Everyone Has Some Psychological Pain
Pain and pleasure are part of the human experience.
Of course we would all rather experience the pleasure part. Invariably, no matter what how we try to avoid it, we experience the pain part too. We get tossed around by events, that often we can not even control, and suffer from it. Psychological pain is not psychosomatic pain, or hypochondria.
- Psychological pain hurts emotionally.
- Psychosomatic pain is a physical pain from a psychological symptom.
- Hypochondria or hypochondriasis, is the fear of having an illness, causing the person to think they have pain, when they do not.
We are thinking, feeling human beings, who process every positive and negative experience and detail that crosses our path, and that our senses pick up. Small and big occurrences affect us.
Some are fleeting, and obscure events, and have little affect on who we are, or what we feel. Some burn impressions in our brains that mold us and change us. Some may lay dormant until triggered by something that reawaken painful recollections.
But all get stored in our memory, and contribute to the feelings we have about ourselves, the messages we replay in our head, and our belief system that supports or negates these thoughts, causing psychological pain.
Emotional Hurt and Our Feelings
Emotional pain is a difficult topic to cover. It shouldn’t be though. Everyone of us has emotional pain from something they experiences. Life throws things at us, and tosses us around, wounding us in ways that may become difficult to fully recover from. Everyone has a story to tell, everyone gets scarred by life.
Yet, emotional hurt is hard to describe, and as each of you read this, your emotional pain is as personal, and unique as you are. Still it is also a difficult topic to write about in a short article and cover it in depth enough to be a valuable source of information. This is because psychological pain covers many aspects from our ordinary feelings to deep emotional distress. From the psychological discomfort to the physical pain caused by our emotions, it can be overwhelming to deal with. It impacts our relationships, our careers, and our health. It influences our thoughts, our behaviors, our actions, and our reactions.
Psychological pain can be caused from many things, including rejection, loss, hurtful words, low self-esteem, physical injuries and illness, depression, anxiety, relationship issues, phobias, addictions, traumatic events, childhood experiences, and a host of unresolved feelings that sit and brew within our psyche.
Unpleasant and traumatic experiences cause us to struggle with our emotions, and keep us trapped in a time when we felt unsafe. Memories may haunt and cause fears that a person may not fully understand. Emotional pain never leaves us, whether it happened recently or long ago. It happened to us, and it affects us, until we learn to comfort ourselves, challenge the messages we tell ourselves, and grow from it.
Is Psychological Pain Real?
It is also difficult to define emotional pain because there is no definitive body part where it sits and can be found.
Emotional pain resides in our memories, where we are aware of this pain and in our unconscious, where we are not aware. Emotional pain can be triggered in an instant by something we see or hear, or smell, or remember.
Emotional pain can numb someone, and stop them from feeling and healing. Emotional pain hurts. When no one sees our psychological pain, we feel isolated, and a deep sense of aloneness, because, others may not understand us. No one wants to show their vulnerability, because others may use this weakness to hurt them. We want to appear strong, and emotional pain makes us feel weak. Society prefers people to hide their emotional hurts. People who are trying to cope with psychological pain, often have feelings of shame and guilt, which further isolates them emotionally.
Psychological pain hurts as much as physical pain, yet we can’t readily describe it. Emotional pain can cause physical pain. Physical pain can cause psychological pain. When we hurt physically, people call it real pain. But when you hurt emotionally, people don’t call it anything. Society doesn’t even have a word for emotional pain. People just prefer that it go away.
Psychological Pain Keeps Us Frozen in the Past
Emotional pain puts us back in time and in a place, and stops us from progressing and moving forward. Emotional pain is powerful and can interfere with the pleasure we seek, the relationships we have, the accomplishments we desire.
It affects our health and our behavior and our interpretations of our environment. But emotional pain is very real and the psychology of emotional pain takes understanding oneself. Knowing that just because you don’t see it, and just because there is not a specific place that science can pinpoint where it resides in our body, and just because it is an individualistic reaction to your personal experience, it nevertheless is real.
All your feelings are real.
It is Hard Work to Deal With Psychological Pain
Emotional pain takes a lot of work to get over, and many people do not have the desire to do this hard work. For some, they are scared of what they have to face and choose not to revisit these very painful experiences.
As you read this, I’d like you to think about what avoiding the feelings is really achieving?
- Yes, it takes lots of hard work to learn to comfort yourself about something you would rather not deal with.
