skysoar15

Thoughts On Crying?

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Hi y'all.

What are your thoughts on the act of crying?

Many adult people (at least in America) seem to look down on it.

Some say it's childish, especially for men.

 

Many people are more accepting of women crying than men. 

I've heard the phrase: "Seeing grown men cry" used in a derogatory way.

It seems that tears are only reserved for the most absolute of tragedies to be considered 'acceptable.'

 

Nobody would bat an eye if you cried over a son or daughter dying. 

However, tears from a panic attack are a different story. This becomes more subtle because not everyone would understand this pain. 

 

I regularly fight the urge to cry all of the time.

I'll let them flow when I'm by my absolute self, but in public...I never show them.

 

My mom has shown negative connotations toward crying. While she's no stranger to tears during stressful times, they seem to be reserved ONLY for that. 

She'll often roll her eyes if a character cries during an apology (in a movie). 

This has made me hesitant to come to her with my emotional problems.

 

I wish this society was different in handling their problems. 

We live in such a stoic society where we're told that tears are weak and children's stuff. 

I just don't get it. 

It causes a culture of repression.

 

At what age did tears become a bad thing? 

The idea is absurd. 

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I'm not an American, so I can't really speak for perceptions there but here in Australia I think it's somewhat similar. I'm not a sociologist (or a psychologist for that matter), but I think the negativity stems from the fact that crying is perceived as a weakness of character. For example, if you have a rough time at work and it upsets you enough to cry over it then you're seen as weak as your threshold for that response is seen as being too low.

 

The threshold for crying is basically anything around death, serious illness or your life crashing down around you. Below that, and you're considered weak because you're not "strong enough" to process your difficulties "normally". If you're a woman, you don't have the same expectations of character. You're expected to be weaker, less resilient. Still, there's a limit and you go too far you're seen as hysterical. For women I think they are not perceived in terms of "strong" and "weak" but rather "cold" and "crazy". They need to do more balancing then men do I think. Men just need to go in one direction.

 

As for how long it's been like this? I think this is just an extension of people judging others based on general norms. Whenever you don't toe the line, no matter how inconsequential there's going to be people out there judging you for it. I would be very surprised if men crying was ever considered acceptable except for times of great distress.

 

As for my thoughts on crying? I try not to judge people for it, but I'll admit I get pretty uncomfortable when people cry. My mother suffered depression and schizophrenia for most of my childhood. Whenever she got bad enough to start crying (and she'd be crying constantly once she started) I knew my trip back to a foster home was imminent. So, if I see someone crying it fucks me up a bit, but that's more to do with me and my issues than it being them.

 

Anyways, I think the problem here is that mental illness is an invisible issue, and like "invisible disabilities" people get unfairly treated and judged because people can't see the pain. It sucks, but people gonna people.

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Men are generally seen, at least here, as naturally being less emotional than women. Most people try to fulfill the role expected of them, even if subconsciously. Many people feel uncomfortable around someone who is crying, male or female.

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It is a machismo thing, something that has to do with staying in a role of a strong stalwart man crawling through muddy trenches with a knife, taking out 50 Nazi soldiers for breakfast and coming out on the other side clean, smiling, with not a hair out of place. In short, it is a fantasy. There are a lot of guys that feel things very deeply. I found myself tearing up over a song from the 60s from the musical Hair (We Starve Look). I remember the senseless non-war and the shit we put so many through all for political/financial reasons like the current Iraq non-war, and a flood of emotions hit. There is a thread in another section of the forum about being a sensitive person, and that we tend to feel things far more powerfully than non-sensitives. I can tear up over good things, sad things, seemingly spiritual things, songs, movies, and more.

 

My brother subscribes to the macho role and sees it as weakness to cry or sometimes even to empathize with others. When my mom died and he wept, he said "I thought I'd be stronger than that". Frankly that surprised me. I didn't know that he took that role so seriously. My dad tended to hide it if he was overwhelmed emotionally, likely for role reasons.

