Dr Niamh On The Plum Tree

Childhood Imagination Sows Seeds of Future Brilliance

Do You Cry?

Do you struggle to let go of things that hurt you? Try crying! Crying is nature’s inner cleansing process. Tears are literally the way in which we cathart our sorrow and emotional pain. If we do not shed our tears, we do not release our emotional responses to the things that hurt us.  We become psychically congested.

Some think that time is a great healer; it is, but healing takes longer and unexpressed emotion has a horrible habit of re-appearing in inappropriate ways. It spills out into personal and professional relationships. It is projected onto those we love. It colours the way in which we interpret the emotional world about us. It dictates our reactions to other intervening events, which might be nothing to do with who or what hurt our feelings in the first place.

People become conditioned out of showing emotional responses. The trouble is that when we don’t fully express emotion, we become stressed or depressed. Unexpressed emotion can cause somatic symptoms and target certain organs.

For many years, I worked as a doctor of  psychotherapy, specializing in helping others to ‘get in touch with their emotions’ and stop treating them with disrespect. One of the main reasons that relationships fail is because people do not know how to manage their emotional responses well. It is one of the areas of personal development that is not taught in schools or in most homes. People are afraid to feel anger or sorrow or loss or jealousy or envy or any of those things that, traditionally, we have been taught to bury, be ashamed of, despise and  mistrust. Emotions are often viewed by so called ‘logical’ types as inferior responses, not logical, irrational, or other such patronizing descriptions. Those viewing emotions in such a light are often, in themselves, detached from emotion and undeveloped as people in this area.

The fact is that emotions, when experienced fully and explored, lead to deepening our human experience, developing great and vibrant relationships from which all other things flow,  like self-confidence, as well as inspiring creativity and new discovery.

I have been wondering for a long time (ever since starting the Plum Tree blog), whether I should dedicate a corner of it to writing on the subject (as I write books on the subject) and doing a few case studies on how to manage our emotions. What do you think?

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About Dr Niamh

When I was a little girl (a very, very long time ago), I used to love learning new, really big words like ‘discombobulate’. As I grew, my love of words grew too, until I loved them so much, I could not stop writing them down. One day, as I was scribbling a particular word, a very peculiar thing happened. The word shouted at me, “Stop! Don’t put me there!” As you can imagine, I was shocked and nearly fell off my chair. When I recovered somewhat, I said to the word, “Could you stop shouting, please? I am not used to it.” Can you guess what happened next? No! I thought not. The word said, “I might be small, but I will misbehave if you do not use me properly. I will not tell the story you would like me to tell. I will say something entirely different!” I dropped my pen. I hoped that by dropping my pen, the word would stop talking. Alas! It did not. It carried on chitterchobbling, even after the ink had dried. I was in a pickle. I could not allow my words to run away with my story, now could I? I don’t know about you, but when this sort of thing happens, there is only one thing left to do if you prefer not to spend your time arguing. “Very well,” said I. “I will do as you ask if you will just be quiet and allow me to concentrate.” Since that day, I have been paying special attention to every word I invite into my stories. After all, a story should say exactly what it means to say and not be led astray. With love from Dr. Niamh, Ph.D in Learning Through The Imagination and Founder of Dr Niamh Children's Books. www.drniamhchildrensbooks.com

34 comments on “Do You Cry?

  1. Pauline Barclay
    September 29, 2012

    Niamh, I enjoyed reading your post and it is an emotion in itself, people forget the importance of expressing their emotions and more from you on this subject would, I think, create people to think and maybe understand more about themselves too. Thank you for sharing a topic few still don’t tlak about,

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      September 29, 2012

      Thank You, Pauline. You are right that even discussing emotion seems to be so difficult for many people. I know many who are treated as though there is something wrong with them for having emotions.

      Like

  2. missmin
    September 29, 2012

    A very wise post, Niamh. I’d love to see a corner of your blog dedicated to this very subject. I’m one of those people you refer to, who is treated as though there is something wrong with me for having emotions. My tears, which express such incredible pain at times, are interpreted as manipulative and dealt with in an extremely hostile fashion. Unfortunately, this is the case in my marriage…which is less than two years old…so I’m not sure where to go or what to do most of the time. I would certainly read and share anything you have to say on the topic. Many thanks, Melinda

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      September 29, 2012

      Melinda… I hope that my posts will help. Unfortunately, tears and emotion are often seen as manipulative. I will be posting something about the way in which ‘thinking’ and ‘feeling’ become so polarised so as to become destructive to the way in which we relate to each other. Thank You for letting me know this. I will try to focus on elements of particular problems.

