Issues and Answers

Addicted To Negativity

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Shelley Quinn (Host), Carol Cannon


Series Code: IAA

Program Code: IAA000400

00:01 Hi, I'm Shelley Quinn.
00:03 Are you one of those people who looks at the glasses
00:05 being half empty rather than half full.
00:07 May be instead of looking at the world
00:09 through rose-tinted glasses you're looking
00:12 to the world through grim tinted glasses.
00:15 Let me tell you something,
00:16 did you know that unhappiness and misery
00:18 can be a habit.
00:19 Well, join us today on "Issues & Answers,
00:21 because we're going to show you
00:23 that healing is available, there is a way out.
00:49 Hi, welcome to "Issues & Answers."
00:51 Today we're gonna be talking about
00:53 "hooked on unhappiness" and how to break
00:56 this chronic misery habit cycle.
01:00 And I want to first read to you
01:02 a scripture from Philippians Chapter 4,
01:04 its verses 6 and 7 actually.
01:06 Here's what Paul had derived to the Philippians.
01:10 "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything
01:13 by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving.
01:17 Let your requests be made known to God.
01:19 And the peace of God, which surpasses
01:22 all understanding, will guard your
01:25 heart and minds through Christ Jesus."
01:28 You know, that sounds good,
01:29 but how do you do it?
01:30 Well, here with us today
01:32 is our very special guest Carol Cannon.
01:35 And Carol is from Bowling Green, Kentucky
01:38 or Birmingham, Alabama or both? Both.
01:40 Both, so you're kind of in transition
01:42 moving to a second home.
01:44 And Carol you are a certified alcoholic,
01:48 or certified alcohol.
01:50 You are a certified alcohol and drug abuse counselor.
01:54 Yes, I am.
01:55 And you also what is your--
01:56 you had your masters in education--. Education.
01:58 And you had something else an undergraduate--
02:00 Undergraduate degree in religion.
02:01 In religion. Yes.
02:02 Now your husband is a pastor.
02:05 And Paul pastored for many years. Yes.
02:08 But you've also done something very special
02:10 for the last, what 40?
02:12 Thirty five years. Thirty five years--
02:14 Yes. That you've run a place called The Bridge.
02:17 Tell us a little bit about that?
02:19 Well, in 1974, Paul and I became aware
02:22 while he was teaching at Andrews University
02:25 in the undergraduate religion department.
02:27 We became aware that there were a lot of
02:29 young people orbiting around the fringes of their families,
02:33 the church, the Christian institution
02:37 who were disillusioned that they were having problems
02:40 actually with drugs and alcohol.
02:42 Even though they had been weird
02:43 in a prohibitive environment,
02:46 in other words an environment
02:47 that treats alcohol and drug use
02:49 as a sin punishable by death,
02:52 perhaps it was the guilt factor.
02:54 We're not entirely sure what it was
02:56 but we just were seeing
02:57 so many young people suffering
02:59 in this way that we decided to start a special place
03:03 where they could come for guidance and direction
03:08 and for the kind of support that is needed
03:10 and being able to find their way
03:14 out of the traps that they were in. Amen.
03:16 And so you've spent a lot of years
03:18 then working with people
03:20 who have had these addictive behaviors.
03:24 And they were actually not gonna be talking
03:26 about addiction to chemical dependency,
03:30 but rather an addiction that some people
03:33 may not even see as an addiction. Right.
03:35 And that is the chronic habit of being miserable.
03:41 Ooh. Is that right?
03:42 Well, you know, a few minutes ago
03:44 when you started to say
03:45 that I was a certified alcoholic,
03:47 I thought, well, I am a certified workaholic. Yes.
03:50 And a certified recovering misery addict.
03:53 You are, you said. Absolutely.
03:55 Now, you wrote a wonderful book
03:57 and that book is entitled, "Hooked on Unhappiness,
04:00 "What's the subtitle?
04:01 "Breaking the Cycle of Discontent."
04:02 "Breaking the Cycle of Discontent."
04:05 You say that you yourself were there. Yes.
04:07 Tell us a little bit about what brought you there.
04:10 Were you born in that way or was it something
04:12 that happened in your family?
04:13 That's a wonderful question.
