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Do addicts know the pain they're causing?

Old 09-11-2017, 01:10 PM
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Do addicts know the pain they're causing?

Happy Monday everyone.

I have a question for you all.... would also love the input of any addicts out there who have a better opinion on this.

I have many friends and family members who are addicts. They seem to only think of themselves, and they continue to hurt the people closest to them.

They never seem to feel bad. My brother got sober after years of drug use but he still didn't feel bad for the pain he caused our parents during his addiction. Same with my ex bf. He never seemed to feel bad for the pain he caused me.

Why is this? Do addicts see what they do to those around them? Do they feel bad for this?

Would love anyone's input....
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Old 09-11-2017, 02:17 PM
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Want an answer from an alcoholic? (I'm from the school of thought that addiction is addiction--same disease, different drug of choice.) If not, feel free to skip my reply.

I think most of us don't realize the pain we're causing others during our addiction, because our minds are so extremely focused in ourselves and in our own pains and anger--fancied or real. Addiction takes over our minds like a "beast".

Many of us are "blind" to how we are being because we are so hyper-focused on running away from our feelings that frighten the he** out of us.

I sometimes wonder if our psyche also causes us to deny that we're causing pain to others in order to protect itself. I know for me, I was so full of shame, regret, guilt, remorse, and self-hate, that I couldn't really face what my actions were causing others because that amount of self-hate piled on would just be too much to handle. So sometimes our addictive minds justified how we were acting.

I will say that I have both experienced and witnessed people who get to the other side of honest and thorough step work to be able to see the pain they caused, to feel badly about it, and to make sincere amends for it.

We're not all self-absorbed people although it certainly appears that way when in addiction or if we're not actively using in addiction but have no emotional sobriety. Our authentic selves I firmly believe are not this self-absorbed. When I'm spiritually fit, helping others and thinking of others becomes natural. We grow up and allow ourselves to feel the growing pains, finally getting that feelings won't kill us... we stop running from feelings and fear.

I think the only exception may be if someone has been diagnosed with something like Narcissistic personality disorder (not just "narcissism") but I could be wrong. That's just an opinion.

I hope that helps.
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Old 09-11-2017, 02:28 PM
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Hey! You are back! I sent you a message!

To give you my opinion on your question... I try to so hard to believe that they just don't really know. It's because the addiction super cedes everything.

If they do know, they don't care as they have the drugs that mask all real emotion.

I know how hard it is to be miserable, co dependant, and feel so low while your addict is out having what seems to be a great time. Maybe they are, maybe they arent.

If they tell you otherwise, you never know what the truth is. Because they change their minds so much. But whatever they are telling you, is only half truth. If any at all. I think its the reptilian brain controlling them. They must protect the addiction at all costs.

But really, I think that they do care. In fact they are running from so damn much emotions and pain that might be why they are addicts. Becoming recovered might mean facing alot of pain, and remorse. So that also prevents them.

They for some reason, do not see the damage they inflict upon themselves and those that actually love them. Very sad thing.

I often told my addict how badly I was hurting over it. That I didnt have drugs to mask it. That I had to carry the guilt over my bad hurtful choices with words and actions that would cause a breakup in any situation, but also that the woman I love is destroying herself.

She is a cunning manipulator, and replied "Why is it so bad for me"? She turned it around on me like I was worried only on how it affects me.

Now of course I am/was worried about how it affects me, because I love her, and the addiction is causing life which is kinetic to be at a standstill. Everything that pertains to a life of health TOGETHER is on hold until she decides she has had enough.

What the hardest thing for me to accept, which I wish I should have before my own really bad choices, was that she was not doing it to me, she was just doing it.

Unfortunately I felt extremely abandoned in which I would try to shame her out of it. I chose cruel words and lashing out to deal with the pain I was feeling over it.

Thats something I will have to deal and live with. I choose to try so hard to seperate her from the addiction and not look at them one in the same. She is her, but with an addiction. When SHE is ready she will face everything that put her where she is. I look at the addiction as selfish and uncaring. And it is in control of her until she has had enough.

Will she only think of herself when she is clean? Will she be selfish? Will she have a bad personality? I have no clue. Will she feel pain over her choices? I do think so yes. Because when it was just meth, it was different. Heroin is what really changed her personality to what it is now.

Full time dope seeking that nothing can get in the way of. The lies began to covet the addiction. The using came from and center because the addiction is in control. Even if she wanted to be a good spouse and mother, she cant be right now because the addiction over rides everything.

So in the end, my un educated answer is this... I believe that they somewhere know the pain they are causing but they cant stop. Until they are ready. I think one of the steps in recovery is to make amends should that not hurt anyone. If that happens, you will have the answer in your particular case.

