Healing From Painful Story Addiction

3 min readMar 13, 2024
Photo by DESIGNECOLOGIST on Unsplash

“I don’t want to be sixty years old still talking about what happened to me when I was twelve. I said this to my cousin, who though more than a decade younger than me, held traumas just as mature by the time she graduated high school. So did her mother. So did mine.

Pain is relative.

I don’t think it kind or fruitful to compare. So many factors go into how deeply we feel pain and what serves as a trigger. An event that leaves one wounded can’t ever be declared more or less significant than another’s, because my pain is mine. Your pain is yours. We can empathize with one another, but we cannot feel what someone else is feeling the exact way they are feeling it.

If you’ve had a fairly comfortable life, enduring anguish may be more challenging than it is for someone with more experience. Your world could seem like it’s crashing down while, if the same thing happened to them, the issue would just be tossed atop a pile of mounting misfortunes. That doesn’t mean either of your personal tragedies matter less. Each just hits different — and thus, hurts different.

I was listening to a podcast where a guest bemoaned the idea of removing children from abusive, unsafe, volatile home environments and placing them in the care of strangers indefinitely. The guest believed the best place for a child is always with their family. Part of the reasoning centered on resilience and resourcefulness we gain in learning to navigate difficult circumstances. They argued that without developing this ability, as adults we go out into the world and crumble at the first sign of conflict.

Basically, the podcast guest hung this argument on the idea that we are more likely to suffer an irrevocable break when we haven’t learned to bend.

This might be true.

Still, it led me to believe that the guest must’ve been one who had a relatively stable, happy home-life. Because there was no mention of how you break a little more every night when agony consumes most of your days. They didn’t speak on how your heart is too busy holding sorrow to save room for joy. Or on how you are as affected as anyone else, you just keep it inside because you’re numb. Because you’re so tired. Because you don’t believe anyone would care, anyway…




Pushcart Prize nominated essayist and memoirist. Author. Music connoisseur. Multi-passionate creative. I’ve lost a lot of sleep to dreams….