04:15 I along with others who are far more educated
04:20 in this field, happen to be one who believed
04:26 that misery addiction or misery addicts
04:29 I should say, were born, I'm sorry made not born.
04:33 I say that backwards.
04:35 Misery addicts were made not born,
04:36 in other words, it was environmental influences
04:39 that created the habit of negaholism and I still--
04:44 Nega, do you coined that negaholism? Yes.
04:46 Okay, So that's being addicted to negativity.
04:50 That's right, I'm sure that's not original with me.
04:52 All right. But it sits fairly well.
04:55 And I did believe for many, many years
04:57 that it was a habit that evolved
04:59 out of the culture and the environment
05:01 of the individual. Now we know
05:04 that misery addiction, negativity in general,
05:09 is also a product of our heredity
05:15 that some people are born
05:18 and several experts in the neuroscience believe this
05:21 So I come with pretty,
05:23 they come with great credentials
05:25 that some people are born,
05:28 if you will, with more anxiety and depression genes
05:32 than others are with the brain
05:34 that is literally hardwired to experience negativity
05:38 and dwell on it more than other people do.
05:41 So it's not just a character flaw
05:44 or a spiritual lapse or some kind of a failure of faith
05:49 if a person is highly negative and finds
05:52 that extremely difficult to get out of that rut.
05:55 And it's something to do with the personality type.
05:59 You know, I have always been accused to be a pollyanna.
06:01 So I was born with the personality
06:03 that always looked to the positive side.
06:06 And I can say that quite adamantly
06:11 because I grew up in an environment
06:13 of negative people. Right.
06:15 And so I know I wasn't becoming what I beheld,
06:18 but that was my personality.
06:20 Now I have a sister who was born
06:22 with a personality that leans a little more
06:25 toward a depressive side.
06:27 And then was surrounded by that as well.
06:30 But so it can be either
06:32 or let's talk about what is the definition.
06:36 Give us a definition of being addicted to misery.
06:40 Well, I think that negaholism is habitually
06:44 pessimistic frame of reference,
06:46 whereby everything I see and do and experience,
06:53 I look at through grim-tinted glasses.
06:55 I have a negative perspective, if you will,
06:58 and in general the response I offered
07:02 to almost anything is going to be a negative one.
07:06 I'm going to see the bleak side, unlike Eeyore.
07:15 And it interests me of your bland personality
07:19 because it was a friend, a dear friend,
07:22 very much like you who first confronted me
07:25 with the fact that I was so pessimistic.
07:28 She told me one day that I was the most
07:30 negative person she'd never met.
07:32 And I was shocked because I thought
07:33 I was just being realistic.
07:35 That that my databases were normal,
07:38 was that kind of damning the mouth,
07:41 dispirited a pastor, and I had no idea.
07:48 You know, I couldn't imagine how anybody
07:50 could be joyful and optimistic when there were floods
07:56 and earthquakes and, you know,
07:58 30,000 people dying there
07:59 and 300 people dying over there
08:02 and the water was coming up around us
08:05 and the sky was falling in on us and, you know,
08:08 how could you be happy in the midst of all that?
08:10 You needed to be burdened. Yes.
08:12 You needed to be burdened for the lost souls
08:14 of the universe, you know, God needed your help,
08:17 you need to be busy, busy, busy.
08:20 And so you yourself, did you find--
08:24 if you're addicted to misery,
08:26 not sure I let you finish that definition,
08:29 but if you're addicted to misery,
08:32 you're attaching yourself to the negative things
08:36 like you--some people can watch the news at night.
08:40 And when they finish watching the news,
08:42 they've got to call somebody and tell them
08:45 everything negative that's happening on the news
08:48 and how bad it is and it's--
08:51 and I'm not certainly trying to negate
08:56 the negative things that go off
08:57 and negate the negative to down play
09:01 the sadness in the world.
09:03 But, you know, the way I look at it is that, I can't be God.
09:08 I pray about those things,
09:09 but I have to turn it over to Him.
09:11 But a truly negative person
09:13 will let this upset their day.
09:15 Upset their whole expectancy of life,
09:20 is that true? Yes. Yeah.
09:22 So were you personally, were you one who wined
09:27 and complained and just mumbled and grumbled a lot?
09:33 I did some of that certainly unconsciously. Okay.
