If one was to hear the word ‘addiction’, there is a strong chance they would start to think about an alcoholic or a drug addict. This is not because it is impossible to be addicted to anything else; it is because of how addiction is often portrayed in today’s world.
As a result of this, it is easy for people who are hooked on these substances to feel bad and for people who are hooked on other things to feel good. One person is then seen as a problem to society and the other is seen as a vital part of society.
What this comes down to is how people are generally judged by what they do and not by what is taking place within them. If it was possible to look at what is taking place within someone’s inner world, it would be harder for them to deceive others.
And as people are conditioned to believe that they can only be addicted to certain things as opposed to being told that they can be addicted to anything, it means that some addicts are overlooked and others end up being demonised. This can then cause one to be fooled by someone’s behaviour or their conditioning stops them from being able to see what is actually taking place.
However, one could be in a position where they are caught up in their job and find it more or less impossible to stop working. To the outside observer, they could be classed as responsible and hard-working.
In addition to this, one may end up being someone who always goes to the gym or engages in some kind of exercise. They could be seen as someone who looks after their body and other people could see them as a role model.
One could be in a relationship and feel the need to be around the other person at all times. In their mind, this could be put down to how much they love the other person and other people could validate this outlook.
If one is not in an intimate relationship (or even if they are), they could spend their whole life being absorbed in what their child or children are doing. This could mean that other people see them as the perfect parent.
A Step Back
However, even though each of the examples above (as well as many others) are often seen as normal, it doesn’t mean they are healthy. Ultimately, they are simply another way for someone to avoid what is taking place within them and to change how they feel in the process.
Intellectually, one may deny this and come up with all kinds of reason why they do what they do. If one is addicted to something that is seen as acceptable or if the people around them support what they are doing, it could be harder for them to face reality.
On one side, one will be able to change how they feel through engaging in these things, but on the other, it is going to cause them to disconnect from how they feel. If one was to stop doing what they were doing, their feelings could end up coming to the surface once more.
As one’s point of focus in on keeping their feelings at bay, it won’t matter whether their behaviour is having a negative effect on their rest of their life. What matters is feeling better now, and this means that one might not even think about what kind of consequences could arise as time passes.
Numbing the Senses
When it comes to fixing a car or repairing a house, one will need to be aware of what is wrong. If this awareness doesn’t exist, it is not going to be possible for them to take the necessary action.
The same level of awareness is going to be needed when it comes to someone who has a mental and emotional problem. Yet, if one is running away from their pain, it is going to be a challenge for them to be aware of what is taking place within and without.
Based on how they feel, they are not going to be focused on becoming more aware, they will be focused on doing everything they can to remove their pain. While it would be easy to label them as weak or to say they lack self-control, this would show a lack of understanding when it comes to what they are going through.
If they were to get in touch with how they feel, there is the chance that they will soon end up hitting rock bottom. Without the things that allowed them to feel elevated, one would have to face their emotional truth.
Once these feelings have come to the surface, one may end up feeling extremely low. What this can mean is that one is carrying toxic shame within them, and although this would have started out as a feeling, it has gone on to infiltrate their whole being.
As a result of this, it is not going to be possible for one to feel as though they have worth, and they will not only feel disconnected from others, they will also feel disconnected from their own humanity. One will believe that they are flawed and there is nothing they can do about it.
The reason one sees themselves in this way is likely to be the result of what happened during their childhood years. Here, one may have been neglected and, or they may have been verbally, physically, sexually and or emotionally abused.
This would have been a time where one didn’t have the ability to question what was taking place and to see that the behaviour of others didn’t reflect their true worth. What it reflected was what was going on for the person or the people who abused them.
In order for one to let of the toxic shame that is trapped within them, it will be important for them to grieve their unmet childhood needs and to tolerate the shame that comes up during this process. This is something that can take place with the assistance of a therapist, healer and /or a support group.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.