Feeling ‘in emotional pain’ isn’t just you being dramatic.
Researchers have discovered that your brain processes emotional upset with the same brain circuitry that processes physical injury. Social psychologist Naomi Eisenberger calls this ‘the physical-social pain overlap’.
And a rare heart condition caused by acute emotional distress, stress cardiomyopathy, is also nicknamed by researchers ‘broken heart syndrome’. The heart muscle develops a weakness that mimics a classic heart attack, with a surge of adrenalin and other stress hormones
photo by: Sydney Sims
temporarily ‘stunning’ the heart.
Most people make a quick recovery without permanent side effects. But in rare cases, it can be fatal, giving all new meaning to the idea of ‘dying of a broken heart’.
Is it really love that hurts?
Yes, emotional pain is as much pain to our brains as a physical injury. But is that emotional pain you are experiencing really ‘love’?
From a psychology perspective,a loving relationship is a safe space to be accepted and encouraged, even as you accept and encourage in return. If that doesn’t ring a bell, then it might not be love at all, but lust, codependency, or addiction.
How long did you know the other person?
Did you get to know each other slowly, in a trusting, safe way?
Love and romance addictions hurt because they come with highs and lows. While the highs feel euphoric, the crashing lows can leave us feeling physically exhausted and ill, particularly in comparison to the highs.
Is it present love that hurts, or is it your past?
Didn’t have a dramatic relationship? But feel huge, painful emotions your friends have said mean you are ‘overreacting’? Or feel hurt by someone you hardly knew very long?
Each time you find yourself thinking ‘love hurts’, notice how you are treating yourself in that exact moment.
We can use our obsession of being hurt by another as an excuse to abandon ourselves.
We give the responsibility forself care to this person from the past, and then we go and treat ourselves just like they treated us.
If you feel abandoned, how are you abandoning yourself? Are you taking care of your health? Are you around people who are nice to you, or choosing to spend time with those who put you down? Have you found time to notice your accomplishments for the day, or are you too busy criticising yourself?
3. Seek support.
Is your love pain a pattern?
Are you a wreck for months after each relationship ends?