If someone punches you or causes you physical damage there are recourses you can take and no one would think less of you for feeling hurt by it, even though it is temporary.
But if someone insults you and makes fun of you there is nothing you can do even though the lasting emotional damage is much worse.
What are you supposed to do if someone is mean to you? Why do just tell people to get over it and not punish people for causing emotional trauma.
Because our mothers all raised us with “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”.
Which is a lie, and every playground bully knows it.
Speaking of which, it seems to me the stricter stance that schools are adopting towards bullying is evidence that society is become more understanding of how powerful words can be. I think we need to brace ourselves against become overly sensitive (e.g., plastering trigger warnings everywhere). But all signs seems to point to us become more enlightened.
I think that a big part of it is that emotional pain is a lot more relative than physical pain.
By that, I mean that someone getting punched in the arm is going to have just about the exact same experience as anyone else getting punched in the arm, strange disorders notwithstanding.
However, a person from some kind of fucked up home life may react very differently to some episode of emotional pain than someone from a very stable, loving home life, for example.
Anecdotally, I’ve known plenty of people who harbor secret drama queens, and overreact to what I’d normally consider fairly minor emotional trauma. Like guys who date a girl for a couple of dates, and then mope about it like he just got out of a decade-long relationship. To me, this type of thing seems completely wimpy and absurd, but clearly to them, it’s a big deal.
Does any society not marginalize it?
I remember reading stories about US POWs in Japanese camps in WW2. The japanese had attitudes about physical illness and pain that many in the modern west would ascribe to mental illness and suffering. That it was just due to weakness and lack of character. The idea of labeling someone as lazy and undisciplined for not being able to overcome dysentery is absurd and immoral but tell that to someone who has emotional pain and people don’t react nearly as bad.
As far as the idea that you can see physical injuries but not emotional ones, I don’t agree with that. Someone who admits to having a serious infection will physically look normal. They may be listless and fatigued, but they will look ok. Same with someone who is in emotional turmoil, they will look ok but be listless. But the person with the infection will be given more leeway and more benefit of the doubt.
Also keep in mind that ‘giving a shit’ about physical violence is fairly recent in human cultural evolution. Up until very recently violence was common and accepted and still is in many cultures. Husbands against wives, parents against kids, kids against each other, the state against citizens, states against other states (death in war is much less common now than in history) were all acceptable methods of violence.