Emotional pain: what it is and how to deal with it

Feeling pain is something no one likes, being unpleasant despite an adaptive evolutionary origin and function. Probably when we think of pain, we do so in the form of physical pain, injury, or disease.

But there is also another type of pain, which we have all felt at some time and which causes us great suffering: emotional pain that our experiences can cause us or lack thereof. It is this latter type of evil that we will be talking about throughout this article.

    Emotional pain: what is it and what are the causes?

    Although it is not something unknown to anyone, we call emotional pain all that feeling of suffering or suffering generated at the psychic level without there being a physical reason for its appearance. The causes of emotional pain are purely mental and generally refer to the experience of some sort of aversive experience (thus being its generally environmental origin).

    There are a virtually unlimited number of situations that can cause us this discomfort. Some examples that usually generate this type of pain are breakups and romantic disappointments., Battles and serious conflicts with loved ones, loss of abilities, the onset of a serious, chronic or even terminal illness or the death of loved ones.

    As with physical pain, emotional pain is to some extent functional and adaptive: it allows us to avoid painful situations or seek protection from aversive events. However it ceases to be so when it becomes a suffering prolonged over time or permanent or exceeds personal capacity and / or resources.

      It can cause physical damage

      Emotional pain is a type of suffering experienced at the mental level, not appearing due to the presence of a medical illness (or at least not as a direct effect of the illness) or any damaged or injured tissue or organ. However, the truth is that emotional and physical pain are linked, and the former can have a physiological impact: we may be able to somatize our emotional suffering.

      To somatize is to express through the body the discomfort of suffering caused at the psychological level, and the symptoms can appear as pain that is felt as physical in different parts of the body. This pain has no organic cause, or if there is real illness, it is not the cause of the pain or it should not be as intense as it is felt. Of course the pain it is not unreal or pretended but it is actually perceived.

      Some of the different discomforts that emotional pain can cause are the presence of back pain, vomiting and diarrhea, feverish episodes, headaches, and dizziness. Stomach problems or sexual dysfunctions such as erectile dysfunction or loss of libido can also occur. In very extreme cases, it could even cause blockages in basic functions such as speech or movement, and even lose the sensitivity of some limbs.

      Dealing with emotional pain

      Emotional pain and the suffering it generates are, as we have said, adaptive at first. We need to allow ourselves to feel it, not avoid it or hide it, valuing it as something that can be very natural in response to a given situation. If someone we love dies or decides to end their relationship with us, it makes sense and normal to have a high level of suffering, a sad mood, and decreased energy levels and the desire to do something. things. However, the passage of time and the arrival of new experiences will help us to gradually manage our pain and we advance, overcome.

      This will be when we cannot manage it, limit our lives to a great extent or we are unable to adapt to the new situation in which some type of action will be needed or to resort to some type of professional help.

      The first is recognize the existence of emotional pain, Validate it and keep in mind that each painful experience is a process of varying length to overcome. It will also be necessary to identify the emotions which generate the suffering and the events which provoked them, in the case where they are not already known.

      After that, we have to allow these to express themselves and to circulate, trying to learn to modify them or even to introduce experiences that generate emotions incompatible with suffering. The search for alternatives and solutions to the reasons for suffering, or experimenting with new experiencesThey can be very helpful in overcoming pain.

      One aspect to keep in mind in case of somatization: if it is possible to work and even successfully treat the resulting physical symptoms, a full recovery will only be possible if the cause of the emotional pain is treated, because she will probably come back to reappear. .

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