Melanie Tonia Evans

Why Do We Keep Doing Things We Know Are Bad For Us?

Written by   Melanie Tonia Evans Permalink 6
Written By   Melanie Tonia Evans

Have you ever wondered why it is that you keep doing the things that you just don’t want to keep doing? Are you suffering from the frustration of trying to break free from your patterns that you know aren’t serving you?

How many times do we pick up that cigarette after 4 days of not smoking, or eat that whole slice of chocolate cake, and then two more when we promised ourself that we would only take a slither?

I know I have struggled with a number of addictions in my life; from alcohol, cigarettes and of course… relationships. I would continually repeat the behaviour that I knew was bad for me. And burn a lot of energy beating myself up in the process.

That was until I realised that this behaviour was a merely a program playing out in a cycle to cover up my feelings of emptiness in regards to love, support and purpose. When I reprogrammed this cycle and started providing myself with love, support and purpose something powerful happened..

The addictions were gone!

In this article I am going to show you how you can get rid of any addictions or self defeating behaviours that are holding you back by reprogramming yourself to provide love, support, purpose and fulfilment from within.


The Urge to Avoid Pain Creates the Cycle of Addiction

Perhaps you continually say “Yes” when you need to say “No”, and haven’t started doing this yet despite how much you are continually damaging yourself by saying ”Yes” to people, choices and actions that are destroying you.

Our emotions are powerful, and they are either neutral or experiencing pleasure or pain. As human beings we have been conditioned to avoid pain at all costs. The problem is avoiding pain without dealing with it leads to creating more pain.

Let me explain.

The craving for a cigarette, a piece of chocolate cake, or the neediness for love or approval from a specific person is felt as pain.

The craving creates an emotion whereby rather than being appreciative of ‘what you do have’ right here, right now – your focus is on ‘what you don’t have’ right here, right now.

The emptiness of ‘not having’ creates the feeling ‘if I have this thing that I am craving the pain will go away.’

The instinctual response is to ‘go for’ this thing or person that you have the craving for, and this intense urge takes control of your actions.

When you give into this urge you only feel short term relief, there is no real lasting peace or fulfilment, you still feel empty on the inside, and the craving will inevitably reproduce again and the cycle will continue.

This is the cycle of addiction.

It is important to understand that addictions are emotion based. It is your unfulfilled and ‘empty’ emotions that are writhing in pain, urging you to give into anything that will provide momentary relief.

We are all scared of pain, until we realise that pain is a perfect opportunity to apply mindfulness, heal and grow into a much more fulfilled and solid sense of self.


Pain can be Mindfully Embraced Rather Than Avoided

When we start embracing our pain and transforming it, a powerful change starts to take place in our brain, in the cells of our body, and we literally re-wire our emotions and our choices. We form and create new patterns that end up being effortless. Over time the struggle with the particular addiction simply no longer exists.

The only way we can create this process is by staying present with our emotions and working through them, rather than avoiding them.

How do we do that?

If you have had enough of repeating the actions that you know are not serving you, I’m going to give you a little exercise to do.

Merely reading this and being cognitively aware of it, won’t help you.

Making the commitment to apply it and to keep applying it will.


Five Steps to Releasing the Behaviour That isn’t Contributing to who You want to be



Choose the number #1 thing that if you stopped doing it – It would positively impact your life the most.


Now make the decision that you want to change this behaviour.

Write out a declaration to yourself.

“I (Your name) now declare that I am in the process of changing (the behaviour) as I am aware it is not contributing to who I want to be …(date)”

(Feel free to use your own language this is just an example)


Now write “I am aware that when I do (the behaviour) I am experiencing the following feelings of emptiness in regard to what I don’t believe I have in my life now.”

Now remember the feeling of the craving, take your awareness inside yourself and fully feel into and embrace the feelings of emptiness and ‘what I don’t have’ that is creating your craving…

Really feel into it. You can do this by bringing up a memory of the last time you felt ‘empty’, go into this feeling, literally drop into it and become ‘at one’ with it. Now what is it about?

These empty feelings will be to do with feeling a lack of love, support, fulfilment or purpose.

Write as much detail as you possibly can about these empty feelings.

Know that you can never get the relief of these feelings from your addiction. You need to be able to provide this for yourself. It has to come from within.


Now write down “In order to fill myself and heal these feelings of ‘what I don’t have’ I can and will fill myself up with all of the appreciation of ‘what I do have’ right now.”

Okay, this is where you need to be creative. And with all ‘prepaving’…(manifestation term for creating an energy that you are going to flow into and become) you may literally have to make it up.

The great thing is, your emotional body knows no difference between what you are imagining, what you choose to tell yourself, and what is actually real.

In fact what ‘becomes real’ is always what you decide to think about, feel and believe NOW.

