Tough chicks: Have you become a giant crybaby with age?

I suppose this is open to anyone, really, if the question is rephrased as “Have you become more of a crybaby through the years?” but I am most specifically seeking responses in the thread from people who, as a rule, do not cry.

It’s not that I don’t feel; I do! While it is true that I am often more emotionally detached from things than other people (seriously, when you’re crying about your long day at work, or how so and so was mean to you, I don’t care, and think you’re a giant pussy for getting worked up about such asinine crap), at many times, I do have an emotional investment, but appear just the same. I care, but don’t become an emotionally out-of-control, blubbering freak about it. And more to the point, there are times I have a rather large emotional investment, and *do *become a bit of an emotions freak, but even in the worst of times, crying is not how I deal express my emotions. It just isn’t.

I’ve never cried during a movie, and when my gal pals have come to me crying about breakups, I’ve never cried with them. I don’t know, TV always makes it seem like chicks cry together about this kind of thing. I care a lot, but I’m not the tear-shedding type. In the old days, if I was crying, it was a truly horrible, barely even manageable time. So now fast forward to maybe a year ago. I’m getting choked up about all kinds of shit. Sometimes I have riveting Friday nights that involve watching TV, and have recently discovered this show “What Would You Do?” They have people committing reprehensible behaviors, and hidden cameras reveal whether or not ordinary people will intervene. Over the last six weeks or so, the following segments on the show have made me fight back tears, or cry:

[li]Retail workers being particularly nasty to customers whose English was poor, including horrible anti-immigrant attacks.[/li][li]Restaurant servers openly refusing to serve same-sex couples.[/li][li]Customers in line exhibiting rude and hostile frustration to cashiers with special needs.[/ul][/li]
And it wasn’t the meanness that made me cry. It was when people stood up for the victims that killed me. I was all, “That’s right! You can’t treat people that way! Wait, why are my eyes watering?”

Some months ago, someone posted here a YouTube video of a small deaf child who, through some magic science gizmo, was allowed to hear for the first time. When the baby could hear, and started crying, I almost lost my shit. I could not believe how overwhelmed with emotion I became. So here I am in my apartment fighting back tears, because I can’t bear to cry. Who was I fighting them back for? I was alone! It just felt so wrong, this crying thing.

So I was talking to my sister (who is 10 years older than I), and we had a conversation whose details are not important. At some point we started on my new crybabytude, and it went more or less like this:

Me: I’m starting to feel emotionally connected to weird things, and am crying all the time.
Sis: Ah hmm. Yep.
Me: What “Ah hmm”? What are you Ah hmming about? What is this “Yep”?
Sis: Just, you know, it happens.
Me: What happens?
Sis: You just… become emotional.
Me: No.
Sis: And you start to cry.
Me: No!
Sis: During movies.
Me: No! Take back these lies!

She was right about weight gain around age 25, and that I would actually have to eat vegetables and jog once in a while if I wanted to fit into the jeans I wore sophomore year. I didn’t believe her when I was 22, but years, grocery carts full of leafy greens, and one gym membership later, the woman has proven to be right.

Is she right about turning into a weeping, sappy vagina too?


I don’t know about women, or about other men, but I’ve gotten more emotional over the years.

Used to I could laugh when Bambi’s mom bit it, shrug an indifferent shoulder at those commercials about 3rd world kids starving, and crack jokes at shows like the one you describe. About 4 years ago that all changed.

I can even pinpoint what started it for me. It was this picture. (Don’t click. Graphic, horrible horrible picture of starving kid.)

I will admit, I feel better when I do cry over something that gets me emotional like that. Makes me regret all those years I bottled everything up.

It sounds like you are becoming more empathetic, which could come with experience. So not necessarily a cry-baby, you’re just more able to feel what others feel. That can only be a good thing. I don’t find myself crying any more than I ever have, which isn’t that much, but I do find that my particular little sensitivities are more pronounced as I get older.

In some ways, I think I’m becoming more empathetic. I don’t think I felt all that sad when I saw, say, the Lion King or Charlotte’s Web as a kid. It was sort of like, “That’s sad, but oh well” but now…it’s kind of overwhelmingly sad.

In other ways, I think I’ve toughened up. And I was a hella sensitive kid as…well, a kid.

I know, right? I won’t watch movies now where the dog gets it, and my boyfriend says I ought to grow up and deal. I told him that I am a grownup and as such I can assert my choices, which are not to watch movies where the dog gets it. Not being a grownup would be acceding to peer pressure and watching anyway.

