Is it ok for man to cry
It’s OK for Men to Cry
Outdated attitudes like “big boys don’t cry” encourage men and boys to hide their tears. But crying can be healing — and necessary — for all genders.
In many cultures around the world, it’s considered taboo for men to cry, especially in public. Many people still believe men should be stoic and show little to no emotion.
As a result of this stigma, many men feel that it’s not okay to cry. They might hide their emotions, choosing only to cry in private, or not at all.
Suppressing your emotions — including hiding your tears — can be unhealthy.
Mental health stigma affects people of all genders, but men may be less likely to access mental health care due to stigma. Men may also be more likely to die by suicide.
It’s okay for men to cry. Crying can be a healthy way to process your emotions, and it can have a range of emotional and physical benefits. Hiding your emotions can make it harder to cope with your feelings and seek support.
Social responses to men crying can vary from culture to culture, but they’ve also changed over time.
As a 2015 Aeon essay points out, history is full of weeping men. In fact, in some cases, crying was seen as noble. From medieval knights to the soldiers in Homer’s “Iliad” to the samurai in the Japanese epic “The Tale of the Heike,” crying was associated with strength and virtue. Even in major religious texts, prophets were frequently depicted as weeping.
It’s not entirely clear what changed our attitudes toward men crying. But for a while, stoicism was — and arguably still is — seen as important to masculinity, while crying and emotional vulnerability are associated with femininity.
More recently, with the beginning of fourth-wave feminism and increasing discourse around toxic masculinity and mental health stigma, many people are starting to believe that it should be acceptable for men to cry.
Men and mental health stigma
Increased mental health awareness has also contributed to this shift. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that more than 6 million men are affected by depression in the United States every year.
Men are also two to three times more likely to have a substance use disorder when compared with women, and suicide is a leading cause of death among men.
It’s clear that men need access to more mental health support — which may start with society accepting and supporting men when they cry.
Tears have a very important function in your body. There are three different kinds of tears:
- Basal tears: continuously produced by your tear ducts to keep your eyes lubricated and healthy
- Reflex tears: released to clear your eyes of irritants, like debris and smoke
- Emotional tears: flush stress hormones and toxins out of the body
The composition of your tears depends on which type of tear you’re releasing. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, emotional tears can contain higher levels of adrenocorticotropic hormones, which stimulate the release of cortisol — the “stress hormone” — in your body.
As a 2014 review points out, crying can be considered a self-soothing behavior. Crying activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which puts you in a “rest and digest” mode, helping your body relax after a time of stress.
When you’re not suppressing your emotions, you’re giving yourself the chance to feel them. This means you’re getting the opportunity to process your emotions, whether it’s a positive emotion or a negative one.
There may be a good reason why people often cry after experiencing pain. The same 2014 review indicates that crying releases oxytocin and endorphins. These hormones can soothe pain and lift your mood, helping you feel better.
If you’re somebody who tends to hide or dismiss your own negative emotions out of self-preservation, you might have what experts call a “repressive coping style.” Repressive coping can have negative consequences.
A 2012 literature review linked repressive coping with health conditions, such as:
- cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension (high blood pressure)
- lower immune system function
A 2013 study linked repressing emotions with a range of physiological illnesses. And yet, another 2018 review links “emotional inhibition” with depression, stress, and more, especially in people with personality disorders.
In one 2018 study, researchers looked at 475 people who had reportedly lost the ability to cry. Of those non-criers, 46.1% felt that not being able to cry affected them negatively. Those who were unable to cry reported feeling less:
- social connection
- social support
If you’ve been taught to suppress your emotions, it is possible to learn to deal with them in a healthier, more constructive way.
Working with a therapist can help you learn how to positively cope with tough emotions and teach you strategies for healthy emotional regulation.
Many people believe that men shouldn’t cry, or that they should hide their emotions. But in truth, crying can be healthy and beneficial at times, no matter your gender.
Crying has a number of health benefits. Research suggests crying can soothe you, lift your mood, and even reduce pain.
On the other hand, suppressing your emotions can have negative physical, emotional, and social effects.
If you have difficulty crying, or if you tend to repress your emotions, therapy can help. You can take a look at our guide to finding a therapist, including low cost and free mental health support.
Books like “Boys Don’t Cry: Why I Hid My Depression and Why Men Need to Talk About Their Mental Health” by Tim Grayburn and “Man Enough: Undefining My Masculinity” by Justin Baldoni can be great resources to help you learn more about men, masculinity, and mental health.
