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Why Am I Not Allowed To Cry? (trigger warning)

Discussion in 'Help Me! I Need to Talk to Someone.' started by ThePhantomLady, Mar 3, 2016.

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  1. ThePhantomLady

    ThePhantomLady Safety and Support SF Supporter

    I had a pretty hard session with my therapist today... She wanted to work on the self harm; as she put it, it's the most important issue since it's a danger to my health. (much different from last time when I was in therapy... we never got to really touch the SH, the previous therapist just kept saying we'd get to it...).

    I had noted on a chart each day how strong my urges and certain emotions had been (anxiety, shame, frustration, suicidal) and she chose to walk me through Monday... From the moment I woke too early, thinking I was late... to the meetings I had, first with my job consultant who I thought was going to be mad at me... and then the therapist and I worked through what happened at the meeting with what I thought was a back specialist...

    (abuse trigger warning) Going through some standard questions I told the specialist I was fairly certain I had PTSD, and struggled with anxiety... which keeps me inside a lot. (I did think that was relevant)... but the young woman just started to dig into it, wanting me to tell her what happened. I froze, I wanted to throw up, I wanted to run, I wanted to scream at her to shut up... but my body was frozen. I had so many flashbacks... and she kept asking "When... what ever it was happened... did you fall on your back?" ... "were you kicked?".

    Even writing this I feel bad. I have not worked on that one instance with my therapist yet. (we're only 3 weeks into therapy... and she's starting with the SH).

    I understand in a way how it could be relevant to ask if I had gotten any 'impact injuries'... but what about asking delicately? I know I am an expert in pretending I am fine in the most horrible situations... but didn't my silence at least tell her to stop??

    I left that meeting, wanting to cry. But I couldn't. I can't. I think I even smiled and shook her hand... while I felt so bad about that.
    Furthermore... she decided instead of dealing with my back she wanted to sign me up with an anxiety support group... I just know if I do that while in therapy it could spoil so much. If my real therapist says something, and I get told something different in that group...


    Anyway... my therapist worked through it, and how I felt... and how I later that night ended up harming myself to control my emotions... and how I under those meetings had been giving myself a bit of pain to keep myself under control...

    After that the therapist wanted me to cry. She knows how hard that is for me.
    From when I was little my mother would abuse me if I cried; she would give me icy cold showers, slap me, beat me, and as I got older if she caught me even with red and puffy eyes (despite having tried to washed it off my face) she would laugh at me and tell me I looked like a stupid fool etc, sometimes she'd even hold me in front of the mirror and hold my head, force me to look at my ugly tearfilled face...
    In school when I was bullied, I knew if they ever saw me cry it would only get worse... I mastered the fake laugh and smile from a very early age.

    I do cry, but only when I'm completely alone... and mostly when I watch a sad film or listen to a sad song. And even when I'm alone I try to joke about it. I always try to avoid the mirror if I've been crying... but sometimes I repeat what my mum did.

    The therapist doesn't know all these details... not yet... There's a limit to how much you can tell in 1 hour sessions when you're also supposed to work on stuff... but she knows that I find crying difficult because mum would abuse me for it.

    So the therapist kept on trying to make me cry... in a 'safe' atmosphere and kept on encouraging me that it was very normal and okay to cry over what happened to me. And right after when I was finally allowed to dry my eyes and 'come back' she told me to tell myself out loud that I was a strong person.

    I wanted to... I have decided I'll do anything the therapist tells me so I can better... but I couldn't. The words just didn't even form.

    And now I feel bad. I both feel bad for crying like that... and I feel bad for thinking that it's not okay to cry. Why the hell have I adapted my mother's voice and f*cked up views on me?

    Why am I such a freak?
  2. Northern

    Northern SF Supporter

    No one come out of such abuses well. Keep working on it and things will improve.

    ThePhantomLady likes this.
  3. Acy

    Acy Mama Bear - TLC, Common Sense Staff Member Safety & Support

    You are NOT a freak. *hug*

    Feelings are feelings, and tears are a normal response to deep sadness and frustration and anger. I don't think you need to feel embarrassed. We generally don't do a lot of crying in front of others. The good thing is that crying in front of a therapist is usually very safe. If we've been taught not to cry, I'm sure it's uncomfortable to cry in front of anyone. But thank goodness you were in a safe environment for it! :)

    It can be hard to cry - to "indulge" ourselves - if we've been taught not to show our feelings or that feelings are "bad." It might even make us feel like if we start to have feelings or start to cry or get angry, we might not stop, and/or it will upset/anger/worry others. So we hold back our feelings. Problem is that holding back one emotion makes it hard to feel ANY emotions. And that is kind of what depression is. A whole lot of dulled and blunted feelings - real blahs and very deep lows.

    Children depend on their parents to validate them, to cherish them, to care about them, to help them. If a parent teaches a child not to show feelings, the child takes that lesson onboard without realizing it might not be a good thing. Kids tend to trust their parents on some basic level because a child needs a caregiver/parent for basic survival. When a child learns the parent might not be right, the child often looks for a way to make the parent right. "It's not mom or dad's fault, it must be me. I need to be a better little girl (or boy). I better not cry even if I feel hurt and angry."

