Why Can’t I Cry? How To Cry And Let It All Out

Wondering can't I cry anymore? Or how to make yourself cry?

Sometimes, you feel like you need to release - but can't.

There's actually a whole multitude of different reasons why this may be.

So in this guide we'll cover "why can't I cry" and how to cry and let it all out...

Here we go...

Why Can’t I Cry Anymore?

If you're wondering why you can't cry, you're not alone!

But there's plenty of reasons for it. 

From medications to the social connotations of tears, here's some of the top reasons why...

Your Personality

Your personality plays a major role in how easily you may cry.

Some people from the time that they’re born have never been big criers and are generally more easy-going.

However, those who have a more sensitive, emotional personality may be quick to tear up, even over seemingly minor reasons.

Your personality, which is shaped by both your genes and upbringing, can have an affect on how you deal with and perceive certain situations.

Those who have difficulty crying may have been raised to “be tough” or to take bad situations positively, which can have a long-term impact on their personality.

Certain genes and hormones can also impact your personality including your emotional sensitivity.

Learned Repression

Repression involves restraining or forgetting what you’re thinking or feeling.

This defence mechanism may seem healthy. 

However, repressing your feelings can increase anxiety, dysfunction, and other mental health problems. 

You may automatically repress your emotions, or others may have taught you to repress your emotions by telling you things like:

  • “Man up”
  • “Stop being such a wuss”
  • ...Or even “Keep your problems to yourself”

Due to learned repression, you may have difficulty crying in front of others for fear that your emotions will be ignored or ridiculed. 

Apart from having your tears negatively reinforced in the latter manners, it’s possible that your lack of tears was positively reinforced in the past.

For instance, maybe your parents frequently told you that if you stopped crying, they would give you a toy or edible treat.

Mental Health Issues

Although mental disorders can have an impact on your cognition, they can also affect your emotional state.

Some people suffering from mental health issues may be more prone to crying.

Others, however, may find that it’s harder to shed tears. 

Interestingly, even for two people with the same mental illness, one may engage in frequent crying spells while the other may have difficulty crying even when they feel like they need to.

Anhedonia, the inability to feel pleasure, and melancholia, one of many forms of depression are two mental health issues that may make it hard to cry.

Sociopathy, narcissism, and other personality disorders that may impact the ability to feel empathetic and emotional can also make crying difficult unless tears are used to manipulate others.

Social Connotation of Tears

Although we like to think that our personality and behaviors are not shaped by our environment and the people around us, they absolutely are. 

Even if you’re not akin to the beliefs and expectations of others, you may still find that you emotionally fit yourself into the conformity society has created. 

The connotation of tears in the society or culture you consider yourself apart of may have an impact on when and why, if ever, you cry.

Although there are many gestures, expressions, and actions that are universal, crying isn’t one of them.

Some cultures or countries view crying as shameful and weak. 

In the United States, men are viewed negatively for crying, whether that be tears of pain or tears of joy.

In collectivist societies like Asian cultures, social harmony is valued more than individual expression. 

Thus, the expression of negative emotions for both females and males is viewed as uncivil.

It’s also possible that it’s not your environment or the people around you who are directly influencing your lack of tears but you. 

If you’re particularly shy, easily embarrassed, or don’t like to draw a lot of attention to yourself, you may withhold your tears to avoid others from worrying about you or asking you what’s wrong.

There are also certain environments or social situations where crying is considered inappropriate. 

For example, in many nations, it isn’t deemed appropriate to cry while at work or in other professional environments. 

However, at some events like weddings or funerals, crying is considered common and completely normal.

Medical Problems

Especially if you feel like you’re capable of crying but just can’t seem to get the tears to flow, there may be a certain medical problem to blame.

In fact, certain medical conditions can physically impact your ability to produce tears.

These conditions include:

It’s also possible that Congenital Insensitivity to Pain Anhidrosis (CIPA), which causes a high pain threshold, can be a contributing factor as to why you have difficulty crying or rarely cry.

Other medical problems involving improper tear production can include dry eye, a tear gland or duct tear, lymphoma, viruses, dehydration, and more.

If you believe you have a medical reason for your lack of tears, it’s important that you speak to a medical professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Certain Medications

Just like certain medical conditions, there are certain medications on the market that can impact how your tear ducts produce tears.

These include certain:

  • Acne medications
  • Sleeping pills
  • Antidepressants​
  • Parkinson’s medications
  • Birth control​
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Antihistamines

Besides impacting your ability to produce tears, certain medications can also numb your emotions and change how emotionally sensitive you are.

Medications can change the chemistry in the brain and may cause some personality changes, which can alter your ability to cry as a result.

Keep in mind that different medications will interact with people differently.

Speak with a doctor if you believe a medication you’re taking is impacting your ability to produce tears or causing other unwanted symptoms.

Often, once you get off of or change your medication(s), you’ll be able to produce tears once again without a problem.

How to Make Yourself Cry

Here's how to cry and let it all out...

Forget the stigma attached to crying.

Especially as a male, it can be difficult to see crying for what it truly is:

A much-needed expression of overwhelming emotion.

Regardless of whether you’re a female or a male, it’s vital that you see past the stigma many cultures and societies have created for crying.

Once you begin to see the logistics behind crying rather than the social beliefs tied to such, it will be easier to cry when you really need to.

Embrace Vulnerability

Throughout your life, you may have been taught that being vulnerable is a bad thing.

However, the fear of being vulnerable only impedes you from properly releasing and expressing your emotions.

