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Thursday, March 11, 2010 jane, Community Member, asks

Q: comfort in sadness

I know some people who don't seem to want to get better.  people that don't take advice and seem to look for reasons to be upset, and sometimes, ways to upset those they care about.  Is it possible for people to actually find comfort in being miserable?

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Answers (2)
Jerry Kennard, Health Pro
3/11/10 4:29am

Hi Jane,

 

I suspect your question resonates with quite a few people. It has the quality of "he's never happy unless he's miserable" about it. At some level I think we all recognise this.

 

You ask whether some people find comfort in being miserable? I think it's unlikely although, depending upon how you portray your emotions, there could potentially be a number of gains. For example, showing you are unhappy may have the effect of eliciting sympathy from others. In some circumstances it can extend to people doing this for you and it can be a mechanism of avoidance. I don't mean to imply that people use the mechanism of misery in a deliberately manipulative way, only that it does have certain effects the person may want (including keeping people at a physical or emotional distance).

 

Your question taps into all sorts of possibilities, including personality types, that can really only be answered by getting to know an individual, their background and experiences, aspirations and dreams and so on. Misery is, of course, a strong component of depression and we musn't forget that some people's depression never seems to be relieved. From the recipients perspective it is undoubtably an uncomfortable and frankly depressing thing to be around.

 

Thanks for your question.

 

Best Wishes

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Judy, Community Member
3/11/10 9:54am

Jane, in addition to what Jerry said, I also think there are people who are addicted to drama and get bored when there's no crisis to deal with in their lives.  Maybe they've grown up with a parent who catastrophized everything and they learned that's how to deal with problems.  I don't think they're making it up, but they don't realize that it's not necessary to freak out over everything that happens.  Of course, if they have depression, that trait may get worse.  I know some people like that and I just try to not give advice and to detach a little bit so that I don't get upset.  There are just some things you can't control, but if you under-react, it may deflate the level of anxiety going on when you're with them.  Hope that helps some.  Take care.

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By jane, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/26/10, First Published: 03/11/10