Question #159: What is so wrong with crying?

May 22, 2013

This is a question I have battled to answer my entire life.

Well, battled may be too strong a word – but it has certainly plagued me throughout my youth and was not until about six years ago that I started to understand my personal love/hate relationship with this mode of expression – mainly due to the stigma that’s attached to it, by the ever-watchful eyes of society.

It fills me with indignation.

As I child, I grew up being a ‘wog’ in a predominantly Anglo location. On many occasions I was bullied because, even though when you looked at me you didn’t see an ethnic girl, I spoke Spanish with my grandmother when she picked me up from my primary school. This, in turn, meant I was fair game to all those who hated themselves and needed to feel better by picking on someone – me.

Although I know NOW, as an adult, why bullies are bullies, what this did to me as a child was to start me on the path of being very, very insecure – desperate for acceptance and belonging. It also awakened the ‘cry-baby’ in me.

This was compounded at home whenever my parents, especially my father, expressed anger towards me when I was a teenager. Although it was probably no different to any other parent/child relationship, whenever I heard that particular unsatisfied tone, I would instantly feel the knot shoot up into my throat, as I desperately tried to hold back the tears – knowing that their arrival would open a new kettle of fish.

Weakness.
Society tells us it’s a sign of weakness.

WHY?

I wonder whether it’s because men are were seen as ‘strong’ and the ‘providers’ – Me Tarzan; You Jane – and men DON’T cry. Well, if being a male is the benchmark of existence and crying is seen as a negative weakness, then what is the males’ counter-balance? How do they let off their feelings of disappointment, frustration and, dare I say, vulnerability?

Violence?
It certainly appears to be a (too) common, ‘manly’ way to express emotion.

Question #160: So if we’re not supposed to cry – what then?

Laughter is considered an important and essential part of our emotional well-being and if balance is to be achieved, surely crying must play an equally paramount role. It’s greatly concerning that this is marred by the ridiculous notion that crying is a no-no and that we all need to ‘man up’.

Man up? No thanks.

Men should cry more.

Crying can represent a myriad of positive things – compassion, empathy, sympathy, joy – why must these traits be snuffed out?
And before people start arguing that they’re not, please understand that females (the predominant criers, due to the conditioning that says it’s a part of our DNA – bollocks!) are always being told to be the ‘compassionate and sensitive ones’ – UNTIL WE ARE – then it’s criticism all the way.

Tori Amos said the following:

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My epiphany (six years ago) happened when I experienced some difficulties with work, coupled with some post-natal depression. I was crying a lot.

My doctor referred me to a psychologist, whom I only saw three times. In that last session, I had decided that I was only rehashing the negative feelings about my issues and that I simply wanted to take some action.
The only problem was that as strong as I am on the inside – and I am – I always ended up having tears in my eyes when discussing frustrating issues with people and was crippled by the thought of being perceived as weak, even though I knew I wasn’t.

She said to me, “Maybe deep down, you think they’re right.”
A-HA moment. Right there.

Due to the decades of entrenched perceptions about what crying entails, I ended up in a Catch-22 state of affairs – believing the hype about what it communicated about me to those I was talking to…which ended up the crux of why I cried in those situations.
Great.

Well, now I’m happy to say that I’m still a crier (just not like before) and that it’s always done wonders for my skin!
I let it out when I need to, purge myself of the toxins and am not ashamed of it.

Not one bit

I cry for injustice, for hurting fellow human beings, for our dying planet, for loved ones and I also cry tears of joy.

Better than punching a wall, I say.

Deep breath…and let it aaalllll out. You too, boys.

x

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14 Responses to “Question #159: What is so wrong with crying?”

