The Hierarchy of Pain

EMILY JACOB

ReConnected Life

So often, I hear women denying the validity of their own pain, because it doesn’t seem ‘bad enough’, it’s not ‘the worst’, they know people, or heard stories, that must have been ‘far worse’ and so they silence themselves.

The pain is real. And by silencing it, it festers inside. And that causes all sorts of further pain, with many chronic illnesses now being linked to earlier trauma.

Who says that the pain of a broken heart is less when the relationship lasted a short time, that only the end of a longer relationship deserves tears?

A broken heart is a broken heart.

Who says that when we stub our toe against the bed post that the pain should be less than when we scald ourselves on the oven dish, or fall over on the pavement? All these things hurt, and hurt intensely whilst they are hurting.

One time, I was visiting a friend and she’d been having a hard time, lots of stress and probably a good dose of depression. She commented that she ‘shouldn’t’ complain, what was going on for her “was nothing” in comparison with what was going on for me. Rubbish. Absolute rubbish.

There is no hierarchy of pain.

Some of the women in my Community group have commented at different times, that they didn’t feel like they ‘belonged’ there because what happened to them “was nothing” in comparison to others. Rubbish. All pain hurts and all hurt deserves soothing.

It’s no surprise though that as survivors we sometimes fall into this trap. I mean, we’ve been fed the societal discourse that as a woman we don’t have the right to make a fuss. We’ve been fed the lie that we don’t count. As women, when we have the flu, we still got on and get stuff done. Men get manflu and the world is ending. Women seem to be stuck with the blitzkrieg mentality, making the best of things, soldiering on. When we’re in pain, we deny it – we’re fine, it’s not that bad, we shake it off. We don’t acknowledge it to ourselves, so why would we acknowledge it to others? Strangers don’t deserve to know, and we don’t want to be a burden to those we care about. And so we minimise our pain, deny our pain and ignore our pain.

All pain hurts and all hurt deserves soothing.

It’s no surprise also that as survivors we sometimes fall into this trap. I mean, we’ve been fed the myths of ‘different types of rape’ by ill-informed and ignorant commentators for so long. Rape has been called rapey-rape, legitimate rape, forcible rape, stranger rape, marital rape, date-rape and even bad sexual etiquette. If we’ve been raped only once, does that mean we are not allowed to acknowledge our pain when in conversation with someone who has been raped multiple times? If we’ve experienced rape as an adult, does that mean we are not allowed to acknowledge our pain when in conversation with someone who was abused as a child? If we’ve not been raped but been stalked, or physically beaten, or if we’ve been emotionally abused, do these experiences invalidate our pain as not being bad enough to count? Is a rape without violence better than one at knifepoint, or gunpoint? Is a gang rape always going to outdo other rapes? But all pain hurts and all hurt deserves soothing.

This video by Andrea Bredbeck and the activist group Join the Conversation has always summed it up for me.

Imposter Syndrome To the Fore

It’s no surprise though that as survivors we sometimes fall into this trap. We’re extremely accomplished at internalising our imposter syndrome in all other aspects of our lives, why not this too?  Society asks us “are you sure you were raped, are you sure he didn’t know you didn’t want it?” Society observes, “well you don’t seem entirely broken to me, perhaps it wasn’t all that bad.”  Society demands proof beyond reasonable doubt – and so society breeds the seeds of self-doubt inside ourselves that make us wonder if we really are a fraud and an imposter after all.  Other people have it worse, therefore we cannot be really hurt.  Our hurt cannot compare. We are silenced, we are isolated. And our pain, that is hurting us, is not being allowed to be soothed.

But no. Categorically, unquestionably, with absolutely no doubt, reasonable or otherwise: your pain is real, all pain hurts and all hurt deserves soothing.  There is no hierarchy of pain. It is valid for us to be in pain when we are in pain. And you all deserve to be in the Community group, to be soothed and comforted by the others in the Community group. There is no hierarchy of pain.

All the love xx

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

SAFE PLACE MEDITATION

Relax & Unwind

Feeling safe is so important.  Calming our mind and our body from the constant undercurrent of fear & hyper-vigilance.
This 15 minute meditation will take you to your safe space, it will leave you feeling relaxed and empowered.
Download onto your phone, and take your safe place with you, everywhere.

ARE YOU READY TO STOP SURVIVING AND START LIVING?

I developed the ReConnected Life Experience to help people just like you move from a place of self-blame and disconnection to a place where they can look forward to what the future holds, with a happy, hopeful heart.

Get in touch

2 + 3 =

Terms of use      Acceptable use      Privacy      Cookies
© 2016 ReConnected Life Ltd    |     Website by FeelGoodAgency

Could someone you know use this advice?

1 in 6 women will experience rape or sexual abuse in their lifetime. Help me share this important work with those who need it most.

FreeDownload-ItGetsBetter-by-EmilyJacob

IT GETS BETTER

When every day is a fight for survival, it’s hard to believe that things can actually get better.

Hope is a very powerful drug; we need more of it to bolster our recoveries.

My hope is that my personal story will give you hope, that your life will get better too.

Leave your details below and I'll send you a link to download the e-book.

Check your email (or spam folder) to confirm your address.

SECURE THE PRE-LAUNCH PRICE

 

Leave your details below to secure the pre-launch price, and I will be in touch when I am close to launch. 

Check your email (or spam folder) to confirm your address.

SECURE THE PRE-LAUNCH PRICE

 

Leave your details below to secure the pre-launch price, and I will be in touch when I am close to launch. 

Check your email (or spam folder) to confirm your address.

safe-place

SAFE PLACE MEDITATION

Feeling safe is so important. Calming our mind and our body from the constant undercurrent of fear & hyper-vigilance.

This 15 minute meditation will take you to your safe place, it will leave you feeling relaxed and empowered.

Download onto your phone and take your safe space with you, everywhere.

Check your email (or spam folder) to confirm your address.

silence-hurts

SILENCE HURTS: TALK HARD

Silence hurts. It eats us from the inside. It traps us, making sure we feel isolated and alone. 

In talking, there is a taking back of control. In talking we find that we are not alone, that there are others, that others have healed, that healing is possible, that there is hope. In talking we find community.

In talking there is power. Talk hard. 

Leave your details below and I'll send you a link to download the e-book.

Check your email (or spam folder) to confirm your address.

THIS IS A HEADING

 

This is some more description if required....

Leave your details below and I'll send you a link to download the e-book.

Check your email (or spam folder) to confirm your address.

survivors-survival-kit

SURVIVORS' SURVIVAL KIT

 

This kit has what you need to take your first steps to recovery.

Leave your details below and I'll send you a link to download the e-book.

Check your email (or spam folder) to confirm your address.