This is a copy of the wikihow page on emotoinal pain as of
January 26, 2014.
A couple comments are that no one is suggesting that we
use our emotional pain to try to figure out what our unmet
emotional needs are.
Another comment is that this page is an example of how people
are really just guessing at how best to respond to emotional
pain. There are no clear, uncontroversial, scientifically proven
things -- and even those, for example, brain research, are
subject to interpretation accourdong to one's own values, beliefs
and belief system. For example, I think of the
"science" presented in the BBC documentary called Truth
About Deperssion- -- Steph and I discussed this a bit. See her page
- S. Hein
- Don't try to cure what is normal. Temporary
emotional pain is caused by any number of events: death
of a loved one,, a breakup, thoughtlessness or cruelty on
the part of others. When you're hurting because of any of
the above, accept that it's normal to feel hurt or angry
for a short time. Let's face it: if a loved one dies,
only a very cold person would be unaffected by it. If you
love someone and that person dumps you, it's natural to
feel hurt. These things are normal. Trying to cure what
is normal is pointless. Expect to feel pain for a while -
- There's a statement that goes something like, 'If you
get (enter mad, hurt, insulted, offended, etc. here) it's
your fault.' That's just not true. That
suggests that people don't love, or bond, or trust, or
invest emotions. If you have emotional pain, there's a
reason for it. What is adamant, is that it is important
to be careful what you take to heart, because that will
affect you emotionally. Deal with the pain, but don't
make it a focal part of your life. It was a lesson that
you can use to help others who are in that same scenario.
- Don't pretend you don't feel it. The pain is real.
You have to address it, or you will never get beyond it.
Don't try to rush through this season of pain. Even
though all you can really think about is ending the pain,
the truth is that just allowing yourself the feelings is
important. Masking your pain when you're trying to work
or just get through each day may be necessary to a point,
but make sure to allow yourself some "me-time"
- some time to allow yourself to really feel all of the
feelings you are having, rather than just suppressing and
- Identify all of your feelings. Are you just
heartbroken? Or are you angry too? Maybe just the tiniest
bit relieved - which is also making you feel guilty? Do
you feel betrayed? Insecure? Afraid? Giving some thought
to exactly how you are feeling can be very helpful in
processing all of your emotions in the wake of a
traumatic or life changing event.
- Endure it. Things that cannot be cured must be
endured. It sounds obvious, but sometimes, thinking of
emotional pain as if it were physical pain can be very
helpful. Think of your broken heart just as if it were
your arm that is broken instead. A broken arm takes time
to heal, and it hurts like crazy just after it's broken,
even after it's been set and casted. A few days later, it
doesn't hurt so much. But weeks or even months later, if
you bump or jar it, that pain can come roaring back to
life with a vengeance. You baby it a little, take care
not to aggravate it, and eventually, it's stronger where
it was broken than it was before. You have no choice -
you can't cut off the arm. That won't make it hurt any
less. You just have to endure it while it heals.
- Talk to someone. There are times when it seems
that the hurt you feel inside is just too deep to talk
about. You feel like no one could understand. Or maybe
you worry because your loved ones didn't share your
feelings about whatever it is that's hurting you. Maybe
they didn't care for your boyfriend, whom you just broke
up with, or they didn't know your friend, who passed
away. You may be right - they may not totally understand.
But right now, it isn't being understood that you need.
It's compassion. Your family and friends love you. They
see you hurting and want to help. Sometimes, if you will
just try to talk out your feelings, say something about
what hurts, it can help start your healing. Letting
someone put his or her arm around you and hearing them
say, "It's going to be okay" may not seem that
helpful, but it really is, because it helps you feel
you're not totally alone. Realizing that someone wants to
be there for you will help.
- Don't let anyone tell you that your feelings aren't
real. They are real, significant, and important. And,
they're your feelings. Feeling alone doesn't mean there
is no one around. Feeling sad doesn't mean you'll never
be happy. Feel your feelings, think your thoughts, but
realize they're just feelings and thoughts.
