I wrote a previous post about the powerful healing role that crying can play, especially if you can train yourself to cry hard and long. Many women who have heard me speak about this subject have said to me, “There are times when I can tell that I need to cry, because I've built up so much pent-up emotions, but I can’t do it. How do I get that cry to come out of me when it’s stuck?”
There are several techniques to use to get that dam to break:
- Make a crying date with yourself, where you actually set aside time and find a way to be alone. Tears are much more likely to come when you know you won’t have to choke them right back off again.
- Collect some of the music that has brought you to tears before. Listening to your favorite sad or touching song can be a great way to get your crying started; and once the ice breaks, you’ll move on soon to crying about issues that have been weighing on you.
- Spend some time thinking about memories from long ago. It’s usually easier to start crying about sadnesses from far in the past.
- Let your crying take you where it wants to go. Sometimes you will be sad about an old loss, and suddenly you’ll find that instead you’re crying about an event from yesterday. The opposite will happen also, where tears about a recent emotional wound carry you into deep sobbing about a much earlier period in your life. Don’t fight this process; your soul knows exactly which piece it needs to grieve today.
- Photographs can be powerful for evoking emotion. So can certain passages from books, pieces of poetry, or scenes from movies. Draw on whatever gets you going.
- If you have a trusted friend, see if she would sit with your or hold you while you cry. Similarly, you can imagine your best friend or closest relative sitting with you even if you are actually crying by yourself, and that image can help the tears flow.
- Anger can help to unlock crying. Yell into a pillow or pound on couch cushions, and keep at it for a long time, ten or fifteen minutes or more. Try to make yourself feel powerful; the more your rage comes from a place of power, the more likely it is to unleash your tears.
Almost anyone can cry (especially among women), but not many people can cry deeply and at length except by training themselves to do so. In other words, learning to cry is a skill, like studying an instrument or developing your athletic abilities. The more effort you put in the deeper the rewards.
Perfect timing. There have been many tears in my life but yet I am a very strong person who doesn't cry easily. Being involved in a "high conflict" child custody case for almost 4years now, I have cried so long at times that I did run out of tears (I had only heard of that not lived it) and I've cried these HUGE tears that I felt roll down my face after they worked their way out of my tear duct and bloppped out of my eyes. Tonight I cried because tomorrow is my birthday and I am broke. I am scared. My daughter is healthy and with me thank God. Hopefully it will stay that way but new laws took affect 4 days ago which put all children in more danger if there is an abuser involved. I dropped her off at a sleep over and I cried. I cried all the way home.....And then I saw this article.ReplyDelete
Lundy Bancroft I have come across so much of your work through my research. I almost feel as if I know you. :) I've lost my business of 22 years and don't know how I will rebuild or if I even can. I would have made it through the economy as my business was increasing due to my good reputation but I couldn't focus for the first 2 plus years of this and that was their goal. Just thought I would share.
Yes, perfect timing for sure! There were tears for me this morning once again. As Lundy mentioned, I was actually thinking about my current situation when an old memory stopped by my mind and whamo tears started to flow! I have learned after many many years of crying these tears to give thanks for them. They are actually healing waters that are cleansing away stockpiles of pain. Be of good cheer, because with time the intensity begins to lighten as the soul begins to heal.
My experience is similar to yours, as I have lived with an abuser who has sabotaged my business several times, so that I was forced to start over each time. I ended up completely depleted physically, mentally and emotionally because of this and the entire abusive scenario. My personality and business are highly energetic and creative, however at the end of this cruel twelve year game, I had nothing more to give ... not to family, to friends, to others, to myself or to my business. I was toast. So when I decided to leave, for the last time, just over two years ago, I had nothing but my exhausted shell. I could not even put enough energy forth to begin my divorce. So I cried and cried and cried and waited and waited and waited. I give glory to God alone because I had no income but never went hungry or without a roof over my head (even if the roof was the roof of my car :)). I now can see that this time has been a recovery and healing time. Though not completely 100%, I am beginning to feel hopeful and creative and enterprising again. My divorce was final this recent Thanksgiving and as we all know, the final stages can be the most spiteful of all when dealing with an abuser. We were married on Christmas Eve which has made the property separation and moving out even more emotional throughout this season. I have moved to a different town and
am in the process of settling and unpacking and have begun networking to restart my business once more. The words "Fear not", which are repeated in the Bible often, are fixed before my eyes because without the necessary finances, properties, etc. fear wants to creep in. My husband was even able to finagle half my inventory in the divorce and leave me with debt.
