Socio-relational Addictions You Might Not Know You Have (and How They’re Messing with Your Life)


Sure there are the usual suspects when we talk about addiction. You know them well. Alcohol, Drugs, Pornography and all that.
I need to tell you though, that there are some socio-relational addictions (addictions that have to do with our social life and our relationships) that I perceive many people are dealing with, without even knowing the issue exists.

Now. I need to tell you a few things before I share the list:

a)Try really hard to fight the instinctive urge to defend yourself before evaluating yourself. None of them will sound good. I don’t expect you to be super excited to identify with any of these. Its only natural to want to see ourselves in the best light. That’s why you have to fight the urge.

b)If you do find yourself in any of these (i) That will already show a serious level of maturity in you and (ii) All it means is that you must adjust.

c)Most of these are not all bad traits in of themselves. Its when they take over and run our lives and become the foot we lead with all the time or become the main lenses by with the see and interact with the world around us

So here we go:

1. The addiction to how people see us

Now, this is not always a bad thing IF we are using the right deep, fundamentally good and TRUE character traits.
In other words, if people see us as kind, patient, considerate, hardworking, creative or whatever, that can actually help to push us to maintain that impression even when it is not convenient for us to do so.
That is not what I am talking about here. I am talking about the flip side …when we are trying too hard to be who we are not just to maintain a facade.

What I am talking about is more of the need for external validation.
The need to maintain an impression people have of us (which may not be true) because a huge part of our self-esteem is tied to that impression
The need to get validation whether we actually deserve it or not.
The need to look like something we are not.
The urge to buy or lie or connive our way into maintaining an impression

How is this messing with your life?
-You will spend more money, time and energy trying to meet/sustain the impression of people who will still ultimately reject you anyway
-You will not like yourself. Because you are trying to be someone else. Its exhausting
-You will be extra sensitive about “things and possessions” because the things you have(not “who you are” will likely be your source of validation

2. The addition to control

The addiction to control is not just about wanting to control every situation. It’s about wanting to plan everything, see everything, approve everything BECAUSE:
i)You have major trust issues
It is about a lack of trust. It is about trusting only one’s own self and ONLY one’s own standards. The addition to control will make you dominate every conversation and attempt to control every decision.
ii)You have a superiority complex
So not just having trust issues but having trust issues because you’re thinking its always better when YOU do it, or decide it or initiate it and control it. Here is the kicker though. People who have a superiority complex are compensating for feeling inferior.

How is it messing with your life?
-You drive people away
-You become unpredictable to people because you are always overreacting when things are out of your control. -You become overly and unnecessarily critical of other people’s work.
-Compromise and partnership will be difficult, and trust will not come naturally for/with you.

3. The addiction to old glory

The addition to old glory keeps a people trapped in the praises about what they did before not what they ARE doing or trying to do. This is so subtle. Its that feeling of always looking to extract accolade from past successes or past events that gave us emotional satisfaction or validation.
It keeps us trying to recreate those experiences so that we can recycle the pleasure that came from those experiences

You know…that beauty queen in the 80’s who still does her hair that way?
or that dude walking down the street looking like he just stepped out of studio 54 in the 80s? (cos he was the man back then)

How is it messing with your life?
-You never reinvent yourself because you are too scared of losing the attention and affection
-People stuck here are also prone to anxiety because their sense of identity was found in that one thing and so if that one thing fades away, they feel like they will too.
-It kills creative freedom
-It kills risk taking because the fear of failure is bigger. Now its no longer the fear of failure in of itself alone, it is now also the fear of losing the status that the past success gives.

4.The addiction to information

This is a sly one and there are many perspectives to take this from. For this post, I’ll focus on the addiction to “consume” information.
Here is one of the best ways to find out of you have this addiction. It’s a question:

How often do you feel bored and what is your immediate go-to way of solving that problem?

Feeling bored once in a while is not necessarily a bad thing. The problem is feeling bored often, and then dashing to social media or some “feed” to consume information. Or better still, feeling uneasy until you get your information fix. It’s the “need to be in the know”

You’re sitting at work and your cell phone has to sit on your laptop so you can see it. (Stay in context here. I am not talking about when you are expecting a call or something. I am talking about having phone separation anxiety) or  You cant stand to have your social media notifications on silent in case you miss the next cat video. Got 5 min, find a YouTube video to watch. Got 30 min, TV. News. Information.

