Stop that Crying or I will give you Something to Cry About


psychological abuseI was told not to cry.  I was told “stop that crying or I will give you something to cry about” and I tried to stop. As a child forced to stifle tears, what was communicated to me? As I look back and try to remember some of the feelings, the thoughts that went through my mind at those times, I can’t recall much other then the need to STOP Crying. I do remember thinking that I already HAD something to cry about.  And thinking about it today I know that a LOT more than just “stop crying” was communicated to me with those types of statements.


I became afraid to cry. I remember trying to stop… trying to control my breathing and slow it down and trying to stifle that hiccup sound that comes from heavy sobbing.  I was so afraid of the consequences of NOT being able to stop the tears. I don’t even remember if I ever got a second beating for not stopping; all I remember is being told to stop and trying to comply and that the fear of the consequences made it very hard to get any kind of a grip on the situation.

 I became so afraid to cry that even today it is very rare that I do cry. But it isn’t just being told to stop crying that caused all the problems around that statement.  There is more to the communication “stop crying or I will give you something to cry about.” That statement means that the speaker, the adult looming over me, told me that I had “nothing” to cry about.

 What happens to a child who is not allowed to express emotional hurt or pain? What happens when the communication (covert OR overt) is that you should NOT express your emotions?

 I began to invalidate my own physical and emotional pain.

 There is fear that comes with this dynamic too.  I am crying. I’m told that I have no reason to cry and then told that if I don’t STOP crying, I will GET something to cry about.  Since I am already in pain, usually in both emotional and physical pain, and I am really afraid of what they might do that would give me a “real and valid” reason to cry.

 I am already crying.

 I am in trouble for crying.

 I have been told that I have no reason for crying

 I have been warned that I will GET a reason to cry if I don’t stop crying.

 How does a child process that? Over time I agreed with them that I had no reason to cry. How could I, as a child, disagree forever? These adults were my love source. They were my caregivers. They were my life’s blood. Without them what would become of me. I had been taught to respect my elders and to view them as authority. They were authority. And they declared that I had no reason to cry. No reason to hurt.

 My pain had been invalidated by others so often that I learned to invalidate my own physical and emotional pain.

 My invalidated pain would not cease to scream in the background of my life.  And my invalidated pain manifested itself as an illness, which I realize today was my first real depression when I was only ten years old. My invalidated pain had to find a way to SPEAK.  My ten year old self was being psychologically abused by a teacher. My ten year old self had already been sexually abused by several people, and disregarded by even more.  My pain, although suppressed by me and my oppressors, found a way to express itself. In illness and depression.  I developed asthma. I couldn’t breathe and if you think about me being told to suppress my emotional pain and tears, no wonder I couldn’t breathe.  I couldn’t BE. My depressions were deep and dark. All I wanted to do was sleep and sleep. I didn’t want to face anyone. I didn’t want to go to school. I didn’t want to live. I think if I had understood what death was, I would have wanted to die.

 And we think child sacrifice is not something that we encounter in civilised countries.

In recovery, before I could validate my own pain, I had to realize why and how I had learned to invalidate it. Once I realized where the invalidation of my own feelings originated, I was able to realize why I also invalidated it myself.  Once I realized that I did in fact invalidate it myself, I was able to finally begin to listen to me.  I was finally able to hear the voice that told me I had nothing to cry about and respond that it was lying. I replaced those lies with the truth that I had never heard before. That I DID have something to cry about.  That I WAS in pain, either physically or emotionally and usually both. That I had a reason to cry.  That I deserved to express myself emotionally.  I told myself over and over again that I was VALID and that my FEELINGS were and are VALID.  Every time I heard that voice (sometimes my own voice, sometimes the voice of an adult in the past) telling me to “suck it up” or telling me to “quit being such a baby” and actually telling me that I had no right to FEEL, I corrected it.  This was a very big part of my emotional healing. Sometimes I asked (the voice) for more information so that I could dig deeper into the origin of my own belief system.

 And this process, like all others, took some time. When I was finally able to validate my own pain, I realized that there was a lot of it. There was pain from the past and pain in the present that I had learned to discount and ignore. Pain, fear and anger that I had learned to invalidate.  But through the process of seeing the beginning of where it was first shut down, I was able to sort it all out.  I was able to feel it, embrace it, validate and affirm it and finally let it go.

Exposing Truth ~ One Snapshot at a Time;

Darlene Ouimet

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The purpose of facing the past and childhood history


174 response to "Stop that Crying or I will give you Something to Cry About"

  1. By: Kate Posted: 19th July

    I went skewy on that, sorry. I meant to say – get help, You know it at least, mine was buried for decades. But be aware of the person sitting across from you. Learn about their reputations before attempting contact. Get references. Even if recommended by another professional – do your own homework on who they are. Just as if you would have had a different outcome if as a child you could have chosen your parents/family use your efforts to really scour this person’s credentials. Check with police even to be sure they do not have a criminal background. Best of luck with your efforts.

  2. By: Kate Posted: 19th July

    You are not alone. In my mid-60’s the memories come when they want to. I cried more for my old cat when he passed than I had for my mother, the antagonist. What I last remember, was that I was silently saying inside – “I will not cry, they can’t make me” and so I willed myself to refuse to let out ANY emotions. In college when I had an opportunity to seek one-on-one counseling, that individual never asked what I thought might have been the source of my issues. Not once. I believe now as I did then he was more interested in promoting his own theories – damn the student in front of him. Just my opinion. He, would however, be brought up for review for overstepping the physical boundaries of other students who had been solicited by him. In many respects there doesn’t seem to be anyone who really cares. College campuses are hotbeds of students who are vulnerable, who need help of a deeper nature, but run into ‘professional’ bleeding hearts whose only interest is themselves.

