5 Signs You Are Addicted to Your Wounds (and How to Heal)

BY Laura Roe Stevens        April 22, 2016

You’ve likely heard: “Let go and let God.”

Trusting the Universe is essential to healing. We have all struggled at some point. Those who rebound say it begins with letting go of the pain, forgiving others and dropping ‘the story’. If you don’t drop the story, you may be marinating in the experience and re-living the pain every time you discuss it. If so, you will just attract more painful situations and block yourself from manifesting your best life.

Awareness is the first step to stop this negative spiral.

Here are 5 signs that you may be addicted to your wounds:

1. You refuse to forgive those who hurt you.

In fact, whenever you think back upon an event where you were hurt, you just get mad again and the wound re-opens, as you feel yourself slipping back into that past moment with anger and bitterness. That painful moment, therefore, is alive again and reappears in your current relationships and conversations in the form of anger, fear, control, pity, and bitterness.

2. You invest much of your mental energy on past events.

It’s a habit. Some may be filled with regret or obsession over specific events in the past, such as a deep betrayal. That’s normal and one that many struggle with letting go of. But you, however, habitually re-analyze every conversation, every previous hick-up in the past, every slight or comment made by friends and family. It’s a pattern that takes energy away from your life force. As Carolyn Myss says, “chronically investing mental energy into past events is like trying to breathe life into a corpse.” Spending time on them drains your light, your vitality and your potential.

3. You complain a lot.

In fact, it’s not odd for you to mention a hardship within the first five minutes of meeting a new person. For example, I heard someone once say to a new work colleague: “I can’t go to the lunch meeting because I always go to my cancer survivor group meeting that day.” By telling a new colleague something this personal (illness, divorce, etc.) you are subtly manipulating the conversation or situation by ensuring that you are treated differently or aren’t challenged. The colleague might have wanted to discuss a work issue, but certainly won’t after a comment such as that. And likely, you earned pity and space not to work too hard. But is that a good thing? Have you defined yourself as the one still recovering from cancer, rather than the one who is triumphing over cancer and still has a lot to offer?

4. You are a poor listener and sometimes one up your friends when it comes to problems.

Are you the one who interrupts a friend who is trying to tell you about a frustration or an issue? For instance, I overhead a friend, who was trying to tell a girlfriend about a car accident, get interrupted with: “Oh. My. God! I SO know what you mean! When a drunk driver hit me last year, not only did my car get totaled, but it was midnight and my baby was in the back! Can you imagine how terrified I was?” Clearly, she won in the category of worst car accidents, right? My friend felt she had no right to say any more and didn’t.  

5. You rarely follow-up on opportunities that come your way.

For example: If a friend offers to introduce to you to a colleague for a job interview, even though you complain about your present job, you don’t email this person with your resume. Another friend offers to re-do your resume and upload it for you onto a job site. Even though you complained about not being ‘tech savvy’ enough to upload your resume, you never find the time to meet with her.

If you can relate to any of the above scenarios, don’t worry! You are not a bad person! Likely, you’ve been through some tough situations and had the wind taken out of your sails. It’s hard to get back up after devastating loss. And sometimes the attention from a downfall can be a bit enjoyable. It’s nice to know people care. Attention and sympathy from others is reassuring as it proves that the Universe isn’t filled solely with people who will hurt or disappoint you. But if you find yourself, years after a crushing divorce, illness or job loss, stuck, or reliving your pain, it’s time to drop the story.

You can do it!

Imagine people saying: “Wow, you’re an inspiration!” or “How did you land that job?” or “Wow, you look amazing!” Isn’t that better than hearing: “Poor child, the divorce crushed you,” or “Poor thing, you never got over it did you?”

You don’t need that type of attention. Own your power. You are not a victim. Don’t give the person or event that hurt you any more power over you living your best life. Visualize where you want to be within a year and then meditate, imagining that you have arrived. Feel it. Enjoy it. Believe it.

Any time you start to talk about “the event” again, stop. Practice a line like: “Can we talk about something else? That was years ago!” And then smile.

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Laura Roe Stevens

Laura Roe Stevens is a professional journalist, budding author, and yoga teacher in Southern California. She teaches healing and restorative yoga to those recovering from illness or injury. She is also writing her 3rd novel, blogs at navigatingvita.com and raises two boys by the sea shore. Recently back from her TUT trip to Peru, Laura is invigorated about life's possibilities! 

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