Sometimes I wonder if people who don’t show their emotions outwards (visually) get the short end of the empathy stick?

I often wonder why the person who chooses to cry or openly show their vulnerability gets all the support and the comfort from those around them. And why the person who is equally as hurt inside but probably not so openly vulnerable is shunned away and left unsupported with little or no empathy.

Personally, I’m the latter, I find it hard to visually show I am upset, I find it hard to cry in front of others and I find it hard to show my emotions outwardly. Instead, I have to quietly pick myself up, put the pieces back together and try to move on even when I am dying inside. You might be the same ... It’s not that you don’t want the emotional support or need the support (you do so do). It’s just that I internalise.

Don’t get me wrong, I do make it clear that I’m upset and unhappy about something through my words but it’s just not accompanied with any tearful actions or any form of visual vulnerability for the world to see. You may be the same? You may be that person who is also deeply hurt but crys alone in the car on the way home or at night in bed... whatever works for you.

Have you ever been faced with this issue? It may happen in your personal life and it may even happen at work.

Something bad happens at work, you and your colleague are equally upset, you’re colleague chooses to openly express this through tears and the display of external emotions but you chose to internalise or cry in your own time alone.

You’re college should absolutely be entitled to do this if this is what works for them because we all know that crying is not a sign of weakness ... it’s just that individuals way of expressing emotion. Just as “not crying” doesn’t equal strength and the lack of feeling weak or vulnerable. So you can cry or not cry and feel exactly the same thing. It’s just how you choose to express your emotions.

This happens especially to women... it’s like you’re expected to cry and show lots of external emotions and if you don’t then youre probably not that upset right? Wrong!

Just because you are the women who chooses not to cry or show external visual emotions when things are challenging, you may be seen as the person who is emotionless, absolutely fine and maybe even heartless. Not showing visual emotions doesn’t mean you still don’t feel that sad sickness at the pit of your stomach all day or the sinking of your heart ... but you can’t cry or show external emotions all the time because that’s just not how you are wired up and as a result you are supported or empathised with a lot leas than if you had shown visual emotions.

Not openly showing how upset you are doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. You are also hurt, you are also struggling and you too feel absolutely weak and broken inside, you just don’t know how to show that externally and you don’t feel you should have to either - for people to remember that you are also human and must hurt sometimes. Sometimes the way we act in these situations stems from family upbringing, life experience or just nature. It could be that you were raised in a family were it was not ok to show external emotions so you’ve become accustomed to this or you’ve had life experiences that stop you from showing external emotions again as some form of self protection .. or you just don’t like it or feel comfortable doing so.

It happens in family life too. Something hurtful happens with a family member and just because the other person is all tears and openly upset, and you are quietly hurt, you are both treated differently. You know inside you are equally hurt (sometimes even more so... you might even be the victim) but you deal with it in a different manner. This may lead to you being seen as the one who needs zero support or even as the culprit. You may be almost judged for not showing how hurt you are .... “She’s not even upset“...”she’s fine”... “so heartless”... “look how upset so and so is and she’s not even upset”...”she clearly doesn’t care“...”she’s probably happy this happened”...“she’s not even feeling bad or remorseful”... “so and so must be heartbroken because they were crying so much and she wasn’t even upset” ... the list goes on.

If they looked beyond your quietly hurt exterior .... and actually listened to your words, they would see that you too are hurt ... you too need comfort and you too need support. it’s just that you show your feelings in a different way. It’s not that you didn’t say or express that you are hurt through your words, it’s that you didn’t accompany them with tears or an external display or emotions.

Maybe it’s human nature, to protect the underdog, the person who visually seems most hurt and injured, the one who seems more vulnerable. I sometimes wonder, what will it take to get the same level of support? Will you have to change the way you handle anything upsetting? Will you have to cry each time you’re hurt or upset? Will you have to theatrically display all of your emotions for the world to see to believe you are also upset? But why? Why should you have to change? Why can’t society just be logical and think - “well she also went through that so she must also be hurt even if she’s not showing it as openly as others”

It’s like we expect someone to cry or break down at certain times in life. You go through a breakup of a long term relationship and you don’t show anyone visually how hurt you are.. you talk about it a lot, you say your hurt but you don’t visually show it so people think you’re ok. But you’re not.

So the question is .....

Are you also someone who feels you are treated and supported differently by society and those around you because you don’t display your emotions as visually openly as others? Or do you not agree?

Get in touch and let us know!