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The last time I cried because I was upset was at my grandfather's funeral about 15 years ago. But I cry from time to time when I'm moved. I couldn't stop the tears running down my face when my friends got together and made a bday vid for me last year. I was deeply touched. My eyes water up when I hear a beautiful song sung beautifully, or when I see a great film. 

 

I wouldn't consider myself an emotional person. I don't have mood swings, for instance. I admit, though, that if a guy is overly emotional, I probably think a little less of him. 

Maybe living in Europe has impacted me, or maybe it's just how I'm wired. I don't see Russian men crying typically so it's not that. 

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6 hours ago, skysoar15 said:

I wish this society was different in handling their problems. 

We live in such a stoic society where we're told that tears are weak and children's stuff. 

I just don't get it. 

It causes a culture of repression.

 

At what age did tears become a bad thing? 

The idea is absurd. 

It causes repression. That's an understatement. What all this machismo attitude causes is men who have no idea how to be in touch with their emotions, and then if they feel emotion that might make them cry or seems feminine, it seems unmanly to them and thus it's repressed. It's so unhealthy. And there are families where this is expected of women too, to keep a stiff upper lip and be stoic and just tough it out. I grew up in one to a certain extent, but I'm an HSP (we have a separate thread about that on here somewhere) and it doesn't work that way for me. Well, it does to the extent that on the surface I probably appear to be a calm and collected, when many times beneath that there's this roiling ocean that seems confined and fenced in, because crying still triggers shame in me. All that repressed emotion can cause a lot of negativity, its just plain bad for your mental health. I've adopted a new outlook on this,(reading psychology books helps) that emotion is just a normal part of life and we are healthier and happier and more connected to each other when we just express it and let it out.

Society has just developed this expectation that men should not only repress expressing emotion through crying, but that they don't talk about their emotions much because that's also unmanly. Not talking = emotional dissatisfaction = problems that express themselves in other ways and behaviours.

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There have been several good answers about why it's like this. It appears to be a gender norm thing and reflects weakness in men. I strongly feel like there has been a bit of a culture shift with regard to masculinity, emotion and male tears. This was part of my senior thesis in college, it appears to be more common (at least in the States) for younger generations to welcome male emotional expression. I'm sure Baby boomers and Gen Xers still look down on it a bit more (not to paint a broad brush, I'm sure there are tons of exceptions. Just speaking from what I know.), but all my friends who are my age or younger don't "cry shame" other people and value emotional authenticity over "trying to be macho and suppress emotion." 

 

I think crying is a powerful way to express emotion when words aren't doing it. When someone cries ALL the time though, particularly in public, I get annoyed only because crying at everything takes away from the moments that really deserve a good cry. I actually would find someone who cries by themselves a lot to be very strong, it can just come off like seeking attention if overdone in public. That goes for guys and girls, in my opinion. 

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5 hours ago, florduh said:

Men are generally seen, at least here, as naturally being less emotional than women. Most people try to fulfill the role expected of them, even if subconsciously. Many people feel uncomfortable around someone who is crying, male or female.

I think these statements are true. I suppose the question is why? To put a twist on this, why isn't it seen as a strength that women experience emotions more deeply? And why are people so uncomfortable around crying? They're not uncomfortable around laughing. Laughter is a great release, but so is crying. I've often wondered if the reason men are more prone to physical violence is because they don't get the emotional release that women get in other ways. I realize that hormones and other factors contribute to gender differences. Just a theory with no real evidence to back that up though, and I realize I'm painting the sexes with a broad brush here.