- Yes, it is scary to face our powerlessness, our weaknesses, our personal flaws.
- Yes, pain is so unpleasant. You may even feel that you will cry tears that will never stop, and you may be afraid that these feelings will overwhelm you and stop you from functioning.
- So my answer to you is this. There is hard work, getting over your emotional pain. It may be the most difficult challenge you could ever take on.
- Working on yourself is the best gift you can give yourself and for those who love you. Don’t the people in your life deserve a better, fuller potential, happier you?
- It takes hard work to learn new coping skills, new habits, and to give up our automatic way of doing things. Make an investment in yourself, you are worth it.
- It is a false belief to think that not dealing with emotional pain, is better than dealing with it. It is a false belief to think that if you push it away, it is not there.
- Dealing with emotional pain will cause more pain in the short run, but great relief in the long run.
You may believe that talking about your experiences will show your vulnerable side. Talking with someone you trust, or with a mental health counselor, or with clergy, someone special, that you can share your true self with, will actually help you become a stronger, less vulnerable person.
What is Emotional Pain?
So even though, the psychology of emotional pain is a difficult topic to cover, it is a very important one, for your own progress, happiness and mental well being.
So what is emotional pain?
- Although it can’t really be defined, it exists.
- It exists as a deep seated feeling that hurts you to the core of your soul.
- It exists as a feeling that overwhelms you to the point that it may dominate your mood, your reactions, your behavior.
- It exists as painful memories from events we couldn’t control.
- It exists as part of our ego from things people we trusted, said or did to us.
- It exists within us, dictating our personalities and reactions, more than we would like to admit.
- It exists as a threat to our basic needs of security and love, and acceptance.
Emotional pain can swallow you up and you may think your only defense is to push it away and try to forget about it. Emotional hurt is very real, and in order for you to get over it, you need to face it, to acknowledge it, to respect it.
Psychological pain hurts so much, often we can’t get over it by ourselves. Some people self medicate with drugs and alcohol to not feel this pain. Some people engage in cutting to relieve the emotional hurt. Some people have eating disorders, and do other destructive things. Some people live with depression, overwhelmed by their emotional distress. In the end, all these things are more harmful than good. This is one aspect of the psychology of emotional pain.
Talking With Someone Will Help to Deal with Psychological Pain
How to know who to turn to – Ask yourself these questions:
- Did you feel comfortable with this person?
- Did you feel understood by them?
- Is the person critical, judgmental, dismissive, unresponsive?
- Is this person an enabler, or manipulative, or controlling?
- Are you treated with compassion and respect by this person?
- Are they empathetic, a good listener, comforting?
- Do you feel comfortable around them?
- Do you have a mutual trust?
Emotional Pain and Denial
Emotional pain causes people to go into denial, in order to not deal with the issues that surround it. This causes feelings of alienation, exclusion, and loneliness.
When you understand the emotional pain, you are going through, it will free you. No longer will you be trapped by the experiences that caused you so much pain. No longer will you be trying to avoid these feelings.
Your strength will come from taking on something so hard and conquering it. And you will conquer it, because the fears you are not facing are not as big as you think they are.
Having to face the pain again, may make you cry a lot, but these tears will heal you. When you heal you will feel better. And the feelings of being overwhelmed can be battled by dealing with your pain, one piece at a time.
If you believe that being overwhelmed will stop you from functioning, think about how your pain is keeping you frozen in time, and how this is really stopping you from functioning to the best of your ability. Think about the energy that gets taken from you, because of your pain. You deserve to step away from psychological pain and seek the pleasures that await you.
You Can Free Yourself from Emotional Hurt
The psychology of emotional pain is what you are letting your experiences do to you.
Emotional hurt happens to us all. It is raw and real and it scars us. We want to not feel pain, we want to feel okay. And you will feel okay. Be brave, let go, allow your feelings to show to someone you trust, give yourself permission to forgive. Move forward and let courage be your guide. Believe in yourself, trust beyond your physical surroundings, and think about who you really are and what you can truly do. Inspiration is everywhere, if you look for it.
Look towards the sun, where warmth and light will help you see the you who can be free from psychological pain and feel better than ever.
Juan Koss, M.D. is a psychiatrist and writer of scientific articles for DoMyWriting. He loves his job because it gives him the opportunity to inspire others and share your thoughts with like-minded people.
Image courtesy of Raj Eiamworakul.