I am writing this to encourage you:) You are tired out now from your long ordeal and are not feeling hopeful and most likely are not even able to muster enthusiasm or ambition or foresight towards starting your business again. But be of good cheer and "fear not". You will recover and heal and in time be able to recognize the real "you" again. Let the tears and the time do their work. Rest in them and rest in God. He gives these for your nourishment and recovery. If you ran a business for 22 years, you have what it takes. You have just been beat down and need to let the healing
Lundy and other friends that have suffered, i bought your book 2 years ago, while split up from my abusive partner (for about the 20th time, but that was the longest period so far then). I skim read it then....the cycle of abuse then escalated even more so because we 'got back together'. We split for good in June 2012. There was cheating, abuse, lies, manipulation....then denial and morr lies for all the above...i thought i was insane...my head was stolen by him, i didn't know my own self.....all of my questions that i needed answered began with 'why'...why cheat, why deny, why lie to me face, why tell your sister I was dangerous (while telling me the same about her)....why why why???ReplyDelete
But I am over the whys about him....i know i will never get the answers i need from him....his actions, feelings, and reasonings for things...both past and present....change according to his whims....
I live in the UK..but got your email this morning about crying to heal...i knew i needed it, it took the tears a few hours to show up...but im there now. I guess the 'why' i have now is...' why have my friends all disowned me'?? Granted...i never told them anything, made them take sides, or even stress my point.....he meanwhile rallied all of his 'troops' agsinst me. But i know im not in the wrong....he is awaiting trial for assaulting me! So st least one person saw he did wrong to me, regusrdless of whstever decision the judge makes. But i just want to ask, what did i ever do to my friends? I know i was never nasty, bad or complacent with them....but is it because my ex is right in saying im a bad person? What could i have done wrong, & how fo i find out, so i can try and make ammends?? Thank you in advance xo
You said it yourself: you aren't in the wrong where he's concerned; further, you gave your friends no reason to abandon you. So it could be many things - like he's an alienator (I call it "Social Alienation Syndrome"), or they're indifferent, or maybe they just don't want to be involved with either party. Who knows.Delete
The point is, being with an abuser conditions you to be defensive (even hypervigilant) about what he's thinking of you, often as a matter of survival. That perspective can carry over to the rest of your relationships. So here's the question: as you just emerged from a place where you were defined by him, do you truly want to now leave the assessment of whether you're "good" or "bad" to someone else? You need to take your own sense of identity back.
You said, "i thought i was insane...my head was stolen by him, i didn't know my own self....."
And that's something that I talk about all the time: the aftermath of DV. We send women out there to rebuild their lives with little - if any - real help. It's just wrong. I hope you find someone you can consult with where you are, someone who *gets* what a pressing, underserved issue post-DV really is.
I do wish you well.
This is in reply to anon,Delete
You said, "i thought i was insane...my head was stolen by him, i didn't know my own self....."
I would caution everyone to understand that no one has the ability to "steal" anything from us that we are not in possession of. This is the crux of the problem for ALL women. We live in a misogynistic world so this permeates every part of our culture. To become involved with a male is to become involved with his social and cultural stereotypes of women in general. We are not relating with the true spirit/nature of a male but his perception of females and their value to him.
Look at the Value System of any culture and you will have a clearer picture of how the people within that value system will relate. I think it necessary to look at the root of any system in order to determine the health or dis ease thereof.
We, as females, must not give our power away by blaming men for controlling us. I know that I was easily manipulated and deceived when I did not know or trust my own self. When I became sure of who I was and the value inherent in my being then I began to make massive, healthy changes in the way that I conducted my life. I was no longer reliant on my partner's opinion of my personal value. It has taken me years to arrive at this truth ( thanks in large part to Mr. Bancroft's book, 'Why Does He do That?' ),and, while it is no small feat to overcome cultural biases and beliefs of women and their inherent value ( or lack thereof ) within society it is possible to teach one's self a new language and possibly create the soil for a new society.
A man's opinion of us is not a litmus test for truth or even reality. Please bear this in mind when becoming intimately involved with a male. They are not the bearers of truth or wisdom but only carriers of a dis ease when acting through a misogynistic system of belief.
You are valuable, anon, and this is a truth.Now, you must live that value.
