Is physical pain worse than emotional pain?  I tend to think the emotional is harder to endure.  Losing a child, or even watching a child hurting, is far worse than physically giving birth to that same child.  I’m not saying that was a treat, but there is not an epidural for emotional pain.  You can’t just put a heating pad on it.  Emotional pain plays on fears, insecurities, it is a wrenched twist for which there is no way out, but through.

I am somewhat of an expert on my emotions because I am usually barely keeping my head above the surface of my swirly mess, happy and sad.  Personal feelings, what we tell ourselves, mantras, are one thing.  We are usually in control of which emotions we allow to run our lives, but shock, pain . . .those can not be controlled and often we don’t even know what will spill out of our soul until we are at the center of the storm.

Divorce, betrayal, they have to be worse than breaking a femur.  I’ll give you that the femur is a pretty large bone, and for some reason every time I hear someone broke one I cringe a little and touch one of my own, but it’s physical.  Physical pain seems temporary, or at least treatable.

Cancer is a horrible disease, the treatment is sometimes even worse.  There is a lot of physical pain, but when people tell their stories, they talk about the heartache, their fears of leaving their loved ones, the cruelty of it all.  They rarely focus on the excruciating pain their bodies must be going through.

Why is that?  Because the emotional pain is worse?

Emotions are more complicated, layered. Physical pain that hits you out of the blue, that is unbearable, usually sends the body into shock or even death.  We physically check out as a defense.  Relief.

Emotional pain doesn’t work that way.  It too comes out of nowhere and blindsides a person.  The body responds, but absorbs, endures.  Emotional pain stays.  It’s a throbbing splinter until it is worked out.  That seems far worse.

My thoughts from the laundry room.  Sleep It Off.

coping courage hurt life pain

11 Comments Leave a comment

  1. The theory that we hold our emotional pain in places in our bodies holds true for me. I underwent physical therapy after a car accident–to help my neck and back. And realized there were years of pain sitting there. It was physically painful to get rid of the old, tight patterns but emotionally, quite freeing. Now I try to let go of trauma as it happens. Don’t want to store that stuff!

    • Hahahaha. I have had such a crazy reaction to this post. I think the picture, which I thought was pretty cool, is freaking people out. I had nothing to post, was inspired by the picture, and really just thought it was an interesting question.
      So lovely of you to worry about me, but I’m actually looking forward to my Downton Abbey marathon this weekend, so I’m great. Have a wonderful weekend, Alys.
      Sorry to have worried you. 🙂

  2. I’ve found that physical pain is easier to connect with, it’s more specific, easier to get a sense of it, more concrete.
    Whereas emotional pain is more ethereal, phantom-ish, like a trickster, & more challenging to be with – it’s depths seem to have no bottom
    I agree it is harder to bear.

  3. Well said. Although, I’ve noticed that both rear the other’s ugly head! I’ve had physical pain that wouldn’t go away causing a lot of emotional pain (worry, stress, anger, etc) and then emotional pain that caused physical pain (headaches, stomach aches, etc)….Can’t we all just feel joy and happiness only..always 🙂

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