09:36 But the avenue that I used for expressing
09:39 my misery martyred tendencies
09:47 was that I just tried,
09:49 I thought it was my job to fix everything,
09:52 you know, I would see the dark side of everything
09:55 and then I would grab the football
09:57 and try to run with it.
09:58 I needed to fix you or I needed to fix them
10:01 or I needed to repair that circumstance
10:04 or make that it didn't happen again.
10:06 So I literally became a workaholic, very worked,
10:10 who was driven to, try to manage people places
10:14 and things to control circumstances and to,
10:18 you know, to do God's job for Him.
10:20 OKay, so that's what I just said
10:23 is that the difference is,
10:24 that's interesting, you said that
10:26 because what I look at it is that
10:29 what our responsibility when we see these things is to pray
10:32 and give it to God and do what we can
10:35 and what we can't. Right.
10:37 We just have to intercede and pray God will send workers
10:41 because we can't beat all things to all people.
10:43 But you saw almost like a personal responsibility.
10:47 Exactly. And that's where there is a dividing line.
10:50 What is some of the other characteristics of people
10:54 who are hooked on unhappiness?
10:57 This was more my mode.
10:59 And it is what I considered
11:01 to be the first and primary characteristic is that
11:04 misery addicts and I use a term murdering also. Yes.
11:08 You know, there is a noble calling in some cases
11:13 to murder oneself but I do believe that,
11:16 that, more people are driven to murdering
11:19 than are called. Okay.
11:21 Yeah, so--
11:22 And let's explain for someone who may not know
11:23 what we're talking about and when say murdering.
11:25 Sacrificing oneself unduly for a cause
11:28 that they believe requires them to do this.
11:31 And that was the mode that I got myself into.
11:34 So my, rather than whining and complaining
11:36 I would suffer in silence.
11:38 Ah, okay. Yeah, and so--
11:41 So your smile using, probably it was a grimace
11:44 rather than a true smile--
11:45 Yes, and I'm sure my shoulders were stooped
11:48 and my brow was furrowed and you know, I was,
11:52 in other words through body language
11:54 I exuded my burdensome life.
12:00 But I didn't have to complain my whole body,
12:02 you know, emanated it. Okay.
12:06 So that yours was, you wore all of these things,
12:09 you wore your feelings on your shoulders if you will.
12:12 Right, on my sleeve, yeah.
12:13 On your sleeve. Thank you.
12:14 And that, I call that
12:15 unconsciously soliciting sympathy.
12:17 Okay. Yeah.
12:19 Yes, and we've all known people
12:21 and perhaps you are one
12:23 that you know, that's it's something you feed
12:27 on the sympathy of others. Sure.
12:29 And for someone who is not a negative person,
12:34 you really don't know what to do. That's right.
12:36 Because if you act sympathetic sometimes
12:40 it's like you're feeding the beast--
12:41 feeding the beast, that's right.
12:43 And it's just as a cycle that they need more and more
12:45 and they become, you know,
12:49 more or they're drawing on you for this
12:51 and they come to you constantly for that.
12:54 You don't want to be unsympathetic.
12:57 So it's a difficult thing and we're gonna get into
12:59 some answers you know what I mean. It is, it is.
13:00 You know, a fellow recovering misery addict
13:03 made a remark to me one time that I really identified
13:06 with she said I had to constantly
13:07 be thinking how to arrange my face,
13:10 so that people would see how unhappy I was
13:13 and ask me what was wrong.
13:14 Oh, mercy. Yeah.
13:16 So there's that unconsciously soliciting sympathy
13:19 Now my particular brand of my combination
13:24 of symptoms shall we say led me to overdo everything.
13:28 And over-exhaust myself in my attempt to help God
13:31 do His job. Yes.
13:33 And in the process of that then I did indeed
13:36 wear my weariness on my sleeve like a badge of nonor.
13:40 Yes. Yes.
13:41 So I thought there was a virtue in this.
13:44 I bet you there are lot of people
13:46 who are identifying with you right now.
13:49 Yeah. Okay.
13:50 So if you are a person, I'm thinking of
13:56 several individuals actually that I know personally,
13:59 and sometimes they collect grievances
14:03 and they live--they can't let go of things
14:09 that happened in the past.
14:11 Is that typical for somebody who still--
14:14 Absolutely and the interesting thing is
14:18 that, that is associated with the way
14:20 our brains are created.