So examples of filling yourself up with what ‘you do have’ are:

Craving for Cigarettes

  • The ability to exercise
  • The joy of better health

Craving for Chocolate Cake

  • Loving myself by preparing healthy food
  • Enjoying feeling light, free and healthy

Craving to get love and approval from someone hurting me

  • Knowing I have the ability to grant love and approval to myself
  • Loving myself enough to say “No”
  • Knowing I have real and supportive people who do supply genuine love
  • Knowing I can create a real love partner one day who does supply genuine love
  • There are many ways I can source out support to grant myself love and self-approval, which will then create ‘more of that’ in my life.

With your list brainstorm and write as many positives as you can in regard to ‘how you will fill yourself up’ when the next craving strikes.

You may have realised in Step Three that your craving is not only to do with reversing the literal craving, that it may also be to do with filling yourself up with positive feelings in regard to any area of your life, and absolutely needs to counteract the empty feelings you discovered in Step Three.


When the craving strikes, either mentally tell yourself your new story of ‘what you do have’, or write it down again repetitively or play yourself a tape of your own voice speaking these points repetitively.

It is very important to focus on the positive feeling of these words.

Initially that may be tough, but it will get easier, and more and more powerful.

Keep doing this process until the pain of the craving stops.

Repeat it any time that the craving reappears.

Know that what you are doing is effectively reprogramming your neuron pathways and cellular body to become the new program. You will then have effectively filled the hole where the emptiness was, and because there is no emptiness, there will be no more craving.

Be aware that the addiction may be very powerful. The first few times that you go to break free from the addiction it will kick, scream and fight. It will throw a tantrum because it has been used to getting its own way…

The pain will hit you hard and come at you with intensity that may feel like literal panic or even dread.


What You Can Do If You Are Struggling

If you can’t keep your focus on creating the new program of ‘what you do have’, because the intensity of the craving is so bad, then just be with the pain. Lie down if you can, place your hands on your stomach, focus on feeling the pain and just breathe.

It’s very important to NOT THINK. Don’t add any stories to the pain, don’t give it power. Just fully feel it, be with (knowing it will pass, that you’re not avoiding it, and it won’t kill you) and focus on “A breath in, a breath out” (say this to yourself) and breathe in and out as slowly and as deeply as you can.

I promise you the pain will pass.

Do this the first few times the craving hits and don’t cave in to the craving, and when the pain feels less intense you can check in to see whether or not you are able to start focusing on and reprogramming yourself with the ‘what I do have’ information you are granting yourself, which will speed up your recovery even more.

Before you know it, if you keep this process up consistently and diligently the emptiness will go, and the cravings will subside, and you will be rid of your addiction, be aligned with ‘what you do have’ and start manifesting those things as solid reality into your life.

If you give in don’t beat yourself up… Continue to support yourself and tell yourself you will be stronger next time.

If you feel that you can’t change your focus and your ‘story’ yourself – that’s ok! All of us, at times need support and help and I would love to show you a way to start your healing journey by inviting you to sign up for my free 16 Day Recovery Course here.  It includes a set of ebooks and an invitation to a free Healing Workshop so you can experience a Quanta Freedom Healing for yourself.

Do you understand that the craving was granting you the pain to find your emptiness, rectify it and get aligned with creating and experiencing the life you were always born to create?

That’s the truth…


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Melanie Tonia Evans is an international narcissistic abuse recovery expert. She is an author, radio host, and founder of Quanta Freedom Healing and The Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program. Melanie's healing and teaching methods have liberated thousands of people from the effects of narcissistic abuse world-wide.

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11 Thoughts on Why Do We Keep Doing Things We Know Are Bad For Us?
    No more self denial.
    March 24, 2012

    This rehearsal really does it for me! I have been searching for many years but never came across anyone seeing these issues as you do Melanie Tonia Evans: The NARC program, the e-books, this blog; all this is actually working so well for me because it helps ME leading MYSELF forwards in my own development, all of your material is incredibly EMPOWERING and accurate, and I am incredibly happy for this because it saves me a whole lot of TIME and gives me a longed for experience of actually progressing and mastering my life! 🙂

    March 24, 2012

    Melanie, amazing timing for this article..after months of hard work, i had a setback..I did not implement the necessary boundary…i gave in and broke the No Contact rule..the anguish crept in with within a few hours..Thank goodness I had your NARC program..i quickly started reading the ebook brought me back to the present and the affirmations i needed to tell myself…I got back to a wholeness quick and a willingness to protect my emotional being.I just want to tell you, Empathy of your degree is rare. Thank you for investing in Hope. Christine 🙂