Plus, you can check out these podcasts on men’s mental health:
- “Detoxicity: By Men, About Men, for Everyone” — listen on Spotify and iTunes
- “ManUp! UK Men’s Mental Health Podcast” — listen on Spotify and iTunes
- “Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris” — listen on Spotify and iTunes
- “Brobriety: Sobriety, Mental Health, and Wellness for Men” — listen on Spotify and iTunes
When Is It Okay for a Man to Cry?
Men are known as the less emotional sex; they are supposed to be bastions of stability; the rock in the middle of a storm; unflappably cool no matter what the circumstance. Of course, it’s not wrong for men to get emotional. It’s unhealthy to keep one’s feelings bottled up and shoved deep down inside. But when is it okay for a man to display his emotions through crying?The History of the Man Cry
Men have always cried. Yet the acceptability of male crying has varied across time and across culture. There are many references to man tears in ancient Greek and Roman culture. In Homer’s The Iliad there is no conflict between Odysseus’ heroic qualities and the inclusion of many episodes of his weeping for home, loved ones, and fallen comrades. Yet Odysseus never breaks down out of loneliness or frustration, which the ancient Greeks did not feel were acceptable reasons for men to cry. They also expected warriors to understand that there were times when public displays of emotion were acceptable, and times when it was appropriate to cry alone. Odysseus frequently tries to hide his tears from those around him.
The Old Testament is similarly replete with references to weeping. The ancient Hebrews wept as part of their supplications to God and before going to battle. The Gospel writers did not feel that tears were a threat to either the manhood or godhood of Christ and dutifully recorded that “Jesus wept.” Perhaps drawing inspiration from this emotional display, early church thinkers considered tears a gift and a natural accompaniment to spiritual, even transcendent, experiences. The great theologian Thomas Aquinas, like the ancient Greeks, made the distinction between the very public weeping that had characterized Hebraic culture, and the idea that it was frequently best to cry away from people’s prying eyes.
Medieval Japanese and European epics are chock full of male crying. The great warriors in both Beowulf and The Tale of Heiki cry buckets over both great spiritual questions and the death of comrades. The warriors in such stories are expected to cry about issues of war, peace, and ideals, while the women weep over romantic and platonic relationships or out of general sadness, loneliness, or frustration.
Up through the Romantic Era, a permissive, even celebratory attitude toward male crying prevailed. Popular culture was of full of sentimental literature and art featuring men and women falling into each other’s arms and bathing one another with their tears. Tears were seen as proof of a man’s sincerity, honesty, and integrity. But the Enlightenment ushered in a more rational ideal of manhood. Tears came to be seen not as an unmitigated virtue, but as sometimes manipulative, illogical, and false.
During the Victorian Era, those virtues thought to be exclusively feminine in nature were celebrated. Women were seen as dainty and fragile, full or emotion and love. Tears have always had a vulnerable and submissive quality to them, and began to be seen as more befitting a woman than a man. As the 20th century emerged, the ideal of the tearless male emerged with it.The Man Cry Today
Culture’s view of male crying has continued to evolve into our day. While we still expect men to cry less than women, in some cases it has now become more acceptable for a man to cry than a woman, at least when it comes to our public officials. Hillary Clinton’s tears in New Hampshire brought some compassion, but also criticism that such vulnerability made her ill-suited for leadership. Yet Mitt Romney choked up several times on various news programs without the slightest attention being paid to it. Many see tears as proof that a man is sensitive and humble and thus well-rounded.
Which leaves men in a gray area when it comes to crying in the modern age. Some people these days encourage men to let loose whenever the urge hits. Some adhere to the “you can’t squeeze tears from a stone” philosophy. I think the key to male crying lies somewhere between these two edicts. A man need not be perpetually stoic. There are, of course, times when we feel sorrow or frustration so acutely that it must be let out. Yet there’s a balance between being so sensitive that a Hallmark commercial can make you weep and shedding some tears over something truly significant. Just as there is a balance between releasing some man tears and turning into the kind of blubbering mess that makes everyone feel uncomfortable. Here are some appropriate and inappropriate times to get your cry on.
When It’s Okay for a Man to Cry
1. The death of a loved one. There are few things more painful than the thought of separation from those dearest to our hearts.
2. The death of your beloved pet. A pet can feel like a member of the family. Whether a horse or dog, the bond between a man and his faithful animal runs deep.
3. When you first see the new life you and your wife created. Many a man has found himself choked up as they cradle their newborn son or daughter.
4. When you propose to the love of your life and she says yes. This should be one of the happiest days of your life. You found your best friend.
5. At the altar as you get married. Everyone in attendance loves to see the husband-to-be get a little misty-eyed as his blushing bride walks down the aisle.
6. When your beloved car or truck, especially your first one, gets totaled. There’s a bond between a man and his wheels that when severed, can really sting.
