Why do we cry harder when someone asks us what’s wrong?

In this article we will discuss a common phenomenon. We are going to explore the reasons why we tend to cry harder or more when someone asks us what is wrong.

In brief, the some of the reasons why we tend to cry harder and more when someone asks us what is wrong are:

  • Emotional build up
  • Shame
  • Sudden awareness
  • Relief through acknowledgement 

Let us take a closer look at this common emotional response and the reasons why we tend to cry more when asked what’s wrong. 

Emotional build up

Oftentimes, we human beings are not taught now to regulate our emotions. We are not taught what our emotions are nor are we guided on how to deal with them. 

So imagine that you are at a particularly stressful point in our lives, or it could even be a stressful day you have had. 

Stress not only affects you mentally but also physically- making you tired and in some cases in pain. 

So this adds to your already emotional state where we are tired out and unable to think rationally and optimistically. 

In moments such as these, where the stress overwhelms you, you are often emotionally exhausted or even strained. 

You may be feeling overwhelmed which may affect your work life, relationships, and your sense of self. This in turn adds to more stress.

This emotional state often spills over in the form of tears when someone else notices it and asks you what is wrong. 

There is nothing inherently “wrong” with you. It is just the simple fact that you have not been taught the skill of regulating your emotions like most people. 


At some point, being overwhelmed emotionally or stressed out becomes visible in the way you behave, think, feel, and relate to other people and the world around us and when someone else noticies it, it may cause you to negatively evaluate ourselves.

You might lash out on your family or on your co-workers without meaning to. It is a difficult thing to acknowledge that you are behaving in ways that you normally would not. 

You may feel out of control and find it difficult to recognize ourselves at that moment. Unregulated emotions often impact the way you think, this may lead you to evaluate your thoughts and behaviours as shameful.

You might even think ourselves as incapable of managing your own lives and thus lead you to react more emotionally once you realize that this has been observed by the people around you for fear of being judged and criticised. 

Sudden awareness

Another reason why you might react emotionally by crying harder or more when people ask you what is wrong is the sudden realization that you are having a hard time. 

Oftentimes we live life mindlessly and are unaware of the emotional stress that is often building up. This causes a lot of strain on our wellbeing both mentally and physically. 

Mindless living involves being unaware of the things that cause stress in your life and the things that bring you joy as well. 

Oftentimes we are so caught up in our own lives that we do not see what is going wrong or what is challenging us.

However, though you might not see it, there are many people who can take notice of our behaviour caused by the stressors in your life and it is when you take notice and bring your attention to the stress itself by those asking you what is wrong can be an overwhelming moment. 


Realizing that the life we are living or the things we are doing is causing our well being to decline can be a challenging thing to accept. ‘

When you do acknowledge the fact that your thoughts and behaviours often cause you much stress and pain, you may also feel remorseful towards yourself for letting things get to such a terrifying extent.

We often realize that we are immensely harsh with ourselves. Your expectations of yourself can be much harsher than that of the others around you.

Your demands of perfection might cause much stress. It is often the way we treat ourselves that leave us emotionally hurt. 

The realization that we are in some way hurting ourselves by allowing ourselves to stick to a certain way of life can be an insightful moment that causes a lot of regret and this remorse can find expression through tears of grief for our own selves.

Relief through acknowledgement 

We may have an emotional response to someone else acknowledging our pain. When our struggles, that we often try to hide from others, manifest in the way we treat ourselves; it would be a point where the issue has festered deep enough to affect your well-being. 

The challenges you face would be so overwhelming that it could be readily visible in the way you talk, the way you look, and the way you treat others. 

When an empathetic person is able to notice it and ask you what is wrong- it allows us what we may have been denying ourselves or what have been denied to us- acknowledgement and support

Realizing that there is someone who is enquiring about our well-being, asking us what is wrong, giving you a safe space to share your grief and stress can bring such a sense of relief that it might lead you to cry even more.

The relief of realizing that you are not alone and that there is support to help you make sense of what is wrong can cause an emotional reaction such as more tears as you being to share the burdens that you carry.

Frequently asked question related to “

Is it normal to cry when nothing is wrong?

Though crying is a normal emotional response to various situations and circumstances, frequent and uncontrollable crying can be indicative of a deeper problem. 

If you find yourself crying without any explanation to the point that it mentally and physically exhausts you and you are unable to meet the demands of your daily life- meaning that it negatively impacts your daily life- it could be time for you to seek our professional support.

Unexplainable emotional reactions that are out of proportion with respect to the stressor could be indicative of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, burnout etc.

Why is it harder to cry?

There could be many reasons why you find it difficult to cry. 

Some of these reasons could be:

  • Societal pressure

Some social pressures that people face is that if you cry you are weak. This is very common for men in general due to the societal constructs of masculinity. 

People are afraid of being judged for “acting like a child” if they are to have emotional reactions such as crying.

  • Internalized beliefs about crying

Due to past experiences related to crying- example, negative responses to crying such as ridicule- can also hinder one’s relationship with emotional expression. 

A person whose parents viewed crying as a sign of weakness or nuisance and has been taught as such may find it difficult to cry and to tolerate others crying because of what they have internalized in their earlier experiences. 

  • Fear of vulnerability

Society has often seen tears as a sign of weakness and have favored logical reasoning and reactions over emotional ones. This has often made people fearful of showing vulnerability in the presence of others for fear of being judged.

Why do I cry so easily when confronted?

Being confronted puts you in a high intensity situation because we may be overwhelmed with various emotions such as sadness, anger, guilt, frustration even. 

Often times when we do not have the skill to regulate our emotions and communicate the way we feel and the things we think we feel immense frustration with our own emotions. 

Crying allows us a breaking point, a medium to express the way we feel- it doesn’t necessarily signify a certain emotion which replaces the answer you have to the confrontation. 

Rather it reflects our frustration if we are unable to communicate the way we feel.It allows us to release these pent up emotions as a way to express oursleves. 

Why do I cry so easily?

Some reasons why you tend to cry easily as compared to others:

  • Lack of emotional regulation 

When a person is unable to regulate their emotions and keep their stress in check, it can often lead to pent up emotions. These emotions that could be almost bursting at the seams can cause emotional reactions even at slight triggers. 

  • Frustration and other emotions

You might already be stressed out and frustrated which could make you cry easier than others

  • Overly empathetic

It could be you are able to empathize with others more due to shared experiences which is why you cry easily than others. 

What happens if you can’t cry?

If you find yourself unable to cry at all, it could be indicative of suppression. Emotional suppression is usually present in people who have a hard time acknowledging their own emotions and thus making it harder to work through them. 

People with this particular challenge may find it hard to relate or empathize with others because of their own inability to connect with themselves. 

Emotional Suppression is often caused by the internalization that emotional expression is bad and crying is a sign of weakness. 

Working through these irrational beliefs could be the first step you take in dealing with your inability to cry.

Is it OK to cry everyday?

Crying everyday can be indicative of a problem. There is a possibility that people can cry everyday as a healthy exercise to regulate their emotions but this is done mindfully and with care. 

If you find yourself crying intensively without a reason that you are unaware of or because of a certain reason to the point you are unable to function normally. 

This means that you are unable to meet your daily tasks and requirements such as going to work, doing your assignments, eating well, sleeping well- for a long period of time (say more than three days) then it could possible unhealthy. 

If you have been crying everyday for more than two weeks and it has affected your life, it is time to seek professional help for a possible case of depre

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