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  • Matthew Frank
    Matthew Frank

    The Psychoactive Pain of Being Ignored

    Sometimes the most hurtful wounds in life are unseen by the naked eye. Psychological pain caused by the intentional or unintentional disregard of an individual has the power to paralyze and create an emotional abyss that can often be too deep to find a way out of. The feeling of being ignored is a strange injury to behold; invisible in nearly all senses. The gnawing ache that lingers beneath the surface stimulates sensations similar to physical pain, yet no one around can understand why the other person is aching. So why exactly does it hurt so much when someone ignores us?

    When we feel the pointed sting of being ignored, the depths of our psyche activate the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) - the area of our brain which lights up when we're feeling physical pain. This is exceptional since we don't actually feel any physical sting. It's our brain unraveling a complex blend of emotions correlating physical discomfort from mental distress making it clear that the sensation of being neglected interrupts far more complex portions of the psychology than may appear on the outside.

    Ever heard the phrase "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me?" Well, that phrase could not be further from the truth. For example, avoidance causes extreme disruption within an individual to their mental health because it truly inflicts pain on the unbearable extent. The silent treatment is also a hallmark demonstration of this method and far too many times have people relied on it as a crutch to demonstrate their feelings of anger and annoyance towards another person instead of talking it out and finding a collaborative solution.

    Unjust dismissiveness holds much more offensive than just hurtful words could. Implicitly telling an individual that you care little for their existence creates unique psychological complexities which require profound introspection for an individual to answer on their own if it is something that cannot be shared out loud. How does an individual work through these feeling of deep isolation and comprehension of irrefutable nonchalance?

    The only true approach for fighting such symptoms of social rejection is to be vulnerable with those we open up to, even if that means allowing ourselves to be honest about our fear of being disregarded. Opening up doesn't guarantee protection from such occurrences but it allows the opportunity to share feelings which may otherwise be easily bottled up. If conversation can't make us feel better then surrounding ourselves with supportive individuals who better comprehend what we are going through will make all the difference in our efficacy in battling such inner struggles.

    Once seen however, this wound heals slowly and leaves scars beneath the layers. Regardless When it comes time to pick up the pieces and rebuild, we must ensure that we don't forget our presence amidst perilous scars and let them weigh us down with permanent heavy weights. Recognizing that pain exists gives us an opportunity to assess how we deal with hurt and provide better solutions than simply avoiding those in need. Avoidance makes us our own ultimate enemy.

    Anyone can mask themselves with whatever armor they want – whether it be acts like non-answers or silent treatment - but when people go out of their way to cause emotional discomfort actively or passively instead of dealing with issues openly, everyone loses. From ourselves to others, being ignored has emotional stakes far more complex than simple words could ever explain. For this reason, it is absolutely essential for us to understand that emotional and psychological pain should never be taken lightly in any circumstance and should remain ever mindful that these types of injuries exist yet unintended by many and remain ever undefinable until heavily experienced.

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