Thank you for this post. I was unable to cry for a long time. I felt emotionally "flat" although I was dealing with a lot of horrible issues because of my boyfriend's attitude of entitlement(he feels men should have the final say over everything), and his blaming of me for his actions (he asked my 20 year old daughter if she had any friends that would like to get "freaky" with him, because I wasn't "putting out" enough). The list could go on and on.ReplyDelete
I am currently reading Lundy's book, "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" for the second time. This time I am actually doing the "homework" exercises and it is helping. I feel very emotionally, physically and traumatically bonded to my partner. I am getting counseling for this. My work on myself feels like a slow process but I am taking steps and feeling a little bit stronger.
This morning I was able to cry! I was watching an inspirational youtube video when I felt the overwhelming sensation of grief over all the trials I have been dealing with. At first, I told myself to stop crying and "get a grip". I actually felt embarrassed crying alone in my own home. Immediately, Lundy's post came to mind about crying and how it is healthy and good to let it out. I made the conscious choice to let the tears flow and to feel every bit of my pain, loss, grief, and anger.
I cried for a little while and I felt better afterward! I am grateful for Lundy's books and his posts. I am also thankful for all the comments people write in. They are an inspiration to me! If anyone is reading my post, I encourage you to get Lundy's books and to do the "homework" exercises. They are helping me little by little, and I feel myself getting stronger. I hope the same for you!
I know what you mean about feeling embarrassed when crying in your own home, even when alone. Society (not to mention an abusive partner) often leaves no room for crying or grief, because it makes others uncomfortable. Appearances seem to matter most so it is hard to let down even when it is the healthy thing to do. We're told to get over it or "don't cry"...be strong, or what the abuser might say, "stop feeling sorry for yourself"! That's what I hear if I cry in the presence of my husband.Delete
I'm listening to Lundy's book, Why Does He Do That?, through Audible.com and it is a huge eye-opener! I'm seeing how the abuse has infiltrated every aspect of my marriage relationship and that my feeling trapped is by design. An intricate web of deception and manipulation has been built around me and I'm left trying to figure out how I can cautiously get out! Especially when feeling emotionally drained and with lowered self-confidence which has occurred over the years of abuse and degradation. I also struggle with anger at myself for allowing him to get away with this for so long! Oh, and no money to work with, which really limits my choices considerably. He is in full control of that as he is the main breadwinner and we are drowning in debt!
I can't stand to see any more damage done to our children who are learning major dysfunction as the "norm" in a relationship. And all this time I've stayed with their dad because I thought that was best for them and what they seemed to want. He only wants the facade of a marriage to make himself "look good", but he doesn't want to put any effort into making it better. And it just isn't that easy to get away from abusers, I know he'd play hard ball using the children as tools to torture me, if I wanted to separate or divorce. He'd make life a living hell for me and has implied that if I think I have it bad now, it would get much worse if I ever try to get free of him and his control. He's told me he owns me.He has intimidated me in many ways, it isn't so easy when they do it in private so you don't have others validating to you that you're not the crazy one and he has no right to treat you that way. Being left constantly having to defend yourself is exhausting, mentally, emotionally and physically. Sometimes, for me, the tears seem to cease for a long time when this numb state occurs.
I never dreamed I'd marry an abuser who took me on a roller coaster ride for the past two decades. The pain is deep and I can feel the need to cry often on a regular basis but only get the chance when alone, which isn't too often. I read these comments and pray for all of your freedom and eventual peace and feeling truly loved.
Learning to feel again was one of the most important things that came from my first year of therapy. Crying a lot was part of this. I'm pretty good at crying now.ReplyDelete
But if I'm in a place emotionally where it's difficult to cry, and I just need to, the movie Beaches will do it for me every time. There are several other good cry movies out there as well. Lots of money has been put into these movies to make sure they are emotionally manipulative -- why not use it to your advantage?
