11 responses to “Sucking Up Your Emotions Can Muck You Up”

  1. Daria

    I definitely needed to hear it today! Thank you very much. I am uncomfortable crying in front of others, but am fine with others crying. Weird.

    I hadn’t considered that my asking my kids to stop their incessant arguing was the same as having my idea or devil’s advocate message squashed in a meeting. Definitely something to think about…

    1. cherry


      Although I did make it sound as if their arguing was the same as having your idea quashed in a meeting, there are differences. To me, it’s in the message you or I am sending – that disagreements are inherently bad, or trying to get what you want from your sibling is bad. At this moment I cannot think of a better way to express my meaning. Will have to get back to you Daria. Cherry

  2. Linda

    Wow, Cherry–this one brought up a lot of emotions in me.

    I agree w the majority of your points, especially the need to let the argument go for a while to see where it’s going, and to teach ppl how to problem-solve. Also, we can never assume that our position is the correct one, even if we are the boss.

    Now, the crying thing….hmmm. I’ve seen too many mothers cry during school meetings when their child was misbehaving (I’m talking teen children, mostly). Additionally, I’ve listened to many a social work intern over the years, voice their frustration that psychological intakes “take so long, because she kept crying.” Sometimes, crying is a more socially acceptable way of saying “f-off, leave me alone. I’m not going to answer your questions, nor do what you are offering to change my child’s behavior…” Sometimes ppl use tears to stonewall another person.

    Is crying healthy? Yes. Tears also produce calming chemicals. We all need a good cry now and then. It breaks my heart s when my son stifles his tears…We really do a disservice to males in our society on the crying theme.

    I guess it’s important to look at the context of the crying. A healthy emotional release that is genuine vs. an automatic response to avoid talking about an issue. And we all have issues…

    Sorry for the rambling:).

    1. cherry

      Now I have to think about what you wrote. Stonewalling, f-off. Whoa, we have a really different take on why parents of teenagers are doing that. A sense of powerlessness, dreams lost, job “failed”, frustration, anger, hopelessness.
      Is it frustrating to the teacher – yes. Is it frustrating to the intake person – yes. But stonewalling by the crier- doubtful – is my opinion & experience.

      Intake workers have to deal with emotions constantly, it must get wearing and frustrating. I would think they would have to build a wall around them to not get sucked into the roller coaster ride of reactions they’re dealing with. My radar would be set off by a worker who I knew did not want to deal with my emotions (as understandable as it may be in a bigger picture), which would not help me to calm down. Perhaps get angry but I’m sure they don’t want to hear that either. Maybe they need to get a job in a bank.

    2. Kathy Morelli

      Been scanning the memory banks for manipulative intake crying (LOL) and yes I am remembering this does happen with certain types of people…such as ppl dealing with addictions BPD can be very manipulative, but in private practice I dont deal with that so much anymore… thank goodness

  3. cherry

    I get frustrated by the all-or -nothing thinking that can go with crying. People’s emotions are too often dismissed because it comes in the form of tears. I understand that if I’m crying for an hour at work or crying on a regular basis at my job that I need to learn another way of dealing with the emotions that I feel that are bringing about the crying. But I don’t want someone to be written off as just using their tears or crazy or unfixable. Why are we less accepting of crying than yelling ?

    To me, it’s food for thought to look at why reactions to crying or tears or even puddling up is typically so negative. I think it speaks volumes.

  4. Elizabeth Doherty Thomas

    Love this post. I TOTALLY agree that the listener/viewer of the tears brings up their crud.

    I tend to both accept a crier and not allow them to derail what needs to happen. So if I were watching a parent cry, I would not take it as “f-off” and stonewalling. I ‘d let it go and then keep on talking!!! lol

    But then again I dislike passive-aggressiveness and don’t allow myself to get pulled into someone elses’s super-drama at the expense of dealing with someone that NEEDS to be talked about. (Like in that case of a parent NEEDING to hear something about their teen.)

    My worry as a therapist is not overly empathy crying. Darn those mirror neurons ;)

    1. cherry

      Thanks Elizabeth for your input.

      I would also prefer for people to be direct in their emotions rather than passive-aggressive. That can be crazy-making for me.

  5. Dawn Lennon

    Another fascinating post, Cherry. I was particularly taken by this bullet:

    ■”Most of the time when I use to cry it was because I was afraid to say what I was thinking. It was a non-verbal way of getting out of me what I was holding in. ‘

    My experience is different but similar. When I am so angry and/or frustrated by something some says in an all-or-nothing, absolute way, that clearly rejects any interest or consideration for another viewpoint, I have been brought to tears of over-the-top frustration with my inability to counter.

    I marvel at people who have the ability to argue effectively, suspending or channeling emotion in order to, yes, fight! Thanks for this thought-provoking post. ~Dawn

    1. cherry

      Thanks for sharing what happens to you. That is similar to what use to happen to me; actually it can still happen but not with any regularity. Cherry

  6. Kathy Morelli

    Wow, LOVED this post. It is TRULY great! I think I am going to print it out and keep it in my office! I have ppl who come who are ashamed that they got ballistic angry at (fill in the blank) after being manipulated & picked on & feeling that they had to keep quiet in order to be reasonable or b/c they couldn’t think quick enuf to defend themselves in the moment (something I have trouble with) and they finally blurt out some truth via anger, so they come in, feeling ashamed like they did something bad. Oh brother!
    Nothing wrong with telling someone STOP STEPPING ON MY TOES, DUDE!
    So this was timely for me. The thing I always had trouble with when I was at a corporate job was that I used to cry more easily when I was younger when I was upset and that really blew my credibility ! I dont do that so much anymore.
    I think tears are healing and are not good to keep inside there, getting all toxic & mucked up! I have not felt manipulated by my clts tears, really, ever. I’m trying hard to scan for this memory, but I have no memory of it at all. What does happen in couples counseling often I find is that the less powerful partner (often but not always the woman) cries as she not able to be effectively assertive, and doesnt have the words to speak up. Well my two cents!

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