I once heard someone say it is possible to be addicted to your problems. Whenever I thought about addiction, I always thought of it in terms of substance abuse or compulsive behaviors. It’s not often people relate problems or emotional pain to “addictions.” So I was intrigued…
Why would anyone desire to have problems, hurt or pain? Unlike other addictions, emotional pain doesn’t bring any kind of temporary high. It doesn’t provide any physical/emotional pleasure. So why do we find ourselves reminiscing, replaying out our heartbreak and anger, as if to relive each painful emotion over again? Why is it that some of us can’t tolerate life just being good? When things start to go right, we sabotage our chance at happiness with self-destructive choices and behaviors. No, you are not crazy.. There may be a deeper explanation for your seemingly “nonsensical” addiction..
According to psychotherapist and radio broadcaster, Armand DiMele, “When a person is continuously stressed by emotional pain, there are subtle changes in the body that create a dependency on stress-related chemistry. Changing habitual patterns of pain can be as difficult as giving up an addictive substance, such as nicotine, alcohol, or even heroin. The emotional pain addict unconsciously seeks out situations that are sure to result in pain.” If you’ve repetitively been through pain, your physical body may literally be missing it when not it’s not present. However, is physiology solely to blame for this irrational desire for hurt?
In a Huffington Post titled “Evil and the Addiction to Pain (Part 1)” by Deepak Chopra, the author identifies areas of our consciousness that seem to be the “ingredients of the addiction,” or as I like to refer to as the “lure“ of painful emotions.
These are the top five reasons you may be seeking more problems:
- Habit — I’m used to my pain; it’s too hard to change.
- Victimization — I’d like to be out of pain, but I’m too weak. Somebody stronger is responsible.
- Ideology — My pain is worthwhile because it serves a higher purpose.
- Shame — I’d rather hurt than have others find out who the real me is.
- Guilt — Punishment is the redress to my past wrongs.
Fear not; you are not alone. Experiencing or relating to these emotions (and the reasons for having them) is quite common. However, if you look at all these reasons more closely, they are actually just excuses designed to keep you stuck in your hurt. You need to see it for what it is. Each one makes you powerless and/or justified in your painful situation; perfect excuses. This trap will keep you continually seeking problems that supply your “fix” of pain.
Truth is, God has a plan and purpose for your life, and it’s not one of pain. I love The Message version of John 10:10: “… I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” You are not powerless! You do not “deserve” pain. In Jesus Christ, you are a new creation! Don’t be afraid to let the world see you—stop hiding behind your problems. Behind the hurt and pain, there is a strong, beautiful woman awakening her purpose. You need to speak these words over your life and declare once and for all you won’t live stuck in your pain! I guarantee problems will always come, but they don’t have to ruin you. The difference lies in what you believe about yourself and how you react. Instead of justifying excuses and dwelling on your problems, focus on solutions and you will see opportunities you never knew were there.
I’m learning to let go of the pain… I’m finding my contentment and joy in the absence of problems. I’m finding pleasure in the release of pain. Choose to let go today too!