      Like

      • missmin
        September 29, 2012

        Thank you again Niamh…also for your quick response. Your kindness and compassion are so inspiring; and I look forward to your next words on this misunderstood area of our wounded psyches.

        Like

  3. cherduncombe
    September 29, 2012

    Niamh, this is such a valuable post. Some of us are so conditioned to thwarting natural responses in situations like those you have mentioned. Crying can be perceived as weakness and then our psyche is manipulated, scorned and denegrated. I would love to see you do more writing on these issues. Too many are adversely impacted and need your astute thoughts.

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      September 29, 2012

      I will, Cher. It has been a life-time’s dedication of mine to teach people how to cry, and why to cry, and how important it is not to abuse our own emotions and feeling selves through denial or thwarting.

      Like

  4. soziebird
    September 29, 2012

    Ahh … to crumble the walls of what we sometimes believe to be stoic self-preservation …. what a taunting tasks, and what a delight to read your words & truth this morning !!

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      September 29, 2012

      It is amazing that nature has provided us with a natural and effective method of doing inner spring-cleaning n the form of crying. It is such a strong thing to do…to feel our emotions and to look behind our armour,

      Like

  5. JLBCreatives
    September 29, 2012

    I believe a corner dedicated to such would be outstanding. Great post.

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      September 29, 2012

      Wonderful Janet! Thank You! P.s. I want you to participate in a world blog hop with me.

      Like

  6. Walking with Beverley
    September 29, 2012

    A very good idea. It is important to cry to release and not used to manipate. I have always have the belief there us a necessity if tears and it’s almost an art.
    Far too many people feel suppression is necessary.
    Honesty in emotions is freedom,

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      September 29, 2012

      Many thanks…p.s. I would like you to participate in a world blog hope with me to promote your book.

      Like

  7. Tonia Marie Houston
    September 29, 2012

    I would love to read more about emotions and their benefit. My poor husband- he says the least little thing and it leads to tears. But I’m coming to some sort of inner understanding that, as you said, it is a catharsis. I need to release the pain of the past that through it, I was so strong and held my chin high. It needs done so I don’t color the joy in my present life with the darkness of the past.

    I feel as if I’m achieving a new level of self- breaking down the chrysalis I’ve protected myself in for so long. It’s scary and hard to find a way to express it. I think the novel I’m revising has a lot to do with it. To make the story true and something readers can relate to, I’ve had to open up a few wounds. But, there it is, I believe emotion and inner journey are the baseline for creativity. And it makes us flawed in the most beautiful ways possible while we’re in this life.

    I look forward to more, and believe me, I’ll eat it up with a spoon. 🙂

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      September 29, 2012

      Coming to an understanding of what our personal issues are is the act of an adult. Understanding our triggers is so important. And we teach our children how to learn this life-skill.

      Like

  8. Joss Landry
    September 29, 2012

    I love this picture surrounded with orange petals. Very moving. I think such a corner is a great idea. It would allow you to flex your muscle and us to benefit from it. Of course, you could share about the meaning of controlling our emotions. I believe I do too much of that already. Keeping them for my eyes only or for my thoughts alone. I agree with Tonia. We all need to release the pain.

    But what if we stop the pain from coming, with more understanding of the other’s position. I call it immediate forgiveness, and this is my catharsis. Allows me to move on and lots of times, has comipletely diffused an otherwise difficult situation. So, yes, a lot for me to learn and practice. Love the idea of sharing. Just exchanging ideas on the subject is extremely helpful, I feel.

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      September 29, 2012

      Thank You, Joss. I think the position I am coming from on this is to encourage people to cry.

      Like

  9. DiAnne Ebejer
    September 29, 2012

    I would love to see a corner on Plum Tree devoted to this topic as it is something we all can relate to and benefit from. Yes, Yes, Yes!:

    Like

  10. mapelba
    September 29, 2012

    This is a compelling topic, and I’d read more. Sometimes I wonder why certain things bring me easily to tears–certain images, scenes in films that shouldn’t be that emotional. I wonder where it comes from.

    I’d look forward to seeing you write about something important to you.

