getting emotional

Paola Pedarzani paola at
Sat Aug 14 13:11:37 EST 1993

In article <1993Jul30.164435.15343 at>, klier at
> In article <CAzuCo.KK6 at>, ejohnson at (Liz Johnson) writes:
> > In article <1993Jul30.184506.18198 at> samodena at (S. A. Modena) writes:
> >>
> >>My experience is that women crying in the academic/scientific work place is
> >>not as rare as it ought to be....and some (like me) regard it as
> >>outright blackmail behavior.
> > 
> > Some advice for the undergrad who asked about it: if you're like me,
> > once the initial dam bursts, you will be able to stop crying and say
> > whatever was on your mind. A suggestion I've heard is to say "could
> > you excuse me for a moment" and then go someplace close where you can
> > regain control. At that point you can re-enter the conversation and 
> > apologize by saying "I'm sorry I had to leave, but this subject
> > is very important to me, because ..." and you're off on what you
> > wanted to say. Trying to stay in the conversation while crying is
> > probably not good because it makes people uncomfortable.
> I agree: Liz's advice is very sound.
> Steve, a few years ago I was up for nearly 48 hours straight with a
> suicidal friend.  I stopped in to the lab to get someone to cover
> my night lab...  I started crying when asking a male colleague to
> cover for me, just out of the sheer stress of the situation.  His
> reaction: he handed me a box of kleenex, then said he felt honored 
> that I wasn't afraid to cry in front of him.  I doubt very much if
> he felt blackmailed.  
> Kay Klier

Hi you all,

I've just started reading this newsgroup and I find it surprisingly
I must admit I've always tried to avoid "only-women" groups, because I
don't like to be judged or taken into consideration  just because I'm a
woman (the same reason that pushes some women to reject appointments when
they discover they were given not on the basis of merit but just for sake
of equality).
Anyway, I must change my mind thanks to this newsgroup. I'll subscribe and
hope to get new friends.

Concerning emotional outbursts in the professional environment, I would
like to report a very similar experience to the one  told by Kay.
Last spring I went through a series of very distressing disadventures in my
private life, and once I had such an outburst with my supervisor. I must
specify that he's very close to the "ideal" supervisor. In our relationship
there is a good level of confidence and reciprocal respect and trust,
without any sort of ambiguous fellings or invadence in any field. Well,
after my "crisis" he thanked me because he felt "honoured" that I chose him
as confident and trust him enough.
In general, I'm not the kind of person who can hide emotions. I try to
control them not to distress my colleagues and friends too much, but I
think one should try to find a kind of balance. Over-control is not
necessarily the right solution; I had a fantastic breakthrough in the
relationship to myself and my friends when I started "living" and enjoying
my emotions instead of constantly hiding and repressing them. Sometimes
it's nice to see how people around feel releaved in seeing that  other
people have similar emotions; it's easier to get in touch. The other side
of the coin is that some people may try to exploit your emotional side,
manipulating you. Personally, I often take the risk now.

As for crying in order to manipulate people around, I don't know anybody
doing it consciously. Children are using "cry" to obtain attention or other
things. Adults may use tears as an "unconscious" psychological blackmail in
special conditions.

I would like to add that, after reading some of your postings on sexual
harassment, I feel very lucky, since neither in Italy, nor in Germany and
Norway  I have never experienced it (in Italy I had a bad experience at the
high school, but the teacher was clearly a psychopat). Up to now I've
always reached my goals without feeling discriminated because of my sex,
but this could be due to the fact that I'm still in the very beginning of
my scientific career (I'm MD, working now on my PhD), so I did never have
to compete for important positions.
Or maybe being a "rough and tough" girl (as a colleague defined me some
time ago) sometimes helps.

Talk to you!
Hilsen fra Oslo

Paola Pedarzani - The Patcher - Institute of Neurophysiology
University of Oslo - P.B.1104 Blindern -  0317 Oslo    Norway
Tel.: (+47) 22851252 - priv. (+47) 22920707    ***********

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