The Addiction To Pain and The Search For Happiness

This Post Goes With: We Are All Just Passing Through. We can get used to suffering. It’s a pretty common thing to be addicted to pain. Sounds crazy because chances are, you are frustrated with the pain and want it to go away right? It’s not the feeling of pain itself, but rather the chemical response our bodies give. If we have suffered from mental health issues or the effects of trauma for most of our lives, living a life outside of those confinements and pain is unfamiliar. The reason behind this is because our body releases endorphins throughout the body when we feel pain mentally and physically. So we are not hooked on the pain itself (because, who WANTS to feel these things, right?) but we are hooked on the endorphins that our body releases when we experience these emotions. Eventually, our body gets used to being in this state. So when we try to think of positive thoughts, it often feels uncomfortable. Life without pain and chaos can feel unfamiliar and strange. Maybe you’ve experienced the thought “it’s too good to be true,” when life begins to line up in your favor. This is not because this good thing is a rare event, but rather it’s because the emotions that are evoked from this positive outcome is foreign to your body. Maybe saying affirmations feels like bullshit or you have a strong belief that you “always mess up your relationships.” Again, it’s not the suffering and experiences you are addicted to, but the chemical releases that occur in response to these experiences. A lot of it stems from childhood.

Not only is this a common occurrence of childhood sexual abuse survivors, but this also goes for emotional abuse too. For example, let’s say you had a father who was emotionally distant. Throughout childhood, chances are you’d constantly seek out attention, validation, or love from him. The times he gave you his time or attention, you’d get a feeling of euphoria or joy from feeling that you are loved at that moment. In that positive experience, the release of endorphins occurs. Now, let’s say chances are he doesn’t stay engaged, or involved for long and withdraws, becoming cold. That pain of disappointment and abandonment the child suddenly feels is also accompanied by endorphins. This becomes a cycle, and if it occurs repeatedly in childhood, oftentimes, in adulthood they will seek out the same. It’s not that the adult wants that painful experience, instead they are used to the cycle and the endorphins released in response to the highs and lows, creating some sort of dependency. They don’t know any different. Often, this occurs subconsciously, but once we become aware of what is going on, we have the power to change it.

Also, here is something to know about happiness: it’s not our natural set point. Take that pressure off yourself to feel happy all the time. We can change the cycle I mentioned above and experience happiness more frequently, but it’s not the natural state of human beings, just like anger, stress, and sadness. They are all equivalent. I think a lot of frustration in individuals comes from “not feeling happy.” I’ve done this myself. I’d often freak out that I wasn’t “happy anymore” and would fear that I was going into another depressive episode. Whereas in reality, I just wasn’t feeling happy in that moment. We are not made to feel happy all the time. In fact, on a vibrational scale, peace is at a higher level than happiness. Peace is the form of least resistance. Peace is releasing the struggle to constantly achieve happiness. We will find relief once we stop searching for maintaining a state of happiness all the time.

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