I have a very important post up right now that I'd like to invite you to comment on. Since I'm open about my history I get lots of women asking me what their options are when their husband is mean. My current post is about that and asks for comments from others who might be able to offer other options I don't know about. I'd love some of your thoughts in the comments. You're welcome to provide a link to your site as well. My post is at: http://www.misssrobin.blogspot.com/2013/01/what-are-my-options-when-my-husband-is.html
I wanted to mention to, that where I came from there were 9 murder suicides in a 10 month span all involving women and children, the children being drawn into visitation with a man who had history of abuse. There was a big newspater article, but people wanted to make it out like it was because of these mens "financial stress" or whatever other issure they could come up with. I sold my car, lost my home, got raped financially to protect my children....the first thing was that they no longer had visitaion centers available either, they got cut with other budgets, all these kids were being thrust alone with abusers who did not want to lose control over their spouses. Its so unjust. If I had a million dollars I could go back in and fight, I thought somebody would listen, we ended up being re victomized byt the courts and all their players, then the church was even a bigger disaster. There was literally NO way out for us, and I fought as long and hard as I could, I lost like a third of my body weight, my hair fell out, I suffered such severe anxiety from this person, he was so emmolded by how he was able to find such great supporters of him in the legal realm, church he had everybody in his hip pocket, they all ignored the proof, the legal documents, the breaking the laws, the felony assaults, the bruises, the evidence just didnt translate in family court????? I want to go back and fight, so my kids can be free and return home, and that we would be able to acquire what is rightfully ours financially BUT my experience tell s me that my kids would be up for grabs and I would have no way to protect them. Sometimes I wish, I think if I would of left sooner before he knew he could get more power and control over us leagally, then maybe I wouldnt have lost sole custody. But I did the best I knew how, and to stay until the divorce was final...put the kids up for grabs through visitation, the financial matters were put off, and off to be settled. He on purposely drug it out because he knew my fears, he put them there for ten years...I am so angry, and so sick inside that I could not find justice for my kids and I. We couldnt fin freedom? He is still out there, now he IS justified legally to hunt us down, he is such a sick human being, and we are terrified of him finding us, he held us captive for over ten years, now we are physcally free, but at what cost? To live life wondering when? When will he find us? Then I will truly have no recouse in saving my children from his vicious nature, that they could possibley be molested, tortured, hurt by this person makes me a broken women. He never cared about them before, he just wanted to WIN!! and he doesnt even now have to pay child support, so he has one in every aspect legally and financially, my only hope is that that would be enough for him and he would leave us alone?ReplyDelete
I just want to express my deepest gratitude for your work and must tell you that your book, 'Why Does He Do That;Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men' was the defining work that caused a massive healing within my psyche.ReplyDelete
Having come from an incestuous background I was not able to make positive choices in my partners. My counselor handed me this book during one of my sessions and I thought that this book could not possibly pertain to my present issues...but, I could not have been more wrong in my assumption. This is THE defining book of man's history...and dim future. It spells out our dis ease in bold but plain language.
I could plainly see my current husband in the descriptions of controlling men that you gave in your book, Mr. Bancroft. I have been married three times and could easily see all three of my husbands ( and father ) within the pages of this priceless book. They all shared a sense of entitlement and from this place they would do and be their worst.
This book is invaluable as a tool for educating the public and teaching a new way to be in this world. I recommend this book to everyone that I know and am only recently acquainted with.
I want to thank you for your illumination on a pervasive disease that permeates every square inch of our lives. This dis ease is alive and well in every institution that we deem "valuable". It is alive and well in religious, political, educational, and all other institutions that we support with our time and money.
Your book should be required reading in all of the above institutions...but, I feel that there is a real desire, by those in power, to continue to subjugate and demoralize women as a whole. For many decades I could not put a name to this pernicious dis ease, of most males, until I read your book. Now, I know what is at the root of this illness.
I will continue to pass your work along to other women. Men, I have found, are highly resistant to the wisdoms and truths outlined in your work.
Thank you, thank you, thank you is all that I can say.
With Deep Gratitude,
Thank you Mr. Bancroft, this is the 1st article i have read on abuse and the inability to cry. I have yet to have a good heartfelt soul shaking cry and it is has been 2 yrs since i have been out of the relationship...i notice there are moments when i am speaking with someone, such as my doctor or counsellor and i start to well up but something stops me. i know i need a good cry and i will take your suggestions....crying is sooo soul cleansing and i pray each day for the dam to releaseReplyDelete
I have no trouble crying, I am sick of crying as the result of other people who have hurt me or used me. Sometimes it feels my heart is actually breaking. There are people who say they are there for me but in the middle of the night when I'm at my lowest I don't feel I can disturb anyone. I want to sort the things that have made me feel like this as I want to be happy and enjoy life...ReplyDelete
I have not been able to cry in several years and I need to so very bad. It is all there and needs to come out. Some pastors and friends used my trust of their word and broke my heart, my will and my soul. I found out, thru counseling, that spiritual abuse is rape of the soul, a wound like no other. I have PTSD from that. I don't know if I will ever recover. Or if I will ever be able to cry again.ReplyDelete
If Maria Shriver started crying in front of me I would hug her softly.ReplyDelete