The Crying Game – Part One

Tears. One might consider them the ultimate embodiment of emotion. Tears appear when you have experienced some kind of extreme emotion. I know because I have watched on so many occasions as I have sought to understand the circumstances in which somebody cries and why it is that they do so. I understand that when tears appear, whether it is a welling-up in the eyes, the single full teardrop which slides down a cheek or the cascading waterfall which leaves the eyes red-rimmed and blurry, it is as a consequence of you experiencing emotion in a huge dosage. What I had to learn was which emotions were associated with the emission of water from the eyes. The first emotion that presented itself for my understanding as to how it caused tears was pain. I remembered as a child that my younger brother was somewhat accident prone. If there was tree branch he would fall off it, if there was a wall,he would fall off it and once he even managed to “fall” off a rug and sprain his ankle. The cuts and bruises would have him howling in pain as he lay there sobbing or limped away tears trickling down his face in search of our father. I saw how a physical injury such as a scraped leg or bruised forearm would bring forth a flood of tears. My younger brother would await the attendance of my concerned father, usually brought to the scene by my always caring sister and his tears would be wiped away with a large white handkerchief as consolation and soothing words were administered. I was not accident prone and therefore rarely susceptible to physical injury save the deliberate. I do recall once catching my hand on the edge of the grill and instantly a sore red weal appeared. I presented myself to my nearby mother as I felt the tears forming in my eyes.

“No tears HG,” she announced firmly, “tears show fears, be fearless,” she instructed me as she cast a cursory glance over my injury and directed me to the cold water tap. Tears came from physical hurt but it was not to be for me.

Around the same time I also understood that tears were generated by sadness and it was sister who exhibited this the most. I would find her in one of her many hiding places (I knew them well as I used them myself) and she would be quietly crying.I would ask her why she was crying because I wanted to know. Thinking back, I never felt anything other than curiousity when I saw her with puffy eyes and tear-stained cheeks.

“Why are you crying Rachael?” I would ask.

“Mother shouted at me because I hadn’t tidied my room, she said I was a bad and dirty girl and I don’t like her saying that to me, it upsets me.”

I would nod in understanding and walk away, leaving her alone. She was instructive in showing me that sadness caused tears. Her rabbit escaped from its hutch and went missing so she cried because she missed it. She missed a birthday party because she was ill so she cried because she was sad that she could not play with the other children. If she watched something on television she would often be in tears as she felt bad for the starving children in Africa or the victims of some earthquake. She would cry and ask my father why God did these things and he would do his best to comfort her and explain. He was always good at finding an explanation, but he was a very bright man, well-read and with a keen hunger for knowledge which he invariably retained. There was at least something that I had inherited from him then. I would watch in fascination as Rachael would cry and he would scoop her up and make gentle noises to try to soothe her. Just as he laid a gentle hand on my sobbing injured brother, I saw how this demonstration of tears, be it through physical or emotional hurt engendered sympathy and caring from him. He never rejected them, he never barked at them to deal with it or get on with it, but he would always pander to their upset until he had chased it away and made them feel better. It always got them attention from him, more than I ever did. All they had to do was cry and the sympathy would flow with the attendant attention. I learned that quickly enough.

I, by contrast,never recall feeling sad. I have tried and the good doctors have asked me about this on numerous occasions.

“How did you feel when something bad happened to you?” Dr E would ask.

“What do you mean by bad?” I often have to help him provide some context to his questions. I thought he would have learned by now.

“If you did something wrong for example.”

“I was well-behaved as I child. I did as I was told. I saw what happened if I did not.”

“I see, did your parents ever tell you off?”

“Yes.”

“How did you feel then?”

“Resentful, angry, determined,” I answered quickly.

“Sad?”

“No.”

“Upset?”

“No.”

“How about after the incident?”

I glared at Dr E as I did not like him springing that on me without adequate warning. At least he had remembered to refer to it by the label I required.I remained silent.

“Did you not feel sad after that?”

“No.”

“How did you feel?”

I paused. I did not want to revisit this but I knew he would not stop until he had extracted something from me. He would prod and probe in order to fulfil his selfish desire to know how I felt. I felt empty and I felt angry but I had realised by now that if I told him this he would only go on even longer. The truth would not serve me here. I remained still and silent.

“How did you feel?”

I noticed his tone had become gentler, more searching.

I then thought of all the injustices that I had ever suffered, the hurt that had been meted out against me, the denial of my brilliance, the shunning of my achievements, the lack of recognition when I deserved so much more. I focused on the times when I had been ignored by the foolish, the fact that I am consigned to an unending quest for fuel. I brought to the fore the hurt that I keep under control except for moments such as this and I banished the room and Dr E from my mind as I allowed the floodgates to open. The desired effect eventually came, although it took some time and I eventually felt the welling in my eyes.I blinked theatrically to ensure that Dr E noticed and finally I felt a tear, only a small one though, squeeze out and make it was beneath my eye. I brushed at my other eye, features set in melancholy and still I said nothing. Dr E remained quiet as well as I stared at the floor willing another tear to join the first and thankfully it too finally came and rolled downward, a larger one this time which landed on my left thigh. He will have seen that. I did not look at him but concentrated on the floor still, summoning up all of the hurt I could muster in the hope of maintaining this appearance.

