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

182 Answers
Last Updated: 04/23/2020 at 3:41pm
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
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 :)
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.
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
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.
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.
November 5th, 2016 12:50am
They want others to experience they're feeling. They want to feel powerful or in control when at home they could be spiraling out of control.
November 5th, 2016 6:51am
I think someone who is already in pain will think it is okay to inflict it upon others because he might feel upset, or he just doesn't know how else to handle it.
November 16th, 2016 3:43am
Some people rationalize and cope with their pain by making sure that other people feel it because they never really knew how to deal with it themselves. It is not uncommon, mostly seen in children who are bullies. They are having trouble in their lives so they make others suffer so they do not feel so alone with their own problems.
December 9th, 2016 1:06am
They may feel as if others do not understand their pain, and they want them to be able to. They also may think it is unfair that they have to experience this pain and no on else does.
December 16th, 2016 4:26pm
because his pain might lead him to anger and anger does not let us think, The anger might amke us get satisfaction when seen other people in pain.
January 8th, 2017 3:03am
I suppose that worst case scenario, it is a way that the person is able to release some anger. If it is physical, it is not acceptable, but if you talk to the person, and tell them they are hurting you, maybe you could help them.
January 22nd, 2017 12:41am
For many that have been hurt have also been manipulated. Especially when those inflicting pain are close friends or family and can sometimes be confused with love or appropriate treatment given the circumstances. For these people who have been hurt and manipulated in this way, it is less of questioning why they wish to inflict harm upon others and more what makes them inflict pain upon others. The answer could be as simple as missing out of some key relationship factors to have been taught that is how to treat other people. #monkeyseemonkeydo
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
February 9th, 2017 6:45am
Some people feel that inflicting pain on others will numb their own pain. It's a very selfish reason but that person is just trying to find a way to cope.
February 17th, 2017 11:50am
Personally, I like to give individuals the benefit of the doubt. There is always the question of intent. People who are in pain sometimes lash out. It doesn't mean those impacted should become a consistent outlet for their frustration. It does open the door to some very important conversations. Boundaries, honesty and providing new coping mechanisms are priceless.
February 18th, 2017 12:26am
Maybe because they feel hurt and alone and they don't know how to express it or get the help that they need. All they can think of doing is making others feel the way that they feel so they feel less alone.
February 25th, 2017 6:07pm
People deal with pain in different ways. For some people the best way for them to deal with that pain is to hurt other people too.
March 16th, 2017 2:40am
sometimes people think hurting others will take away their pain. or the pain they are feeling is so harsh that they think the pain they will feel after hurting someone will feel better.
April 2nd, 2017 3:55am
they may feel like it'll make themselves feel better if they don't feel that they're the only ones going through it, or they may think that it will cause people to understand their pain & empathize. but it is not the way.
April 6th, 2017 9:20pm
Weakness. A great bunch of weakness and insecurity. Sadly, a lot of people feel like their own life gets less miserable if only they can drag others on their level or even further down. It can even give them some feeling of power and might to massage their ego, but it's probably just them being scared of feeling like they're alone with the pain.
April 12th, 2017 2:14pm
Everyone reacts to pain differently, and for some people, that reaction is lashing out. To want others to feel how they feel, or simply not understanding that the reason they are hurting others is because they are hurting. Sometimes pain makes people upset, and it's easy to hurt others when you're upset. It's not necessarily that they wish to, but it does happen. It can be a sort of relief, to push your pain on to someone else. That doesn't mean that it's a positive thing, but it is understandable.
April 13th, 2017 4:33am
This is a hard concept to understand. This person must feel a lot of pain and resentment. They must be upset with them self and not know how to deal with it; therefore, they hurt other people to avoid their own pain.
April 26th, 2017 10:49pm
Possibly because they want others to feel their pain. Their pain might've been caused by society and they wanted everyone to feel the same pain they put this person through.
April 27th, 2017 3:34am
Sometimes people who are in a lot of pain want other people to understand how they are feeling by making them feel pain as well. They feel that others need to feel the same pain as they are.