Dear Dr. Archer,
For as long as I can remember, I have been an angry man. When I was a child, I had asthma, and the doctor instructed my parents to "not let him cry," which set a huge pattern in my life.
I have NEVER cried since -- not when my parents died, not when my sister was in a terrible accident -- never. What’s wrong with me?
You're not alone. Not everyone cries, as you can see by my letter from Peter, Why Did I Not Cry At My Father's Funeral? Different people have different ways of expressing sadness. Some cry and others simply don't. My bigger concern is why are you so angry?
I'd like you to figure that out. I suspect you’re primary coping emotion is anger - thus when your parents died, rather than sadness you felt anger.
Some folks have a primary emotion that they use in place of other emotions and this is rarely good. Since your parents would not allow you to cry, you used anger to take it’s place.
Now that you know that, you can take steps to correct it; the good news is that it's really is not that difficult to accomplish. Spend some time analyzing situations when they happen. When something sad occurs, realize that you are sad, not mad, and give yourself permission to express sadness.
Behaviors and emotions relate to what you learned many years ago, but they certainly can be changed. It's just going to take a little effort on your part.
As you learn to let go of this anger, Lou, you'll find you're a much happier person. Not only that, but physically you're going to be healthier. Lower blood pressure tops the list, while also feeling less depression and anxiety.
You'll attract more friends because you're going to have less hostility in your life. You'll have healthier relationships and an all around improved psychological well-being. What could be better than all that?
Take the time to discover the real you. I'm sure you'll like what you see. Good luck!