- My sexual identity:
- I'm hetero
- Eye tint:
- Big blue eyes
- What is my body features:
- My body type is slim
- What is my favourite music:
- I prefer to listen pop
- What is my hobbies:
- My hobbies blogging
Love in the movies is full of roses and sunshine. But, for some reason, in real life, healthy relationships are different. Being in love means being in pain. Maybe not all of the time but certainly some of the time. Like how that one song goes, "Love hurts.
Most of us see the connection between social and physical pain as a figurative one. At the same time, life often presents a compelling argument that the two types of pain share a common source. A few years ago a group of doctors at Johns Hopkins University reported a rare but lethal heart condition caused by acute emotional distress. Behavioral science is catching up with the anecdotes, too. In the past few years, psychology researchers have found a good deal of literal truth embedded in the metaphorical phrases comparing love to pain.
Neuroimaging studies have shown that brain regions involved in processing physical pain overlap considerably with those tied to social anguish. The connection is so strong that traditional bodily painkillers seem capable of relieving our emotional wounds. Love may actually hurt, like hurt hurt, after all. Hints of a neural tie between social and physical pain emerged, quite unexpectedly, in the late s. The infant dogs cried when they were separated from their mothers, but these distress calls were much less intense in those that had been given a low dose of morphine, Panksepp reported in Biological Psychiatry.
Why love literally hurts
The concept was hard to test in people, however, until the rise of neuroimaging decades later. The researchers knew which areas of the brain became active during physical pain: the anterior cingulate cortex ACCwhich serves as an alarm for distress, and the right ventral prefrontal cortex RVPFCwhich regulates it. They decided to induce social pain in test participants to see how those areas responded.
Eisenberger and colleagues fed participants into a brain imaging machine and hooked them into a game called Cyberball — essentially a game of virtual catch. Participants were under the impression that two other people would be playing as well. In actuality, the other players were computer presets controlled by the researchers.
They watched as the other two players tossed the virtual ball, but were told that technical difficulties had prevented them from ing the fun. In these cases, the computer players included the participant for seven tosses, then kept the ball away for the next 45 throws. The brain might have recognized this exclusion as accidental, and therefore not painful enough to merit corrective measures.
The study inspired a new line of research on neural similarities between social and physical pain. In a review of studies conducted since this seminal work, published in the February issue of Current Directions in Psychological ScienceEisenberger offered a potential evolutionary reason for the relationship.
Early humans needed social bonds to survive: things like acquiring food, eluding predators, and nursing offspring are all easier done in partnership with others. Maybe over time this social alert system piggybacked onto the physical pain system so people could recognize social distress and quickly correct it. Psychologists believe that physical pain has two separate components.
There is the sensory component, which gives basic information about the damage, such as its intensity and location. As a result, researchers began to think that while the qualitative aspects of social and physical pain might overlap, the sensory components might not. Recently that thinking has changed.
Sometimes love can hurt
Kross and colleagues brought test participants into a brain imaging machine and had them complete two multi-part tasks. One was a social task: Participants viewed pictures of the former romantic partner while thinking about the breakup, then viewed pictures of a good friend. The other was a physical task: Participants felt a very hot stimulation on their forearm, and also felt another that was just warm. But activity in areas linked with physical pain, such as the somatosensory cortex and the dorsal posterior insula, also increased during these tasks.
Why is it so painful to be in love?
The suggested that social and physical pain have more in common than merely causing distress — they share sensory brain regions too. As other research suggests, social pain may actually be much worse in the long run. A kick to the groin might feel just as bad as a breakup in the moment, but while the physical aching goes away, the memory of lost love can linger forever. A research group led by Zhansheng Chen at Purdue University recently demonstrated this difference in a series of experiments. During two self-reports, people recalled more details of a past betrayal than a past physical injury and also felt more pain in the present, even though both events had been equally painful when they first occurred.
