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Consider someone who has a serious injury. Example examples include losing a limb, being shot or falling from a great height. It is easy for the human mind and science to comprehend and explain why and how much pain that person would suffer.
Emotional pain originates in a relatively small part of the body, within the brain, and it isn not usually caused by physical injury.
- How can emotional pain cause as much or even greater suffering than physical pain?
- Why is emotional pain so difficult for many people to cope with?
Some research that I have dug up:
According to the article "Emotional and Physical Pain Activate Similar Brain Regions" (Fogel, 2012), the anterior insula and the anterior cingulate cortex are activated for both physical and emotional pain. Also, physical pain can lead to emotional pain as it would in the reverse direction (emotional --> physical).
This conclusion is further discussed in the articles "Does Rejection Hurt? An fMRI Study of Social Exclusion" (Eisenberger et al. 2007) and "Social rejection shares somatosensory representations with physical pain" (Kross et al. 2011). Even though both articles use the insidious form of bullying: social exclusion as an example, the same conclusion could be reached for proportionally greater pain of both types.
What I alluded to in my comment is true, I have fallen from a decent height, both emotionally and physically in 2 separate incidences - reflecting on what I remember of the pain I felt when I landed, it was about the same.