No need to cry about it

What is your problem?

I’ve always found it odd that very young children cry. I think “What have you got to cry about? You have no responsibilities. You can play all day. You’re intellectually a simpleton, so there’s little chance of getting bored and the littlest things can keep you entertained. You have no concept of morality, and the normals haven’t even infected you with the misery they live with yet, so you can quite literally do whatever you want. Compared to this, the rest of your life is going to be a disaster zone. Wait until high school! Wait until mortgages and bill repayments and supermarkets and annoying coworkers. Wait until you’re mopping up the sick and poo of your own child, and wondering why they’re always fucking crying. Wait until you’re old, and your body and mind both start decaying before you’ve finished using them, and you keep putting baking soda in your tea and your cat in the dishwasher. These, your carefree days of childhood, are the good times. It’s all down hill from here. And yet, there you are – bawling like a, well, like a baby.”

Then someone was kind enough to point out: “they have no other way of communicating.” Of course! It’s obvious. Silly me. But that is true primarily of babies, and it does beg the question as to why psychopathic babies (God, is that even a thing? A little cherub from hell come to devour your life savings and personal freedom.) don’t cry. Psychopaths are good communicators, or at least they’re good at communicating their needs to others and getting those others to provide for them, so why don’t they cry? That’s not rhetorical. Hey, I don’t have all the answers!

Still, once we get into late toddlerhood, most kids have been talking for a couple of years and are getting quite good at it, and especially at asking questions. And we’re still in “Everything in life is great” territory, so what’s with the crying? Note that we’re talking genuine tears here, not tantrums or other such manipulations. Why do they cry with emotion?

Now, having met and spoken with at least one person claiming to be an “empath”, the answer to this puzzle might be teased. I am still skeptical as to the existence of empaths, i.e. people with an abnormally heightened empathy such that they can almost read minds (or certainly hearts, if hearts be the organ of emotion). To me, it all sounds a bit Star Trek, a bit Deanna Troi. But I’ve met and spoken with a self-proclaimed empath, and since I’m the one claiming to be something most people believe only exists in slasher films, who am I to judge?

Worst counsellor ever.

According to the empath, most people are noisy. She doesn’t mean that they’re loudmouths (although I would attest to that also being the case), but that they’re emotionally noisy. Apparently, most people give off a kind of aura of emotion and for this empath at least the aura manifests itself as noise. Maybe the ‘noise’ is just metaphorical and other empaths choose to use more visual or tactile descriptors of auras, or maybe it’s all bullshit. I don’t know, but what I do know is that I am apparently not noisy. I am very quiet. Being around me, says the empath, is calming. Being around me is like when she’s alone. She can just be who she is, and focus on her own mind and her own emotions, without a constant onslaught coming from other people.

I have never denied that I have emotions; all humans are by their nature emotional beings. But I have noticed over the years that mine are more level and altogether less bumpy than others’. I don’t get wound up easily, I don’t jump with fright, I don’t go to pieces under stress – indeed if anything adverse circumstances excite me and get me fired up. Knowing this about myself, and have it be recognised by this empath unprompted, does give a clue as to why, even in infancy, a psychopath may be far less prone to crying than others. The frequent crying of even children old enough to speak may not be nearly as much of a puzzle to others as it is to me; and indeed, given the apparently different emotional worlds we inhabit, this, I suppose, is to be expected.

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