During two cognitive tests, people performed a tough word association task ificantly more slowly when recalling emotional pain than when recalling physical pain.
There is a bright side to the new line of research linking social and physical pain: Remedies for one may well double as therapy for the other. A group of psychological researchers, led by C. Nathan DeWall of the University of Kentucky, recently tested whether acetaminophen — the main ingredient in Tylenol — could relieve the pain of emotional distress as effectively as it relieves bodily aches. In one experiment, some test participants took a mg dose of acetaminophen twice a day for three weeks, while others took a placebo. After Day 9, people who took the pain pill reported ificantly lower levels of hurt feelings than those who took a placebo.
As a follow-up study, DeWall and colleagues gave either acetaminophen or a Falling in love can hurt to 25 test participants for three weeks, then brought them into the lab to play Cyberball. When participants were excluded from the game, those in the acetaminophen group showed ificantly lower activity in their ACC than those in the placebo group — a that the painkiller was relieving social pain just as it normally did physical pain. The effect breaks both ways. Half of the stimulations were given at the threshold pain level, half were given one degree Celsius higher.
Meanwhile the woman took part in a series of tasks to measure which had a mitigating effect on the pain. In the end, contact involving a romantic partner — both direct and visual alike — led to ificantly lower pain ratings compared to the other tasks. As I suffered emotional and physical and sexual abuse. I was abandoned as a baby, and was adopted by a very sick person…. Now I have very severe physical pain. Mostly burning nerve pain. There was no love at all, only beatings…tried to take my life at It is interesting that I have made a good life for myself, and now I have to deal with this debilitating pain.
Sure would like to know if there is a correlation…. Studying polyvagal theory helped me understand my chronic pain quite a bit. Also there is an awesome book called The Body Keeps the Score.
Understanding my rewiring has helped a lot. Look up talks given by Dr Gabor Mate. There is a direct correlation! I was sexually abused at The man hit me in my left arm after I refused to look at him play with himself. At age 49 I went through a heart breaking experience involving my spouse and son, and every time I felt anxious or nervous, my left arm would start hurting. It got so bad I could not move my arm after a very bad emotional night. me. I have had a history of sexual abuse and have recently begun my first real relationship with someone and when I am with them I start to tense up in my legs.
I feel my nerves prick and find it hard to be around them not because I dislike them but from what I assume is a deep ingrained fear caused from my past. I feel for everyone posting here and am hoping that we can make a motion to better ourselves through the support and insight we provide.
I have been having a lot of heart twisting and rapid beating. I have had a very secluded life. I found out I have a very rare personality type for women. Growing up I was socially excluded, treated like an alien, parents fought every night and I found out other things, rape, depression the list goes on.
I think my heart was broken so much it was dead. I think I may have pots syndrome due to these problems. My true love is with someone else, it hurts no matter where I am. I also have a lot of issues from abandonment and being sexually abused as. I was totally shocked when I read the characteristics of an HSP. It was like someone was describing every aspect of me. HSP is a personality trait and is thought to be genetic. I bet most of the writers in this thread are HSP. I used to think there was something wrong with me and that there was nobody else in the world like me because I knew I felt things differently then other people.
It will at least give you clarity and understanding and in time you will notice that finding out about it has definitely improved your life. I hope Falling in love can hurt helps someone because I can truly feel your pain. Dear judy, Tonight I was just scrolling around and saw your comment. I actually thought you wrote that about me.
To hear that you went through so much pain. I could relaMy heart completely understand everything you have felt. I never can find anyone that has felt and seen what my parents did. I am now 40 and I work everyday to be better and to relearn everything I was brain washed to think.
I want to chat with you if all possible. I know this is a old thread but I am hoping to reach you Tonight. I am sorry you felt so much pain. To find another that knows this life is once in my lifetime. Here is my and you can contact me anytime. So for me I hope you know that people like me need others that have been to those places also. So thank you for sharing your story and I would love to chat if you ever get bored.