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Woe Is Me! “Why Do I Cry When People Show Concern For Me?”

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Aug 2, 2020

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Image credit: Baseraa (1981)

Woe Is Me! is a series in which The Swaddle team indulges your pity party with advice you’ll probably ignore.


“I cry whenever someone feels any form of concern for me — romantic or otherwise. It is very weird and confusing. I want to be loved, but without crying whenever it happens. Is this normal?”  

— Biting Back Tears

DR: Hey there, Fellow Cryer! I really don’t think there’s anything wrong with this. I’ve been at the receiving end of a lot of good-natured ribbing because I cry too often. If I’m emotionally overwhelmed — by sorrow, by joy, or by anything that moves me — I will cry. It used to bother me before, but now it doesn’t. If it’s part of who you are, then so be it. Embrace it even, I would say — that’s very, very liberating. If people tell you it’s “inappropriate” or “unbecoming” (I’ve been told these, to my utter annoyance), tell them to go direct their energies towards water conservation efforts by NGOs instead. How are a few drops of salty water on your face inconveniencing anyone? I read somewhere that psychologists believe about 1 in 5 people, including both men and women, are highly sensitive people, or HSPs. Look it up! You could be one of them. But, if it really bothers you, maybe, speaking to a therapist could help? But, if it’s bothering you simply because you think it’s not how the world would want to see a person react to things, I don’t think it’s worth too much of your time or energy. 

RD: Crying is normal! It can be cathartic, calming, healing. If that’s your reaction, I’d say there isn’t much you can do about it. As someone who also likes to burst into tears at the drop of a hat, I’d say it’s futile to try and change how you emotionally react to situations. And someone showing you care is a wholesome, emotional feeling, so it’s okay that you cry. It’s not a bad thing. Maybe change your perspective on it, rather than your reaction itself?

KB: I’m stumped. Do you cry any time someone is nice to you, or is it only when you feel they are about to access some sort of vulnerability of yours? If you cry any time someone is nice to you, or shows you love or affection, that sounds like an issue for a mental health professional. It might be worth taking the time to unpack why you feel so unworthy of those moments, or why you feel so scared and anxious about them. At this point this concept has been beaten past the point of cliche, but it really is true that you have to love and accept yourself, and believe yourself worthy of love, before you can be ready to receive it. Maybe you need to start on that path, and it will bring you the answer?

AM: So what is the problem if you cry? Maybe you’re emotional and sensitive about how others feel for you and you end up crying and that’s completely normal. Why do you have to feel bad about it? Express in whatever way you have to and are comfortable with. It’s on the other person to decide how they feel about your crying. You probably get overwhelmed with the way people show concern for you and I think this will definitely get better with time. 

SM: I think it’s very normal. It is okay to cry when someone feels concern for you, but you need to know where that is coming from. If it’s coming from a place of being overwhelmed by the love and concern someone can show you and the extent to which they go to understand you, then that is wonderful, and how lovely for you to be able to appreciate someone’s concern in that way. But if this comes from a place of you feeling grateful that someone cares about you because you feel like that’s a rare thing, or it breaks you when someone shows concern because you think you don’t deserve it, then that’s where you’d want to introspect and think about why it is that you feel that way, and know that you deserve all the care and concern in the world.

LG: Awwww, carebear! You sound sweet. I’m not sure it’s normal, but I’m also not sure it’s abnormal either. It’s nice to be loved! And I’m sure whoever is showing you care and concern is just glad you appreciate them and their efforts. That said, if you find it disconcerting, some introspecting might be in order. Why does the smallest gesture touch you so deeply? Do you feel uncared for more broadly, so that these moments, romantic or otherwise, feel rare? Do you feel you don’t deserve the care and concern, therefore even tiny gestures seem astounding? Is there a small, daily exercise you can do to show care and love for yourself, to remind you that you’re worthy of concern? I hate to sound like a broken record, but therapy can help answer these questions and more, if you’re struggling to pinpoint why you cry so often. It may just boil down to being one of the world’s special tender-hearts who requires extra hankies. But it can’t hurt to probe a little deeper just in case. (And keep the tissues close regardless.) Hugs.

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Written By The Swaddle Team

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