The Bitterness of Unshed Tears

The unshed tears hurt because they accumulate inside us in the form of discomfort. It is then that impotence and discouragement take hold of us. Why do not we cry?


Sometimes, a deep anguish invades us, a lump forms in our throat and our mind seems to be sequestered in a blind alley. The sadness comes to the scene, while impotence for what happened to us traps us. We can not do anything, no matter how hard we try. Not even tears have the courage to peek through our eyes, to fall down our cheeks and help us to vent. What’s going on? Why do not we cry?

There are many people who, after suffering a negative situation of great impact, are unable to release their pain. What happened has moved them so much that, in some way, they have been blocked, locked in a suffering that takes away any possibility of expressing how they feel.

It is a bitter feeling. They want to cry and they can not; they would even want to put words to that feeling that invades them, but they are incapable. The problem is that the discomfort is getting bigger; as if, little by little, the tears that were not spilled, drowned them inside. Let’s deepen.

“I almost died for all the tears I did not spill.”

-The knight in the rusty armor, Robert Fisher-

Why can not I cry?

The impossibility of crying can be associated with various causes: from a disease to emotional blockages; hence, in the first place, it is important to rule out any cause at the physiological level.

For example, Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that is distinguished by the destruction of the glands that produce tears and saliva, although it can also damage other parts of the body. What causes symptoms such as dry eye and mouth. For this reason, it is important to go to the doctor, rather than assume that what happened is due to psychological problems, such as depression.

Psychological causes

Once the physiological causes are discarded, it is time to navigate through the psychological universe of the person to know what happens. In this case, it is important to keep in mind that not all people manage problems in the same way. Each one has his own way of facing reality, his reaction times and his baggage of strategies. Therefore, some will be able to release their emotions easily, who needs more time to process what happened and who, for some reason, is blocked due to the strong impact.

Thus, when the problem has a psychological origin, it is usually related to poor management of emotions. Which can be something specific, but also lead to depression along with other factors. Even if the impossibility of crying is experienced during a grieving process and this lasts over time, it could indicate the presence of a pathological grief.

However, it is important to keep in mind what it means to cry for the person, since, sometimes, there is a belief that it is something negative or weak, for the education received. Hence, many people tend to repress people for fear of being considered fragile or vulnerable, to become an automatism. Or even, they may be afraid to get in touch with themselves. The problem is that this does not favor health and, sometimes, facilitates the accumulation of anger, anger and aggression or even somatization.

“The tears shed are bitter, but more bitter are those that do not spill.”

-Irish proverb-

The emotional release of tears

William Frey, a doctor at Saint Paul Ramsay Medical Center, says that tears are as necessary as smiles. While it is true that they do not have the power to resolve what happens to us, they soften tensions, relieve sadness and make it easier for people to get to know each other and connect with others.

Tears are part of us, they are a mechanism of defense and relief, that is, a way to release accumulated tension, regardless of the situation. Therefore, it is important to allow yourself to express them. Lauren Bylsman, a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh, says that crying helps the body to return to its state of homeostasis, that is, to regain balance, after being altered.

When crying, adrenaline and noradrenaline are released, hormones that are secreted excessively in stressful situations and that can be dangerous. This produces a sensation of tranquility and relief in the organism, so the body relaxes.

According to a study carried out

or by the biochemist William H. Frey, tears that are shed by a negative or dramatic situation, release endorphins, prolactin, potassium chloride and magnesium, as well as adenocorticotropin and leucine-enkephalin. Thus, our discomfort, both physical and emotional, is relieved due to the sensation produced by that emotional outburst.

Emotional relief techniques

Suppressing crying or being unable to cry leads to an accumulation of discomfort. It is like being adrift in an ocean of suffering, without having any lifeguards or earth in sight. However, there are some strategies that can help us to release the accumulated tension and, finally, begin to express our first tears:

  • Emptying of mind. It is a technique to descend into our depths. The first step is to ask ourselves what it is that makes us sad or that prevents us from finding ourselves well. Once identified, we will try to answer in the first person: I feel …, it hurts me … and then, we will think about how to act in the future and what we could do to achieve the peace that we need so much.
  • Therapeutic writing. Writing is a way of getting outside how we feel, that is, of releasing feelings and unraveling that inner skein that paralyzes us so much. This exercise consists of writing about our feelings without thinking as it is. The important thing is to do it naturally.
  • Review beliefs. Inquire about our conception about crying is important. Perhaps we may discover certain restrictions or myths that if we banished them, they would allow us to cry. Thoughts like “Crying is weak”, “men do not cry” or “crying is not going to solve anything” are an example of this.
  • Talk to a person you trust. Resorting to that person who listens to us, who welcomes and supports us can be an option to feel understood and liberate how we feel. Now, not everyone is worth, but those who transmit confidence, security and calm.
  • Crying is a liberating and healthy act. It is capable of transforming the tension experienced in an expression of our inner world. It helps us to release the internal pressure from which, sometimes, we are prisoners; that is, it facilitates the emotional discharge and relaxes us. In this way, we will begin to feel more secure and we will be able to observe what happened from another perspective.

In addition, tears also communicate; in fact, they are considered as a call to empathy and the support of others. They appear when words can not describe what goes beyond the soul, when we are unable to describe how we feel by its intensity.

Crying is not a sign of weakness, but of courage. Of the value to communicate the depth of our feelings, of how we are. As the American writer Washington Irving said “There is something sacred in tears. They are not a sign of weakness but of power. They are the messengers of an overwhelming sorrow and an indescribable love.”

“The tears are the blood of the soul”.

-San Agustin-