There are lots of reasons why people feel they can’t cry or show emotion. The two common reasons that appear during therapy are dissociation by trauma or the more simple link to childhood.
Were negative emotions acceptable in your house as you were growing up? If you weren’t taught how to handle emotions, both negative and positive, how will you know what to do with them? Being shamed, called a baby, shushed, or told to stop making a fuss doesn’t make feelings go away, it shrinks them inside instead. Showing emotions isn’t a weakness. Naming emotions and still being accepted for them is important when young to grow into an adult who is able to reflect how they feel on the inside in a healthy way.
Dissociation by trauma is another story. Those who have been through trauma and may have had to turn off emotions in order to survive. Subconscious survival mechanisms activated by ego defences kick in to get you through tough times. The mind is incredible. It tries to protect you but sometimes in doing so can cause dissociation from the core of your being. This protected you during your trauma, stopped you from feeling what was really going on but as you move away from that can leave you feeling numb and unable to express emotions.
Showing emotions is healthy. Being able to express our full range of emotions is essential. To be able to be congruent and genuine with what is going on inside our mind and bodies and healthily reflect that on the outside.
If you need help breaking through either of these extremes, personal therapy can be the best move you can make. Grow a healthy, safe relationship in therapy, learn how to express emotions healthily and still be accepted. Get to the core of your inner child to help heal and remove false beliefs. Don’t let the past have power.