What is your opinion or belief about crying? What has been your life experience with crying? As a child, were you told to stop being a "crybaby?" Or, if you wanted to cry, your parent would give you something to cry about?
If you reflect on your relationship to crying for a moment, you may see that the patterns and behaviors about crying likely haven't changed much as an adult. That is unless you've done considerable emotional personal development work. Just like we have to build our self-confidence muscle, our emotional intelligence, like a muscle, needs attention, too.
Do you know people who have used crying as a manipulation tactic to get what they want? Have you known people who have used crying to bypass what is emotionally going on - using it not to have to talk about what they're feeling? Maybe you've done one or both of these things yourself. Most of us have, at some point in our lives, particularly as children, when there was something we wanted. Depending on the behavior emulated for you as a child, perhaps these behaviors were learned and are tactics you rely on today.
This episode aims to get you thinking about crying and your relationship to it. As well as to consider how the ways others respond to the grief and loss in their lives may differ from you - and allowing that to be okay and not judging the other person for it.
And for funsies, if you haven't seen the 1990 movie Crybaby with Johnny Depp and Ricki Lake, it's a fun role to see Johnny Depp play.
If you are struggling with grief due to any of the 40+ losses, free resources are available HERE.
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Would you like to join the mission of Grieving Voices in normalizing grief and supporting hurting hearts everywhere? Become a supporter of the show HERE.
Victoria Volk: Hey, Hey, Hey. Thank you for tuning in to today's episode. This is episode one sixty-two already. And I just wanna take a moment to thank you for being a regular listener if you are, if you're brand new, Thank you for being here. And if you found me through someone else sharing it with you, I hope you paid it forward and share it with someone else you know her love. Let me find the content of grieving voices helpful. I really enjoy bringing on guests who I am personally curious about and love to know more about. In an effort that what they have to share will be meaningful, and helpful to you the listener. And so if this podcast is, I asked that you please leave a review five stars if you would please. It really helps the podcast continue to grow but more importantly sharing it with someone who really does maybe need to hear whatever that episode is that you feel inclined to share. I hope you share it. Follow that nudge. If there's someone that you're thinking about, like, oh, so and so should really hear this hear this episode, follow that nudge. Share it with them because that nudge was given to you for a reason.
Victoria Volk: There's many examples in my life where I follow the nudges and you just feel really good when you do. You can't be wrong when you're listening to your inner voice, which really knows better than our ego. So listen to that inner voice if you feel called to share this with someone or any other episode for that matter. And I greatly appreciate a review if you have five minutes to do so.
Victoria Volk: So, yeah, let's get into today's episode where I wanna talk about crying. Growing up, I cried a lot. I had a lot to cry about, but I cried a lot, and it was I'm I would I would say that I'm a highly sensitive person. And as a child going through so much grief and loss, traumatic things happening and a lot of change, just from age five on it was a lot for a child to take in for any child to take in and a lot of children are going through really difficult times. And what do you do with those big emotions? Adults really I mean, we as adults don't even know what to do with their big emotions half the time, particularly with anger. And so when a child is expressing these things, including anger, it can be confronting for adults. You don't know what to do, and so it's easier to just say just go to your room and cry. I don't you know, they don't wanna see it. Adults don't wanna see it. They don't want it in their face. I'm not saying all adults, I'm just these are very generalization, very much generalizations.
Victoria Volk: But as particularly, I will say, adults who have not address their own emotions or really have sat with their own emotions. Maybe their children who grew up and are continuing those behaviors because that's what they were taught. That's all they know. You get angry, you punch a wall, you spew words to other people that are just out of character. We just don't know what to do with their big emotions including grief, anger, sadness, all of these things that are part of the human experience.
Victoria Volk: In particular though, I wanna talk about crying though because we have this idea that when someone passes away and no one's and the person isn't crying, that they're somehow detached or they just that's abnormal. It's abnormal behavior to not cry when someone close to them passes away. And so I just think that this is an important topic to talk about. And on the flip side of that, I mean, people can use crime as a way to manipulate as well. Right? Like, we can turn on our acting skills on a dime sometimes to get what we want. This is if we have needs that aren't being met, our egos can really get creative and our minds can really get creative on how we obtain what we desire, what we want to help us to feel better.