I am glad to see you back. Please stay. Its been quiet lately, and There is a handful of us new guys going through the same thing. It helps to talk.
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Old 09-11-2017, 02:42 PM
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This is a hard one.

I believe there are two types of addicts. The first type is inherently self absorbed and selfish without the chemical enhancement of those traits. The second type is inherently decent who, for one reason or another, found themselves in a destructive spiral.

When you take the drugs away from addicts, what's left is their true nature. If someone's a jerk before they started taking drugs, they'll be jerks after they quit using. My AXGF would fall along that spectrum. But as an example of the second type, my niece got in way over her head with alcohol a few years back. She was a sweet kid, and in recovery, is a sweet kid.

So it's really a case by case basis.
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Old 09-11-2017, 03:13 PM
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He never seemed to feel bad for the pain he caused me.

people deal with stuff differently. or in the case of addicts, they try to NOT deal with stuff as much as humanly possible. that means tricky stuff like feelings, or actions. for if one were to stop and truly assess their current situation and all the wreckage they had caused, the lives they'd mowed thru, the people they had used along the say, if they truly thought about how much they had hurt their MOM or DAD or sister, TRULY with sober clarity, it would be too much, too overwhelming.

so what does the self respecting addict do? get loaded. get numb. add it to the Forget pile.

also as Zoso said - some people are amoral jerks without the drugs. many sociopaths are also substance abusers - addiction in and of itself does not CREATE sociopaths, but it can certainly MIMIC that behavior. when the drugs are in charge, all else is secondary.
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Old 09-12-2017, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by AnvilheadII View Post
He never seemed to feel bad for the pain he caused me.

people deal with stuff differently. or in the case of addicts, they try to NOT deal with stuff as much as humanly possible. that means tricky stuff like feelings, or actions. for if one were to stop and truly assess their current situation and all the wreckage they had caused, the lives they'd mowed thru, the people they had used along the say, if they truly thought about how much they had hurt their MOM or DAD or sister, TRULY with sober clarity, it would be too much, too overwhelming.

so what does the self respecting addict do? get loaded. get numb. add it to the Forget pile.

also as Zoso said - some people are amoral jerks without the drugs. many sociopaths are also substance abusers - addiction in and of itself does not CREATE sociopaths, but it can certainly MIMIC that behavior. when the drugs are in charge, all else is secondary.
Exactly what I was meaning to say, but couldn't find the words. When they start to feel the pain they caused, addiction comes a-knockin', saying, "You know how you can make this go away..."
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Old 09-12-2017, 06:52 PM
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I was an alky and knew of the pain I was causing my kids, but I handled it by not handling it. I drank more to block it out. I wasn't trying to make them unhappy, but I was so unhappy I couldn't do unto others what I couldn't do for myself.
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Old 09-12-2017, 07:25 PM
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it's like if your name was Irma, and you stopped to look back at what you had done......the wreckage.......so massive......how could you even accept, respond to and repair the damage???? where on earth would you even BEGIN? better to just keep on a spinnin'................
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Old 09-12-2017, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by least View Post
I was an alky and knew of the pain I was causing my kids, but I handled it by not handling it. I drank more to block it out. I wasn't trying to make them unhappy, but I was so unhappy I couldn't do unto others what I couldn't do for myself.
Hi least,

I thought you could use a big hug

Please don't beat yourself up over the past. Give yourself a big pat on the back for the self-awareness and growth you've experienced.

I've been where you're at with feeling the way you do. My sponsor reminded me that if I wallow in self-pity, guilt, remorse, or morbid reflection, I am no use to others. Forgive yourself and love yourself. Be the best version of yourself going forward. :-)

Hugs,
PTF

PS - How about you and I leave this thread together okay? Grab my hand and let's head back to where we can be of service.
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Old 09-12-2017, 08:57 PM
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Pathway, you've got it all wrong. I'm not beating myself up, just stating the facts as they were when I was drinking. The OP asked if addicts knew they were causing pain, and I was responding to the question, that's all.
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Old 09-13-2017, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by least View Post
I was an alky and knew of the pain I was causing my kids, but I handled it by not handling it. I drank more to block it out. I wasn't trying to make them unhappy, but I was so unhappy I couldn't do unto others what I couldn't do for myself.
Thanks, least. I often wonder if my husband (separated) has any idea how much anxiety and pain this causes my girls. Before starting the pills, he was a good dad and involved in fun things with them, even though he drank excessively. As time has gone on, he seems to have gotten more comfortable with not spending time with them, or showing up really late when he does, to the point that my 14 year old doesn't want to see him. She constantly asks why I am being nice to him when he is "crappy" to me. So, I'm guessing he does know it, even though he doesn't acknowledge it.
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