From the standpoint of the medical science, pain is feedback from a highly organized excitatory system to the exciters that can be dangerous to our health. That means that with all seemingly negative impact, suffering is indispensable for the healthy functioning of our body. At least, that is what concerns physical pain.
Can we say the same about emotional pain? Is it as indispensable for the personal development of physical pain is vital for our survival, or it would be better to get rid of it once and for all?
On the one hand, emotional pain is not directly related to the organic or physical disorders. It is a kind of psychological stress depending on the personal attitude, values, and perception of the environment. In other words, the reasons causing such an acute emotional discomfort can vary according to personality.
On the other hand, the emotional pain’s mechanism is not that subjective. While studying human neural axis with MRI, experimenters concluded that our brain identically reacts to the emotional and physical stimuli. High emotional stress exhausts and weakens our body not less than physical pain, which allows us to speak about similar nature of both these reactions.
But what can cause emotional pain? A great nervous breakdown, a feeling of loss, social alienation, mental inability — all these indicate some serious alteration in the personal environment. When feeling emotional pain, we respond to the situation we cannot live with, meaning we have to reconsider our relations with the outside world. Thus, we can assume that emotional pain is a stimulus for the personal development.
Psychology considers fear, sorrow, anger, and fury to be the manifestation of emotional pain. These strong emotions provoke the reaction, making us change the situation. They also can be a consequence of a physical or emotional exhaustion. This way our body shows us the need for rest and retaliation. In both those cases emotional pain, as well as physical, have a definite purpose.
Nevertheless, strong negative emotions can be destructive. It happens when emotional pain provokes aggression, it does not matter if it aims ourselves or the outside environment. Any attack is damaging, especially so for the aggressor.
When we feel physical pain, we understand that our body is in need of some relief and we take some actions to provide it. When the pain is emotional, it is also necessary to do something to ease it. However, in most cases, there are two behavioral patterns.
The first implies the repression of the pain to the subconscious level. We tell ourselves that our suffering is over and the pain is gone. Sometimes this is a result of the misconception of the personal resiliency, the force of character. However, as long as the cause of the problem ignored, the problem stays. Our mentality adapts to the situation, the pain subsides, but along with it, our perception becomes dull, positive emotions grow weaker, and the sense of wellness leaves us.
The opposite reaction is also possible. We eagerly cherish our pain, find a perversive joy in our sufferings. By fixing our mind on the negative experience, we enable ourselves for finding additional reasons for it, justify the situation, thus, recharging the emotional pain.
Both options are devastating for our personality. A persistent emotional pain can cause various physical or psychological disorders. It gives way to depression, neurosis, psychosomatic diseases.
There is only one solution to the problem — we have to work with the cause of the pain. If the primary reason is self-frustration, we have to deal with it, find a way to compensate what is not there.
If it is due to the poor relations, we have to be able to reconsider our position, to learn some new ways to interact with our environment. However, what is clear is that we are the ones who have to solve the problem.
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