Emotion - Why can't men cry?


 An incident occurred a little while ago that caused me to cry. I will not go into the intimate details, but suffice it to say that the release of emotion caused me to cry in a way I have not done since way back in my pre-teen years..... Which is a very long time ago. 

The crying was the result of a massive release of emotion caused by seeming unconnected events that caused me to fear for the health of two very special people. I cry more now than I have done for years, I do get much more emotional since I have allowed my feminine side blossom. However it has never been like this. It hasn't always been this way, before accepting myself, I would very rarely cry, and then only because it was a tragic loss, and only in private. What was that? Well research has shown that men cry 60% less than women, crying is often seen as a weakness or embarrassing, especially for the male.

We cry three types of tears: Firstly 'Basal' which are the tears that coat your eyes all day and help protect them, secondly Reflex, are tears caused by irritation, pollution dust etc and thirdly there are emotional tears. These tears are different because they contain more stress hormones and natural painkillers, the production of tears as a result of emotion can trigger a supportive response in onlookers. It is believed that the production of emotional tears helps to reduce stress and help the healing process. 

I can certainly say that in my case, once the emotion and stress had subsided, the feeling of happiness and contentment were very strong. So that being the case, why don't men cry more often? Well the answer, at least in western cultures, 'society' has programmed many men to be 'manly' and 'macho' and as such to be seen crying is not the done thing. Comments such as 'you're soft', 'pull yourself together' and even 'grow up and grow a pair' are often used even to fairly young boys. I well remember such comments when I was growing up and through the years since.

But in this day and age can it really be such a terrible thing for a man to cry? I am lucky, in that I have accepted my feminine side which allows me to be honest with my emotions. Suppressing and trying to ignore strong emotions is not a good thing and can lead to all sorts of mental health problems. 

So what would I say to anyone reading this? If the emotion is strong and the feeling is that you want or need to cry is there, let it all out and cry your eyes out, the emotional release will make you feel a lot better. 

Macho men (or women for that matter) often think that are stronger, tougher than a person that crys. But they are not as strong as they think, they may poke fun at you when you are crying,  but being able to express your feelings and be able to release those emotions is a wonderful thing, holding it all in is not. 

Have a good cry, it's the right thing to do.................

Comments

  1. To 'poke fun' at someone crying? I would politely ask if there's any fun in that, or just being mean. If the tears are fun emotional pain, is it the equivalent of saying "I see you've hurt you arm, let me press on that pain to add to it." IMO, that's not okay.

    But, maybe I'm a softie snowflake given I cry easily. Dramas, kids films, social situations: my emotions come to the fore very quickly. Both in happiness and sadness

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    1. Thank you for your comment Lynn. No of course there is no fun in it, particularly for the person in distress, but it does happen, it's happened to me lots of times and is common in the industry I worked in. I've had comments when I have banged my head or hit my thumb such as "you didn't mean to do that" or "I bet that hurt" followed by a laugh. The thing is, with this sort of culture, any thought of crying is out of the question if you wanted to avoid further ridicule.

      Like you Lynn I do cry very easily, but no to the extent I did in the story, I often feel my self welling up, but I can cope with that, many 'manly' men can not............

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    2. To be able to let your emotions out, that seems healthy. I've spoken with male friends before who've had issues showing that level of vulnerability. How they kept it all in, I don't know, but it certainly wasn't healthy

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    3. You are absolutely right Lynn, letting the emotions out is a good thing, but a lot of men just can't or won't do it because they feel it is somehow not manly, or macho to be seen crying..........

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  2. Interesting post Andrea.

    I have no problem with crying and I suppose you could say I cry very easily in sad and happy situations.

    I have often broken down and cried when things have gotten too much for me. I believe it to be a safety valve and I've always felt much better afterwards.

    I can remember on the afternoon of the Hillsborough Stadium disaster back in 1989, my local radio station out of respect for the 96 fans who had died played nothing but sad music for the rest of the day. I recall watching the events unfold on television and afterwards going to my bedroom and lying on my bed crying my eyes out as I listened to the music being played by that radio station.

    I have had tears in my eyes on joyous occasions too such as when Mo Farrah won gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres finals at the Olympics in Rio and became a double-double Olympic Gold winner. I think it was the tone of the commentators voice as Mo battled the final 50 metres that brought tears to my eyes.

    Recently, someone was leaving at work and he become quite emotional during his leaving speech and I could feel myself welling up inside and I had teary eyes.

    Finally, having lost my Mum many years ago often I dream that I meet up with her again, giving her a big hug and having a good cry. This results in me crying in my sleep and waking up crying.

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    1. Thank you Charlotte for your comment. Like you I am very free with my emotions now, although it was not always the case, but the point I was trying to make in the post was that a lot of men just don't feel they have that option, to them crying is somehow admitting they are not man enough. It is a terrible shame, they should just be brave enough to let the emotions flow...........

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    2. I do understand your point Andrea. I agree and do think that for a lot of men crying is a sign of weakness. They want to appear macho in their circle of friends and are therefore forced to hide their emotions due to peer pressure.

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  3. Hi Andrea. I loved reading this blog, I have always been close to tears for both sad or good reasons. I remember when is was around ten crying a lot when my grandmother passed away but I remember because my elder brother teased me a lot at the time with the usual “crybaby” taunts and also the inevitable “only girls cry” I certainly remember “manning up” through adolescence and beyond. What is interesting is having always suppressed my crying and emotions in general this pretty much ended (thankfully) with the birth of my son twenty six years ago and since then I have never held back my emotions or crying.
    Like you Andrea, since I fully accepted Stephanie was a real part of me I have noticed an increase in openly sharing both my tears and emotion’s either sad or happy and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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    1. Thank you for your comment Stephanie it's just a shame a lot of men are unable to overcome the stigma of crying and just let their emotions out.........

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