Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Tears, Idle Tears

I haven't time to write a short post, so I'll write a short post anyway because I wish I had time to write a long post.

First, have a chart:

Several weeks ago a friend touched off a lot of discussion by sharing this image. As I looked at it, I realized that I myself was a perfect "Freeze", and had been so for much of my life. I bought and read the book this was based on: Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving" by Pete Walker, about dealing with trauma that results from not just a single bad incident, but the trauma that is built up by children having to adapt to parental neglect or abuse.

More recently, I've been reading Emily Nagoski's Come As You Are, a book about women's sexuality. Do I recommend it? Yes, with caveats. It contains a lot of valuable, necessary, relationship-changing information about women's psychological approach to sex that is important for everyone to know. At the same time, the author has no use for sexual morality, particularly Judaeo-Christian morality (which is ridiculously misrepresented in the book). Her school of sexual morals is "Whatever floats your boat", and there's a dearth of acknowledgment about the reproductive repercussions of sex. That said, someone with a firm moral grounding who is able to sift through the chaff will find much here that can be of immediate application.

The result of all this is that over the past four weeks, I've cried more than I have in the past quarter-century (or longer).

This is a good thing, I guess. The books tell me, and I acknowledge that it's probably the truth, that it's necessary to complete a grieving cycle instead of packing everything inside. And grieving is going to hurt, and it's going to be raw, and tears are an effective way to accomplish that.

But here's the thing. I hate crying. I hate it not just because it's messy and draws attention to itself, but because what the authors would consider a real, cleansing cry -- and it's always an ugly-cry with me -- is so draining. It leaves me with a headache. I don't feel better. I feel drained and weary and almost deadened. Some people love tears. I hate 'em.

What to do with this? I don't know, in this space and time. I said I only had time for a short post, and this is it. Processing must happen, I suppose, and I have the perfect supportive environment and husband. If only there were more privacy! (She says on the internet.) If only when one felt like grieving, the external circumstances were perfect. If only, when one had peace and quiet, one could schedule in the emotion and the reaction.

So I make a gift to you of all these resources. Go forth and have your own ugly cry, and your own red eyes and splitting headache. I'll pray for you.


Douglas Naaden said...

That's an interesting graph. I'm squarely in Fawn. I hate being a Fawn. I really dislike how it so overbearingly colors over my conception of the human experience and interpersonal relationships.

Banshee said...

Not saying that an ugly cry can't be useful in the long run, but....

There's a reason why "catharsis" is elicited by artificial means, like watching a tragedy. Because that's a cleansing cry without any depression or bad feelings -- it's all projected onto the situation of fictional strangers.

A cleansing cry that makes you feel better is just a release of tension, tiredness, and various bodily chemicals (through the tear ducts, conveniently enough). It's like sweating, really.

(Same thing for happy tears at a warm and fuzzy commercial or YouTube video.)

If ugly crying hurts you, it is totally reasonable to avoid it, except on rare occasions. The trick for anybody depressive (or a Freeze, in this case) is to keep moving instead of brooding or checking out.

But every so often, it's not a bad thing to have a release of ugly stuff.

Julia said...

No words of wisdom, just affirmation that tears are exhausting. I do find, however, that with tears out of the way it is easier, after a bit, to hear God. It is almost as if the things I needed to hear were muted by my emotions.