Day 2911: What are you addicted to?

“What are you addicted to?” is a question I asked at the dinner table last night, after reading a very interesting article online about people’s addiction to grievances.

I am addicted to understanding other people’s behaviors (that’s probably why I became a psychotherapist). The article about the addiction to grievances explains a lot about Trump’s increasingly concerning behaviors as well as the behaviors of many others.

For many years, I have noticed people’s addiction to grievances, humorously immortalized in the “airing of grievances” part of the “Festivus” Seinfeld episode.

The article, by James Kimmel, Jr., a lecturer in psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine, explains that focusing on grievances stimulates the brain like drugs do, resulting in the constant revisiting of grievances and a craving for revenge.

Here are two quotes from the article:

… it turns out that your brain on grievance looks a lot like your brain on drugs. In fact, brain imaging studies show that harboring a grievance (a perceived wrong or injustice, real or imagined) activates the same neural reward circuitry as narcotics.

Recent studies show that similarly, cues such as experiencing or being reminded of a perceived wrong or injustice — a grievance — activate these same reward and habit regions of the brain, triggering cravings in anticipation of experiencing pleasure and relief through retaliation. To be clear, the retaliation doesn’t need to be physically violent—an unkind word, or tweet, can also be very gratifying.

James Kimmel, Jr., POLITICO Magazine

Personally, I am actively trying to break any addiction to grievances by focusing on other — more adaptive — addictions, like blogging, walking, and taking photos for this blog.

I am also addicted to connections, synchronicity, and making meaning, so it occurs to me, here and now, that a brain addicted to grievances is a cold and dark place.

What are you addicted to? Have you ever been addicted to grievances? Do you know somebody who is addicted to grievances? I’m addicted to your comments, so please leave one, below.

Finally, I’m addicted to expressing gratitude, so thanks to all who help enable me in my addiction to blogging, including YOU!

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

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21 thoughts on “Day 2911: What are you addicted to?

  1. Somehow I’ve never become addicted to holding grudges or seeking revenge–although it doesn’t seem like I have, although I do feel like I’m addicted to remembering stupid things I’ve done and berating myself over things that happened, in some cases, decades ago. That’s not necessarily a better option.
    I knew a doctor who, with her family, celebrated Festivus each year. Maybe one day of airing grievances caused them to hang on to grievances in an unhealthy way, but the fact that they celebrated it every year makes me think it was was cathartic and allowed everyone to move on.
    If you’ll excuse me I think I’m going to go put up an aluminum pole and perform some feats of strength.

  2. I’m currently addicted to jigsaw puzzles–I’ve never done them before and now I can’t stop!

  3. puella33

    What an interesting article! I don’t know if I’m addicted to grievances . I know someone in my family loves to watch the news all day long, but I think it’s because she’s bored. She loves to hear Trump say speak then she criticises him, and swears at the TV. I personally , do the opposite and avoid the news, or better limit myself to listening to it once a day.
    Have a nice day, Ann

  4. I am addicted to kind people, flamin’ hot Cheetos, puzzles, walking, and blogging.

  5. I love the Festivus pole and the airing of the grievances. I actually think of it often! I don’t think I am really addicted to holding grudges, but I can be a complainer, so perhaps that’s altogether similar. I’ve been addicted in the last four years to following politics WAY too closely, and that’s probably why I complain so much. 🙂

  6. I used to be addicted to grievances but one year I decided to give up one especially old (40 years!) grudge for Lent. Prayerfully, with great effort, I succeeded. Such a happy state it left me in, I decided I would spend all future Lenten days working on removing that baggage from my life. A current grudge I should work on: Hate for insurance companies and some of their rules that burden me with unsatisfactory outcomes. It may take more than 40 years I don’t have at my age to be successful!

  7. I don’t think I’m particularly susceptible to an addiction for grievances, though there *are* a couple of experiences in my life that I do seem to revisit periodically, and not in a productive way. My mother is terribly addicted to grievances, and I think watching her unhealthy behavior was instructive for me. I *am* addicted to your blog, though, Ann, as I never know what fascinating idea you will ponder. ☺️

  8. I am addicted to my morning blog behaviors of reading and commenting, Ann.

  9. I think grievances may be easy to get addicted to, but I end up being attracted to puzzles, art or encyclopedic learning. I don’t know if it’s to my detriment. Being addicted to grievances has its advantages. One may become sharper to the root causes of suffering which may be unjust, and that needs remedy, even if it’s just developing consciousness of the matter. I like the image you posted of the strong diagonal fence with the snow and the utility poles. It’s pleasing with the water and clouds.

  10. wow…is that Jack Black?? what am I addicted to? BOOKS!!! I have a real problem 😉

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