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sjg102379's avatar

How do I keep from crying?

Asked by sjg102379 (1250points) November 8th, 2007

Like many people, if I’m upset—angry or hurt or feel wronged—I get kind of teary. And I work in a very high-testosterone field where that is a definite sign of weakness that I don’t want to display. What can I do to stop this automatic reaction?

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15 Answers

omfgTALIjustIMDu's avatar

Crying is a natural reaction and supressing it can be very unhealthy.

gailcalled's avatar

The psychiatriast whom I saw for a while (quite a while) said that most women cry when they get angry. He said that it was biological and he had no other explanation.I thought that he was a really smart and savvy guy, in general.

sjg102379's avatar

I’m happy to cry in the bathroom later, just not in open court.

gailcalled's avatar

This is a toughie…digging nails into palms of hands, worry beads, visualizing your insulter in a tutu and toe shoes, if he is male? Or a gorilla costume? Developing a thicker skin is a wonderful goal…I have been in search of it all my sentient life, with no luck.

sarahsugs's avatar

I think a few deep belly breaths can help. Also for me the tears sometimes come partly from frustration with feeling like I can’t come up with the right thing to say. Maybe you could think about the situations that can lead to crying and plan ahead with some things to say in those situations so you don’t have to be thinking about what to say AND trying not to cry. Maybe even practicing saying those things in front of a mirror, or having a friend pretend to be the other person, to build up some brain and muscle memory beforehand.

kevbo's avatar

If I’m correct in assuming you’re in your late 20s and perhaps a younger pup among your colleagues/clients, then perhaps this is (and I’m projecting my experience on you in saying this) resulting from a belief that everyone else knows what they are doing. Consequently, you act from a softer position of doing what you think is right, but always giving the final say on your performance to others from whom you’d like constructive criticism, advisement, and honest correction if you’ve made an honest mistake. Instead, what you get is sniping, posturing and other bad behavior, which you (I’m guessing) are allowing to pollute your otherwise healthy feedback system.

If this is remotely accurate, what you need to do is a) learn to trust your competence and b) recognize that others’ nasty behaviors really have little to do with you personally—and c) that they don’t necessarily know what they’re doing, either.

If you internalize your competence, vision & character, and externalize the crap behavior that others throw at you (instead of the converse), you’ll have fewer reasons to get upset. Recognize the environment around you is for what it is and don’t expect validation to come from that environment. This is easier when you start recognizing and anticipating patterns if you’re dealing with the same people time and again. When you get thumped, dismiss the behavior, but do process the information/correction (starting with “do they have a point?”) Get your validation not from people in the environment in general but from people you trust and who function as mentors.

I’m a crier, or at least I used to be, until I recognized that some people are just a55holes or don’t care about the stuff you care about or try to game you, manipulate you or drag you into their little play about their insecurities. This very much includes those with some degree of power or authority, unfortunately.

Uh… back to your question, try some playacting. Prep yourself for your morning commute to Mars. Put on your protective space suit and pack your ray gun. Observe the Martian behavior and amuse yourself by predicting and experimenting to get the reactions you want, etc.

Or, legitimize your behavior (“Chicks cry, dude. It’s not a big deal.”) And then focus your attention on the matter at hand.

mirza's avatar

i dont know if this helps or not, but i try following the advice of this poem to get through life:

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond

gailcalled's avatar

Reading the thoughtful answers above, I thought about role-playing.So paraphrasing Sarahsugs,can you get a friend to play/act an aggressive, critical, sarcastic, bullying, superior, sexiest (pick whatever suits) opponent or client? Then you can work out some responses…write them on your sleeve if necessary. The tears may come because you are caught off-guard. (“What do I say when it is my turn?”)

You should immediately collect and have a lexicon of useful, neutral, strong retorts at hand. I did that finally, after years of being bullied by doctors (and parents at my job). Now I have a memorized script in my head…which I deliver w. a smile and an unstrident voice. Works about 90% of the time.

u101547's avatar

Please, sjg, don’t avoid crying, don’t thicken your hide too much. My heart aches to read your post. I understand how it makes you feel in the arena.You have a sensitive heart, which I think is awesome and beautiful, and I love you for it, within acceptable boundaries, of course ;-). The marketplace does not have a sensitive heart. You bring something to the workplace that your work compatriots cannot bring. What appears to be an ugly duckling is really a swan! Building callouses on a sensitive heart is like wrapping a Monet in a blanket. You cannot be who you were meant to be, nor will others be able to appreciate you for your legitimate strengths. May I be so bold as to ask you to redirect your effort and emotional energy away from repressing the tears to seeing yourself as NOT weak, but strong in a valuable way? Frankly, the marketplace needs more like you, not less. You are beautiful, dear swan-at-heart.

joli's avatar

Take a deep breath, then another, then another, and tell yourself that it’s OK to be upset, but you need to let out the emotion later, another time, another place. I usually cry when I’m overly stressed, angry, or feeling helpless. I will also remind myself in the moment that I am in charge of my emotion because MY THOUGHTS control my feelings. I reserve the right to change my thoughts to musing, and give people the benefit of the doubt. Then later at home, I can scream cry yell stamp my feet and decide If I was over-reacting, or not! Other times? I might go to the restroom and let out a few tears, put my wrists in cold cold water, look at my pathetic face in the mirror and scowl and say %@#& them! Then straighten up and go back to face the music. A quick dash up the stairs will help as well as a run around the block. Diffuse the moment and it might not seem so bad.

joli's avatar

The hardest time to do this, diffuse your emotion, is when your hormones are peaking. Keep your mind’s eye on the calender and know when you’re most vulnerable to be teary and emotional. I wish I had understood this as a young woman. Save your emotional decisons for a different time in the cycle.

One more thing, keep your eye on the prize and believe in yourself. What is it you want to be recognized for in your work? Determination is your best friend.

nball's avatar

I have the same problem, I want to cry when I get frustrated or overwhelmed. Unfortunately I am in management and stay frustrated a lot. I can usually cantrol it by refusing to argue but rather inform. People have a hard time arguing with facts. I don’t mention my emotions or how what they do makes me feel because then I will start crying. I have slipped in the past but I find the less I explain how I feel but rather the act of what the person or persons is doing to to upset me I can usually prevent the waterfall. Ex. I have an employee not complete their task and there is another manager out so I am overwhelmed with work and don’t notice until the employee has left for the day. I approach the employee and say “You didn’t complete the task, Why? I don’t tell them I am overworked or that my boss is questioning me about why the task wasn’t complete, so on and so forth, because I would cry. I simply tell them the facts and ask why.

crackerjack's avatar

Usually what has helped friends of mine, who came to me, was when you are alone (I know this is cliche) but have a cry to yourself and this might alliviate some stress and help you.

lifeflame's avatar

Here’s something weird that someone taught me that you might try at home.
Try to make yourself cry on cue, the way actresses have to do.
(I work in this field… sometimes the director will say: ok, I want you to lean against the wall and slide down, crying.)

Now if you can make yourself cry on cue, at least two things happen.
One is that you begin to understand the cause-and-effect mechanism that makes you cry. Lots of people have given suggestions here that might be the reason behind the tears, but you probably are the clearest why as to what triggers tears… and therefore,
Two, if you can control yourself crying on cue, then it follows that you will be able to control yourself not crying on cue, because you understand how the thing works.

Try it, see what happens…

DreamMabel's avatar

Its hard to keep from crying and well no one can keep from not doing it… But try to think about something else at the moment…. Of course I odnt have this problem but it hurts… I keep all my emotions bottled inside and it hurts a little at the time but when it finally all comes out…. It hurts a lot….

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