  3. By: Roxie Posted: 18th July

    Just had to vent today. Since day 1, whenever I start crying, I often get screamed at for crying and even told “stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about!” This still happens today because they never taught me that it’s okay to cry. Plus, they were taught at a young age to never ever have any emotions. They not only learned that lesson very well,but they also decided that they would pass it along to their own kids. You know, it’s very hard to grow up in an environment where you’re constantly screamed at/threatened/abused for crying.

  4. By: annabelle Posted: 31st March

    I was just sitting at my piano playing a piece that is soft and sweet and started crying. Well, I do that all the time. It doesn’t matter what the occasion is, when everyone else is happy, joyous, lighthearted, I am covering my face because of tears. I heard all my growing up years “shut-up or I will give you something to cry about”. Well he had already given me something to cry about but we (siblings and I) crouched in a corner holding one another, each trying to help the other not to cry. I remember one night my sweet little 4 y/o sister made an almost deadly mistake. She told my Dad that she hated him, not once but several times. Each time she said the words her voice got weaker and weaker. The beatings got worse and worse until finally all she did was mouth the words, “I hate you”. Each time was a more brutal beating than the last. looking back maybe Mary Elizabeth finally wore him out. I’m not sure I’m making much sense here but what I’m curious about now after all these grown-up years is how do the rest of you generally experience NOT being able to cry when all I do all the time is cry. I have to say it is quite embarrassing when all others are cheering and laughing, I am crying, i.e., my granddaughter just competed in a “cheer” competition. I cried the whole way through, hiding it from the others. I am so overcome with emotion. My other granddaughter is a swimmer. Once she starts to swim everyone is cheering, not me, I am crying, trying my best to cover it up. It’s just plain inappropriate to cry at times like these. Are we all born with a reservoir of tears that we have to use up before we leave this earth? I have forgiven my Dad (Deceased). I really think he was doing the best he knew how to do. He just didn’t know how to “do”. Thank you for listening. Annabelle

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 31st March

      Hi Annabelle
      Welcome to Emerging from Broken
      I think we all express our emotions differently. I find it easier to cry when there is something really happy or exciting going on than to cry when I am hurt or upset.
      Thanks for sharing,
      Hugs, Darlene

    • By: Jennifer Posted: 26th July

      Annabelle I’ve been asking myself this same question about tears. I cry at everything as well, I have to try so hard to contain myself and hide my tears, it’s embarrassing when this happens at happy events. I’m not sad, I’m just so overcome with emotion, love, attachment to that love. Anything to do with my husband or kids especially. I’m extremely moved by live music and singing, even large groups cheering. I’m so tired or crying, I truly am. I’m tired of feeling so much, and I asked myslef this morning after reading this article, as hot tears were stinging my eyes, how much more am I going to cry? When will the emotions simmer down? It’s been years now. I’m tired, but I’m just scratching the surface as I’ve just discovered I’m a daughter of a narcissistic mother.
      I’m sorry you lost your kitty. ?

      • By: Jennifer Posted: 26th July

        That was suppose to be an emoji at the end, not a question mark.

  5. By: Huntress Posted: 30th January

    I thought we were all trained to not cry. I sat through first my mother’s funeral and 6 months later my father’s funeral dry eyed and miserable. I am not sure what anyone else thought, but my kids and husband knew why I was not crying. I always encouraged my children to cry if they needed to. Holding everything in does not help anything. It makes things worse! Unfortunately children learn from observing their parents as well and both can hold back tears if they feel it will show weakness. I could go on about this, but as I have read most of you understand completely. Thank you for letting me share/vent.

  6. By: Huntress Posted: 30th January

    I too was told “I will give you something to cry about”. I can’t cry for myself and rarely can I cry for others. I was not physically abused or sexually abused but I lived in a home with verbal abuse. I was the only child from an unhappy second marriage. My mother’s first husband died and she married my father for survival. I was 13 years younger than my closest sibling so I did not grow up around any other children. I was told my mother’s first husband was the love of her life and she dearly loved her children with him. I was told I was spoiled and lazy. I grew up believing I was worthless and I could no nothing right. My siblings saw the show that was put on but not the reality. They saw I did not clean up after dinner, but they were not there to see me ordered from the kitchen because I was “in the way”. Every holiday they would find me and yell at me about how spoiled and lazy I was. I was just doing what I had learned, making myself invisible. By the time I got a part-time job I was offering to stay late on Christmas Eve to avoid the hassle. I made sure I left at the same time as the manager left. When I got home dinner would be over, dishes would be done, and I could grab a roll, put some meat on it, and eat it off a paper towel by myself in peace in the kitchen. I don’t blame anyone for purposefuly being cruel. My siblings saw only the positive aspects of our home. My mother had a hard, disappointing life and having a child at 37 was really hard for her. My father was raised in a very unloving home and he was verbally abused as well. He worked hard to support us and he was tired when he was home. Everyone was handling things the best they could. I have attempted suicide twice. The first time when I was 19. My boyfriend happened to come over and stopped me. The second time I was married and in my 30’s, my husband (who was the boyfriend who stopped me) stopped me again. My husband is my hero, he married me even though I was damaged goods. (He has never called me that, it is my term.) He cried for me when he learned I can not cry for my own pain. When my parents died I was suprised to learn my sisters can cry.

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