    March 26, 2012

    Hi Mel,
    Thank you so much for this brilliant article.
    I have learnt so much from it and finally been able to find the courage to acknowledge those feelings of emptiness that drive addictive behaviours. I previously had not even been consciously aware of that cause and effect issue in myself. Let alone willing to sit with it.
    The clarity of the steps as you set them out in the article are genius-very powerful when you start doing them…
    When I was in an addictive damaging relationship I see now that my lifelong addiction to sweets escalated. When panic/anxiety/pain set in I would run for the chocolates and cakes.
    In the past 6 months I have lost 18 kilos in weight; without effort. I just stopped with the sweets without even realising it.
    At a recent check up my doctor expressed concern – what has caused you to lose 20% of your bodyweight? I said I don’t have much appetite- not even for sweets.
    After some tests where all ok- it seems that now life is more predictable and safe a couple of years down the track – I just stopped my sweet addiction.
    In hindsight, doing those steps I see that I used to sweets and stop start cigarettes to hide the pain from my own self.
    Like a lifelong alcoholic – I know that learning this connection will help me be less vulnerable to repeating this pattern in the future.
    I have been working on my nutritional program and know that sugar presents heightened risk of many illnesses and in my case greater risk of recurent or metastastic breast cancer; and heightened risk of breast cancer for all women.
    So sugar is a critical addiction to break for me and others who may have alcohol addictions to reduce our risks of that terrible illness.
    Now that I am officially a breast cancer survivor- yep- hit the 5 year anniversary- thank you so much for this great information to support my future health plan. I am glad to be at a point in life where I focus on and actively create my health care and nutrition plan.
    Not so long ago I was too busy worrying about His health plan!!
    So step by step I am getting there- and thank you for the insights and steps to keep working towards better self awareness and care.
    Lots of love,

    Angela Birks
    March 27, 2012

    Hi Mel,

    My life has become so hugely complicated and
    I have read your advice. I am struggling so much within that I feel I am just existing. I go to work, I come home so totally exhausted with the huge problems that are coming my way financially as I am going to lose my house as well. I trusted my partner and with placing money into his business now the company is in huge debt, to this point I could possibly loose my house. The partner who I thought I knew is not the person I know. I have never encountered so much bad luck since meeting him. I am working and supporting him in living expenses as well and I am trying to keep on working so to support myself and my own household bills. I really don’t know how much longer I can continue mentally, physically. I started reading some of your articles and have purchased them in the past. I find I don’t have any time or energy to continue going with you articles, as negative stuff seems to overide my time for the articles. Its like I have to go to another planet to have not distractions. My apologies for such a negativity but this is how I am feeling. Kindest Regards Ange

    March 31, 2012

    Hi Angela,
    I just read your post and it really touched me. I think I know a little of how you feel and that feeling of wondering how you can keep going even one more day.
    You will and things will get better!
    You have no choice but to put yourself first now or you will not keep going.
    Make time for yourself to read some articles,
    listen to the radio shows, keep a journal. do some affirmations, believe me Angela there is no other way.
    Read this week’s blog that Mel wrote honey and the comments underneath.
    You are not alone Angela, there are so many of us here that know what is happening for you. Join us here and keep in touch – lots of love and blessings to you. xxxxxx

    elizabeth doak
    April 24, 2012

    your comments are hitting the spot in many ways thank you

    October 13, 2013

    Hi Mel,
    I’ve been reading about narcissistic behaviours for maybe 6 months now, having left my family of origin and n. mother about a year and a half ago. I just wanted to share, my addiction/destructive habit, was to be swimming in shame. I saw that when my partner would be generous or give praise or compliments, I would often reject it or find it hard to swallow. This craving hit hard recently and I found this article just in time. Thanks for helping me fill the emptyness created by my mother snatching praise and love away from me.

    December 27, 2016

    I have been fighting to stop my behavior for a long time and keep losing. I like your method of reprogramming the neuron pathway – I have never seen it described that way before and it gives me hope that I can really do it. Deep breath… I hate myself and need to stop the cycle.

    lee sutter
    October 8, 2017

    This article has given me so much hope, and definite steps to take, to be with the pain, in the now, to override it with the positive side of ceasing the habit, and this reminder, to me, the most important and encouraging, and I quote you: “The great thing is, your emotional body knows no difference between what you are imagining, what you choose to tell yourself, and what is actually real.
    In fact what ‘becomes real’ is always what you decide to think about, feel and believe NOW.”
    Thank you !!

    May 20, 2019

    Mel thank you for that so appropriate for where I’m at. I have a question. You said that you were addicted to alcohol but now you seem to have a cocktail now and again. As a weed addict if I do this process for my addiction will I be able to smoke a joint now and then?

    • Melanie Tonia Evans
      May 20, 2019

      Hi Amanda,

      It’s my pleasure.

      The truth is it wasn’t until I released all the trauma within pushing me to drink to numb out – that it was possible.

      Even to this day I know I have to turn inwards to heal my trauma rather than use alcohol to self medicate.

      Alcohol is now a fun, feel good celebratory thing.

      My addiction with cigarettes was worse and I’m totally clear of it, but in no shape or form would I ever consider having a toke on anything again.

      That’s my personal journey with addictions and I hope there is something in there to help with your question.

      Mel 🙏💕❤️

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