Yes. Yes, that’s it. I used to be like, “Wow, that’s sad… So anyway, what’s for dinner?” I’d always recognize intellectually that things were tragic, and would even feel them inside, but they never really “got to me.” I’m putting quotes around that because, I don’t know, I feel like it helps. Then things became sad in a way that got to me, and I was okay with that until the crying started. I do not like the crying at all.

I can relate to a lot of what’s here. I’m cynical and somewhat cold, but I’ve grown more empathetic with age. That’s life, isn’t it? You’re a stupid, invincible kid and then one day you notice your parents are growing old, and someone your exact age dies of cancer or kills themselves. It changes your perspective. I might not cry at every commercial for loo roll, and I may still be a jerk, but I’m getting better at pausing, taking a breath, and remembering that (most) people are just humans figuring out their own shit, too.

I actually think I am very sympathetic as a person, but I don’t cry often–like, I maybe tear up two or three times a year, and actual sobbing-crying . . . last time I did that was January 2006. I also don’t cry when I get angry, and I get plenty angry. Tears just don’t seem to be a go-to emotional response for me like they are for a lot of people.

That said, I am only 34–how old to you is “older”? I also hope to be pregnant here in a few weeks. That might change things–only time will tell if it does, and if those changes are temporary or permanent.

ETA: This was actually very awkward for me at work when a co-worker died and they announced it to a bunch of us at once. Everyone else broke into tears, and I felt like an ogre when I didn’t. I liked the woman fine, but I didn’t know her–we’d said hi-how-are-you-how-was-your-weekend for ten years, but never talked. Tears, to me, seemed almost disrespectful to the pain her family had to be feeling–the people for whom this was a life-changing tragedy. I felt terrible for them. But it seemed almost ego-centric and a little too precious to act like it changed my life. And I KNOW that’s not why people were crying–they were genuinely overwhelmed with the tragedy of her death, truly they were–but while I was upset and knocked off balance, certainly, that level of emotion doesn’t move me to tears.

It’s interesting that these are your new triggers, because the whole triumph of the human spirit and love toward your fellow man and, especially, animals, is also what kills me. People dying? not so much. Guy being really awesome? Yeah. Abandoned animals all confused and suffering, giving you that “but what did I do to deserve this?” look while they rot away in a pound somewhere? Waterworks.

But I wouldn’t say it’s gotten worse as I’ve aged. I’m 29, if that matters.

I went for years and years without ever crying at all. Then, a couple of years ago, three friends of mine committed suicide within 6 months, and it was like the floodgates literally opened and could not be shut again. Sure, I probably still don’t cry as much as other people do, but I certainly cry a lot more easily than I used to.

There was one cancer research ad that had me bawling - noisy sobs, not just a few tears - every time it came on. I don’t know why it affected me so much. However, now that I’m working from home and often have daytime TV on while I work, I see far too many of these guilt-trip adverts (at least one every ad break) and have become hardened to them; anything else would be bad for my emotional balance as well as my bank balance.

I know exactly what you mean. My boyfriend’s father passed away and I’d only met him once before (we live in Korea, they live in N. Ireland). I was there for the funeral and I felt almost disrespectful for crying - any time I cried, I was crying because I empathized with my boyfriend’s grief rather than because I felt directly affected by the death - but I almost felt like I didn’t have the right to cry because it wasn’t MY grief.

I dunno if that makes sense.

Anyway, I cry at Disney movies that I used to never blink an eye at. I’ve always been pretty emotional but it’s just gotten worse as I grow older. :smack:

I know for sure that my hormones (or the way my body deals with hormones?) are changing all the time. My PMS symptoms are different like every 6 months. Used to be that I couldn’t stay awake during PMS. Now I can’t sleep. For a long while, I wasn’t emotionally weird during PMS, then I started getting pretty crabby during it. Now once again, I am pretty emotionally even during that time but not completely cold.

I went to the doctor last year and she told me I had to start taking diabetes medicine (altho I’m not diabetic). And I started crying right there in the exam room. WTF? It was seriously embarrassing. I was sitting on the exam table sobbing and saying “I’m a tough girl! I don’t cry!”

But it’s still sort of hard to tell about whether I cry more now. I think, like Zsofia, I evade a LOT of stuff that I know will make me cry. We’ve both said we totally avoid SDMB threads about pets that are sick or dead (yet we feel bad about not casting a vote of sympathy for the grieving owner). I refuse to watch movies with animals in them, knowing that even if there’s a happy ending there will be sad crying parts.

