I have found a similar problem to exist assuming that you are talking about emotional pain brought about by a person's distorted cognitions rather than a particular event. I have had people tell me something to the effect that their lives don't seem as real if they have to consciously change what they believe rather than have it forged by experiences and through people with whom they associate. This si a legitimate concern and a strong belief for some people linked with identity and meaning in their lives. Sometimes I wonder if the 'pain' that they chose to suffer in their lives does in fact serve another purpose as you suggest. Are they living out their lives in an incomplete sort of way hoping another will help fill this void . Or, are they genuinely lonely and in need of validation from other? Overwhelmed by their own negative automatic thoughts and giving in to feelings of inadequacy and fearing they are incompetent to solve their own problems. At some point we do need others to join with us; so many mental health problems have concurrent problems of social isolation and lacking efficacious social/ emotional shared experience.
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