Have you ever wished others cared more about you? Have you felt neglected or uncared for at times, and wondered if you really mattered to others? If you have addiction issues, these feelings could leave you vulnerable to relapse. Read on to find out how.
Emotional Pain is Everywhere These Days
What most people call self-pity is a form of emotional pain, and there’s plenty of that to go around these days. From relationship upsets to feeling discounted by those in authority, people are experiencing an abundance of emotional pain these days. They can arise from friends and family members being absorbed in media and entertainment to flat out disrespect and abuse from others we are close to or answer to in one way or another. If we have addiction issues, we can be even more vulnerable because of personal sensitivity to these things.
How Self-Pity Drives Addiction
Let’s say that I have an alcohol problem and am trying to get sober. I get the support of my wife and family to abstain from drinking, but she is angry about all the money I’ve spent on booze and other things during my binges. This comes out in a quip she makes about spending money carelessly. I get hurt, and instead of saying something about this, I hold it in. I may feel like I don’t have the right to say something about it, but still feel upset nonetheless. I start feeling self-pity for myself that my wife and others in my family don’t see how I’m trying to change. This reminds me of how I used to stay in my room and feel sorry for myself when I was a kid and my mother would lecture me about how I needed to be ‘more responsible’ and to ‘grow up.’ If I have learned that I can’t depend on anybody for support, then I may start feeling hopeless that anything is going to change.
It’s A Mindset That Drives The Cycle
This mindset of feeling like no one is going to help me, combined with feeling self-pity or emotional pain, essentially fuels potential relapses. The addictive cycle is one of looking towards a substance or a compulsive behavior to soothe my pain instead of others. The moment I start keeping my feelings to myself instead of talking about them to others, I’m heading towards a relapse. The emotional isolation combined with the activation of the old belief that I can’t depend on anyone else to help me meet my emotional needs helps seal the deal.
How to Break the Cycle
Instead of just keeping it all in, the most important thing is to have someone to talk to about your emotional pain or self-pity. This could be a trusted friend or family member, a 12-step group or sponsor, or a therapist. That way you don’t keep it all in, and can get some valuable feedback or advice about how to handle it so as not to wind up relapsing. This is so valuable, but if the old programming from childhood tells you not to trust others, you will have to go against this to break out of the cycle. If you don’t have friends, family, or a recovery group to share all this with, then you definitely should seek professional help in breaking the cycle of self-pity and relapse. I have been helping people with addictions and other forms of mental illness for over 10 years now. If you have a problem with addictive or compulsive sexual behavior, you can contact me for a free consultation to see if I might be able to help you in overcoming self-pity or emotional pain that leads to addictive relapses. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org, my phone number at the top of the page, or by filling out the form below. There is help from others that can aid you in getting a new start and unshackling yourself from the chains of the past, so do something good for yourself by reaching out to others who can help.
About the author: Scott Kampschaefer, LCSW is a private practice therapist in Austin, Texas. He has an extensive background in working with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder at a clinic for older adults with these disorders in Austin. He now works with adults and adolescents 14 and up in private practice. His new e-book is entitled Life’s Lessons from the Young and the Old and is available for purchase on Amazon.
Click here to learn more about how Scott can help you with compulsive or addictive sexual behavior.