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17 Aug, 2022
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Why Breakups Are Painful - By Reshma

Why Breakups Are Painful – By Reshma

Why Broken Relationships Hurt? – By Reshma

Why does it hurt when our relationships rupture? Why is breaking up so damn hard? The great poets and philosophers of the past have always known one thing: that we need each other. Such is the power of social connection.

When a relationship ends, be it friendly or romantic, we often attribute a physical character to it. We describe it in physical language. Like being slapped in the face, or punched in the gut. There are as many songs about breakup as there are about love. We sing about how love tears us apart, how it leaves scars, how it hurts.

Funnily, people world over across different cultures and races talk about breakups as some sort of bodily pain to describe the isolation (and not just in English).

Is a broken heart really painful?

According to scientific research, physical pain and pain of rejection are experienced in the same parts of the brain. This means that social connections are so central to our well being, that when we lose these connections the brain becomes so sensitive to it and treats it like a painful event. This is how vulnerable the human mind is to relationships.

When our relationships end we feel pain. Pain is obviously necessary for survival. Physical pain drives us to take our hand off a boiling hot kettle, or not to touch fire. Or to potentially avoid stressful situations.

But how does the pain of heartbreak help in this regard?

There is a biological explanation for this.

As human babies we need a lot of care. We need food, clothing, shelter, touch, love without which we feel uncomfortable. We feel pain when these needs aren’t met. These loving interactions are a basic need for the human child without which the child will not survive. Therefore the human child cries when in distress and the human adult is programmed to satisfy the child’s demands on hearing this cry.
Our brain is responsible for this. We are not born with fully developed brains because fully developed cranium makes childbirth very difficult. As a result, we are born with tiny, underdeveloped brains which make us feel super helpless and wired to stay connected with other human beings so that we can be taken care of to grow healthy and strong. So whatever we want to do in life, because of this biological programming, we still need emotional connection. And it hurts when we lose these connections, simply because we can’t shut off this programming even when we are fully grown.

Research has shown that having poor social relationships is more dangerous to health than smoking two packs of cigarettes a day, indicating how imperative it is for man to have social connections and friendships. So we reach out to people with no guarantee that they will last with us and in this process we become so vulnerable and exposed. A small price to pay for our survival.

 

letting go in relationships

By Reshma Raju
M.Sc Psychology,
Certified Women’s Health Coach (USA)

 

So what is your fighting style? Do you need relationship advice? Ask your questions & Reshma will get back!

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