I didn’t believe I had baby blues. I never cry. I found a book on depression. I read the chapter on ‘baby blues,’ I had every symptom except crying. When I talked to my first counselor, I told him I could count on one hand how many times I had cried in many years. (I could also name most of them.) I didn’t cry when I found out I had cancer. I didn’t cry when I broke my arm. It took counseling for me to find the ability to cry occasionally. I still avoid it as much as possible. I know I was ridiculed for crying as a child. I was threatened with, “Stop crying or I’ll give you a reason to cry about.” I didn’t do much better with my own children. I didn’t know how to allow them to have their feelings. I attempted but I was so clueless. Difficult to teach what I didn’t know.
More bizarrely was my relationship with the pedophile. His pleasure was my pain. I stopped his pleasure by stopping tears. I didn’t remember making the choice…but I sure followed through. There are times when I can think, “Wow, I should really be upset but I don’t feel anything at all.” I know that tears can bring relief. I watch and listen to why and when people cry. I am more likely to cry when I am happy than when I am sad.
I do know part of the source of my resistance of tears. When I was a young married woman my mother taught me the “womanly art of manipulation using tears.” I kid you not. She explained how she covers her face to hide the fact that she isn’t actually crying. She taught me how to poke yourself in the eye while your hands cover your face so the tears will flow. She explained that “women are not stronger physically so it is necessary to use tears to get what you want.” My mother excels at manipulating my father. I told DH about what my mother had said. He looked at me in disbelief. Then he watched my mother pull off one of her tears-to-manipulate situations. He was stunned. He believes me now. The whole crying thing was difficult for me to wrap my mind around. I don’t want to manipulate people with my tears. I usually take off or hide when the tears begin to flow.
One scripture changed my opinion of tears. John 11:35 Jesus wept. This is part of the story when Lazurus died. His sisters were mourning his death. When Jesus saw the sorrow of the women, the Bible simply states, Jesus wept. I believe it is important to note that Jesus knew he was going to raise Lazurus from the dead. He didn’t ridicule the women or tell them they had no reason to cry. He wept with them. Then he raised their brother from the dead. He also rejoiced with them. Tears are not a sign of weakness but of being strong too long, compassion or many other reasons. Like many of our actions, it is the reason behind the tears that is significant.