14:23 Our brains do have a bad news by us.
14:27 Oh, that's why I think the news networks--
14:30 Right. You know, why do they run so many so much bad news--
14:33 Because that's what people want to hear.
14:34 And the more traumatic something is in ones life,
14:38 the more it will lock itself into the brain.
14:43 Normal people have positive thoughts
14:47 about two to one, you know, two positive thoughts
14:51 for every negative one, but negative people
14:53 are probably the other way around.
14:55 And so there are many negative individuals
14:58 never forget an insult.
15:00 And they could tell you 15 years after the fact
15:02 what happened. What you said?
15:04 What you were wearing?
15:06 Where you were standing in the room?
15:08 Because it impacted them in the same way
15:11 that you or I or the average American shall we say
15:14 would be impacted by the shooting of--
15:19 the assignation of President Kennedy
15:22 or Elvis Presley's death or Michael Jackson's death,
15:26 you know, people remember.
15:29 Another example would be 9/11.
15:31 We remember, most of us remember where we were
15:33 and what we were doing and, you know,
15:37 what was going on around us
15:39 on the day that happened.
15:40 That is indelibly imprinted on our brain.
15:43 Well, negaholics will collect
15:46 what we would consider to be lesser traumas
15:49 but there may be very great traumas to them.
15:51 You might say something thoughtless to me,
15:54 you might have said something thoughtless to me
15:56 15 years ago and I can't let it go.
15:59 And it's not that I don't want to.
16:01 I really like to emphasis with people.
16:04 I don't believe that any misery addict
16:06 or negaholic collects grievances
16:08 and accept these other symptoms because they want to.
16:12 They just can't help themselves.
16:13 They can't stop. Okay.
16:16 Now, you know, I have to interject this
16:19 because I think that there may be a husband out there
16:22 who is looking at his wife right about now and saying,
16:25 you know, honey this is you.
16:26 You know, because you can--it seems to me
16:29 would you agree women and there's things
16:33 I am always trying when I am interviewing a guest,
16:36 I am always trying to see does this apply to me in anyway
16:38 you know, because you wanna self
16:40 or to correct not necessarily self-correct
16:42 but you want to make the corrections if it does.
16:45 There are times that my husband is shocked.
16:50 Women seem to be able to remember conversations
16:54 from the past and things said.
16:56 Now and there is times that I can remember
16:58 something that was said that may be wounded me
17:00 but it's not even in that memory recollection.
17:05 It's nothing that wounds me now.
17:07 It's nothing that upsets me now.
17:09 It's something I look back on humorously.
17:12 You know, and I can tell him what he said way back when.
17:15 You know, we laugh about it.
17:17 But if somebody is-- so just because you recall that
17:22 doesn't necessarily mean that you are
17:24 hooked on unhappiness it's something made an impact.
17:27 You know, I think it's the rehearsing
17:28 and the re-rehearsing of it. Okay.
17:29 That's the word that I use all the time,
17:32 is that there are people who rehearse
17:36 and rehearse negative things
17:38 that have happened in the past
17:40 and it's just as painful to them
17:43 as if they were experiencing it at the moment. Right.
17:47 You know, again though I would say that
17:49 for some individuals that behavior
17:52 is an issue of unmanageability.
17:57 It's something that they continue to do
17:59 even though they don't want to do it like the Apostle Paul
18:03 doing what they don't to do.
18:05 They may even, they may be aware
18:07 all that they are doing it,
18:08 and they make promises to themselves that they will,
18:11 that would abstain from that or refrain from that.
18:14 But like the alcoholic they find themselves
18:17 going back to that behavior
18:19 in spite of their best intentions.
18:21 And that's why I believe that this is or can be
18:24 considered an addictive cycle.
18:29 So these people in your reference to the Apostle Paul
18:33 was Romans Chapter 7 where he talks about,
18:36 you know, "what was me, what I know I should do,
18:40 I don't do What I know I shouldn't do
18:41 I do who will help me"
18:43 and He finally comes around Romans 8
18:45 where he is saying praise God he will, through Christ Jesus.
18:49 There is therefore no condemnation
18:51 for those in Christ.
18:53 But the people who are hooked on unhappiness
18:58 these are folks that, at least the one's I know
19:02 it seems that they put themselves down a lot.
