What is it about addictions? Where do they come from and how to they manifest?
Many psychologists think that it all stems down to attachment and The Attachment Theory. This is somewhat true I believe. However, there must be some greater reason why people have unhealthy addictions. There are many types of addictions: sex, drugs, exercise, food, gambling, unhealthy relationships and the list goes on. What if addictions are the result of not being able to express how we feel? What if addictions are the result of not being able to express how we feel growing up as children?
To grow up in an era where emotions and feelings were never discussed were quite troublesome for me. As a young person I always wanted to discuss how I felt, what was going on in my head and/or what I was confused about in life in general. That platform was never open for me. It was always like ‘oh, Jessica wants to talk about her feelings…’ and I was ridiculed and made fun of.
I could remember sitting at the dinner table as a child trying to teach my family that ‘why do we have to sit down at the kitchen table if we aren’t going to talk about how we feel?’ My eldest brother would make fun of me and then everyone would laugh. I learned how to suppress my feelings and not ever talk about my needs or my feelings.
As a grown up this has somewhat disabled me. It has disabled me in a way where, now, when I want to tell someone how I feel it can make me nervous, uneasy and somewhat anxious; almost ashamed of me feeling the way that I do.
As a therapist and all through out my training I have learned how to help people with these same issues. However, what about me? How can I help someone if I can’t help myself first? This is a common thing that many psychology students will face when they are starting school and deciding to major in psychology.
Psychologists are not to go into the field of psychology to learn about themselves I have been told. And, being the literal person that I am have taken that on board as it is not a selfless way of supporting and/or helping others.
But, how can we/I find the balance? And, how does this relate to addictions and to unwanted habitual behavior … whatever it is?
What if the theory is this…. people who have difficulty with addictions in their life have never been taught to deal with their emotions properly. People with addictions have never been able to cope with their emotions and therefore use drugs, alcohol. sex, gambling to escape these difficult feelings that must be digested.
No one wants to feel sad or feel sad. Although it is enlightening to be the rabbit hole for a short while I am not sure anyone wants to get stuck in the rabbit hole. But, how can we get out? How can we stop self-sabotaging ourselves? When we feel great and feel confident and alive someone may say something that brings us right back down into that hole. How can we shield ourselves from this or is it the impossible?
What are you thoughts? Why do you think people have addictions? Why do people get stuck in certain ways that can be harmful to others and harmful to oneself?
After all, if we are not growing as individuals… what are we actually doing in life? We are not meant to meander… or are we? I am not happy meandering….
Jessica Valentine is a Chartered Counselling Psychologist who supports people within the local community and worldwide online. She offers online Skype therapy and face-to-face counselling in East Sussex, Brighton-Hove.
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