I saw the deaf baby video that MOL mentioned and I too cried. I saw the movie Up and cried like a baby. I went to the funeral of a childhood friend’s dad a couple months ago, and had been pretty blase before I got there. When I got there and saw my friend, I lost my shit. Lost it like my own dad had died. I cried the entire damn time, harder than anyone else there was crying. I hadn’t seen the guy in 10 years! I was embarrassed, like Manda JO and HazelNutCoffee.

There’s still a lot of stuff that I read on here that people say makes them tear up and I’m all “whatever.” Altho earlier this week, when Marley23 posted the latest about his brother, that made me cry. I was PMSing tho so…who knows? Oh, and it’s really sad about his brother too.

That animal shelter commercial is like a crime against humanity, isn’t it? :slight_smile:

I feel extra-bad about avoiding dead pet threads because people were so freaking kind here and IRL when I had to put my dog down. And now I’m tearing up. Fuck you guys.

Yep, big ol’ crybaby at times. I used to be hard pressed to come up with some tears at the appropriate times but it seems that the older I get (and I’m only 35) the easier it is to move me to tears. Today I let a tear fall over the episode of Bones where everyone had to see their family on Xmas through glass because they were in containment. And god help me if someone posts one of those videos of soldiers coming home. I almost needed an IV last time I watched one.

It’s weird because I used to be pretty tough I thought, but not much had ever really happened to me. Then I went through stuff over the last 10 - 15 years that should have toughened me up, but it seems to have tapped into a whole level of mushy pussification under my crunch outer shell.

I’ve always been a bit of a crybaby, but a self-centered crybaby. Other people’s tragedies were sad, and I felt bad for them, but they would be ok. But if it happened to me *it was the worst thing ever!!!*11111eleventy

Then I had kids and all of the sudden my empathy bone started working, and now I cry at movies, tv shows, commercials, the deaf baby video, the end of Les Miserables, when my old friend tells me he doesn’t love his wife anymore, when Bearflag found out his little girl was sick, when my internet friend had a stillbirth, etc etc etc. Maybe it’s a natural evolutionary thing that my empathy would kick in when I most need it, for parenting. I don’t know.

I suspect that most of the tears I cry are for myself. It’s just easier to express it when it seems to be for someone else.

After all, why do we cry at others’ loss or pain? It is because we, too, have felt that loss and that pain. And when we see others’ experience it it creates an echo of our own times of distress.

But there are a couple of differences. The empathy, while self-centered, is not selfish - not the childish tears of a child who wants his way but the mature tears of an adult who knows life is not easy and sees that reflected in others. A sort of mourning for the human condition.

And also - the tears shed as a child come from a place of weakness and need. Fear and hope that one will be helped and become strong.

The tears of an adult hurt. Nothing really changes in life. There is often cause for grief and pain. But the tears of age are also comforted by the knowledge, backed by years of proof, that one has been strong, has survived.

I am grateful that time has not hardened me and that I can still feel. The rest is learning how to take care of myself so I have a little something to give when others hurt.

I used to be a bit of a stoic, honestly, and I never would have cried from anything except huge sadness.

Now I cry when I’m happy, for Pete’s sake. I’m happy! WHY AM I CRYING!!!

Gah. I’m probably a wedding crier now. I never wanted to be a wedding crier. GAAAH!

I used to be pretty cynical about weddings, until I attended a wedding I actually really cared about for the first time. Two of my friends got married (to each other) this summer and I was so happy for them that I kept tearing up. During their vows, when they had their first dance as husband and wife. Such a sap. I had to laugh at myself.

I also find myself rereading stuff I read as a kid or rewatching it and thinking, “Wow. That seems…dark, KIDS read that?” Not that I think kids should be restricted from reading them. I think that kids should be exposed to a very wide range of stuff, but in my mind, I just find myself thinking, “That’s intense.” Like, when I re-watched Charlotte’s Web and the animals are discussing the fact that Wilbur is going to be killed in very frank terms. No euphemisms. And as a kid, I never thought, “Should I be hearing this?” But as an adult, I worry more. Maybe it’s because as adults, we have this idea that kids are innocent and know nothing about death and we want to have that illusion? But kids don’t need that illusion?

Well said.

Things are more poignant to you when you get older, because you’ve experienced more pain. You now know what the young widow or fatherless child faces. You now know what it’s like to realize, as you open the door, that your pet will no longer be greeting you with her whole body wagging. You now know how hard it is to claw your way back from financial ruin. Or bury your loving mother. Or any number of things.

It’s the knowledge about what pain and grief really are that makes one cry more as you get older.