Why am I attracted to people who have felt deep emotional pain?

Here are four reasons based on the four basic types all personality tests essentially come back to:

If a people-focused introvert (a relater) is drawn to individuals with emotional pain, it’s out of compassion. Like a therapy animal (imagine a peaceful golden retriever curled up against someone’s leg), relaters intuitively understand the energies of environments and other people. They’re driven to bring comfort and slow, peaceful cheer.

A people-focused extrovert (a socialite) isn’t usually drawn to those with emotional pain, at least not directly. Maybe if someone was so beaten down that they made a good audience for the socialite to talk to…

But that’s not fair of me to say. If a socialite has experienced deep emotional pain, they might be driven to share their story with as wide an audience as possible. But it’s always from a distance, and never really one-on-one (at least not for long).

A task/concept-focused introvert (a thinker/seer) might be drawn to understand the root causes of emotional pain. Their goal is similar to the relater, but more long-range—to help alleviate pain through sharing insight about causes and solutions. Instead of feeling the pain with the hurting person (relater), the thinker/seer uses individual case studies to add to the world’s collective knowledge.

Like the socialite, a task/concept-focused extrovert (a doer/boss) isn’t generally drawn to sympathize with those who’re hurting. But they might see emotional pain as a problem to solve. Doers/bosses are great at cutting through BS and putting things quickly in perspective.

A counseling session with a doer/boss lasts about 8 seconds, but the solution they offer has fantastic practical results if applied.

Counseling with a thinker/seer is an ongoing period of analysis in which the thinker/seer says very little for very long, but listens intently and asks perfect questions.

Counseling with a relater takes place while throwing bread to ducks together near a quiet lake, and ends up like the scene in Good Will Hunting where Robin Williams’ character holds the protagonist by the shoulders and continually insists, “It’s not your fault!”

Counseling with a socialite is . . . probably watching their YouTube videos, where they share embellished stories from their life (details often sounding a tad far-fetched). But they have a million subscribers, and a billion Twitter followers quick to re-share all their catchy quips.

My guess is you’re a relater or thinker/seer (or both, since everyone’s a combination of aspects). Maybe you’ve had or been close to emotional pain in your life, so you either understand it viscerally (relater) or in detail (thinker/seer).

If you feel attracted to emotional pain—if you’re more comfortable talking on that level, or those with emotional pain always seem drawn to you—consider becoming some sort of counselor.

Now, before thoughts of what becoming a counselor would have taken (along traditional routes) make you want to cough and skip to the next answer, consider this: Degrees/licenses/titles aside, we essentially live at a time when everyone can bring their value to the world and naturally connect with those they benefit. If you have skills for it, do it. Money always follows value (which is determined via. perspective and talent). Just a thought.


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