Skip to main content Skip to bottom nav

Why would someone who is already in pain wish to inflict it upon others?

206 Answers
Last Updated: 02/25/2021 at 8:53pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Terrence Sawyer, MS Counseling Psychology

Drug & Alcohol Counselor

Social disorders counseling social psychology, substance use disorder counsel

Top Rated Answers
January 7th, 2017 10:39pm
I've been victim of second hand pain before. It's a main cause of why people are bullied at school or at work. People in pain tend to want others to feel how they have felt. If you yourself don't understand why you want to make others hurt, I'd like to tell you there's another way to cope. Another thing someone who's been bullied can do is try to not make anyone go through what you've gone through. This is my method for being in pain. Hope it helps
February 1st, 2017 12:46am
They want others to know the pain that they are feeling . These people do this because they feel the world is inbalance and they would believe that its unfair that they are the only one suffering. Rather then seek help they simply just choose to harm the people around them
June 3rd, 2017 3:20pm
Well since they are in so much pain, they want to see it in others. They think it'll make them feel better knowing someone else is feeling pain. They might think that since more people are hurting, it'll make them better than others.
November 19th, 2017 12:33am
because they think if they suffer pain, others around that don't care to offer help, should feel the same emotional, physical pain
December 8th, 2017 9:01pm
Sometimes, it is difficult for those in pain to deal with their emotions, so they feel as if they need to lash out instead of coping with their emotions
April 14th, 2018 10:11am
life has been tough for this person who is inflicting pain, life has not met their needs correctly, they're someone who wants to be heard, they want to let out some anger which is why they have no other choice other than to let it out. Don't take it personally :)
April 27th, 2018 9:55pm
Someone who is in deep pain and has friends wants to look strong when they're weak and want to look tough so they put the pain upon others to look superior and better than them or they also could want to take out the pain on someone else or to make others suffer the pain they suffered and went through to feel better about them self and feel normal and the same as others
May 19th, 2018 5:47pm
The person choose to do this because he/she is frustrated at their lack of control in their own situation and to help relieve that stress and to make themselves feel better they respond that way.
May 26th, 2018 1:48pm
This is because the hurt person wants others to feel the way that they are feeling. This is a result of a person not wanting to feel like they are alone.
June 3rd, 2018 5:04am
People often do this as a defense mechanism. If someone is experiencing pain, he would feel inferior or helpless. To overcome such feelings, he would start taking advantage of other people to feel more superior. It's a person's way of compensation.
June 16th, 2018 6:25pm
It's a coping mechanism. Their minds go to thinking maybe "venting" it like that onto others, without realizing it'll hurt them too.
July 8th, 2018 3:11am
Many people believe that if they cause other people to be in pain it will help them feel better about themselves, it is as if they think they're not alone in how they're feeling
July 8th, 2018 9:25am
It makes them feel better aboutique themselves because perhaps they are being bullied by someone else or being abused at home etc
December 7th, 2018 12:24am
Sometimes the best way people feel they can help others understand their pain is if they feel pain too. A person in pain may feel that others do not experience pain as they do, therefore they will inflict pain to make sure people understand. Another reason some people may inflict pain is because since they're not happy, they don't feel others should be happy as well. Not always do people want to inflict pain, they just don't know how to express their own pain in a healthy and productive manner. Feeling pain is human and a part of growing.
January 3rd, 2019 10:16am
2 causes, but only one cause after you see the details. 1. lack of understanding about karma, that's a first. having a bad intention, to hurt others, you plant new bad seeds for the future. But the person doesn't know or cares about this, if the person "falls" deliberately into these thread of bad activity. 2. irresponsibility. Believing that others are the cause, or were the cause, for the pain that the Person feels right now. It's misleading, and quite hard to see this fact. Because mind mostly, because how mind works. Always creating confirmations about what you believe or want to believe. But, clearly, such person believes others are the cause, environment is the cause, person gives power to others this way (which seems as a short term good deal, gives more peace of mind, but long term is a disaster :D) Both points after all they are exactly the same. You are the cause for everything around You. Mind does it for your, time develops the seeds, environment grows them, but You plant everything.
April 28th, 2019 2:52am
Some people feel that if they are in pain others should also be in pain so that they don't suffer alone. Also, a sense of "justice": "if I am not fine it is not fair that someone else is fine". Some may do it because it helps them feel relief. Some have a sense of revenge, and think that the causes or worse need of the pain deserve to suffer as well and they take the matter into their own hands. Anger can make this easier. But, in general, it is a lack of empathy towards the victim, and a sense that something will be gained or a loss will be prevented by doing that.
June 13th, 2019 8:57am
We can't predict the intentions of others. Sometimes, we do things we can't account for. We're swept up in the pain and the easiest form of relief is when others experience it, too. No one's perfect. Remember, be kind. Be understanding in that this person may be experiencing some issues that have caused them to project this hurt onto others. At this state, the best rule of thumb is to give them space. Remind them you're here and when they're ready, you could talk about these issues together. I find distance can be a good thing when you're in a situation such a this, and the best initiative is to be supportive, but not engage until they're ready to discuss it without the intention of hurting.