Victoria Volk: So I wanna dive into crying today, and I think there's a lot of confusion about crying. Like how much crying is enough? If I start crying, will I be able to stop? Do I have to cry at all? I've cried and cried, but I still don't feel better. Is there something wrong with me? Are men and women different when it comes to crying? So I wanna talk about all of these things and you might be recognizing yourself in some of the scenarios that I share. Many of you listening may have yourself experience this first scenario. Let's say you're an older child and you're very worried about your father or your mother because several years ago the other parent passed away and you believe that your parent is devastated by the death of their spouse, but your surviving parent hasn't cried yet. And we can use the word yet in an air quotes because you might have this belief audious belief that in order to grieve that you must cry. And the fact is that maybe you did not see your parent cry. Does that mean that they haven't cried? And it doesn't mean that they haven't cried in private. Or that they will or will not talk about it. So well-meaning children are concerned because they believe that there is this absolute and direct correlation between grief and crying. And of course, you believe that your parent's heart is broken. And surely, that is usually the case. Right? And so where is it written that you must cry when you are sad? I mean, think about that. Not everybody displays an outward expression of emotion. In the beginning of this episode, I shared how as a child, I would cry to hide. I think I've said that on this podcast a few times. I still do. I still do. Because I think there's still probably a part of me that feels like it's not safe to or that it's not allowed or that there's something wrong with me because as I mentioned, I'm an emotional person. I feel deeply about things, about people, about experiences. I feel it very deeply, good or bad, you put those in air quotes because it's not good or bad, it just is. Right? It's part of being human.
Victoria Volk: But I think it's important for us to recognize that not everybody grows up in a home where it's okay to cry openly. And especially, like, older generations where you did not display that type of weakness, deemed weakness. I say crying as weakness, but it's not. But there is this mindset that exists, that it's weak to cry and it's a societal norm that women, yes, cry more and men not as much, and if men cry, then that's somehow, oh my gosh, this guy's crying, you know?
Victoria Volk: So I think it's becoming more acceptable in society for men to openly express themselves with tears and that takes strength. It does take strength to openly share your emotions. It's vulnerability that we need more of truthfully in this world. And it's an authenticity that It's not acting, like, you can't act that when it's coming from an authentic and vulnerable place.
Victoria Volk: So let me ask you this, have you ever known anyone who cries all the time, but never seems to change or grow? Have you ever known anyone who uses crying as a manipulation to get something? And there is a high probability that you will answer yes to both of those questions. And both of those questions are designed to explain the fact that crying in and of itself does not necessarily lead to completion of the pain caused by death, divorce, or any other losses. And at best, crying acts as a short-term energy-relieving action and relieves temporarily some of the emotional energy generated by loss.
Victoria Volk: So you might know people who've been crying over the same loss daily for years and years. And we know that the crying has not helped them complete what is emotionally incomplete in their relationship with their loved one who had died or the person for whom they are divorced or restrained or whatever the circumstance maybe. As our society is continuing to evolve, we are seeing the shift in the public display of emotion as I mentioned. And in today's world, it is not at all unlikely to even see a retiring professional athlete, with this all this masculinity, weeping openly in a televised press conference. So it is hard to imagine that the same scenario occurring thirty to forty years ago would have a different outcome that was not the thing thirty to forty years ago. So if you're male parent is seventy years old or older, he is more likely to be affected by different beliefs about the open play of emotions than you are. Even your female parent is liable to be less willing to communicate sad, painful, or negative emotions than you. And we must fight this trap of applying our emotional value system to others. And it may seem odd since your parents are the ones who taught you but that you have a different emotional view than they do.
Victoria Volk: And I think that's where, especially, today, with that, like, people in my generation, the sandwich generation, our parents, my mom is eighty years old they didn't openly talk about the really painful stuff. They just didn't. And so it's as time goes on and we learn and we grow and this podcast like this one exists and the more we talk about grief, the more this will shift in society as a whole. And maybe when I'm eighty, I will be the opposite. I will be more communicative about painful times. And I am already. I am already, but I've come to know this stuff and I've done a lot of personal work on myself. And I think that's the key. Is so many of the people on that generation, the older generation there wasn't, like, talk space and better help and just it was a different time. It was just a completely different time. And so as we're evolving as a society, I do see this shifting, and I do see this changing, and it already is. I mean, here I am sitting on and I have my own podcast and I'm using my voice in ways that I never did and never felt safe to as a child. And I think I'm I mean, that's a whole another podcast. I could do a whole podcast on throat wounds. The throat chakra wound of just being having your voice suppressed or not being able to express yourself, which maybe I will do an episode on that because I think it's hugely important that we recognize our wounds so that we can heal them within ourselves. And this podcast and doing the work that I've personally done on myself has helped me to heal my throat wound were crying wasn't, something that was acceptable. I mean, yes, go cry, but I don't wanna see it. Go hide to cry was the message I received and I did. And so I guess, again, as we come into our own, we recognize where we need to do the work for ourselves. And for me, it was in the expression of emotion because I suppressed so much. And I think as grievers, many of us have grown up in homes and in this belief system that we just don't talk about what is hurting us. And so just keep that in mind as I'm continuing on with this episode.
