Why am I so attention seeking? (the top 5 reasons)

In this article, we answer the following question: Why am I so attention seeking? We give you the top 5 reasons for attention-seeking behaviours; we help you recognize an attention seeker and explain the neurological mechanism behind this type of behaviour. 

Why am I so attention seeking?

To some degree, all people need attention. Attention underlies human relationships and contributes to the formation of a general state of well-being. The problem arises when the only purpose of your life is to get the attention of those around you at any cost and without taking into account the consequences of your actions. Unfortunately, our society has become overnight the paradise of those who feel an acute desire to be the centre of attention and it would be a miracle not to meet them.

Few people choose discretion as a way of life today. Most of them scream, talk a lot, make noise, take hundreds of thousands of pictures, wear branded clothes, hang fur collars around their necks, drink and give themselves to the press, kill animals, dress provocatively and go out to the club because they want to hear for at least a few hours that warm and soft voice that whispers to them tenderly: “you are nice!”.

The reasons behind the need for attention

There are a number of reasons why an individual should seek excessive attention:

  • low self-esteem
  • excessive loneliness
  • lack of self-worth (conditioned by the validation of others)
  • envy (the “ugly duckling in high school” complex will turn a woman into one who is always looking to be validated by the men around her)
  • narcissistic personality

 How do you recognize an attention seeker?

  • always tries to brag about his achievements and the talents he possesses (defects are almost never mentioned)
  • use of emotional blackmail or physical force very often (especially when he is refused or does not get what he wants)
  • often abuses the power obtained to demonstrate how important it is
  • drama queen
  • they feel in their environment when it is full of conflicts (this does not prevent them from lying to create these conflicts)
  • the conversation is all about them
  • mimics various ailments to receive the attention of those around
  • they can pretend to be the victims of an attack or aggression
  • try to attract attention by improper clothing (exaggeratedly sexy clothes for the situation or at the opposite pole-too wide can cause such an effect)
  • some even choose to undress completely in public.

What is the neurological mechanism behind this behaviour?

Attention addiction is not a defect of character, but only a manifestation of a brain that has adapted from an early age to the emotional trauma it has gone through: in this case, it is emotional neglect. A child, from the first months of life, associates survival with the attention that his mother gives him.

On an unconscious level, from the first heartbeat, our life depends on the ability to communicate and capture the mother’s attention. Our entire early universe is bound to be seen and heard.

For example, at the age of two or three years of the child, it is recommended that the parents have at least 30 minutes a day spent exclusively with him, uninterrupted by anything, so that the ego’s batteries are charged. But few of us do these things like in the books.

When children receive either too little attention or too much attention, distorted symbolic representations of themselves develop inside them and grow up with an overcompensation complex, such as the navel of the earth, or with a high degree of indifference and indifference.

They will be overwhelmed by feelings of insecurity, self-doubt, fear of failure and will have exaggerated behaviours.

Of course, when such a person is hit by everyday realities, the slips will be even bigger. Let’s imagine some children raised by a mother-shell, overprotective: when they face various difficulties, they will run back after my mother’s attention.

Then, imagine an indifferent and overly demanding mother, who resembles fear and insecurity in children’s souls: when they discover the world, will they approach it with an open soul or with fear, prejudice and insecurity?

In the absence of a physically absent or more emotionally absent parent, the brain of a neglected child will associate a lack of attention or rejection with a threat, all this emotion is located in the amygdala.

The one that controls the reactions of the cerebral amygdala is the anterior cingulate cortex, that voice that tells you “don’t do that thing, do another one, stop what you’re doing.” This part of the brain needs serotonin instead to control the activity of the cerebral amygdala. Affected addicts are not the happiest people, they often present themselves as cold or cynical people with very low serotonin levels.

In addition, in the dependents of attention, the hypothalamus is smaller than in other people, with fewer places for serotonin receptors or other neural chemical molecules. If the cingulate cortex decides to intervene to calm the violent reactions of the amygdala, unfortunately, it does not even have room to deploy troops.

Besides: if you’re an attention addict, you probably like it a lot to suffer. Suffering produces the release of endorphins, other magical molecules of happiness, which reduce anxiety and reduce your poor mental state caused by the lack of attention you need so much. Over time, this leads to a need to create as many difficult, conflicting situations as possible in order to get exactly the amount of endorphins that will make you feel good.

And to be complete: the perpetual use of drama as a drug activates the brain’s reward system that secretes dopamine. Here is how, by repeating behaviours that are harmful to her that become reflexes, the “drama queen” is born.

Can attention-seeking be treated?

Attention addicts are not the easiest people to bear, real personal relationships are almost impossible for them. Male or female “queen drama” consumes a lot of energy from the people around them, creates permanent conflicts that affect family life and paradoxically, trying to ensure their personal needs end up neglecting emotionally and physically those close to them. Attention-dependent mothers or fathers will end up raising children with the same problem. 

If you recognize yourself in the description above, find out that you can’t change your brain, instead, you can control it. By constantly analyzing your behaviour and identifying the factors that can reactivate such a behavioural pattern (alcohol, stress, lack of rest) you will be able to bring peace to your life and eliminate conflicts. 

