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#197278 - 12/30/07 08:56 PM I can't cry.
alphabravo Offline

Registered: 10/09/07
Posts: 56
Loc: Boston, MA
I have started down the painful road of healing from my CSA. I have many ups and downs. One thing I am not able to do is cry.

My eyes water up but I just can’t let it go. I was raised not to cry, men/boys crying is a bad thing that only shows weakness and causes more problems. I have been told, and understand that crying is good and a healthy way to let the pain out. To this day I still don't cry.

Not being able to cry extends not just to me but also with the loss of family members and other painful events in my life.

Can others cry? If so, how do you do it? If not what are your effects of that? I feel like I'm broken, not crying is the proof in the pudding.

Thank You for your thoughts.


Its not how far you fall, its how you land.

#197281 - 12/30/07 09:02 PM Re: I can't cry. [Re: alphabravo]
alexey Offline
Moderator Emeritus
Registered: 08/16/05
Posts: 1676
Loc: Moscow, Russia

I can cry when I am alone. It is good for me, but sometimes I fear the emotions and cry for too long.

I usually cry at good movies. However, I can start crying at a powerful book or text.

Feel free to cry. It is normal, and it will allow you to remember how to express emotions in their all power.


When you feel all alone and unhappy, turn to you Inner Child and talk to Him.
You will see He can comfort you like nothing else!

#197282 - 12/30/07 09:19 PM Re: I can't cry. [Re: alexey]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA

An inability to cry is usually connected with an inability to experience genuine feelings. When a boy is abused he learns that expressing how he feels about what is happening to him won't get him anywhere - it won't stop, others won't help, and things will only get worse. So he learns to repress his feelings and pretend everything is okay, when in fact his life is falling apart.

In childhood that's a survival strategy, but the problem is we carry it into adulthood, when it becomes a real liability and prevents us from living a full life.

As you work on your recovery you will gradually find it easier to express how you really feel and with that will come an ability to cry again. The idea that a strong man doesn't cry is nonsense, of course; the guy who is able and willing to express how he really feels has a lot more strength than other men who just numb out and refuse to face the world as it really is.

I think the first time I really cried over what had happened to me was when a T asked me, "So how would you describe you childhood?" I managed to to say "I didn't have one", and then began to cry so much I thought I would never stop.

Much love,

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

#197292 - 12/30/07 10:15 PM Re: I can't cry. [Re: roadrunner]
LandOfShadow Offline

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 684
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA

I can hardly ever remember crying since, who knows? age 12 or something. Briefly maybe 4 or 5 times. I'm 48 now. I really don't feel safe having strong feelings especially around people, even my partner of 16 years.

It is improving slowly. I consciously kind of practice, feeling sad, very sad, on the verge of tears. Alone, with others.

I agreed with Larry. It's something I learned to not feel bad all the time, to be able to do what was expected of me, to not attract unwanted attention or criticism. It really kills having relationships, friendships with people...

Et par le pouvoir d’un mot Je recommence ma vie, Je suis né pour te connaître, Pour te nommer

And by the power of a single word I can begin my life again, I was born to know you, to name you

Paul Eluard

#197299 - 12/30/07 10:59 PM Re: I can't cry. [Re: LandOfShadow]
ScottyTodd Offline
Administrator Emeritus
Registered: 02/12/03
Posts: 1561
Loc: Pennsylvania
I find crying is difficult with some survivors because they feel emotionally out-of-control...the loss of being on top of everything or not controlling everything brings out fear in them. The same fear that the Perp gave them during their abuse. Some even tell me, "If I start to cry I'm afraid I'll never stop" or "...I don't know what I'll do" or "what will happen". Thus, we work hard to "control" our emotions; however, putting a lid on one emotion (sadness - crying) can keep the lid on feeling anything else (numbness/empty/etc.). I do know tht once you experience that deep emotion and cry, a whole lot of relief and other things can surface along with a boost in recovery. Hope you can move to experiencing your feelings!!


If you think you can or you can't - you're right!.......anon
It's never too late to have a happy childhood!.....anon
You're very normal for the abnormal situation you've been through..............S. Todd

#197315 - 12/31/07 01:09 AM Re: I can't cry. [Re: ScottyTodd]
dannym Offline

Registered: 03/25/07
Posts: 543
Loc: Boulder, Colorado
Hey AlphaBravo.

