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I Think I’m Addicted to Having a Stressful and Poor Life Due to Trauma

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I was a child who would get beaten and cursed at on a daily basis by my mother, beaten with wood, pots, and pans, etc, until I left my home when I was 17. I heard daily how awful I was, how my mother didn’t know how God put someone like me in the world, how I would be nothing etc. I was sexually abused by a family friend but to this day no one knows. I was had panic attacks when I was a teenager and came off of it by myself. Now, I’m a 38 failure, I’m homeless, jobless, depressed etc. I had chances to do something with myself but I always seek destructive situations to be in, so I think I’m addicted to being sad, poor, and having people treat me as they wish. I can’t speak my mind, I feel I can’t ask for anything because I’m bothering people. Is it possible that I am addicted to being a failure? (From Helsinki)

I Think I’m Addicted to Having a Stressful and Poor Life Due to Trauma

Answered by on -


No one who could write this email needs to remain as a failure. Failure isn’t an addiction, poverty isn’t an addiction, and sadness isn’t an addiction. They are conditions we become familiar with. In many instances these patterns of thought start early on and continue more as habits of thought — not mandates from the universe that you will never amount to anything. You have already begun the process of change by asking if change is possible. By writing us here you’ve made it clear that you can do something about what is happening. You’ve reached out to get an expert opinion. This is a great start. The next level is to figure out what you need to make the changes you want. Most likely this is finding some support both in terms of shelter and caring for your emotional well-being. Perhaps there is a church or other religious community that can help with this.

Then ask yourself what’s possible. Push the limits here a bit. Is there some work you could do to in exchange for a place to stay? Don’t look for changes over night — but look for changes! Small progress toward something better helps to change those habits of thought that you’ve inherited from your family. It is time to replace them, little-by-little, with something that says you haven’t gotten everything yet — but you are working towards it.

Finally, have gratitude for the changes that come into your life. This is the key to changing the old habits of thought into new blueprints for a better life.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

I Think I’m Addicted to Having a Stressful and Poor Life Due to Trauma

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2019). I Think I’m Addicted to Having a Stressful and Poor Life Due to Trauma. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 13 Apr 2019 (Originally: 15 Apr 2019)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 13 Apr 2019
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