“I can see it is troubling you, perhaps we should move on. We can revisit this at a later time,” he said softly.

I nodded.

Those early observations of how the crying game worked had paid off once again.

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74 thoughts on “The Crying Game – Part One”

  1. You are perfect and just perfect at explaining this. This was fascinating HG.
    I am sorry about the hurt that you had to keep under comtrol.
    Letting out that hurt and connecting with your sad emotions “feel the pain”, dimishes inner anger I think ❤️….
    On the other side I could be Rachel. I cry also way to often. A sad movie, a hurtful comment, missing someone😢 💓, Cup football tournaments make me cry with the players whomever wins, beauty pagent contests, any type of contests, receiving a very desired nice message I am longing for 😢💓 , but also not receiving the message 😢, Also brings tears to my eyes, a sad story from a colleague of people I dont even know, war images made me cry non -stop as now I dont watch, I cant bear it.
    There was this video on facebook where a syrian family lost their cat arriving to Greece the boat turned over and the family was moved to Sweden and the cat ended up lost in Greece. It was a white special cat so somehow an animal protection agency put the story together and as they show images of the cat getting sicker and skinier in Greece, they show when it gets re-united with the family. This video made me cry my heart out I dont know why but it did.

    But this posting also schocked me a bit again like the one from the silent treatment because I never thought someone could fake tears that roll of their cheeks into their shirt!!!! 😱.
    I remember with my ex on the second date he cried telling me the story of how his dad had been so strict and loveless and how it hurt even more that his mom never did anything but nothing about it.. And we both ended up crying me for his sadness….
    I still cant believe all was a fake 😱😢??

    We learn and learn here with you HG.
    Sending you as always many many kisses 😘😘😘 and hope you dont get tired of them as its common for me that I blow many many kisses 😘❤️🌔….
    Saying Just because of previous posting 😉

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    1. Hi Nikita,
      I can also “fake” cry when need be. I begin with a blank stare and then think of something very upsetting to me. The tears well up and fall down my cheek with all the sincerity of a real cry. I did this with N just to see his reaction to my emotion and he tilted his head back and the oddest grin appeared on his face just before he looked at me and feigned concern. Sometimes it’s imperative for me to use some of these manipulative techniques against a toxic individual just to confirm what I already know.

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      1. 😱😱😱 still speechless… Really???
        Maybe the reason for your name???
        Maybe N3 was right the times he told me I miss alot of the real world… When sometimes I was supposed to be tough towards people..

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      2. My traits are really note of the sociopathic variety, I do not crave or need “fuel” in the least bit but I don’t typically form strong bonds with people. I don’t think my traits have anything to do with my ability to fake cry, I’m sure you could do it if you really tried. Most of us have something we can think of that can trigger a few tears.

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      3. You bet wrong there! I don’t give out the “fake” cry in that context, Love. You either deliver or you don’t.

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      4. One week your Batman. This week you’re The Postman. Does that have a cute little uniform too?

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      5. It can be quite necessary and beneficial in certain situations. I rarely cry for real but do on occasion.

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  2. 2 Questions
    1). Did your father never comfort you if he saw you upset as he did your siblings?

    2). What is the “incident” Dr. E is referring to?

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      1. HG are you sure the tears were fake? Maybe you really had the feeling and it caused the tears? I still cant grip how somebody can fake crying. Really.. Crying with no feelings??
        Not even actors. I remember 2 or 3 times I was extra for televisiom on soap operas for part of the crowd on weddings and parties and I still remember once the main actress worried very worried because faking was difficult and also a friend using eye drops to convince her boyfriend of something.
        I am still in awe..

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      2. Ok let me be more specific.

        On question #1, surely your father knew how your mother conveyed a message of showing fearlessness even when inflicted with physical pain. If he showed comfort to your siblings, did he not ever get in with you to explain that feeling pain and hurt can be expressed without being made to feel weak? Were there ever father / son talks about life lessons in general where you could take in more of his peacemaker side?

        On question #2. Duh! Obviously we’re speaking of a significant “incident” from your past. Not a Headline News tidbit about a random act of shooting or something. Do we get a hint as to what that was since you have highlighted it in this blog?

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      3. 1. He once said to me “I love you all equally but they need to see it more than you do.”
        2. Not yet. I may elaborate if I feel able to do so.

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      4. See I view that answer different. It shows another way in which H.G. felt a detachment from a parent and in a way a form of rejection. No, not cool, to tell one child, I’m going to openly show more love to another one over you.