    I think you've made a huge discovery that your own behavior/attitudes are mimicking the role of your mom. You are an adult now and can choose to be the voice that doesn't allow you to have feelings or you can choose to be a caring adult and hug yourself and take care of yourself. I'll put it in a slightly different way: If you saw a little girl crying, I expect your instinct would be to console her and tell her things will be fine. You would "care for her." What you learned about echoing your mom means you can now free yourself from your mom's behavior and recognize that crying is sometimes the right response. And even more, you yourself will be there to "care for yourself."

    I think this is a big step, and it might take some practice...But wow! You've done a lot of hard work to get to this point. You have loads to be proud of. :)
    ThePhantomLady likes this.
  4. sunnypseudo

    sunnypseudo Well-Known Member

    Trying to undo forced learned behavior is very hard and it does not make you a freak at all, and never listen to any voice that tells you otherwise.

    I know live situations become hard for me and I can't talk but silence can be misconstrued. Just maybe something that might help you communicate through all of this with your therapist, maybe try writing down what you need to tell and hand it to her?

    Are you opposed, truly opposed to group therapy? If so that would be something you could start off writing to her if you don't want to get too personal just yet with letters handed to her.
  5. ThePhantomLady

    ThePhantomLady Safety and Support SF Supporter

    Thank you all of you for the support!

    @Acy you've pretty much quoted my therapist, and I do believe in that. She even put up that scenario with the crying girl... and of course I'd hug her and comfort her, I would even tell her it's okay to cry. But yeah... it's difficult to get it in to my 'thick skull'.

    @sunnypseudo I feel it's easy to talk to my therapist, which is odd for me... but there's a time limit, telling my entire story would probably take hours. A session is only 60 minutes and half of it is used to work on skills.

    I am really not against group therapy, I am awaiting a DBT group therapy at the same clinic where I have my therapist... but the one I was offered from the "back specialist" is at a completely different instutition and not propper mental health professionals. I fear that it will end up as a case of 'Too many cooks...'. I trust the clinic I am at now, and I think it's better I stick to them and their advice.
  6. Inspire&Inquire

    Inspire&Inquire SF Supporter

    Why do you treat yourself that way? Its not appropriate to call yourself that. Calling yourself that is just as wrong as calling someone else that. Treat yourself like you would someone else, try to look at yourself that way. How would you treat a person just like you that has been through all the things you have? Would you cut him or her? Would you call him or her names? Stop bullying yourself you don't deserve that.
    ThePhantomLady likes this.
  7. sunnypseudo

    sunnypseudo Well-Known Member

    I am very, very happy that you do feel comfortable talking with your therapist. I was concerned with a comment you had made with being silent and pushed. It's good that you are taking the advice of the doctors and I understand the concerns with too many cooks.
    ThePhantomLady likes this.
  8. Acy

    Acy Mama Bear - TLC, Common Sense Staff Member Safety & Support

    Of course it is difficult to change a learned and near-automatic response that we have had since we were kids. It doesn't happen overnight, it happens with practice and more and more practice...until it becomes the automatic response instead of anger, fear, sadness or beating ourselves up emotionally and/or physically. You've made a huge gain and found a goal to work toward. Remind yourself, you are just as entitled to care as anyone else, and if that means you care about you, then please, be very kind and compassionate toward yourself! *hug*

    About letting out the whole story...We want people to hear our issues so we feel validated and we might gain a sense that we're "justified" to be angry and hurt. I think group therapy assumes everyone there has reasons to feel justified in learning the new skills - the individuals' stories about the past are not so much the issue - learning and trying the new skills is. Because you care about yourself, perhaps you could ask one of the clinic group leaders if it's important to your recovery to "tell the whole story" and if it is, ask if there is individual counselling provided for that, as you realize that group sessions have limited time and are focussed on learning the skills. If you feel you do need a professional to help as you explore all the past you carry with you, maybe the current clinic can set that up for you with someone they know.

    Learning the interpersonal and mindfulness type skills might actually better prepare you for further one-on-one work later. Just a maybe. :)

    Thinking of you! *hug*
  9. ThePhantomLady

    ThePhantomLady Safety and Support SF Supporter

    Thank you @Acy

    I don't know how if I explained myself clearly... I am currently in individual therapy with my therapist and waiting to join a DBT group. But we have to work on some of the abuse etc. before I am being put in a group... I don't think I'd be able to tell my whole story in a group ever.
  10. Acy

    Acy Mama Bear - TLC, Common Sense Staff Member Safety & Support

    You're right. I was confused. lol - that happens quite often to me. :p Some stuff is very hard to talk about in front of others. You're doing so much to help yourself! Yay! Good for you! :)
    ThePhantomLady likes this.
  11. ThePhantomLady

    ThePhantomLady Safety and Support SF Supporter

    There's a chance I explained it wrong, it's confusing to me too, and I'm not a native speaker. But yeah. I'm happy I started therapy... even if that session yesterday was incredibly hard... and I know there's going to be worse sessions to come... but I want to get better. I have to.
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