August 24th, 2019 11:47pm
This is a really, really, really good question.. You would think that someone who is in pain would only wish to empathize with others who are also in pain, and certainly not be the cause of it for anyone else. But the truth is, some people use it as a way of coping with their own pain. They take their anger and pain out on innocent people, because they feel like it gives them power and control over pain, in general. However, it’s still not justifiable to hurt someone else just because you’re hurting. You need to deal with it in a different way. And if you’re the victim, you need to immediately get help.
December 31st, 2019 2:57pm
I believe that the answer depends on the personality of the individual who is projecting their pain. Some have vindictive streaks, so to speak. Others are just trying to get the pain outside of themselves. Sometimes it is a combination. E.g. in my own case, I believe I am the recipient of hurtful projection because my son ended his marriage and because he is the father of the children, he cannot be the target of the wife's anger because at least to the degree that they continue parenting together they must remain amicable. It hurts me a lot but I have chosen not to engage in the drama and have long since let her known that she is still loved and that I understand to what extent I can what she's going through. I choose not to acknowledge any of the digs against my son that she sends my way. I ignore them completely and when she has expended all her anger, and she realizes I'm not going to bite on her efforts to pull me in, I assume she'll stop. We shall see. But, certainly there is no purpose whatever in me retaliating or insinuating myself in her drama. She knows I love her and loving her includes loving this aspect of her. She is a wonderful mother to my grandsons. I am grateful for that enough to ignore the other.
March 14th, 2020 7:17pm
Well, I think that the person wants to be fully understood. He/she wishes to inflict pain upon others so they would fully understand him/her , how they feel, how much it really hurts them and what it's like to be them. Personally, I think a person wouldn't fully understand what someone is actually going through if they have never felt it. Maybe they will understand some parts of it but they won't fully understand the situation. But when someone has already been through that experience, then they are likely to understand the situation better. These are just my thoughts, I'm not a professional or anything.
March 18th, 2020 1:52am
It's an interesting phenomenon. In short, they may not have found a way to cope with the pain yet, so they lash out against their environment that they believe is causing them to feel pain. They may feel things are closing in around them and that they have to push back to give themselves space. They may not necessarily want to cause harm to those close to them, but they need to release it somehow and if they don't already have a set process to do so, they will be lead by human nature and release it quickly and haphazardly at whatever or whoever is closest.
April 23rd, 2020 3:41pm
This may happen because the person hopes to get rid of their pain by inflciting it on others. Though this is not right, in the moment they are doing what they feel is the only way to get a release from the pain they are feeling on the inside. Sometimes people don't know healthy ways to cope with how they are feeling. This may be due to lack of education on coping or they may have been in situations that taught them bad coping skills. This is not an excuse for their behavior though and they should be held accountable for their actions.
July 22nd, 2020 3:03am
There are many different reasons why someone in pain might wish to inflict it upon others. Inflicting pain on someone else might give them the sense of control. They may not be able to control their level of pain, and feeling out of control can be terrifying, so it can help them to feel like they are in control of something at least. Making sure someone else is in pain can also show them they are not the only one suffering, as feeling alone can be awful. Also, sometimes, when a person is in so much pain, they want others to feel the same way they do. They want others to experience the hurt, the pain, the difficult that they feel. A quote I have heard that I feel describes this very well is “Hurt people hurt people.”
November 27th, 2020 11:40pm
Because they think that it will help them feel better to inflict pain on others. It's kind of like bullies. Bullies usually are dissatisfied with their own lives, so they try to make others lives miserable. It's just human nature to want to inflict pain on others when we are in pain. It's just a part of who we are. Bullies usually have a problem going on at home, or they are being abused. It makes them feel better about their own miserable lives if they make other people's lives miserable. It's just the way humans are. It's a part of human nature.
June 18th, 2015 3:35am
It's the perceived passage of pain. Someone selfish who's hurt needs everyone around them to hurt too. Then they feel that others can empathize with them, when in reality, they are just isolating themselves.
August 2nd, 2016 4:32am
To find a way to cope with what they're going through. I'm not at all saying that it is okay, but that's how some people decide to handle things.
October 5th, 2016 10:01pm
For revenge maybe. People may have no answers and blame it on others. Not their fault, maybe they just aren't so good at handling pain
October 19th, 2016 1:52am
Because they are putting their anger onto others. It is an unhealthy mechanism of coping with pain..
October 23rd, 2016 2:04pm
Someone who is in pain don't have healthy ways to cope with that pain. They don't know how to deal with it in an appropriate way so they are wishing it upon someone else to be sure that there is someone that is going through the same thing as them
November 3rd, 2016 2:36am
They might feel that others who have wronged them deserve punishment for hurting them. Or they may feel that they are alone and become envious of people who seem to be having it easy, and believe that they should suffer too, even if they haven't hurt them.