19:04 They compare themselves to others and if they do
19:08 make a mistake they beat themselves self over it--
19:11 Absolutely dwell on it. Dwell on it.
19:14 Okay, now those are all characteristics.
19:18 But now that we've semi-defined,
19:21 I know you said you've teach in seminars on this for hours
19:24 upon hours so we are just getting
19:26 the tip of the iceberg here.
19:28 But those are some of the characteristics
19:31 now how does one recognize, I mean,
19:37 I would imagine for you it someone saying
19:40 you are the most negative person
19:41 I've never met in my life. Yes.
19:43 But how, you had lived that way obviously
19:46 many years before someone said that to you
19:48 and you said it shocked you,
19:50 how is someone out here
19:51 who maybe we are talking to who is saying am I?
19:55 How can they really tell?
19:57 Is there is self-test what you would do?
19:58 When we are confronted with this possibility,
20:01 the most natural thing in the world to do is to try to stop.
20:05 Or deny it. You will that too. Yeah.
20:10 But, you know, there comes a moment when it,
20:13 when it, when the-- awakening occurs,
20:18 when you just--when you finally recognized,
20:21 you know, in addictive language
20:24 we would say you hit bottom.
20:26 And, so generally that occurs when,
20:29 for the misery addict, when we can see people
20:31 disappearing from our lives.
20:34 When for example, someone says,
20:37 I don't have any friends and I don't know why
20:39 people just don't want to be around me.
20:41 I call them. They don't want to talk me
20:43 on the phone is because people don't know
20:46 how to relate to misery addicts.
20:48 Well, we misery addicts wear people out. Yes.
20:52 Either, either not necessarily through
20:54 what we say, often times it's through our actions.
20:58 Okay, we wear them out with it, you know,
21:00 I remember one time far in the distant past well
21:03 long before I realized I was a misery addict,
21:05 I saw a gentleman approaching our house
21:08 and this gentleman was, I knew him to be
21:13 so negative and so unhappy--
21:15 He was more miserable than you. Absolutely.
21:18 I literally wanted to run out the back door. Okay.
21:20 You see, and so we wear people out.
21:23 And when we see people disappearing
21:25 from our lives we finally have to face
21:28 the fact that there is something
21:30 going on here that needs to be addressed.
21:32 Now, so let's say they would pass the denial.
21:35 Now we want to do something
21:36 the most natural things in the world to do
21:38 is to try through grit and determination to quit.
21:42 That doesn't work.
21:43 Well, it works if you're not addicted to misery. Okay.
21:47 You know, it's like people who drink,
21:49 who are not alcoholic can quit drinking. Okay.
21:53 But if they're alcoholic they find themselves
21:56 returning to the behavior.
21:58 And the same thing is true for a misery addict.
22:00 Try as I might in spite of my best intentions,
22:03 in fact, even if I pray hard about it,
22:07 even if I claim promises, you know,
22:10 I'm not negating the power of prayer promises
22:12 because I believed that in that with all my heart.
22:14 But for some of us who have a brain problem
22:20 its more, it takes more than that.
22:23 And sometimes, it takes, you know,
22:26 I want to go on record saying what I believe
22:29 and let me see if you agree.
22:31 Sometimes it takes, your serotonin levels so low,
22:36 yes, that it does take a prescription drug
22:40 under the auspices or the umbrella in the care of
22:45 a doctor to bring you out of these things.
22:48 And there is-- in my opinion there is
22:50 absolutely nothing wrong with a Christian,
22:53 we would take insulin if we were a diabetic.
22:55 That's right, that's right.
22:56 So, if you need in antidepressants,
22:59 if you need something for a period of time
23:02 I don't believe there is anything wrong with it.
23:03 How do you feel about that?
23:05 I do not believe there is anything wrong with it.
23:06 In fact, I think that it's our responsibility
23:08 to use the best that science can make available to us.
23:11 Absolutely. That's the gift of our power as I see it.
23:15 I think that in addition to that availing ourselves
23:18 of appropriate support groups,
23:22 I believe that 12 step programs or medial program
23:25 of identity and character development.