7. Visiting sites that pay tribute to those who laid down their lives for others. Whether running your fingers over the names at the Vietnam War Memorial or watching the oil leak from the sunk USS Arizona, contemplating the sacrifices made by your fellowman should make you tear up.
8. Describing a really spiritual experience. Feeling touched by a higher power can be really affecting.
9. As an athlete, after the final game/match/event that you will ever play in. You’ll never be in as good shape again. You’ll never experience this level of camaraderie again. You’ll never push yourself so hard every day. Go on and let it out.
10. While watching any of the following movies:
- Field of Dreams
- Brian’s Song
- Shawshank Redemption
- The Pride of the Yankees
- Old Yeller
- Iron Giant
- Life is Beautiful
- Saving Private Ryan
- Dead Poets Society
- Friday Night Lights
- We Were Soldiers
- Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid
- The Champ
- It’s a Wonderful Life
When It’s Not Okay For a Man to Cry
Devotion to your team is respectable. Turning into a blubbering mess when they lose, not so much.
1. When you favorite sports team loses. I get really into sports. But crying when men who don’t know you from Adam lose a game means you’ve got way too much invested.
2. When those around you are looking to you as a source of calmness and strength. Sometimes your loved ones need you to be a rock.
3. To the point of irrational thinking or paralysis when you have a job to do. I wanted to strangle Upham in Saving Private Ryan when he cried in the stairwell while his fellow soldier was being killed. When you have a job to do, get it together.
4. When you don’t get your way. Little boys cry when they don’t get what they want. Men are disappointed, but resilient.
5. When you’re frustrated. Crying because your overwhelmed and don’t know what to do is a cop out. You don’t have the strength to think of a solution, so you cry so you don’t have to think at all. Man up and figure out your next move.
6. In baseball. There’s no crying in baseball!
7. During any of the following movies:
- Steel Magnolias
- Little Women
- Jerry Maguire
- The Notebook
Source: Crying: A Natural and Cultural History of TearsPreviousNext
The psychiatrist explained the benefits of crying for men - RBC
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Allowing yourself to cry is worth not only women and children, but also men, as it helps to relieve stress. Psychiatrist Yevgeny Fomin stated this in an interview with Sputnik radio.
“Crying is good for the nervous system, since tears are a powerful anti-stress mechanism. When a person cries, he, figuratively speaking, allows negative and difficult emotions to come out through tears,” Fomin said.
According to him, it can be more difficult for men to survive a difficult situation in life, because they are deprived of “the ability to use crying as an anti-stress mechanism” due to social attitudes. nine0003
The psychiatrist added that together with tears, toxins and substances that stimulate stress are washed out of the body. He explained that tears contain prolactin, which is one of the stress hormones.
However, Fomin recommended crying in such a way that no one would see it. In addition, neither men nor women should often use this method of relieving tension, the psychiatrist noted. According to him, crying demonstrates to others that a person is in a weak and sacrificial position. nine0003
“If a person abuses this anti-stress mechanism, then he can fix this sacrificial position in himself and then enter it too often or get used to it,” Fomin concluded.
Last year, a VTsIOM poll showed that 8% of Russians constantly experience stress. 19% of those surveyed reported that they are often in this state. Most of the respondents turn to relatives and friends for help, only 12% resorted to the help of psychologists at least once.
Research Store Analytics by topic "Medicine"
men also cry | PSYCHOLOGIES
Man and womanKnow yourselfListen to your body
Men are crying today. Without a doubt, they are much easier than the older generation to give in to emotions. “The last time I cried in a movie was when I watched Anthony Minghella’s The English Patient,” Alexander admits. An unusual confession from the lips of a 32-year-old lawyer. But would his father have told with the same ease about the experienced emotions? “He definitely never cried,” the son is sure. nine0003
“Today, a man doesn't have to hold back tears in order to prove his masculinity,” says psychotherapist Alexander Orlov. “In the last fifteen years, gender stereotypes of manifestations of emotionality have become less rigid.”
Still, it is still too early to say that the reactions of men and women have become the same.
Is it possible to compare streams flowing from women's eyes in the same cinema with only moistened gazes of their companions? “My throat caught, it stung in my eyes,” Alexander continues. And he adds: “I didn’t even suspect that I was capable of falling into such a state, especially because of the film!” nine0003
A confession of impotence
As a child, Alexander, like most boys, was often told that a real man shouldn't cry. “This cultural stereotype is still significant in modern society: parents continue to raise their sons, limiting their emotionality,” explains sexologist Igor Kon. “In the future, this keeps men from openly showing their feelings.”
“When I realize that I can cry, I either look away from what hurt me, or find something that will distract me, help me switch,” agrees 43-year-old Oleg. nine0003
“Men also hold back their emotions because most of them are action-oriented,” explains psychotherapist Patrick Lemoine. - They are not inclined, unlike women, to listen to their experiences, to follow their lead. But tears do not allow to act, they take away time, energy.
