10 Warning Signs You’re Addicted to Suffering

by | 67 comments

I was born in the ghetto.

I’ve looked death in the face three times.

I spent years living with an eating disorder.

My father left me when I was just a little girl.

I’ve had to be hospitalized for major surgeries twice.

I’ve spent most of my life medicated; for physical and mental ailments.

Yet, despite everything, I’m a very happy person. I’m grateful for my life every day. I love being alive.

I wasn’t always this way.

I spent the majority of my adolescent and adult life wondering why bad things always happened to me. I expected tragedy every day. It’s no surprise I always got what I was seeking.

I spent so much time in a state of worry and misery, waiting for the next misfortune to reveal itself to me, that I became attached to the feeling of suffering.

It was a constant in my life. It certainly would never let me down. I was comfortable in the arms of suffering. In fact, I was so cozy that I resisted any attempt to free me from my sanctuary.

As always, it’s only looking back that I realize what I was doing. At the time I attributed all of my hardship to the universe. It’s only now I see that suffering became a part of who I was as an individual.

I’ve since found that this isn’t that uncommon. There are a lot of people who are comfortable swimming in their familiar pool of misery and anguish. What’s even worse, is they don’t even know it.

You may not know it. The sooner you find out, the sooner you can let go of all your grief and finally find out what it’s like to really be alive.

Here are 10 signs you may be a addicted to suffering. Be brutally honest, and take note every time you feel uncomfortable. Your body may be trying to tell you what your mind refuses to see.

1. You’re inconsolable.

When something bad happened to be, I refused to be consoled. Nothing anyone said made anything better. Even when they clearly showed me that there wasn’t anything to be upset about, I would remain upset. What business did they have telling me what to be upset over?

2. You believe people don’t have control over how they feel.

I used to welcome pain, sadness, and suffering since I didn’t think I had any control over my emotions anyway. I had no control over being devastated when getting rejected by a boy. I was entitled to hours of sulking, crying and, occasionally, amplifying the pain by playing the saddest, most anguish-filled music I could possibly find.

3. You focus on everything that’s wrong in your life.

I would dwell on all of the negative in my life. When a positive thought crossed my mind, I would find a way to make it inconsequential.

4. You play the victim and place blame on everywhere but yourself for hard times in your life.

I used to feel like people didn’t get me because I was always the outcast in social situations. The truth is I went into the social setting expecting to be rejected, so I rejected myself before anyone could even give me a chance.

I thought I was woefully unlucky and just born into a life of perpetual hardships. I blamed bosses for being unreasonable and my friends for not understanding. When all else failed, I’d blame my upbringing. (Just in case you haven’t heard yet, the statute of limitations on blaming your childhood for your problems has long since expired.)

5. You blame yourself for outrageous situations that could (1) never be your fault or, (2) are not as disastrous as you’re making it seem.

If my life was lacking in drama, I’d find the nearest calamity and blame (or abuse) myself for the disaster. It sounds funny now, but this is so common.
If I got a bad grade on a test, I would berate myself for being a failing idiot who could never do anything right in life and should be fed to a pit of snakes, but not before being set on fire.

6. There’s a pattern of bad things happening during good times in your life.

In the rare occasion I did experience respite from catastrophe, something would always happen. I was so focused on spotting the next calamity that I ended up manifesting it.

7. You take everything personally.

I used to not be able to handle constructive criticism. I always felt like I was being attacked or picked on.

These days, it takes a lot to get me down. As a matter of fact, Peter rejected two of my pitches before this one because it just wasn’t a match for The Change Blog. I ended up publishing them elsewhere, and joked with Peter that I would get it right if it was the last thing I did.

I didn’t blacklist Peter from my inbox, Twitter, and Facebook, on the conclusion that he was just an angry lunatic who obviously didn’t like women. Also he was mean.
It sounds crazy, but it happens every day.

8. You find it impossible to forgive yourself.

Whenever I did something I wasn’t proud of, I would bash myself to no end. I would never let it go and I would let guilt consume me.

9. You can’t think of anything to be grateful for.

I used to get very uncomfortable whenever someone asked me this question because I honestly didn’t feel like I had anything to be grateful for. I thought I needed to be a cancer survivor to be grateful, because obviously I couldn’t be grateful for the stupid simple things in my life.

This isn’t true. I don’t care who you are, you have something to be grateful for. Nothing is too small.

Just yesterday I was grateful for my glasses because they help me see better. Also they’re my only pair.

10. You believe yourself to be a victim to circumstance.

Just like I felt like I couldn’t control my feelings, I felt like I had no control over anything about my circumstances. I would let my circumstances dictate the tone of my life, when it should have been the other way around.

* * *

How did you do?

There are plenty of other warning signs, but in my opinion, these are the primary signs.

Now, just because you experience a few of those feelings once in a while, doesn’t mean you have to run and book an appointment with your psychologist.

But if you find yourself consistently identifying with the points above it’s time for you to release yourself from your bed of nails.

Photo by mislav-m

Liz Seda

Liz is a corporate dropout turned lifestyle designer and punchy personal development blogger. To find out more, go to her blog at A Life on Your Terms and download her member-only Life Lovers Guide to the Galaxy. You can also find her on twitter at @elizabethseda.

Latest posts by Liz Seda (see all)