So, instead of leaving behind a lot of sentimental dramas and conflicts, always trying to be the centre of attention, you better invest in the love for yourself and the forgiveness of those who neglected you. And if you can’t be alone, then it’s wise to go to a psychologist.

Emotional hygiene

In dealing with people who have an excessive need for attention, it is good to keep your approach balanced, to pay attention to causes and not effects, to defend your territory and emotional boundaries, not to become easy to blackmail.

If you give too much and fall into the trap, you run like a hamster on a wheel, trying in vain to satisfy an endless thirst for attention.

If you ignore it, you deepen the wound that led to those behaviours and childhood trauma.

It is very difficult and you will face many moments of doubt; therefore, if you are caught in a relationship with a person of this type, it is important to seek help from outside. What matters is to understand and properly address the root of the need for attention.

Normal need for attention

We are eminently social beings, who need status, love, touch, friendship, affection. Therefore, it is important to understand how necessary attention is for others, for ourselves, when and how to ask for attention.

If you can no longer stand on the surface of the water, if you can no longer swim to shore, but you do not ask for anyone’s help, it is very possible to drown.

Behavioural patterns

Yes, there are behavioural patterns that have an increased need for attention as a substrate. Histrionic, dramatic, manipulative, narcissistic behaviours are some of them, they fall into the category of the abuser.

The rescuers, on the other hand, feed on the need for the help of others, in order to subjugate them in the chain of addiction. Even the harmless organizer can hide an avid seeker of attention – that is, if he organizes everything for the sake of organization, with much aplomb and excess.

For the victims and the people who are being victimized, we have, on the one hand, the victim-type mentality, which claims that everything happens because of others and nothing on its own, and, on the other hand, the false victim.

The first know what rights he has, but is correct in responsibilities, the second invents situations to victimize himself.

And there would be a well-known typology: hypochondria, which can be categorized as a condition in itself. Paranoia is also a mental disorder that falls into attention-grabbing behavioural patterns.

FAQ on Why am I so attention seeking

Is attention seeking a mental illness?

Attention seeking can be a sign of mental illness, namely of Histrionic personality disorder. The key element of this personality disorder is the behaviour dominated by exaggerated affectivity and seeking to attract the attention of others. Patients diagnosed with histrionic personality disorder have a dramatic, emotional, impressive style.

Why am I such an attention seeker?

There are a number of reasons why an individual should seek excessive attention:

– low self-esteem

-excessive loneliness

– lack of self-worth (conditioned by the validation of others)

– envy (the “ugly duckling in high school” complex will turn a woman into one who is always looking to be validated by the men around her)

– narcissistic personality

How do I stop attention-seeking behaviour?

In dealing with people who have an excessive need for attention, it is good to keep your approach balanced, to pay attention to causes and not effects, to defend your territory and emotional boundaries, not to become easy to blackmail.

What are attention-seeking behaviours?

Some attention-seeking behaviours and patterns are:
– The person always tries to brag about his achievements and the talents he possesses (defects are almost never mentioned)

– Use of emotional blackmail or physical force very often (especially when he is refused or does not get what he wants)
often abuses the power obtained to demonstrate how important it is

– Known as the “drama queen”

Is social media for attention seekers?

Social media can be considered for attention seekers, as the algorithm is conditioned to respond to our phones that we even imagine them vibrating when they’re not. We are becoming addicted to other people’s likes and shares.

Why am I so attention seeking? (the top 5 reasons)

Conclusions

In this article, we answered the following question: Why am I so attention seeking? We gave you the top 5 reasons for attention-seeking behaviours; we helped you recognize an attention seeker and explained the neurological mechanism behind this type of behaviour. 

Attention addiction is not a defect of character, but only a manifestation of a brain that has adapted from an early age to the emotional trauma it has gone through: in this case, it is emotional neglect. A child, from the first months of life, associates survival with the attention that his mother gives him.

In dealing with people who have an excessive need for attention, it is good to keep your approach balanced, to pay attention to causes and not effects, to defend your territory and emotional boundaries, not to become easy to blackmail.

If you have more questions or comments on the content, please let us know!

Further reading

Scattered Minds: The Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder, by Dr Gabor Maté 

The Attention Revolution: Unlocking the Power of the Focused Mind, by B. Alan Wallace  

The Attention Economy and How Media Works: Simple Truths for Marketers, by Karen Nelson-Field  

Attention Seeking, by Adam Phillips 

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

What we recommend for Relationship & LGBTQ issues

Relationship counselling

  • If you are having relationship issues or maybe you are in an abusive relationship then relationship counselling could be your first point of call. Relationship counselling could be undertaken by just you, it does not require more than one person.

LGBTQ issues

If you are dealing with LGBTQ issues then LGBTQ counselling may be a great option for you. Maybe you are confused as to your role and identity or simply need someone to speak to. LGBTQ counsellors are specially trained to assist you in this regard.

References 

Healthline.com – What You Should Know About Attention-Seeking Behavior in Adults

Psychcentral.com – Histrionic Personality Disorder

Psychologytoday.com – Excessive Attention-Seeking and Drama Addiction

Betterhelp.com – Are You Guilty Of Attention Seeking Behavior?

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