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      5. Of course not!!! Well I dont know if its correct or not but I would not do it. Depends on the context..
        I just meant to tell him that yes although you show more to another the love is equal.

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  3. Interesting HG.

    I used to cry as a child but I don’t know how to any more. I had tears in my eyes once when the MN told me about how serious his illness was. But that was it. Before that a good ten years and another ten before that.

    I can’t fake them either, I don’t even know how to cry ? But sometimes I feel sad, maybe just not sad enough.

    Hahaha it reminds me of something recently, something I said to the MN based on what I’ve learned from you HG.
    It was fairly recent and I said this in response to something he had said, although I don’t recall exactly what he’d said. My response was in the safety of being I front of others.

    ‘MN, you love to make girls cry’.

    He looked at me with this little glint in his eye, knowing this to be true. Of course he laughed and said he would never make a girl cry.

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      1. Let’s build this up. Start with a general air of dejection, then a quivering bottom lip, a welling up, a single tear, cascading teardrops and then the whole smudged make-up, hair all over,mouth twisted in agony look. There’s a good girl.

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  4. I felt everyone in this post. It was so concise the way you so readily described the experiences of your siblings and how you captured the stark contrast between your empathic father and cold mother in dealing with the universal pains of childhood that most of us experience.

    I used to think my easily spilled ️tears were a curse and a sign of something terribly wrong with me. I cry often – in joy and in sadness. I used to cry instead of shout when angry but as I’ve moved through therapy I express anger more appropriately now. Instead of being triggered by feelings of powerlessness and frustration, I have learned to respond versus react to those feelings in a more empowering manner…like walking away from attempts to provoke me.

    Crying is so cleansing! It’s just energy moving through the body! I cried for you HG as I thought about the little boy who was shut down and disconnected from his pain so long ago. Your Mom pisses me off, I can’t fathom a Mom who does anything less than kiss and soothe a hurting child.

    I don’t always like the reasons I cry, but I revel in my courage to feel it all and release it in a torrid cleansing downpour of ️tears.

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    1. I am with you 110% on your sentiments towards his mother. (As with many of the other things you write of too).

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  5. of course it is all fake. he is an actor after all.. he acts.. every thing he does in an act.. its all drama its all for a show. the pretender.. he is acting so much he himself probably does not know any more who he really is with all the different mask he wears. wearing all those different mask to get his fuel. it’s all about his fuel . his a copy cat. he lost his originality long time ago. his true identity.. his name could be the only original /real thing he possess… his birth name his parents gave him..

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      1. You could loose all your hair and teeth you know .. what you going to do gum everything .. oh wait . It’s called false teeth .. suits you perfectly hg.

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  6. Thank you for moderating my post on the Suxtuplet of Silence. At some point today after I complete a post in response to your most recent discourse on Empathy, I will be heading back to the Cookie Jar. Your own responses here correlate with a gem and the gem that was buried both in your works and experience you shared.

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      1. Absolutely H.G. We have it all in America. It’s surgical and non surgical options for hair transplants. I knew a couple of stylists who switched to that line of work because it was much more lucrative.
        How do you not know about this H.G.? Lol

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      2. I am sure there are similar outfits here Clarece but although my hair is short (by choice) I have a full head of hair, which of course, given that I am only 21, I should have.

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      3. I’m 21 too! With a head thick full of strawberry blonde Irish curls. How about that? Blow me over with a feather!

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  7. I am glad you wrote this. I too have to will myself to cry, it’s even hard for me in therapy. Like you, I managed to get about two tears out in one recent session. Unlike you, I did feel genuine sadness, I have always felt sadness.

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      1. I think it’s because I was shamed out of it. As a child I cried all the time. I can’t remember when I stopped being able to cry but I think it was during adolescence. I do recognize the relief in shedding tears, as some people here have mentioned. When I can cry, it feels great really. But I almost have to force myself too; it doesn’t come naturally usually. Sometimes at odd random times I find my eyes filling up though–like the other night I learned a building where I had a few good childhood memories had been demolished in 2003. I never knew and suddenly my eyes welled up and a few tears spilled. It felt good. I tried to get more to come, but I guess that was all my heart was going to allow.

        It’s easier for me to cry at the movies or a sad/touching book than for myself though. Crying for myself is too dangerous. I guess I was able to cry at learning about the demolition because I was so far removed from it.
        I read your post about tears of joy too. Most people think crying means you’re sad and try to get you to stop. But it isn’t always negative–it just means a LOT of emotion is hitting you all at once, and it can be either bad or good. Sometimes you don’t WANT to stop. People should respect that and let a person cry. I wish I had that problem though (crying too much).

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      2. Thanks Lucky Otter, interesting points. Your observation about tears arising from a lot emotion arriving all at once makes sense although I don’t cry when I feel that surge of massive power,I wonder why that is?

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