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Pushing on Emotional Bruises – 10 Ways We Do It

emotional bruiseWhy do people push on physical bruises?

Common responses from Yahoo Answers:

I always push on my bruises cuz it like hurts…but it feels good at the same time…
I don’t get it. Do you do that too?

tee hee…its that pain pleasure thing. That is, you induce the pain and the pleasure is in the release. Like wearing a sexy pair of shoes that are tight (Pleasure and pain) and taking them off (pain, pleasure).

pleasure from pain. i do press on bruises and i guess i never thought about it but i guess it does feel sorta good cause why else do it.

Yes! And when I need to wear my rubber bands (for braces) it pulls on your jaw. It hurts, but at the same time it feels really good. I’m not emo or suicidal. It’s just…I don’t know maybe our brains?

It appears that flirting with the pleasure from pain phenomenon can be downright irresistible.

Do we do this with our emotional bruises?


I am not suggesting that we always (consciously) want to push on our emotional bruises. Nevertheless, we do it, behaviorally, by putting ourselves into situations in which getting hurt is inevitable.

Worse, we often make excuses that enable the process.

Here are 10 examples of seeking that strange space between pleasure and pain in our emotional lives.

1. You know that a certain romantic relationship will probably turn out to be painful, but you convince yourself to continue in it. You may even convince yourself that “it will be different this time.”

2. You know that you tend to put your foot in your mouth and hurt or offend others, which always comes back to hurt you. Yet, you don’t learn to monitor yourself and may even tell yourself that “you can’t help it.”

3. You know if you eat that junk food that you are going to feel absolutely miserable and hate your body even more. Yet, you tell yourself “I’ll start my diet tomorrow.”

4. You know that saying yes too much overwhelms you with obligations and makes you miserable and resentful. Yet, you tell yourself that “you can’t say no.”

5. You know that asking your partner for what you need will make it more likely for you to get what you need and be happy. Yet, you withhold your requests and tell yourself “I shouldn’t have to ask. S/He should just know what I need.”

6. You know that getting your to-do list done will allow you to relax and feel pleased with your day. Yet, you procrastinate, telling yourself that “you deserve a break.”

7. You know that getting defensive and arguing will only make you feel bad, but when you’re confronted with something you did wrong, you blame the confronter and start an argument.

8. You know that honoring your commitments will help you feel close to others and respect yourself, but instead you do what you feel like doing and make excuses for why you couldn’t keep your word.

9. You can list several thoughtful things you might do for your partner to show appreciation and create a happier relationship. Yet, when you consider those things, you think of why your partner doesn’t deserve them.

10. You know you owe someone an apology. Offering that apology will help the relationship and cleanse you of guilt. Yet, you won’t let go of your reasons why the other owes you an apology and hang onto your resentment and isolation.

Pushing on emotional bruises. We all tend to do things – and avoid doing other things – with the end result of feeling bad. We somehow can’t resist hanging onto bad feelings and even justify why we are entitled to them.

This is emotional self-sabotage, which comes from deeper psychological attachments. If you’d like to learn why all this happens so that you can free yourself, little by little, from these tendencies, please watch this free and enlightening video.

Pushing on Emotional Bruises – 10 Ways We Do It

Mike Bundrant

Mike Bundrant is the author of Your Achilles Eel: Discover and Overcome the Hidden Cause of Negative Emotions, Bad Decisions and Self-Sabotage and co-founder at The iNLP Center which offers online certification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and life coaching.

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APA Reference
Bundrant, M. (2015). Pushing on Emotional Bruises – 10 Ways We Do It. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 30, 2020, from


Last updated: 8 Aug 2015
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