(Emotional) Pain


(Emotional) Pain

Within the ECS "pain" refers to emotional pain, i.e. pain that is perceived emotionally.


Emotional pain can be triggered by an emotional (cognitive) stimulus, a physical/sensory stimulus or a combination of both.



emotional (cognitive) trigger

physical trigger

loss of a limb by an accident

combination of both


... is a part of the experience of "painful" emotions (e.g. loss, grief, insult, embarrassment, loneliness, ...) that is the most visceral. It can often be physically felt.


It is the ultimate purpose of the institution of civil society to organize the distribution of pain. you can only organize well what you can measure - covid-19 we very carefully count the deceased and affected - but we are ill-equipped to quantify the impact of the same measures on the general society

the prevention or reduction of (emotional) pain equals a "gain"


"Psychology, the way it is taught and practiced, ironically is the single biggest distraction from what humans need to alleviate emotional pain."―Matthias Behrends

“The hallmark of peacebuilding is the management of emotional pain.”―Matthias Behrends

“The description of the wound is not a description of the pain.” (p.67)

Translation by MB

Sofsky, Wolfgang (2005): Traktat über die Gewalt. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verl. (Fischer, 16855). Available online at http://www.gbv.de/dms/hbz/toc/ht014545336.pdf.

“There is a price to be paid for every increase in consciousness. We cannot be more sensitive to pleasure without being more sensitive to pain.”―Alan Watts



Key Points

Pain Matters.

Pain is far too serious of a matter for me to accept distractions when discussing its alleviation.


Myths / Distractions

Experiencing (or re-experiencing) pain is (almost) never processing it - unless in the very specific conditions that favor Processing of Emotions.

Processing of Emotions


Any experience of pain combined with helplessness usually results in a Post-Traumatic Emotional Structure. that lacks these conditions is either creating helplessness

Emotional Structure

Pain is a source of information.

In the question about what is right or wrong, good or bad, pain can guide us.

The antidote for pain is feeling safe or feeling a resource.


Avoidance of Pain

“Society is constructed around the avoidance and reduction of pain - both physical and emotional.”―Matthias Behrends

... is a key motivation for human actions.

Avoidable and unavoidable pain

The "unavoidable" pain can only be avoided by numbing.


"Let's stop trying to give meaning to avoidable pain."-MB

“Society is constructed around the avoidance and reduction of pain - both physical and emotional.”―Matthias Behrends

Emotional Pain

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