The Function of Pain After a Loss

The Function of Pain After a Loss

Last update: 01 July, 2017

Life is made up of losses. Whenever we gain something, we always have to give something in return, like time, for example. There are losses that relieve us, those that we’re indifferent towards, and those that we wish we didn’t have to face. It could be a person that we’ve lost, but it could also be an object, a possibility, or a dream. When it comes to this last type of loss, it’s necessary to feel pain, especially when it cuts a deep wound into your skin.

Pain can be understood as a manifestation of sadness, which can lead other people to approach us and give us a little warmth that might somehow make up for the coldness that has taken hold in the newly created empty space. It’s meant to be received with empathyfew words, and a lot of understanding.

woman holding sun

Pain doesn’t always arouse empathy in others

Unfortunately, pain can complicate life in a lot of ways. First of all, you might not receive that social support. Most of us understand that people suffer when they lose a loved one, since it’s an experience that we all unfortunately go through sooner or later. However, some people can’t understand suffering over other types of loss. For example, many people have never owned or loved a pet, and they don’t understand the pain that results from losing one.

Other losses that can be difficult to understand are opportunities or dreams. They’re important to you individually, and you often work towards them by yourself, so they hold a lot of hope for you that’s difficult to express because you can’t equate it with anything else. You can tell someone that you feel sad because all the work you’ve been doing for years has just faded away, but it’s going to be very hard for them to understand if they haven’t put in that effort with you or seen your face on the hard days. It’s hard to explain all that.

Therefore, the first problem that pain presents is a lack of validation from other people. 

sad woman

The first function of pain is to recognize that a loss has occurred. In fact, denial is sort of the opposite of pain. It’s living as if that person, dream, hope, object, or animal were still in your life. People who deny loss are resisting the onset of pain.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.