I love language, and one of the masters of English said this:

To weep is to make less the depth of grief. ~William Shakespeare, King Henry the Sixth

For me, being able to cry for myself was most difficult. I could cry at a movie when someone died, I could cry in a book ("Where the Red Fern Grows" had me balling). I cried when each of my children was born - but when I thought of the abuse, I would go silent - a cold stillness seemed to wash over me. I felt like anti-emotion.

When I wrote a letter to my abuser, I was dry eyed. But when I read the letter aloud, to my therapist, I started to cry... and I went on for what seemed like eternity.

Since then, I have cried many times - but only when I am alone or with a very special friend - he gets my tears at least once a week, and he never complains \:\) - at least not to ME!

For me, crying is very helpful, but I can only do it when i feel very safe - Like Howard said, it is giving up the control of our emotions, and I, for one, don't like to give up control, EVER...

I think, as you move along in your jouney and find people to trust - to be vulnerable with - some tears may start. But a very wise friend of mine told me just the other day that it isn't wise to put articial timelines on recovery - it will happen when you are ready - and then the time will be perfect.

Good luck, and know there are many shoulders here at MS to cry on if that feels right.


"You should listen to your heart, and not the voices in your head."

Marge Simpson

#197320 - 12/31/07 02:51 AM Re: I can't cry. [Re: dannym]

Registered: 02/13/04
Posts: 983



"All I can do is be me, whoever that is"

#197327 - 12/31/07 04:44 AM Re: I can't cry. [Re: OKIE MIKE]
mvnforwrd Offline

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 216
Loc: NJ
Hi AlphaBravo,
I just recently comeforth with the abuse i endored. I dont cry! I use to cry all the time when i was surpressing the abuse but now since I have stepped forward and seeking help I have not cried. I go weekely to therepy and I have yet to cry. I talk with my wife and i have yet to cry ecept the first night I told her. I think I do not cry because I am not surpressing the abuse no more. I am not living in lies nomore. But I think as we move forward in recovery we will cry again and do lots of it. When we start realizing what has happened and visuallizing what has happend we will cry. I am very sad and depressed But I do not cry. I dont think that it is a problem I think it is the road to recovery smalls steps. MVN4WRD

Take your foot out of yesterday and your other foot out of tomorro or you will keep pissing allover today!

#197329 - 12/31/07 06:01 AM Re: I can't cry. [Re: mvnforwrd]
Bewlayb1 Offline

Registered: 08/04/07
Posts: 243
Loc: NYC
Hi Alphabravo,

I know what it's like not to be able to cry.

I used to cry all the time as a child, even before the abuse. I was always very needy. The sexual abuse by a gym teacher from eight to ten stunted my emotional growth, and I was a cry-baby until high school. I was virtually mute until eighteen.

When I remembered the abuse at nineteen, I broke down in tears. But I stared into the mirror across from me, and I actually had this thought: "He's acting." He looked so upset, but I wasn't feeling much at all.

I took many showers in the weeks afterwards. I crouched down in the tub and cried, where no one could see me. But then, the therapist I went to didn't believe me. My parents were indifferent. And sympathy started to look like a bitter thing. I cried and cried, and no one cared, so that shut me right up.

I'm twenty-six now, and since then, I rarely cry. When I do, I'll be laughing and smiling a minute later. I've developed some kind of cynicism in my head. It's like, "You know you don't really feel anything." "You know there's no point in crying." "You don't want to be that weak little boy."

It's not ideal. I wish I allowed myself to be in touch with my emotions. I wish I had matured normally, and I didn't have to wonder what happiness is, and what sadness is. But they kind of feel the same to me. There's still this emptiness.

My tears feel hollow even when they're not.

#197330 - 12/31/07 06:51 AM Re: I can't cry. [Re: Bewlayb1]
Hauser Offline

Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 2963
Loc: United States
You ask a VERY good question, and I'll answer it buy saying that you MIGHT have to address a certain issue or issues BEFORE you can start dealing with your CSA itself.

For instance, in my situation, my T says that I need to first deal with the shock that I went through after disclosing my CSA to my older brother, only to be mocked and ridiculed by him and his friend after doing so. This feeling of shock is something that I suspect is still with me today. I'm on the road to dealing with it though.

To refine this point, let me say that I never cry about my abuse either. But I SHOULD shouldn't I? I suspect that you feel the same way about your CSA incident. I suspect that you cognitively know that it is tragic and in every way regrettable and bad, but you just can't "get it" or "grasp it" and just plain cry. I can't do it either (yet?). I'm beginning to suspect that it's important that ARE able to cry about it though. geez....

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