Failing to be vulnerable is bad for your mental and emotional health as it may encourage repression.

Instead, learn to accept vulnerability into your life.

One way to do this is to start taking chances and become more open, even if you only end up hurt in the long run.

Open Up Pandora’s Box.

When you feel strong, unwanted emotions like jealousy, anger, or sadness, you may “shove them into a box.”

In this box, those negative emotions may always stay put because you choose not to let them free. 

However, sometimes it’s important to open up Pandora’s Box: 

Those feelings you’ve stowed away want to come out; they need to come out. 

crying pandora box

Emotions are temporary and aren’t meant to be preserved forever.

However, the times that you’re feeling vulnerable and afraid might make it difficult to properly release your emotions. 

Instead of releasing those emotions when you’re in a bad state of mind, try doing so when you feel you’re the most emotionally stable. 

When you let your emotions go, you’ll find that genuine self-expression is easier. 

In turn, it will also be easier for you to cry when you truly need to.

Be More Accepting Of Yourself

When you’re too hard on yourself and belittle your own feelings, it’s going to be hard to properly release your emotions.

Learning to get back in touch with how you feel and how you express yourself involves accepting your sadness and being open to working through it.

Treat your thoughts and feelings as you would a child: gentle, empathetic, and understanding.

Accept that emotions will come and go whether you like it or not.

Find Somewhere Comfortable Where You Can Relax​

When you’re constantly on the go, it can be hard to just think about what’s on your mind as you put your thoughts and feelings are put on the back burner temporarily.

However, after a long day, find somewhere quiet, peaceful, comfortable, and secluded to be alone.

This can give you the opportunity to really tune into how you feel.

In turn, it makes it easier to express your inner thoughts on the outside to receive the release you need.

Finding a special spot to cry can also allow you to feel less vulnerable. 

In a world where crying is frowned upon, an environment where you can be alone with your mind may be the only way you can express without fear of judgment.

Think Deeply About What's Making You Sad​

Too often, we shove our dark thoughts deep into the pits and crevices of our brains and like to pretend they no longer exist.

Although, those thoughts never really seem to go away through this defense mechanism.

By thinking long and hard about what’s making you upset, you may find yourself ready to cry.

Naturally, it may happen but only if you take the time to acknowledge your thoughts.

Thinking is natural and healthy and isn’t a waste of time.

How To Cry On Command

Get Yourself Into An Emotional State

In order to get into an emotional state, you must clear your head of other distractions.

Getting into an emotional state may require that you spend some alone time with yourself to dig deep into your feelings.

The more patient you are, the easier it’ll be to investigate what you’re feeling and why.

Watch Sad Films

Sometimes you might feel the need to cry.

However, maybe you have nothing in specific to cry over or may have difficulty crying over what’s troubling you.

Watching sad movies, even ones you’ve watched before, however, can be a great way to get into an emotional state of mind, giving you a good reason to cry.

Keep Your Eyes Open

When you keep your eyes open as long as you can, you’ll notice that your eyes will start to sting a little and become dry. 

However, that dryness will then trigger your tear ducts to produce tears, making your eyes watery as if you’re crying. 

Keeping your eyes open next to a fan can help you quickly trigger tear production.

Think Of Your Saddest Memory

Although looking back on your darkest memories often is unhealthy, when you're desperate to shed some tears, stumbling upon these sad fragments of your past can instantly bring back that sadness you felt.

With that sadness you relive, you might find yourself in a more vulnerable state of mind that makes it easier to cry.

Rapidly Fan Your Eyelids

After keeping your eyes open for a while to the point where your eyes are now watery, you’ll want to start rapidly fanning your eyelids. 

This will help any of the moisture or tears in your eyes to form into heavier drops and eventually fall down your face like genuine tears.

Listen To Sad Music

There’s a sad song on everyone’s playlist.

Sometimes it takes a beautiful voice, melancholy music, or depressing lyrics to make us sad enough to start crying.

Here's some examples to check out: 

  • “Miserable at Best” by Mayday Parade
  • “Stan” by Eminem
  • “One More Light” by Linkin Park
  • “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton

Force Yourself To Yawn

Everyone knows that yawning is one of the best ways to get your eyes watery.

If you have trouble yawning on command, try to intentionally make yourself sleepy so that you’ll naturally want to yawn.

You might also watch YouTube videos of other people yawning, which might trigger your yawning as well.

FAQs About Crying

Why Can’t I Cry When I’m Sad?

If you’re completely unable to cry whenever you’re sad, it’s possible that you grew up being told that crying is unacceptable or generally feel ashamed for doing so.

For the sake of your mental health, it’s important to learn the arts of vulnerability and self-expression.

Emotional release is in our nature.

Without it, we can suffer.

Why Can't I Cry When I Want To?

There’s a fine line between needing to cry and wanting to cry:

It’s harder to cry when you just want it because your body knows you don’t really need it.

Thus, crying requires more work on your end...

Instead of forcing yourself to cry, it’s important to let the tears come to you naturally if possible.

Additionally, it’s important to not feel ashamed for not crying when you’re sad too.

You aren’t obligated to cry just because you’re upset.

Why Can't I Cry Sometimes?​

If there are times where you do cry and times where you don’t, this is completely normal.

Emotions are so versatile and come in a plethora of intensities that it’s impossible to feel the exact same way every time you’re upset.

For instance, you may cry after one breakup but not shed a tear after another breakup.

Your initial emotional standpoint and the circumstances surrounding the reason for your sadness can influence whether or not you might cry.

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