The Crying Game – Part One

THE CRYING GAMEPART 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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42 thoughts on “The Crying Game – Part One”

  1. Ex narc always said “stop crying” with as much anger and shame as he could muster up. If I didn’t dry up I was subject to silent scorn. Tears infuriated him. That wasn’t even the sickest part…these punishments would come right after he had done everything he could possibly think of to make me cry. He was drowning in ⛽️(that’s a cute little gas pump!)

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  2. the narc who entangled me could sob in remorse and sorrow, grieving his bad behaviour…but I knew these were not true emotions. These displays came at the end, when the game was almost lost already. I myself couldn’t FEEL anything in the presence of this obvious outlaying of desperate emotion, and that’s why. It just wasn’t there. My nervous system, and the structures of my brain DO resonate with another’s pain, happiness or sadness. If anything is REAL, the empath CAN feel it. We do a great job of discounting that talent, agreeing instead with our WANTS, and agree to believe the pretty lies instead of the intangible truths of biochemistry and the science of attachment. As if what is said, MUST have more weight, as it slices through the fabric of the audible world than these invisible instinctual cues do. Once we start listening, it’s apparent we are magic. Something the narc covets and finds a way to capture.

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  3. am i missing something here? what is the “incident”? and also I had a chill run down my spine when I read.. ” 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….
    WHY??? Because this is EXACTLY how my DIL is to my Grandson! I noticed and witnessed this at his age of 100 days. I KNEW THEN, what my Grandson would become. He is now LESS than 2 years old, she WANTS to create him to be of your kind because that is what SHE IS….It is imperative for him to be a success: an Elite Greater, as is she.

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    1. This is interesting regarding my PhD thesis as I was working through a lot of things back then, especially in relation to a structure of anti-emotionalism, which I did not identify with narcissism (and still think there is not a precise fit). I recognized that the corrective that my authorial subject brought to the colonial system was an introduction of emotion back into the colonial matrix, especially the knowledge and sensations of subjectivity, which were wholly new at that time. His style of writing was like manna from heaven — a real revelation to those who were seeing Rhodesia turn into Zimbabwe.

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      1. The “fit” between “taught” anti-emotionalism and NPD, is that the NPD’s “taught love” does not include empathy and compassion being given freely, as a child, FROM ALL caregivers. Main key of NPD is NO empathy and NO compassion. That is one key factor I have learned here on this site.

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      2. Thank you. That clarifies it very well in fact. That is not to say that sometimes the colonial system didn’t also deprive children of empathy and compassion. My father was sent away to boarding school at a very young age.

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      3. @musteryou… if you haven’t already read Mr Tudor’s “Love is a Taught Construct” I would highly recommend you do. He elaborates on this subject (as it related to him)

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  4. Oh my gosh,,,, cause I was really cheering for you HG! Nice finish, and I laughed and had to check myself. Awe, your sis had a bunn!
    I have to say I am sorry (well am empath) that your mom was such an ass to treat you in those ways, especially when and after you were injured. Dad seemed cool though had issues, as we all do. I like Dr. E.

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  5. To feel empty and angry, and nobody cares. Some understand this, it is an awful feeling.

    May I ask how old were you when you got burned?

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  6. During devaluation and in particular situations I remember desperately trying to hold my tears back and not to show him my weakness. I didn’t know it would be just a fuel for him.

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  7. I can sense you being disappointed ( not sure if this is a right word) with you father being protective towards your siblings but not to you , you feel that some way he abandoned you. Your father saw your strength and he believed that you were perfectly capable of taking care of yourself, even tho you were still a child. But can you really blame him for it? Isn’t it natural that we are instinctively more protective towards those who we believe need it more?

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      1. HG do you believe your father understood the burden he left on your shoulders? The article of when you spoke of when you graduated at dinner when your mother step away and it was just you and him. Do you think there was more to his actions then just being proud of your accomplishments?

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      2. I would agree with that, do you know what held him captive to look away?
        He loved you thou and from what you have written was very proud of you.

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      3. HG, your dad’s reasoning that you were strong enough to take care of yourself reminds me of the countless times I’ve seen/done similar things in many different situations. I think it’s a coping mechanism for when a person sees something they know they should step in and do something about, but they are feeling too lazy/selfish/scared to make the effort. They salve their conscience by telling themselves that their help wasn’t really needed. The more empathic the person is, the more cognitive dissonance this creates bc deep down they know they are lying to themselves. This certainly does not excuse his neglect, but may explain it.

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      4. Hi H.G.,
        I think I recall you mentioning an older brother in one of your books; was he also treated like you by your Mother or protected by your Father? If by your Mother is he also one of your kind?
        Thanks,

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  8. We were not allowed to cry nor to show emotions as well.
    My mother would actively ignore and stigmatize any sign of emotional simptoms. They were causing distress to my father and that was to avoid at all costs. He was the only one allowed to loose it in the house. And he was loosing it, big time. He was the king, the master, the big man, he had the power of life and death over everyone.
    I managed to survive and it’s my greatest accomplishment.

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    1. giulia, I can relate to your childhood experience and also consider survival a great accomplishment. when I was growing up, maintaining both parental control and outward appearances was far more important than addressing a child’s obvious display of pain.

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  9. HG
    Do you like your sister? Is she pretty?
    Are you jealous of your brother? Would you like to have the same life your young brother has nowadays? What do you feel when you see his pictures on Facebook?
    Are you engaged?

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      1. Your younger brother. Do you like him sometimes too?
        Are you not jealous that he is capable of love and you not?

        You say things that you cannot feel love, and all these narcissist things in the end it is just like, you will get tired of “‘us”‘ , we will be discarded and we will be free. You are shooting yourself in the foot.
        Anyway,
        Have a nice weekend!

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  10. My second question is nonsense. I was in my own thoughts about my own family. If he had given you a satisfying answer, maybe, you would haven taken another way.

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