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I cannot speak for others in this forum nor the perceptions of their respective cultures.  I can speak from my own personal experiences however.  Crying is one of the highest forms of emotional venting.  Yes, I can vent out to others at the expense of respect.  I trade the relief of emotional relief for respect from my peers.  Getting to the point of tears is probably the equivalent of pissing your pants in public when you can't hold it anymore.  You feel as if a tremendous discomfort has been removed from you but the the perception of you by others will take a comparable hit as urine soaked clothes.  A couple of years ago, our male supervisor at work actually broke down in tears.  I suppose it was a combination of being understaffed combined with marriage issues at home that caused him to crack.  I noticed something strange in my perception of him, I could not seem to take him seriously after that and neither could the other guys.  I knew logically why he broke down but there was a sort of subconscious, instinctual block preventing me from doing so.  I noticed the same when I was supervisor myself and was open about my emotions.  Is that instinctual block that I mentioned backed up by science?  Who knows, good luck trying to fund a study in this culture that does everything in it's power to emasculate men.

I can't afford to cry when a loved one passes away either.  I have to be level headed and rational when every one else breaks down and behaves irrationally with grief.  I can't afford to cry or be emotional around women who I have a romantic interest in, its a one way ticket to the friend zone.  I can't even do this around friends because I will see a similar drop in respect as I do with coworkers.  If I do shed a tear I will be sure that no one will see or know about out.  

 

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My thoughts? I’m not sure. Maturity demands that adults not break down every time something sad happens, but bottling up our emotions is unhealthy.

 

I grew up in the Caribbean, where machismo rules, with a father who had some strict, though not necessarily predictable ideas on gender roles. For him, it was perfectly fine for girls to take shop class and boys to do dishes; on the other hand, he blew his stack if he spied us boys idly twirling our hair around a finger. (He perceived it as trying to style our hair like a girl, and literally called us sissies.) Most important of all, boys don’t cry. Ever. Period.

 

“STOP CRYING, OR I’LL GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO CRY ABOUT!!!” This, while he was already whipping us. I could never understand how he could expect us to stop crying when he was the one causing us to cry in the first place, and then tried to get us to stop crying by doubling down on what caused us to cry.

 

I finally stopped crying at age 15. I was tearing up for some reason I don’t remember, and my father spotted it. He then pounded the shit out of me, bare knuckled. That cured me, though I didn’t realize at the time that the cure was worse than the “disease.”

 

I was 21 years old, watching the movie The Neverending Story, when it dawned on me that there is something seriously wrong with the dictate that men should not cry.

 

I was in my early 30s, in counseling for clinical depression, before I learned than suppression of my sad emotions had fucked me up royally. That shit doesn’t go away just because you put on a brave face. Oh, and that my father is an imperfect human being who almost surely had a role in fucking me up. Heck, having the shit beat out of me at the slightest mystery provocation was perfectly normal to me; I thought it was the proper way to raise children. My father has lamented that his type of “discipline” would be considered child abuse nowadays. I was in my 40s before I finally realized, yes, it sure as hell was child abuse.

 

Meanwhile, when I am sad, I either tear up slightly, or I have a complete meltdown. There is no in between. Sad stories cause me to tear up, arguments with my brothers cause the meltdowns, and I don’t cry at all at weddings and funerals.

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I personally can get jealous that it is more socially acceptable for women to cry. The times that I can remember where I truly bawled my eyes out ended up leading to quite a cathartic state afterwards. I think having a good cry now and again is totally fine!

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I agree that crying is totally fine.

 

Except we have become accustomed to men being manly. A woman is not attracted to a mate that appears weak by crying all the time. This is interesting considering that feminists are claiming that me still repress women, but they fail to acknowledge that women repress men in different ways. And this is not necessarily a bad thing - its driven by evolutionary survival reasons. The same way that men look for suitable mates, so do woman, and one of those things that woman prefer is a strong mate to protect and help rear offspring.

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It's bullshit. Plain and simple. Now, I agree that crying over everything is absurd (unless youre a child), the fact that men AND women are conditioned to treat crying as a weakness is stupid.

 

Many people dont know how to manage their emotions as a result. Culture of stoicism. 

 

One of the refreshing things about Christianity at first was the allowance of tears among men. I cried my eyes out during some of those small groups.

 

I keep thinking about the movie 'Fight Club' where this guy was so desperate to let his emotions out that he chose to attend support groups irrelevent to his life. That's fucked up commentary right there.

