Author Topic: Crocodile Tears  (Read 4982 times)

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SPuck

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Crocodile Tears
« on: February 15, 2013, 10:24:27 AM »
So after reading some of the other threads posted on the board about dealing with people who blow small problems out of proportion, I was wondering what is the best way to deal with someone who cries? Rising above the fray is easier with anger because people outside of the situation won't judge you. On the other hand I could understand people taking pause to responding coldly or walking away from someone who crying. On the other hand I wouldn't always want to be feigning sympathy for someone who always cries over split milk. What is the best way to handle someone who over reacts by crying all the time? Whether they are doing it purposely or because they don't know other ways to express themselves?
« Last Edit: February 15, 2013, 10:28:21 AM by SPuck »

QueenofAllThings

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Re: Crocodile Tears
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2013, 10:39:36 AM »
As someone who often bursts into tears when angry (and believe me, I wish I had control over it), I don't think that responding coldly is helpful.  The emotions are genuine, even if it may seem silly that I'm crying. I don't, however, feign tears to get my way, and have no patience with that sort of behavior.  The trick is differentiating between the two. 

Yvaine

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Re: Crocodile Tears
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2013, 10:59:04 AM »
I sometimes involuntarily break into tears during a strongly emotional argument. I don't do it on purpose--I'm usually trying pretty hard not to cry because I'm worried it'll weaken my argument. ;) What I want most, and your mileage may vary, is for the person to keep talking to me like I'm not crying. Let me go grab a tissue and compose myself and pretend it didn't happen. Don't stop the discussion and start going "there, there," I want to finish whatever we were talking about. It's an involuntary physical reaction and it's probably annoying me and I wish it would go away. But this may just be me.

My dissolving-into-misery cries are very different and usually not in the middle of an argument--they're sort of out of nowhere and usually triggered by some minor annoyance that isn't the real issue at all. The "my dog died so now I'm crying because there's a hole in my sock" sort of thing. That's when I want a hug and sympathy.

MasterofSquirrels

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Re: Crocodile Tears
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2013, 11:13:46 AM »
I don't think crocodile tears are the right term. Many adults cry when they are frustrated and angry. Not that we want sympathy, we are just feeling emotion that comes out our eyes. The best thing to do is not do anything. Continue the argument/discussion/debate as if no one is crying.

If someone cries because they don't like your answer to something? I would still do nothing about the tears, and reevaluate the friendship. I have had experience with that, I pretend they aren't crying, or, if the conversation is interrupted to the point of stopping, I ask coolly "are you finished" and continue with my last point. 

People cry for all kinds of reasons. I think the trick is figuring out why. Is it because that is how emotion is released for them? Did something really sad happen and as another PP said, the hole in the sock is devastating today, or is someone trying for emotional blackmail? With out a specific example, it's hard to really give a concrete answer.

Hopefully the crier is someone you know well, and can gauge why crying is happening. If it's an acquaintance, ugh, I find that incredibly awkward and I have just stood there like a fool, not knowing where to look, what to say, or if I should just leave.


fountainof

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Re: Crocodile Tears
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2013, 11:19:56 AM »
I generally just carry on as if the person isn't crying unless it is sobbing.  Generally, people who cry from frustration or anger or something like that I have seen just cry a bit, it isn't really over the top that I cannot just pass a tissue and move forward.  I have only seen real sobbing at things like a funeral or from small kids (like my 3.5 yo sobs over everything sometimes).

I can generally tell fake crying when people aren't really emotional but they just use it as their go to in situations they are trying to manipulate.  In that case, I say "i'll give you a few minutes to get yourself together and we can discuss further". 

LeveeWoman

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Re: Crocodile Tears
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2013, 11:21:26 AM »
So after reading some of the other threads posted on the board about dealing with people who blow small problems out of proportion, I was wondering what is the best way to deal with someone who cries? Rising above the fray is easier with anger because people outside of the situation won't judge you. On the other hand I could understand people taking pause to responding coldly or walking away from someone who crying. On the other hand I wouldn't always want to be feigning sympathy for someone who always cries over split milk. What is the best way to handle someone who over reacts by crying all the time? Whether they are doing it purposely or because they don't know other ways to express themselves?

To me, crocodile tears are shed by people who manipulate others.

FlyingBaconMouse

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Re: Crocodile Tears
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2013, 11:22:22 AM »
As someone who often bursts into tears when angry (and believe me, I wish I had control over it), I don't think that responding coldly is helpful.  The emotions are genuine, even if it may seem silly that I'm crying. I don't, however, feign tears to get my way, and have no patience with that sort of behavior.  The trick is differentiating between the two.