How is this messing with your life?
-You will notice that you don’t actually create or produce much. You simply consume.
-You will notice that even when you try to create stuff, you will spend more time than necessary just consuming information about what you want to do, rather than actually doing it.
-You may NOT notice that if you do this 10 times a day and for only 6 min each time, that’s one hr a day, 7 hrs a week, 378 hrs a year and 15 days of your year…just consuming mostly needless information.
-It will be hard for you to be truly PRESENT with the people who are actually in front of you.

This is different from consuming to learn. I am talking about just constantly having a pressing need to see what is going on…watch news…check your Facebook feed…just shoot up videos on Youtube and so on.

5. The addiction to planning

Boy oh boy. Don’t I know this one too well. It is dangerous. Not only does it tell you that you need a perfect plan before you move forward with anything, you also find pleasure in the planning process.

However…when the rubber meets the road (or rather….when the rubber SHOULD meet the road) you choke. You freeze. You enjoy the big picture idea but don’t want to be in execution

You see, it was not the goal itself that got you excited. It was the planning for the goal. If this is you, you need to fix this.
Now…as with most of the others on this list, the love of planning is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it could be a gift! However, it could really mess with your life.

How is this messing with your life?
-You’ve really gotten good at TELLING yourself WHAT to do, but you will struggle where it really matters and that is MAKING yourself do those things.
-You will do well when you have executors around you (people who can do the work and can focus on the execution) but you will tank when you have to both plan your desired outcomes AND also work to execute and make reality
-You will be stuck in idea land and you will chase your tail. You won’t get started on that “thing”. WHY? Because many of the missing pieces you are looking for a plan for, can only be discovered in the process of doing.

6.The addiction to attention

This is another sly one.
You know yourself or you know someone like this.
This is the feeling of always wanting to be noticed.
It’s a little different from “the addition to how people see us” discussed above.

The addition to attention comes when you cant stand to not be noticed. (By the way, most people who have this addiction find it hard to believe they do – go figure .lol)
It’s about always hogging airspace in meetings, talking loud so heads can turn, sucking up the air in conversations, showing off and so on.
It’s about feeling off when you’re not the center of attention.

How is this messing with your life?
-You will find it hard to share success with others
-You will drive good people away from you who feel awkward because you are “trying too hard” to be the center of attention
-You will find it hard to truly celebrate with others when it’s their time to shine (and they will see it)

7. The addiction to drama & pain

Yes. Some people are addicted to outright drama.
You need to be very careful about this one.
You see, drama and pain are a part of life but they don’t have to define your life.
Here is what I mean: There are people I have met who validate their relationships by how much drama and pain there has been. Like “I know I should be with this person because we fight so much but make up every time”. Its like they wear the drama like a badge of honor.

For some, they just have to be super dramatic when they are expressing themselves because surely “please” and “thank you” are for losers.

How is this messing with your life?
This is VERY profound:

The drama you secretly seek will always find you
(CLICK TO TWEET THAT)

-The line will always be very blurry between the drama you “can” take and the one you “should” take. This is important because:

It’s not everything you CAN take, that you should
(CLICK TO TWEET THAT)

So there you have it. What do you think? Did anyone make you go “hmmm”? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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  • Sherie

    Hmm, who even knew these were addictions? I think I’ve observed some in others but No 2 made me go hmmm for myself, you know OCD & stuff but I’m adjusting… Thank you Mr Tobi.

    • Lol Sheri. Indeed. Better to go from “who even knew” to “know i know”, than to just “not know” .

  • Callan Joshua

    Wow this is something so great that you have brought to our attention. There’s a few addictions on the list that I identify with, I’m even laughing a bit as I read through them as it sounds just like me. Thank you Tobi! We need to be open and honest with ourselves in order to become better

    • Hey Callan! Lol! I love it. So true! That honest with ourselves is soooo important. That’s how we grow. Glad you found value in it!

  • Abby

    Thanks Tobi. This was a really big eye opener. By the way what’s number 5?

  • Duncan Dunco

    This is good but scary information.. These are addictions!? who would have thought…