Last week, my Therapist was on holiday. It was actually a relief to take a break from all the emotional baggage that’s been coming up during those first few sessions. It’s surprising to learn just how demanding this therapy programme is. After years of extreme isolation, mixing with other people is the most taxing.
Friday was group therapy. It was out of character to be so quiet. Everyone seemed eager to say their piece, but little of it seemed relevant to my own circumstances. In retrospect, perhaps I was experiencing a detachment episode. Ironically, that’s actually the essence of what people were saying.
The group members were talking about how they attempt to manage those difficult (hypermentalizing) situations and how we can learn to sit with our individual emotional pain. I’m only just beginning to open up about the memories, but not very good at “feeling” the emotional pain.
Early on in this therapy programme, I slowly became aware that I hadn’t shed a tear in 20 plus years. We may even be able to trace this back to early teens. Childhood was full of unhappiness. I remember the tears on a daily basis; eyes red raw from crying. I recall that secret vow, never to shed another drop over those who deliberately hurt me.
….Today? Even the word ‘crying’ feels like a dirty word. Somewhere in the distant past, that vow has manifested as a blockage to healing and, ultimately, moving on.
During recent individual sessions, as I recounted a little of my personal horrors, I became aware of a tremendous weight of emotion backing up at the nape of my neck. TBH, there’s a bit of a traffic jam back there. I feel like the little boy with his finger tightly stuck in the dam. If I let go, there may well be gallons of un-cried tears.
During the initial sessions with my Therapist, I have opened up about “stuff” for the first time, but without feeling any real sense of relief. The stumbling block or blockage seems to happen automatically, whenever I begin to touch on the emotion.
Somehow, it feels too humiliating to cry, as though I am entirely to blame for such a bad childhood and a messed-up life. The watery emotion builds up until, head throbbing, subconsciously, I divert onto something else. I call it the yo-yo effect – swirling back and forth, barely allowing time to sit with the pain.
Six months ago when I had my 15year old tom-cat, Oscar, euthanized at the Vets, I cried like a baby on my knees, with little thought of what other people might think. Then, in February, his sister Missy was also put to sleep and, once again, the grief was evident. Since then, I still haven’t exactly had a full-on-face-in-hands-bawl, but a few tears have leaked out here and there.
The idea of going through therapy without being able to cry, feels absurd. I suppose it is the first stumbling block on this journey. It’s one that I failed to recognise during previous encounters with therapists, but feel lost over how best to deal with it
I would be interested in what your experiences of crying are and how you manage to feel comfortable with it.