Why Our Loved Ones Don’t Talk About Their Pain

We might want to talk about our feelings and what’s upsetting to us, but not about our own pain.

Talking over pain and what it could be is one of the most common ways our loved ones try to cover the fact that we might be having difficulties (or, in the case of the pain sufferer having a hard time finding the right words to describe the pain). As it is, there is a taboo for our loved ones in talking about a loved one’s pain.

We have a tendency to think that talking is the opposite of the pain, as if talking was pain-free. But of course, talking isn’t pain-free: it’s a normal part of our relationships. For instance, we talk with our mother after every bad dream so that we don’t wake up crying again. We take our loved ones to the supermarket and show them how everything tastes and where it comes from. We talk to doctors and ask their advice. We talk to our teachers about our studies and about how the school is going. We discuss topics with our friends, to make sure they’re doing well. We talk about our emotions, even if we are feeling them. Sometimes we try to talk to our loved ones without crying or soothe ourselves. We just have to open up and trust them to know what’s going on, to be there. And sometimes we talk too much, thinking that if we don’t talk much we’ll stop hurting. Sadly, this doesn’t usually happen, and our feelings of discomfort and hurt usually increase again.

So, how is it that we still cannot talk about our pain? Well, most of us tend to avoid crying or soothe ourselves when we feel angry or hurt. We think we’re trying to hide something that makes us sad. We think we don’t want to make our loved ones upset when we cry. Or, we don’t want our loved ones to feel uncomfortable and have to talk to someone about the pain. So we pretend we don’t feel anything. But often we really do feel something very deep inside, and it hurts like hell when someone tries to convince us we don’t. Even if we don’t talk about it, our feelings will inevitably make us feel better; like nothing’s wrong.

And this is where speaking about pain might help us to heal. If we have some pain, then it gets better when someone says something that helps us to understand, like ‘what’s wrong with you?’. This way we are less afraid that talking about the pain will hurt our friends, parents, partners or lovers. If we don’t know what’s going on, talking about it will just feel like the right thing to do. When we talk about our pain, we do not feel we are trying to hide anything; we feel we are sharing what’s not working with the people who care about us. And since talking is a normal part of our family relationships, we stop hurting. And sometimes the pain, or, the lack of pain for that matter, just disappears for a while, and we’ll forget about it.