Victoria Volk: So the short of what I've just talked about is basically that it can be dangerous and counterproductive to attach our personal ideas and beliefs to how other people express their grief, given the fact that many people will communicate tremendous depth of emotion and never shed a tear, while others cry all the time, but don't seem to complete the pain, nor derive any long term benefit from crying.
Victoria Volk: And so let's talk about the gender issue and uniqueness of individuals and relationships as well as what function crying serves and for whom. There is research that indicates that tears of sadness differ in chemical makeup from tears of joy and that tears perform the valuable function of washing the eyes and women cry on average five times more than men. And the grief recovery institute has actually tried to find research, like psychological basis for this five-to-one ratio of women crying more than men, and they couldn't find it. And failing to find any valid studies on crime would support a physical distinction by gender. But they couldn't find the research.
Victoria Volk: So what the Great Recovery Institute did do is do their little own anecdotal research that they believe represents the truth. They had called some nurse friends whose life experience is working with infants. And without exception, they indicated that the circumstances and frequency with which very young infants cry is not dictated by gender. Little baby boys and little baby girls cry equally. There are clear personality differences between individual babies. Some cry more than others, not by gender, but rather by individual uniqueness. And they did not limit their research to those who worked only with newborns. They got some of the same responses from experts who worked with children up to the age of five. From age five onwards, distinction by gender and attitudes and beliefs began to magnify. This informal study led to the inescapable conclusion that socialization, not gender, was the key to later differences of attitude and expression regarding crying.
Victoria Volk: So although there really isn't an innate physiological difference between males and females when it comes to crying, we must still ask what purpose or value, if any, does crime have in recovery from loss?
Victoria Volk: So let us say that crying can represent a physical demonstration of emotional energy attached to a reminder of someone or something that has some significance for you.
Victoria Volk: In fact, during grief recovery work that I do with clients when someone starts crying, I ask them to talk while they cry. The emotions are contained in the words that the griever speaks, not in the tears that they cry. And so what's fascinating to observe is that as the thoughts and feelings are spoken, the tears usually disappear and the depth of feeling communicated seems much more powerful than just tears alone.
Victoria Volk: And I can add in my personal experience when I was going through the program myself in Austin, Texas in early twenty nineteen, I was overcome with emotion. And I don't know that there were enough tissues in the box and snot was coming down my knows and I mean, I was a mess. I looked like an emotional mess and a wreck. However, I continued on with the exercise just as I was instructed to do and at the end of it, I can tell you, like, even now when I reflect back on it, had I just been crying, had I just let my tears fall and not have been communicating through this exercise, what I was feeling, I don't know I don't believe the impact would have been as great as it was because the person that came to that training and that experience was a different person on the flight home. I was completely emotionally transformed from that experience. The work that you put into it is exactly the output that you get, the more that you put into the experience, the more you get out, and that's with anything. That's with any kind of program or coaching or anything as long as you are open and willing to put in the emotional work into it, you will get a return of that investment.
Victoria Volk: And again, like just sitting home alone and crying is not gonna get you the results in your life that you're looking for. So when we think about this idea that it's not the tears, but yet the communication that helps people heal. And in talking about our experiences, let's bring that back to the conversation about the adult child and the parent whose other parent passes away if you believe that your parents' heart is broken, it doesn't take words to show that. Right? We can see when someone's heart's broken based on their body language, their tone, and other factors that show us that someone is being deeply affected by a loss of a loved one or an experience they're having in their life. And for some people, it might be unusual or uncommon for them and may be even uncomfortable, for them to cry.