I agree. If I am crying in an outside-my-house situation (barring something bad actually happening to myself or someone else), it is generally from frustration or anger, less "me crying" than "me not yelling." I will also probably be apologizing as I break down, so I would want it to just be ignored beyond that point.
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SPuck

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Re: Crocodile Tears
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2013, 11:30:29 AM »
To me, crocodile tears are shed by people who manipulate others.

That was what I was referring to. The problem is it is hard to tell, and even if you know that someone is a manipulative liar, it is hard not to look like the bad guy.

LeveeWoman

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Re: Crocodile Tears
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2013, 11:36:01 AM »
To me, crocodile tears are shed by people who manipulate others.

That was what I was referring to. The problem is it is hard to tell, and even if you know that someone is a manipulative liar, it is hard not to look like the bad guy.

That's what the manipulative liar is counting on. I'd distance myself from such a person.

Zilla

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Re: Crocodile Tears
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2013, 11:55:34 AM »
If it's a frequent occurrence, I would ignore the tears and treat it as an outburst of words.  And comfort her as if she said something rather cried.  Crying is just an expression of sorts.  If they are crocodile tears, she would use lying words.  Same thing. 


In other words, don't react to the tears, just to the words/situation they represent.

Hollanda

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Re: Crocodile Tears
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2013, 11:57:07 AM »
I frequently cry when things get out of my control.  If I am feeling "too much" of an emotion, whether it be frustration, anger or even immense happiness. When I do, it is usually alone or with DH, not anyone else.  I hate being "comforted" when I cry, especially by work colleagues or strangers, and far prefer to go into the toilets and have a quiet cry there to let it out my system.   IME manipulative criers tend to prefer to cry in front of an audience, as a kind of "She's being mean to me" kind of way. Either that or, "Nothing else has worked so I'm going to cry to get what I want" last-ditch effort.  Either of those lose my respect and I walk away.
 
With someone who is crying out of frustration? If it is a friend of mine, I ask them to come back to me when they feel able to. Work colleague? Discreetly suggest the toilets or somewhere quieter and leave them to it.  My work colleagues have seen me upset and I have seen most of them upset, it happens. We're not robots and we all have emotions.  That said, we don't all choose to use them to manipulate others.
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GratefulMaria

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Re: Crocodile Tears
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2013, 11:59:06 AM »
MIL doesn't cry to manipulate per se, but her emotions take center stage no matter whose crisis it is.  She's very fond of wallowing in whatever state of mind exists for her.  One time when she broke down during a situation DH was dealing with (she was on the phone with me), she went on about her own experience with something similar years ago and then bravely offered a watery apology.  I couldn't very well deny how upsetting it was for her, no matter how much her self-absorption angered me, and I just said something like, "No problem, it's a serious business."

This is another case where context informs most of my conclusion.  I already knew she was the center of the universe, so I just kept things as neutral as possible.

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Crocodile Tears
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2013, 12:10:40 PM »
I've been accused of crying crocodile tears, feeling sorry for myself, or "trying to make it all about you" when someone else is crying and I can't help but join in.  Heck, I'm like Truvy from Steel Magnolias, no one cries alone in my presence.  That is if they are crying for a good reason*.  When my sons cry because they're not getting their way, it's easy to not cry myself.

But I am not the manipulative sort of crier at all.  I just cry easily. Not at the drop of a hat, just that's how I naturally deal with some emotions.  Believe me, I wish I weren't so sensitive and could be more thick-skinned, as it can be really embarrassing at times.  And when my loved ones are crying it triggers it in me too.  Once my MIL had to say goodbye to a dog she'd fostered and was very close to.  I had just met the dog but seeing her cry at having to hand him going got my waterworks going too. 

*Good reasons: loss of any kind, stress/overwhelmed, hurt feelings, disappointment, justified anger, pain.

I've always thought of crocodile tears being those like toddlers bring on when they are told "No!" My 15 month old has gotten around to doing that.  Say if he wants my pop and I tell him "No, not for you!" on come the tears.  When I give him a cup of his own juice the waterworks stop instantly.
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rose red

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Re: Crocodile Tears
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2013, 12:21:51 PM »
I would say "I'll give you some privacy" and walk away.  If the tears are real, they may indeed need privacy.  If it's fake, they've just lost an audience.

LadyDyani

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Re: Crocodile Tears
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2013, 12:44:49 PM »
I hate being "comforted" when I cry, especially by work colleagues or strangers, and far prefer to go into the toilets and have a quiet cry there to let it out my system. 

This.

When someone tries to comfort me, I end up crying even harder. When my grandfather died, my parents called me at work to tell me. I ended up waving my coworker back to her desk so I could tell her over chat, because every time she patted me on the back, my throat closed up even more.
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