Acknowledging your pain, and how much your pain has affected you, is not “wallowing” in it.
Lots of people don’t want to acknowledge their pain, because they’ve been told that it’s unhelpful to “wallow” in it.
I can’t help but notice that most of them have been told this by people who don’t seem to want to hear or know about their pain at all.
There are some people for whom coping with pain is what they do most during the day.
That’s not because they’ve made a decision that their life is going to revolve around pain— it’s just the situation in which they’ve found themselves.
When something is intruding upon your experience all day, every day, yes, you have a tendency to talk about it a lot.
But when others invoke the term “wallowing,” there’s an accusatory vibe to it. As if someone is unnecessarily focusing on their pain for some secondary benefit— attention, sympathy, or something.
I haven’t ever met a person who was depressed, anxious, traumatized, or addicted, who would’t absolutely LOVE to NOT “wallow” in their pain.
I’ve never met someone who was suffering, who wouldn’t rather be doing or feeling anything else.
I think people get the idea that some survivors are “wallowing” in their pain for a few reasons.
(When I say “survivor,” I’m not just referring to people who have survived trauma— I’m referring to survivors of the bleak experiences of depression, anxiety, and addiction, as well…all of which can absolutely be life threatening conditions.)
I think some people are overwhelmed by the very idea that survivors are in as much pain as they are.
When survivors describe and discuss the kind of pain they’re in, often all day, every day, it freaks out people who cannot imagine living with that kind of pain.
So, they get it in their heads that the person MUST be exaggerating.
They must be “wallowing” in their pain. This must be a CHOICE.
After all, it can’t be an accurate description of how someone is REALLY feeling and existing…can it?
They don’t want to imagine that kind of pain…so they conclude it’s not real, it’s a product of the survivor “choosing” to “wallow” in it instead of “move past it.”
Alternatively, I think there’s a subset of people who truly believe in “mind over matter”— who think that most pain, but especially psychological pain, can be overcome through the momentum of positive thinking.
To these people, to acknowledge ANY significant source of pain is not good, because even giving that pain attention will exacerbate it.
For these people, even acknowledging pain constitutes “wallowing” in it.
Let me be clear: there are lots more people who DON’T talk about their pain, than who do.
A big reason they don’t is because the world frequently shames us for acknowledging our pain. It tells us we’re “wallowing” in a “victim mindset.”
But it’s very difficult to overcome pain you don’t acknowledge.
In order to really deal with pain, we have to acknowledge and accept that it is exactly as bad as it is. That it effects us exactly as much as it does.
Every time a survivor gets hit with, “stop wallowing in your pain,” it makes recovery a little bit harder.
Acknowledging your pain, and exactly how it has impacted you, is not “wallowing” in it.
It is a necessary step to effectively healing it.
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