Monday, November 21, 2011

Crying - Not a Release for Some

Last night was a rough one.  Sometimes the anniversary passes with little more than a sad thought, and sometimes I really struggle (like last night).  I don't know why it was so hard this year....perhaps because therapy is opening some doors to release emotions; perhaps because I have the loving support of the man I adore and I feel safer in expressing the memory of the pain.  It most certainly opened a floodgate of tears, which took a couple of hours to exhaust.  

Crying is physically painful for me.  Others speak of a release when crying, but the most it does for me is create a giant headache and cause a choking feeling in my throat.  It can occasionally bring about a seizure, more because of the stress it causes.  The headache and choking feeling come from the desire to control (swallow back) the tears.  If I let go and let the tears come, I cry so hard that I throw up.  Pleasant, no?

The compulsion to hold back tears comes from lifelong behaviors.  When my mom would punish me, she would get unreasonably angry when I cried.  I learned to be still and quiet, no matter what she was hitting me with (belt, spoon, time she spanked me with one of my dolls =/.  She wasn't gentle about spankings, either).  Her lesson was to be still and take the punishment I deserved.  So, I learned to hold back the tears.  I would only cry when I shut myself in my closet and stuffed a pillow to my face so she couldn't hear me.  My grandma had her own methods as well....she was not a corporal punisher, but she used psychological tactics.  "Ladies do not cry." "Crying is weakness, stop being weak."  So I had to bottle it up to avoid being admonished.  My ex-husband would become disgusted with me when I cried.  The man who beat me unmercifully that fateful night became more enraged when I cried.  From these events, I learned that tears were bad, and I stopped crying altogether.  For over a decade.  To be fair, a tear or two would trickle when I experienced something sad (a sad movie, for example), but never full-out crying.

My therapist is trying to teach me that tears can be good.  Every session that I cry is so exhausting that I can hardly drive home afterward.  I can't find any comfort in the tears.  Perhaps EMDR therapy will solve that problem for me.  

Last night, I feel like I crossed a barrier of allowing emotions to be expressed.  I am still holding back (mostly to avoid throwing up and/or causing a seizure), but the tears are flowing.  Nearly to the point that I can't stop them, which is annoying.  I still find no release in them, but maybe I'm on the path.  I just don't want to break down sobbing when a butterfly hits my windshield.  Please, universe....some balance.

1 comment:

  1. Hmm, that was a good start. Crying is kind of like an automatic response for emotions like sorrow and anger. In your case, you were taught not to cry since childhood. I think that's the biggest reason why you keep on shedding your tears.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.