    Like

  11. the secret keeper
    September 29, 2012

    The image from Alice in Wonderland speaks about why emotions are suppressed and why going to the place of pain is so avoided. Once you begin releasing the tears or feeling the pain you may not be sure it will stop or maybe the control will be lost and the flood of tears will fill all the space around you. Crying was easy for me when I was a very small child but you are aware of the history, I was forced to stop. Getting back through that door has been a struggle ever since. Recently, I find that I tear up at what feels like the oddest times but maybe they are just effecting me in a way that causes my feelings to reveal what’s going on inside of me. Your post is so important and creating a corner where emotions are the focus is such a brilliant idea. It will help many. I have not tried to run from my emotions but they are elusive. Fear that I will overrwhelm others or myself causes me to retreat from them. If I take a deep breath, it helps to calm them and the emotions are able to come to the surface. It is the “negative” emotions that people are afraid of ecpressing for fear they will harm others and become destructive. I, personally, look forward to reading more about what you have to say on this subject. This post is the perfect opener to triggering people into even acknoledging the subject. Myself, I am a thinking with underlying feelings filtering into my thoughts and I fall for all the traps that society has placed on the unacceptability of expressing ones emotions. Grief is always cut off short with the cliched line: “Aren’t you over that already. it’s been at least two weeks.” Now the DSM-V wants to put grief under the category of a mental illness if you haven’t worked through it within a reasonable amount of time. Now who determines that? Anyway, I love that you are bringing this subject forward. Thank you. Once again I find your brilliance is being used for healing. J.K.

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      September 29, 2012

      Thank You, Jennifer. There are so many points that you raise in this response that I will endeavour to answer in subsequent posts. Depending on what has caused the hurt, people do fear that if they start crying, they will never stop. I hope to explain the crying process and how it heals and how to work with our emotional responses creatively.

      Like

      • the secret keeper
        September 29, 2012

        I am looking forward to hearing what you have to say about the crying process and all that it includes. The subject is so extensive. An obsessive process I have been trying to understand most of my life. I will be quite interested in what you will have to say on crying and emotions in further posts. Thank you again for this starting point on crying. J.K.

        Like

  12. the secret keeper
    September 29, 2012

    Reblogged this on the secret keeper and commented:
    The image from Alice in Wonderland speaks about why emotions are suppressed and why going to the place of pain is so avoided. Once you begin releasing the tears or feeling the pain you may not be sure it will stop or maybe the control will be lost and the flood of tears will fill all the space around you. Crying was easy for me when I was a very small child but you are aware of the history, I was forced to stop. Getting back through that door has been a struggle ever since. Recently, I find that I tear up at what feels like the oddest times but maybe they are just effecting me in a way that causes my feelings to reveal what’s going on inside of me. Your post is so important and creating a corner where emotions are the focus is such a brilliant idea. It will help many. I have not tried to run from my emotions but they are elusive. Fear that I will overrwhelm others or myself causes me to retreat from them. If I take a deep breath, it helps to calm them and the emotions are able to come to the surface. It is the “negative” emotions that people are afraid of ecpressing for fear they will harm others and become destructive. I, personally, look forward to reading more about what you have to say on this subject. This post is the perfect opener to triggering people into even acknoledging the subject. Myself, I am a thinking with underlying feelings filtering into my thoughts and I fall for all the traps that society has placed on the unacceptability of expressing ones emotions. Grief is always cut off short with the cliched line: “Aren’t you over that already. it’s been at least two weeks.” Now the DSM-V wants to put grief under the category of a mental illness if you haven’t worked through it within a reasonable amount of time. Now who determines that? Anyway, I love that you are bringing this subject forward. Thank you. Once again I find your brilliance is being used for healing. J.K.

    Like

  13. theclaudiofiore
    September 29, 2012

    Reblogged this on The Claudio Fiore.

    Like

  14. Sumithra Sriram
    September 30, 2012

    You are absolutely right… Crying your heart out after a disappointment makes you feel extremely light, and much better… Would love to read more on this topic!!
    Hugs,
    Sumithra.

    Like

  15. Petra Meinke
    October 1, 2012

    Love this post Niamh … thank you. Although I have never been opposed to crying for whatever reason, there was a time in my life where I had to be too strong for too long. A massive burn-out was the result and I had to revisit many aspects of my life to understand what had brought me there. Ever since that time all it takes is a children’s choir, certain types of music or any kind of emotional issues (even in movies) and I have a box of tissues in front of me.

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      October 1, 2012

      Thank You for sharing, Petra! We wear our armour to face the world. And we forget that we all have vulnerabilities. But what do we really teach our children if we are only ever seemingly strong? We must also teach them the strength and magic in tears.

      Like

  16. Uncle Tree
    October 1, 2012

    Having the gift of tears is a blessing.
    Joy increases with age,
    which lessens the impact of suffering.

    I’ll read anything you write, Niamh.
    Your fan, truly, UT 🙂 Got tissues?

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      October 2, 2012

      Thank You Uncle Tree! You always find succinct and kind words. I am also a fan of yours.

      Like

  17. Pingback: Thinking Versus Feeling! | the secret keeper

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