23:27 And so many people who are addicted to misery
23:30 have underlying issues of immaturity
23:32 and insecurity, and they can be mentored
23:34 and literally parented through a healing process
23:39 in a 12-step program where the other people
23:42 that are in that group are not obsessed
23:46 with getting them fixed,
23:48 but they are rather focusing on their own recovery
23:51 and yet at the same time willing to share
23:54 personal experience, strength, and hope in a positive way,
23:59 in non-condemning way.
24:01 Yeah, if--how do we, if we know someone
24:07 in our life, or maybe at a church or someone
24:11 we work with, who know is hooked on misery.
24:15 How do we relate to that person?
24:16 How can we, let's say that someone
24:19 won't accept it first, how do we should
24:21 be relate to that person?
24:23 Well, you know, initially I would say do everything
24:28 you cannot to re-enforce the behavior.
24:30 In other words, it's okay to leave the scene
24:34 as quickly as you desire
24:37 if someone is being very, very negative.
24:39 Without been rude. Without been rude.
24:42 It's very important not to buy into their complaining,
24:48 and try to grab the football
24:52 and overly sympathized or even try to fix
24:55 their problems because a lot of the over-complaining
24:59 murderers do is an effort to draw people
25:01 into the black hole of their misery
25:03 and get those people them to solve their problems for them,
25:07 and thus they don't learn nor experience
25:10 the genuine self-respect that comes from solving
25:15 your own problems.
25:16 So it's important not to grab the football
25:18 and run with it and take care of everything for them,
25:20 because positively reinforces what they are doing.
25:24 And if you do grab the football and run with it
25:26 you maybe a misery addict yourself.
25:28 That's right. Or wear yourself again.
25:31 That's right. Because you said that,
25:32 that was what you were always doing.
25:34 Yeah, that's right. That's for sure.
25:36 So, it's it one of these things
25:38 that how dangerous is it to confront someone?
25:44 No, I'm glad you said that because my next thought
25:47 was there is a point where it's appropriate
25:50 to do a compassionate intervention. Okay.
25:54 What capital to see on compassion?
25:55 Okay. Yes, yes.
25:57 And we need to have a little bit of credible
25:59 knowledge about this, about this issue,
26:02 so that we don't come across as if we were accusing
26:05 the person of lack of faith
26:07 or that they are not good enough Christians
26:10 or church members because they've become
26:14 depressed and anxious, you know,
26:16 we don't wanna a give that massage to them
26:18 but I think it's the loving thing to do,
26:20 to do an intervention whereby we are willing
26:22 to say to that person, you're the most
26:25 negative individual I know.
26:27 You know, we're willing to confront them
26:30 with a reality of how we are effected
26:32 by their behavior, sharing obviously on a feeling level,
26:38 and then encouraging them
26:39 and giving them all the support we can
26:41 for getting a medical exam,
26:45 getting a psychiatric exam perhaps seeing--
26:49 As soon as you say psychiatric there people
26:51 out there going to go, oh, I don't want to go
26:53 to a psychiatrist because somebody
26:54 is gonna think I'm crazy.
26:56 But a psychology or psychiatric exam,
26:59 we're talking about psychiatric exam just to see
27:01 if there is a chemical imbalance.
27:03 Well, in addition to that, Shelley there are extreme cases
27:07 where brain scan would be in order.
27:10 Really? Absolutely.
27:12 Really! Wow.
27:14 Dr. Daniel Amen writes about this credibility
27:18 and Dr. Ron Hansen about how often time's
27:21 they can literally see brain issues
27:24 that will direct them in the medical intervention
27:28 that they need to make. That's amazing.
27:30 And so, for people who are interactively unhappy
27:32 especially if they are acting it out through anger
27:36 that a brain scan is appropriate. Wow.
27:39 You know, I feel like we just barely touched on this
27:41 and I just looked at the clock I can't believe
27:43 that our time is almost all gone.
27:45 Carol, this is something it's very important
27:48 and I just want to encourage people to get your book,
27:50 "Hooked on Unhappiness."
27:52 We thank you so much for being with us today.
27:55 We do want you to know that,
27:57 even though we didn't get to all of the answers
27:59 there are answers. I believe God provides
28:02 the answers and it doesn't mean
28:05 we want to look to the word
28:07 but we also want to look to support groups
28:09 and others to help us.
28:11 So, thank you for joining us.


Revised 2014-12-17