September 20, 2013

Adoptees: Why It's Helpful to Cry Alone

The title of this post may seem unhealthy or even dangerous. 

Cry alone?

Yes. I'm about to share something with you that I've found extremely helpful.

Now, for a disclaimer: Prolonged isolation is not healthy. Disconnection with others can be dangerous– not to mention, it’s completely different from the way God has wired us. 

Photo Credit:, Flickr

When I speak of the need to cry alone, I’m referring to something temporary.

It’s important to have people in our lives who accept the real us, who can handle our joys and our tears. I’m so grateful to have that in my life.

At the same time, I’ve found there’s a certain type of cry that is helpful to have alone.

It's a cry so deep, by it's nature tends to overwhelm family or friends who experience it.

Out of love and concern, and maybe even a bit of panic, they might try to “shhhhhhhhhh” the wail and soothe it away. This lamentation will be so discomforting, your loved one will do whatever it takes to comfort you and get it to stop, when what you really need to do is keep going. For it to be effective, exhausting yourself down to the last drop is necessary.

Beyond the Ugly Cry

You’ve heard of the “ugly cry”? This is beyond the ugly cry.

It’s a sob from the depth of your soul that most people will have no idea what to do with. 

When you experience the worst wound imaginable -- the separation from the one who birthed you, and the further trauma that may occur in conjunction with that as an adult, there's pain unequaled.  

To hold it in can actually make you sick. 

My family loves me. So much. 
I have friends I believe would lay their life down for me. 
And yet, I have not subjected any of them to this cry. 

Heck, I don't even expose my dogs to this cry. 

Internal Vs. External

At one time on my journey of the past six months, my blood pressure was high and nothing I was doing externally would bring it down. I was praying, reading the Bible, exercising, eating right, taking soothing baths, listening to relaxing music and connecting with encouraging people. And yet, the high blood pressure remained.

In my experience, this cry is very beneficial for one’s emotional and physical health.
I cannot promise the same health result for everyone, but I can tell you it immediately brought my blood pressure down into normal range.  I also feel 100% better emotionally after letting it out.

I have an amazing husband who “gets it” when it comes to my adoptee issues. (His post about this is the most popular one on this blog.) And yet, I know a cry in this fashion would leave him feeling helpless. He wouldn’t be able to stop it or fix it. It would only be an agonizing display for him to witness. As for my children, it would probably scare them to pieces.  But little do they know how much this private cry enables me to be the strong mom they know. 

Strength Gained In Releasing

Over twenty years ago, I experienced what is known as "secondary rejection" when my natural mother said no to reunion. The two years that followed before our eventual reunion were a time of intense private pain for me. During that time I was a young mom with two babies just a year apart, and served as a pastor on staff at a church.  One day when the babies were in their cribs napping and my husband was out on an errand, I was doing dishes at the kitchen sink, when all of a sudden my natural mother's refusal to meet with me was overwhelming. I collapsed at the kitchen sink, and lay on the floor wailing. As limp as a wrung out dishrag, I begged God to help me. 

He did. 

I got up off the floor and continued to be a strong woman, wife, mother and minister.  

Sometimes a cry will get you through.  

There is One who can handle the cry, is not freaked out, and doesn’t try to shhhush it. He cares so much about the tears, He bottles them.

“You keep track of all my sorrows.
      You have collected all my tears in your bottle.” Psalm 56:8

Ecclesiastes tells us there’s a time for everything.  I believe it.
There’s a time to cry with others.
And there’s a time to cry alone.    

 Crying isn’t a sign that we’re weak.

It’s necessary.
It’s healing.
It’s cleansing.

Adoptees, if you’re feeling the physical and emotional weight today and it’s just not lifting…try having a cry alone. Let it come out naturally in all it’s anguish without trying to quell it in any shape or form. When you’ve released what feels like every bit of liquid that can possibly come out of your eyes and your voice is hoarse from crying…you will feel a release.

And sometimes you need to cry, rinse and repeat. 

It’s okay.
Let it come as it is.
As many times as necessary.

Part of being strong is knowing when to let go.