In addition, to burst into tears means to admit one's powerlessness, defeat, inability to cope with the situation
And therefore, one should not give vent to tears. Sergey, 51, cannot remember a single time when he cried: “I don’t know what could shock me so much that tears appeared in my eyes. ” Of course, with the exception of the death or illness of loved ones. nine0003
“Such tears are allowed by society, because they confirm that men belong to the human race, their “normality,” explains psychotherapist Ekaterina Zhornyak. “But if tears hint in any way that a man has problems or feelings that he cannot cope with, from a conventional point of view, they seem inappropriate, indicate his insolvency.”
Death, suffering of a loved one, parting with loved ones and a feeling of joy - these are the reasons for tears men immediately name without hesitation. “I cried when I found out that my son was born,” recalls 26-year-old Roman. Tears welled up on their own. But I am proud of them, because the event was exceptional.” nine0003
23-year-old Semyon experienced similar feelings when the Russian team reached the semi-finals of the European Football Championship in 2008: “No one was ashamed of their tears, on the contrary, they could only be proud of!” “Be proud because they marked a victory, a well-deserved triumph,” adds Alexander Orlov. “These were tears of unity, patriotism and, therefore, worthy of respect.”
Restraint in the manifestation of feelings
But even when emotions take over, very few men show them as openly and violently as women. “When my father died, I was in despair, but I couldn’t cry,” admits 34-year-old Piotr. “My sister was crying, and I knew that she was judging me for my insensitivity, but I didn’t cry.” nine0003
Tears allow you to express your deepest feelings. Not too inclined to discuss feelings, men cry more restrained than women, and cry for themselves. If a man breaks down and bursts into tears, he wants only one thing: to shrink into a ball to be left alone. Shut up, think, reflect. And ultimately, if possible, find inner peace.
Since men rarely cry, tears have a psychotherapeutic effect on them.
And the effect of them is even more tangible than in women. “I rarely cry, and if I do, the tears come suddenly,” admits 21-year-old Stepan. “But then I feel some kind of special lightness!” nine0003
24-year-old Piotr, on the other hand, thinks tears are devastating, “it feels like you're blown away like a balloon.” Then he feels completely broken and, moreover, feels ashamed: one tear - and a gap appears in the armor.
“Those who were brought up under the slogan “a man must always keep himself in control” regard any outbursts of emotions as a loss of self-control,” explains Igor Kon. - And they try to suppress, hide, control their experiences. And if it doesn’t work out, they are tormented by a sense of guilt.” nine0003
The loss of self-control means for them a break with the image of superman, which they would like to live up to.
“I didn't know that my father could cry…”
Valery, 41 years old, sound engineer
“I will never forget the day when I saw tears in my father's eyes. I was 12 years old. My grandmother, my father's mother, so strong, cheerful, was taken to the hospital. She couldn't walk. For some reason, no one in the family talked about it.
One evening, returning from the hospital, my father said to my mother: “I saw a stick with such a tripod in the pharmacy. You can buy when mom gets on her feet. And my mother looked at him point-blank and said dryly: “You know very well that she will never get up again.” I mean, face it, don't be a kid. nine0003
And I saw how the father suddenly bent over, shrank, became somehow small, as if he had actually turned into a child. There were tears in my eyes. Seeing me, he tried to straighten up, but could not. Then he took out a handkerchief and hid his face in it.
I was shocked: my father, whom I considered so strong, simply invulnerable, can cry. Suddenly I realized what I feel, I understand his pain. And he got mad at his mom. Even now, when I remember, I feel it all and worry again. Unlike my father, I never tried to hide what I have inside from my people: I want them to understand what I am experiencing. nine0003
The right to be vulnerable
This display of sensitivity touches women, but some of them also cause anxiety. “I don’t feel comfortable when I see men’s tears,” admits 26-year-old Elizabeth. “It throws me off, it’s like we’re switching roles.”
When 48-year-old Anna first saw her husband crying, she was shocked: “It was touching precisely because it was unusual. But if this happened at the beginning of our relationship, I'm not sure that I would have decided to connect my life with him. It’s hard to feel protected next to an overly emotional man.” nine0003
For a long time, men's tears violated the generally accepted idea of true masculinity. Today, they are increasingly perceived as evidence of the authenticity of feelings. Tired of gritting your teeth to play the role of a hero, more and more men allow themselves to show vulnerability. But - silently, alone with yourself.
What emotions does the desire to cry cause in a man?
Shyness. “Realizing that I might cry, I look away or find something to distract myself, to switch” - Oleg, 43 years old.