Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Mrs. Bluth,

About ten years ago, a good friend of mine wrote to you about an unusual problem she was having, one which was very personal and no professional was able to help him with. As a last resort before totally giving up and giving into a life of loneliness and depression he reached out to you. You did not ridicule him or debase him, you did not belittle him and pooh-pooh his issue. You gave him encouragement and hope by placing before him a number of options he had not explored and one of them was the very thing that gave him back his life. Today he is happily married with a beautiful family and a successful business. And that is the very reason I am writing to you. It was this friend who reminded me about you and encouraged me to write to you.

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My problem is a strange and very debilitating one for me, not life threatening by any means, but life altering. I have not sought help for it as it has interfered little with my day to day public life. But it has turned me into a person with an inability to feel anything. You see, I have never been able to cry. Ever since I was very young, or at least as far back as my memory allows, I never cried! My deepest hurt, my strongest pain, never caused me to shed a tear. You probably think I have buried my ability to feel pain but that is not the case because I do. However, I am able to control it without shedding a tear. When I was younger, that was great because whenever I was bullied or in a confrontational situation, I never visibly broke down crying, in fact, I stoically took whatever abuse, pain or ridicule was sent my way without the emotional tearful breakdown. I did not shed a single tear. Eventually, people began to notice and look at me like some kind of weirdo and totally left me alone.

Being unable to cry, to weep, which I have come to understand is a natural bodily release for emotions both painful, sad or joyous has never bothered me, until my mother passed away last year. She was my only source of comfort. Yet, when she passed and at her levaya, I stood stoically straight-faced and couldn’t shed a single tear even through my great sadness. Everyone cried, there was not a dry eye in the room. But not I. And it made me feel awful and depressed. And that is when I confided in my friend who reminded me of your help to him and encouraged me to reach out to you. Can you help me open my sealed floodgates so that I can experience the release of so many decades of pent-up tears?

 

 

Dear Friend,

Ordinarily I enjoy a challenge, because those are the problems the vast portion of humanity overlooks or dismisses as unimportant or unworthy of attention. Those are the situations that intrigue me because there is always a reason why a small portion of humanity suffers and is disregarded. Your situation is unique in many ways, but after much thought, I find it to have a source and a solution.

Tears are usually associated with female and very young children’s emotions. As a rule, you don’t hear men weeping or crying as an accepted reaction to any kind of emotion because it implies weakness and femininity. Totally unacceptable. Infants cry. Little kids cry. Girls and women cry, and that’s OK. Boys and men don’t cry.

But certain occasions, like a death in the family, sudden misfortune, a grave bodily injury, will give men a pass to cry. You, however, fall into a very small realm of human beings who cannot shed a tear, even when in great pain or loss.

Upon pouring through medical data, cases on record and general information, I gleaned much information that could have been great relevance as to why you have developed the inability to shed tears. Damaged or clogged tear ducks in childhood never addressed was one of the simplest reasons on the physical spectrum. But my feeling is that you suffered some intense trauma of a sexual nature at a very early age and you were warned not to cry out, or another somewhat less physical abuse in the form of constant verbal abuse from a very tender age warning you that you must never cry. You internalized this to the point where crying just stopped being an option to the pain of either the physical/sexual abuse or constant verbal abuse. Over the course of time that suppression of tears also suppressed or dulled your emotional ability to feel pain, joy, love, anger or sadness, as they are interrelated.

You have not mentioned whether you have ever addressed this with a therapist or psychiatrist or looked into getting any kind of help for this condition, because it is my personal feeling that the inability to cry stems from a suppression due to some trauma you suffered in early childhood and managed to bury it deep in your sub-conscious mind in order to be able to function. Based on this, my suggestion that you see a therapist or other professional who will be able to asses where the problem began and what is needed in the present to guide you to good health. Please do so as soon as you are able.

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