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What Are Some of the Emotional After-Effects of Violence?

If you’re struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

When addressing the root causes of our addictions, many of us discover that the violent traumatic experiences we’ve lived through in our lives have had intense emotional effects that contribute to our addictions. For many of us, these severe after-effects of violence are things we’ve tried very hard to suppress, and our addictions are one of our default coping mechanisms to avoid, suppress and forget the painful things in our lives. What are some of the emotional after-effects of violence?

Coping with Shame and Fear

Many of us become deeply ashamed of ourselves because of the violence we’ve experienced, whether or not we were the perpetrators of that violence, and we use our drugs of choice to numb our feelings of guilt, shame, regret and remorse. We use in order to drown out the inner demons telling us that we hate ourselves, that we’re inadequate, that we’re unworthy. Similarly, we self-medicate from the deep fear and terror we still feel using our drugs of choice. When we’ve been traumatized, our fear can stay lodged within us and continue to affect us mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. We can continue to feel just as terrified as we did when the violence first took place. We can develop mental health issues as a direct result of this trauma, with our addictions being some of the most severe among them. Our drugs of choice become the companions we turn to when we’re feeling afraid. They can be our means of distracting ourselves from the painful memories we’re trying so hard to suppress. They can be our form of mental and emotional escapism. Rather than do the hard work of healing from our trauma, we turn to our drugs of choice to escape our pain.

Becoming Desensitized to Violence

Our past violent experiences can desensitize us to violence and abuse, meaning we’re no longer as troubled by it as we might have been had we not sustained that form of trauma. Violence becomes normalized for us. We become instinctively, compulsive violent, both towards ourselves in the form of self-harm and suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and towards other people in the form of abusive relationships. Some of us don’t see anything wrong with being violent because we grew up in violent home environments or experienced violence early on. Many of us become highly tolerant of violence and abuse because of the experiences we’ve had. We’re so familiar with it and accustomed to it that we become comfortable with it. This tolerance and acceptance can cause our violent patterns to continue unchecked and uninterrupted, often without our being conscious of them, and we use our drugs of choice as distractions from the pain that is accumulating within us.

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