Why Can’t I Cry?

November 5, 2016

This is a more common situation than we think. There are many people who, although they may be suffering a personal loss, are incapable of crying, of venting their pain through tears. Crying, sobbing is part of mourning, and it is a necessary for overcoming misfortune and trauma. It’s a physiological relief with which to alleviate tension and stress.

It is often said that those who are incapable of crying tend to have a problem when it comes to managing their emotions. The truth is that we cannot establish this principle as something conclusive; it is just one theory.

It is not a problem, but part of a process. Venting will come at some point or another; it may be later than usual, but it will happen. And when it does happen, we will feel much better.

The physiological need to cry

Sometimes there can be some sort of physical problem. We know that the need to cry is part of venting our emotions, as well as a way to deal with stress and tension.

But there are people who are incapable of achieving this due to an autoimmune disease. It is not that they are repressing their feelings. It is a problem with physiological origins founded in the autoimmune system.

These people suffer from an autoimmune disease known as “Sjögren’s Syndrome” which causes dryness in the lacrimal glands, making it is almost impossible to filter tears.

So then, setting aside the possibility of this illness, the greater majority of us have experienced this situation at some point, that of not being able to cry. A reality that can occur for a variety of reasons.

Let’s look at them:

Tears as part of a process

Not all of us are the same nor do we manage our problems in the same ways. Furthermore, it is possible for each situation to be unique and for us to react in a different way. We can cry normally when faced with the loss of a loved one, yet we are incapable of shedding a tear when, for example, we are abandoned by our partner.

How can this be? It all depends on how we have understood the problem. We accept the loss of a family member, we know that we are never going to see them again. We feel that pain and we translate it into tears.

However, faced with the situation of being abandoned and even betrayed, maybe we deal with the experience in a different way. First, we may feel a lack of understanding; then, we may hang onto some hope that this person will come back or regret what they did. Later, anger may show up.

Stages in which tears have still not appeared because they still were not necessary. But down the road, despair and sadness will rear their ugly heads. It is then that our tears will come and our need to release our emotions through them. What conclusion can we draw from this? That tears, the need to cry, have a cycle.

If we feel anxiety or uncertainty and we have not yet rationalized the situation, it is possible that the tears may not come. But this will depend on each person’s personality. More sensitive personalities tend to turn to tears as a proper release mechanism. Those with a greater need for self-control or the simple need to rationalize every aspect of their lives will take longer to experience those tears.

Woman Crying

Tears and their social connotation

Are tears a sign of weakness, of personal fragility? We are not weaker or more vulnerable because we have shown them. Sometimes they are as necessary as breathing and they are an indispensable part of all mourning. We have to experience them to feel better.

Sometimes, though, our education, our personal and social context can brainwash us into thinking that it is better to deal with pain in silence. This is mistake that, in the long term, can cause us serious health problems. Untreated wounds that can turn into internal lesions.

It is not worth it. Tears and the need to cry are part of our personality. There are those who will show a certain facility in letting them go, and for others, it is simply harder.

They are part of a cycle where self-recognition is essential, knowing how to identify the emotions that we have within us, knowing how to listen. Maybe they will not come when we need them the most and that will make us feel strange. With everything that is happening to me… how is it possible that I cannot cry?

Do not worry, they will come when they need to. At the most unexpected moment, when you relax, when you are more aware, and you accept the situation. Only then will the tears offer you true relief.