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Fears about Tears

When some of us get upset we cry. It’s just what happens. Crying is considered by some to be gender and sometimes culture specific. However, in my coaching work I have seen both men and women from a wide range of cultures cry. I have also heard both genders – across cultures – talk about internal weeping though those words are not used.

(Internal weeping may be described as experiencing deep and overwhelming feelings about the situation or the other person. Words to express these feelings do not come easily. Internal weeping may include a sense of helplessness, despair, sadness, and other emotions that can be immobilizing.)

For some who cry outwardly, doing so provides, among other things, a release of built up emotions – hurt, anger, frustration, disappointment, and so on. Some feel embarrassed about their tears though, and believe it is perceived as a sign of weakness or being out of control. Worrying that they will cry when trying to engage the other person and be judged for doing so, often results in fears about making any effort to communicate.

Persons in a conflict who do not react with tears may view the person who does as manipulative and dramatic. As feared by those who cry, some do perceive crying as weak or a sign of the inability to regulate emotions. They may also fear the tears of the person crying – not knowing what to do or say to manage their reactions. In essence then, fears about tears arise for those who cry when in conflict and for the person who doesn’t cry.

If you yourself do not cry easily or outwardly and tears create fears for you, this week’s blog will resonate:

  • What do you fear about people who cry when you are in conflict with them? What other emotions do you feel at these times?
  • Generally-speaking, what is it about tears that is disturbing, concerning, upsetting, etc.?
  • Considering a specific conflict situation in which the other person’s tears had an adverse impact on you, what do you know or think she or he was crying about?
  • What was the impact on you?
  • What message was she or he trying to convey at this time? What emotions were you picking up amidst the tears?
  • How did you react?
  • In what ways did your reaction help things? Not help?
  • How would you like to respond to someone who is crying that may be more effective than what you say or do now?
  • How would things be different in the situation you refer to here, if you handled the other person’s tears the way you just described?
  • What do you want to fear less from now on when it comes to the other person’s tears when you are in conflict with her or him?

What other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) may you add here?

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