“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!