 

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3 hours ago, skysoar15 said:

One of the refreshing things about Christianity at first was the allowance of tears among men. I cried my eyes out during some of those small groups.

 

I'm pretty sure that depends on the denomination and on the congregation. I once joined a Christian (Catholic in the West Indies) men's group, and most of the talk was about how we men had abdicated our role as the Manly Man in our (heterosexual, of course) relationships.

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1 hour ago, Cousin Ricky said:

 

I'm pretty sure that depends on the denomination and on the congregation. I once joined a Christian (Catholic in the West Indies) men's group, and most of the talk was about how we men had abdicated our role as the Manly Man in our (heterosexual, of course) relationships.

Fair enough. My college group was a mixture of both. It wasn't a bad (shameful) thing to cry, but there was obviously an insistence on the 'proper' role of Manhood.

Also, it was usually just in the context of small group or a worship service. 

 

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Personally I think it's healthy to cry. Stuffing emotions had been scientifically proven to have adverse effects on health such as cardiovascular issues and cancers. I also am the same way. I have C-PTSD and other mental health disorders and I swing from being completely numb to being at times inconsolable and unable to hold back tears. In fact the other night I cried for 4 hours straight until I passed out from exhaustion. 

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I've always thought it's unhealthy not to cry. There is something in my psychology where crying is linked to my relationship to my father so I don't do it. I hate that I feel retsrained in that way.

 

However I am surprised how easily talking to a therapist can make me upset and close to crying. It seems the only thing that puts me into contact with my emotions is other people. On my own I am numb emotionally. Talking to a therapist about parents, and bereavement can lead to me feeling upset. I never actually seem to cry though. I always resist the physical urge to actually let go and cry.

 

I just intuitively know I would feel great if I could cry. 

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Oh jeez I cry all the time. I used to be afraid of it, seeing it as being weak or too emotional but it's honestly the most cathartic thing. I cry over things if I'm happy or sad now, and if I'm really really tired it can even be something like a cute video that makes me tear up.

 

As for like full blown sobbing, I don't usually do that. That tends to come around more when I'm deeply hurt or having a panic attack. 

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12 hours ago, knightcore said:

Oh jeez I cry all the time. I used to be afraid of it, seeing it as being weak or too emotional but it's honestly the most cathartic thing. I cry over things if I'm happy or sad now, and if I'm really really tired it can even be something like a cute video that makes me tear up.

 

As for like full blown sobbing, I don't usually do that. That tends to come around more when I'm deeply hurt or having a panic attack. 

 

I would say 'Awwwww' :) but for a guy who doesn't cry I feel to macho for that.

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23 hours ago, MikeT said:

 

 

I just intuitively know I would feel great if I could cry. 

Well you can, next time you feel the urge just let go. It's extremely difficult to let go though. My first instinct still is to feel ashamed and hide from other people, even my family. Why I feel so much shame over it is hard to put into words, I guess it just has a lot to do with modeling and what I came to believe as my parents never cried openly. I can imagine how much harder it is when you equate it to bring "macho." I'm finally getting to a place where I don't hold back, and it feels great, it's much easier to process the emotion when you just let it all out. 

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On 9/19/2017 at 1:30 AM, TruthSeeker0 said:

it's much easier to process the emotion when you just let it all out. 

 

That sounds so good. What I'd give to cry and never see a therapist again.

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@MikeTJust because you can cry doesnt mean there's no need for therapy. I'm crying bucket loads tonight and I realize I need therapy just as much. Crying is catharctic, it's just letting all the emotion out even if you have no idea why the hell you are crying, but therapy can be good into getting some insight into why life sometimes hurts so much and how you can cope with it. Maybe next time you feel the urge find yourself a private place and let it out, I had to begin that way, giving myself permission to cry even in private. 

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For sure. I just think my particular situation is an emotional numbness which leads me back to therapy again and again. I suspect if I was more emotional I would have less of a need for it. I live on my own. I'm not stuck for places to cry.

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