What is the benefit in finding public ecstasy in suffering?

I’m sure you know the personality type.
They choose stasis over action and a wallowing misery over tempting joy.
What is the rationale in this philosophy of living where pity is sought from strangers and any chance at private glee is quickly ignored to perpetuate the public gloom?

15 Comments

  1. Ah the “Poor me” control drama – it is all done to get attention and energy – according to James Redfield (Celestine Prophecy).
    Simple summary can be found here
    http://www.meaningoflife.i12.com/dramas.htm
    On a personal level I tend to have a three strike rule – I listen and give advice if asked – if they ignore my advice three times or make excuses as to why my advice cannot be followed – I then ignore them – or do the oh dear what a shame etc and then walk away.
    However when it becomes a group problem rather than an individual issue I think it is harder to deal with the dynamics.
    People have always suffered – be it illness, discrimination, bigotry, social deprivation or circumstance. It is how we deal with it that makes the difference.
    The first question has to be what are you/they doing about it to help themselves – I am not sure anyone can help anyone else unless that person is willing to help themselves – if they are happy wallowing in their pit there is not a lot we can do about it.

  2. Nicola!
    I love that link, thanks! It’s amazing how those conversation predictors are just like a script. They say that, we say this, they get that. Funny how those communication cues work.
    I like your three strikes rule but I think I have a one strike rule. If you specifically come to me and ask for my help and I go beyond ordinary friendship or association to help you and then you reject my help entirely for no good reason other than you prefer to suffer and you enjoy the faux attention it brings you, then I say, “Fine, unto yourself” and I disconnect.
    I don’t mind donating time, but I don’t like wasting time and I don’t like being taken advantage of emotionally when it comes down to the needs of human living.

  3. Sometimes I wish I could use the one strike rule – however part of my job is to help and assist people who have problems – hence the extra mile – and my so far “good reputation”.

  4. They’re all attention seekers, but I’ve found them in two (2) sub varieties:
    1 – Pure attention hounds – “oh pity me”, “look at me!” or otherwise just self gratification through normally poorly conceived performance art LOL!
    2 – Agendaists (yep, new word) seeking, through displaying their suffering, to achieve some political or social end – think hunger strikes, public immolations, etc…

  5. jonolan —
    Those are excellent sub-varieties!
    At the university level, students popular the first instance and the second is almost always defined by university support staff who are unionized, redlined and not interested in working.

  6. Hi David,
    Being caught by this “misery trap” is actually a vicious circle.
    Truck load of sympathy actually paralyze people; no one could learn swimming/cycling/anything under the Sun if they are overwhelmed by sympathy.
    There has to be a balance – or else everybody will burn out.