Victoria Volk: And frankly for some people, it might not even have any real benefit. But brace yourself for this next part because on the other hand, don't be fooled by those who cry frequently. In one of the strangest of all paradoxes, people can use crying as a way to stop feeling rather than to experience great depths of emotions so it can go the opposite way. The tears can become a distraction from the real pain caused by the loss. The key to recovery from the incredible pain caused by death, divorce, and all other losses is contained in a simple statement. Each of us is unique and each of our relationships is unique. Therefore, we must cover and complete what is emotionally unfinished for us in all of our relationships. Our personal belief systems about the display of emotions are also unique and individual. We may not even have a conscious awareness of what our own beliefs even are an alert to everyone, young or old, don't let anyone else dictate what is emotionally correct for you. not even your children, or your parents ,only you get to determine what is correct for you.
Victoria Volk: If you need help, in discovering or determining what might help you deal with a broken heart caused by a death or a divorce. I highly recommend you get in touch with me or check out the book, The Grief Recovery Handbook. I will put a link to it in the show notes, that will I guarantee you, that will have you connecting so many dots and you'll have so many aha moments while you read that book. I really firmly believe that it could be a game changer as you are on your path working through your grief and looking at it and trying to recover from it. But don't take this podcast episode that I'm any way against crying. Like I mentioned several times now throughout this episode that I'm a big cryer I can be. Not near as much as I used to be because what's changed for me from a child to an adult is that as a child I didn't have the skills or the know how and how to process what I was feeling to work through my feelings and the emotions. I didn't have a way to do that. I didn't know how to do that. Most children don't and most children are not taught how to do that. And so as we grow into adulthood, we continue those behaviors until we learn differently, until we learn better healthier ways to address what's happening for us emotionally. And so I don't have to cry, I don't feel the need to cry as much as even near as much as I used to. I have to be really emotionally charged, feel either like, an immense an immense an immense amount of gratitude in a moment or an immense amount of sorrow or hurt or pain, emotional pain, whatever it is, to cry. And that those moments are far widened in between and that's not good and that's not bad. It's just what is and but I'm connecting why that is. And for me why that is, because I have the tools to process what I'm feeling emotionally. I have energy work that I can use in those tools I can use to process my emotions. And to catch myself before I get to a place where I can't control my emotions. This is what it means to develop our emotional intelligence. And as we do that, we don't feel the need to cry as much because we have gain skills and tools that support us so that we're not using tears as a way to bypass our emotions, and we're not using tears to manipulate. And we're not using tears as without that emotional component we're addressing.
Victoria Volk: So I'm not against crying. And in fact, I expect people to cry when I'm working with them one-on-one or in groups. In grief recovery. I expect them to cry. I cried. Right? You're learning this stuff for the first time in that situation. I expect that you'll probably cry. And that's okay. But to get to the point where you're in recovery from the emotional pain, that's really the end goal. That's the end game for the people that I work with, and even for myself and my own healing. So when fond memories are turning painful, we wanna use these tools so that they don't turn painful anymore. So that it that's where those tears will come. Right? I'm here for you to have a life of meaning and value even though a loss or losses may have made your life drastically different than what you had hoped or dreamed. And trust me, I have plenty of relationships in my life, and I've had plenty of relationships in my life that are different and were different from what I had hoped and dreamed.
Victoria Volk: And so I hope that this episode has gleaned some insight into crying a little bit. I know this is something that we don't really even think about. Right? We just you think crying is always a good thing. And yet, there is a there is a shadow side to crying. It can be used to manipulate. It can be used to bypass our own emotions, yes, an emotion is prompting the crying, but is it a painful memory? And that's a thing. So if it's a painful memory, then you probably have something left there that's emotionally incomplete for you. And that's where I'm trying to get to the heart of. That's what I work with people to address. And that's what I've put a lot of work into myself to address.
Victoria Volk: So what do you think about crying now? Share your thoughts with me. Find me on Instagram @theunleashedheart or on Facebook, Victoria The Unleashed Heart. Or shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and share your thoughts about this episode. I'm really curious what you have to say about crying. And if you found it insightful, share it with someone else who you think might find it insightful too. And if there's any questions that you have that you would like to be addressed or here addressed on this podcast, then you can reach out me on social or via email as well. Alright, my friends, thank you for tuning in to this episode, and I hope to reach your listening ears once again. And in the meantime, remember, when you unleash your heart, you unleash your life. Much love.