  1. Verina said

    I am a crier… always have been… I cry at tv shows, movies.. things on tv..and when I am talking to people about emotional things.. If they start to get teary so do I .. I try but I cannot help it..
    i visit sick people and pray with them and for them and I cry…
    I hate this about me .. I wish I could change it. I hate the way people look at me when I do… it makes me feel like a fool…
    my close friends just accept that that is who I am.. but if there was a way to get rid of it.. I would in a flash!!
    But I think it is just me and I will have to learn to live with it even if I feel foolish…
    I have to accept that this is the way God made me and still be me through it..
    but I know where you are coming from… ❤

    • questionsforwomen said

      Don’t wish to be different, Verina! I felt exactly like you for most of my life – like a fool – but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I learned that noone can ‘make me feel’ anything, only I can choose how to feel.
      So I say, ‘fuck ’em!’ (sorry for the profanity).

      I love that we’re crying sisters who have feelings! Where would the world be without us? xx

  2. godtisx said

    I’m a crier too and I am a really strong person. But I also have great access to my feelings (always have) and when things move or upset me I often cry pretty easily.

    But I’ve studied and presently studying alot about narcissism and psychopathy or I should say continuing my study of it (some interesting videos on my blog about it if you’re interested). After all the shame I incur because of my tears, knowing there are people who feel absolutely no emotion makes you extremely grateful for yours.

    But in this society of ours which is so male centric, with a background dialogue that tells us ‘Boys don’t cry,’ I find women and men who are ashamed of emotion (tears too) and wil shame you for it.

    To some extent it’s like taking a stab at the unicorn – because emotion truly is a blessing in disguise. I just think it continues to get a bad rap because of the imbalanced individuals who also express it. 😦

  3. godtisx said

    Reblogged this on Archaic Sugar and commented:
    Written by Paula a blogger at questionsforwomen.org

  4. Ishaiya said

    Great post. I can relate in many ways, being female, being of ‘foreign’ extraction as a child in a predominantly anglo setting, and also Spanish speaking. I cried so much when I was a child because I was beaten daily by my mother and brother, bullied by the world because I was ‘different’, and ignored by my father and most males because I was female. I know where you are coming from. I get it. I am also proudly emotional because without my amazing ability to empathise and feel alive then I would not be able to do what I do. I would not have the clarity of vision that allows me to be a mother to my children and help others, I would not be me. It’s time for the world to woman-up! 🙂

    • questionsforwomen said

      Thank you, Ishaiya, for sharing your story! Your childhood sounded very difficult. Besos.
      I agree, YES, our journeys made us who we are today and thank heavens for that!
      I LOVE your last line – the world definitely needs to woman-up! 😀

  5. I have always had an issue with why crying at work is such a taboo. Men are allowed to show their frustrations in the form of anger and it goes virtually unchecked. A woman cries and her card is marked as being too emotional. What exactly is wrong with, appropriate emotions at work? Surely crying is a damn sight more appropriate than anger or violence. It goes back to misogyny. Women don’t cry because they have broken a nail, least of all in the workplace. It is just perpetuated that they do. So crying is something women do inappropriately over trivial matters.

    And then of course women are allowed much less leeway in the anger department too. An angry woman must definitely be stamped on.

    • questionsforwomen said

      Oh, yes. What the hell, hey? What is so wrong with tears?
      Too add insult to injury, many times when a man cries (especially a public figure), it’s because it’s ‘worthy’ of the cry.
      Everything else is a sign of weakness and over-sensitivity.
      But punching a wall – or worse, someone – well that’s just dandy.
      Your last line is spot on.
      Great to hear from you. 😀
      Paula x

  6. itycharles said

    Who told you men don’t cry they do because it is natural to cry

    • questionsforwomen said

      Hi Charles,
      It’s not that men absolutely don’t cry – of course they do – but it comes more naturally to women. There’s no denying that the saying, ‘Boys don’t cry’ doesn’t exist.
      This post is exploring the stigma that’s attached to the act of crying – whether male or female. It’s just that it’s us gals who do it more.
      Thank you for your comment. 🙂

      • itycharles said

        then i guess the female have a tank full that is why they over used and the male a hand full so the manage it. just a thought

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