossible to lead a fulfilling life.
Why is attention seeking common among alcoholics?
The traits associated with attention seekers also happen to be found among many addicts and alcoholics. Low self esteem is often at the root of both issues. In addition to a low sense of self worth, a person will have a deep sense of loneliness and alienation from others. A tendency to act impulsively is strong among alcoholics and attention seekers.
Because of this, there will also be symptoms of anxiety and depression. Relationships will suffer greatly and the individual will struggle to understand why. They will often blame a high level of stress for the frequent conflicts they experience with others.
What to do about attention seeking in recovery.
This type of behavior can be quite common among those in recovery and must be dealt with in order to make significant progress. Even if someone has successfully stopped drinking or using drugs, they may still engage in maladaptive behaviors like attention seeking. Overcoming personality defects and maintaining emotional sobriety is the next big step in their recovery.
Some methods for doing this include:
-Working on self esteem issues, including stopping comparisons to others, breaking negative thinking patterns, and finding healthier ways to cope with unpleasant emotions.
-Becoming less self absorbed through service to others and working with a therapist to gain a more realistic perspective of themselves.
-Using mindful techniques to gain an awareness of the emotions that contribute to attention seeking behavior.
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