- Get your mind off yourself and how bad you feel.
You have the right to feel sorry for yourself - for 10
minutes. Then move on. No exceptions. Go out with
friends. Tell yourself that you will not talk about your
pain for more than a few minutes - you will not bring
down the activity by wallowing in it. Don't let your
friends walk on egg shells around you just because you've
been traumatized. You still need to live. Distract
yourself by just forgetting it for a little while. If
you're grieving a death, or heartbroken over a breakup,
especially, giving yourself a little time to just be
without obsessing on the event that hurts will help you
to heal and move past it. That's not to say that you just
forget about it and move on - no. It's only to say that
even grief needs to take a breather. Give your weary
heart a little respite, and let it mend with the love and
lightness of heart that comes from being with friends, or
doing something that brings you pleasure. There will be
time to cry again, but not just now.
- Allow time to heal. This is part of just enduring.
You will need to muster up the patience to allow healing
to commence. There isn't any substitute for just ...
waiting. Time requires one thing: that you allow it to
pass. Getting past emotional pain requires a grieving
process, which takes time.
- Don't let your pain define you. Remember you are
greater than this hard time, you have a past and a
future. You have awareness and creativity. This was a
single episode which will soon pass.
- Write a letter. Writing down your feelings can
help you to sort them out. It can help more if you use
positive "I messages" instead of negative ones.
If you don't write, talk about your feelings with someone
close or a therapist. Don't justify them, just talk about
them, get them out, and listen to what you say.
- Stay away from statements that blame you or others.
Take responsibility for your actions, and your part of
whatever went wrong, but do not indulge in
blaming. The question of "And whose fault is/was
that?" does not apply.
- Develop a learning orientation. Life hands you
difficulties so you can learn from them. People who have
really easy lives fall apart when bad things happen
because they have never learned how to cope or let things
roll off their backs. Everything, even very painful
times, can be used to learn better coping skills and to
develop wisdom and perspective about life that will help
you deal with many difficulties in the future. Whatever
doesn't destroy you can serve to make you stronger.
- Make a 'Thankfulness List'. Write down what you
are thankful for, even basic things like having clothes
and a warm place to sleep, then moving to people who care
for you, and good things in your life. Being thankful is
naturally healing and will balance out any trauma over
- If the pain is lasting more than a week or so, or
you've lost hope or you're thinking of suicide, you're
either suppressing your pain or you have deeper
unresolved issues that you need to complete. The
strategies above are healthy ways to deal with emotional
pain. Often as kids, we didn't use these strategies and
instead incorporate the pain into our character, our
subconscious. Said another way, when we're young, it's
easy to let emotional pain define you. Often this needs
to be undone, teased apart and handled in a healthy
manner for us to be free. If a current incident upsets
you too much or for too long, or your whole life is
colored by a negative outlook, consider getting some help
to unearth, re-examine and complete a prior incident.
- It's normal to feel hurt or pain for some time after an
event. How much time is up to you. Don't let others rush
or pressure you into "getting over it" on some
timetable. But if you feel hopeless, or helpless, and
this feeling doesn't improve over time, but instead seems
to linger, seek professional help. Emotional injury can
lead to depression, which can be treated - don't let
yourself continue a downhill slide indefinitely. You
should reach a peak or plateau, and things should start
to turn around. You shouldn't just feel like you're
continuing down, down, down.
- When you think all the good has run out, look for
something that gives you hope.
- Watch out for addiction to drama. You can get a lot of
attention when things get bad - but it's not healthy to
keep working your friends for attention to your dramas.
It can be hard to give up the experience of having people
sympathize as you tell how bad it is, but drama can
become a way of life that sucks all the good feelings out
of your relationships. If you find yourself telling the
same story over and over again, or similar stories where
you are the victim and someone else is the villain, it's
time to get a handle on yourself!
- Try listening to music that makes you feel good or that
you feel you can relate to.
- We should just be busy with yourself or by enjoying
yourself, which can give you relaxation.