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Ever wonder why the world is so screwed up? Research proves people find pleasure in physical and emotional pain

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Mike Bundrant
Natural News
March 29, 2013

Have you ever watched people ruin their own lives and wondered why anyone would simply self-destruct and then revel in misery?

Do you throw your hands up in frustration at self-sabotaging behavior? My father used to rant about his horrible eating habits. “It’s what I put in my own mouth, for crying out loud!” he’d say. “And I can’t control it!”

His eating and drinking habits killed him. He knew it was happening. He kept it up alongside decades of physical pain and emotional suffering. He clung to his misery as if it were his best friend. I never saw him more “content” than when he was down for the count.

All the world is in a similar state. We are on the brink of extinction and seem to be fine with that. In fact, we are accelerating the process. Our economy, health, environment, food supply, agriculture, civil liberties, and more – it’s all jacked. We’re cool with it, though.


Here it is, folks: It’s because we find pleasure in pain. We avoid, deny, justify and cling to problems because we secretly like the suffering they cause

Before you call me crazy, look at this research. The Association for Psychological Science has explored the psychological mechanisms associated with pain and is concluding that people resort to feeling worse in order to feel better.

Here is a summary:

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

• Both people with and those without a tendency to physically harm themselves were studied, with the same outcome.

• Study participants were “tortured” with unpleasant shocks and loud noises.

• Emotional responses, positive and negative, were measured with biofeedback.

• Negative emotions occurred, as expected, in response to discomfort.

• Negative emotions subsided after unpleasant experiences were removed, as expected.

• Unexpected result – in addition to negative emotions subsiding, POSITIVE emotions INCREASED after pain was removed.

• It should be noted that physical and emotional pain follow the same neurological pathways.

Human tendency is to experience an increase in positive emotions as a result of physical or emotional pain

The phenomenon has often been called pain offset relief, but this is a misnomer. The real phenomenon is a very straightforward positive emotional boost that comes after pain.

Would your world make more sense if you accepted that people, including you, tend to find pleasure in all kinds of painful experiences and therefore tend to recycle those experiences, going all the way back to early childhood?

Does it make more sense now that people cling to their problems as if their life depended on it? Self-sabotage, seen in this light, is totally understandable. When we get pleasure from pain, achieving positive goals is not nearly as desirable as we like to tell ourselves.

Does this pleasure-in-displeasure pattern explain real human behavior outside the lab?

You bet. Let’s look at some examples of how we take pleasure in physical or emotional pain. I put these examples into two categories, obvious and not-so-obvious. We tend to deny the not-so-obvious examples in a dangerous, psychic game of cat and mouse. The self-deception may be our undoing. (Yet, we don’t seem to mind, do we?)

Obvious examples:

Physical self-harm – people who whip, cut, burn or punish themselves. As much as 28% of college students cut or burn themselves.

Sadomasochism – people who find sexual pleasure in all manner of physical and emotional pain, such as torture, rejection, humiliation, subservience, punishment and so forth. Remember the infamous Kinsey Report, in which 12 percent of female and 22 percent of male respondents say they experience an erotic response to a sadomasochistic story, and 55 percent of females and 50 percent of males responded sexually to being bitten.

Not-so-obvious examples that we hide from ourselves:

Setting yourself up for social rejection so you can feel like an outcast.

Suddenly abandoning a goal when things are going well so you get to be disappointed in yourself again.

Eating and drinking junk so that you will feel ashamed of yourself physically and emotionally.

Making an ass out of yourself socially so you get to feel like a schmuck.

Giving in to lust, having an affair and ruining your family so you can avoid lasting intimacy and love.

Avoiding tasks you know you need to do in order to prolong the pain of not doing them.

Saying the wrong thing to the wrong person at the wrong time so that you get punished.

Refusing to keep your mouth shut when you know you need to, so that you get rejected or humiliated.

Refusing to say what is on your mind or how you feel when you need to, allowing yourself to feel alone and deprived.

Neglecting to follow through and complete tasks so that you get to be disappointed and feel like a failure.

Refusing to ask for help so that you get to carry the world on your shoulders and feel oppressed.

Reading this list, being upset with Mike Bundrant, Natural News or yourself, so you get to feel offended, self-righteous and hopeless.

The reason I can be so bold is because I have done my share of self-sabotage. I understand it from tons of personal experience. I know it is part of the human condition. I’m not the one who discovered how it really works. I’ve just seen it play out in my life and have learned a lot about how to help people overcome it. The real trick is to see it. So, if you have read this far and have any sense that this applies to you, it is a good sign that you can heal yourself of the pleasure-in-displeasure pattern.

The pleasure-in-displeasure pattern is the discovery of Edmund Bergler, MD. Bergler was a psychoanalyst whom modern mental health swept under the rug because he had the truth. He published 25 books and 273 scientific papers in medical journals, based on over 30 years of clinical experience. Psychiatry prefers to pretend Bergler didn’t exist. This is a story waiting to be told.

If you can get your mind around the pleasure-in-displeasure pattern, then you must watch our free video called the AHA Solution: How to End Self-Sabotage.

This article was posted: Friday, March 29, 2013 at 5:20 am

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