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November 18, 2018 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Personality

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Crying Singer


My mother is a strict church member and I went with her every Sunday to church. We sang a lot of songs in this place. Even then I remember getting teary-eyed by singing church songs. I was not sad, I just don't know why that happened.

15 years later I still get teary when I hear some of the same songs, and I almost always get misty when I sing anything--pop, hymns, top 40, doesn't matter. My father was a good man, but never went with us to worship because he didn't believe in her religion.

Why do I get teary-eyed whenever I sing any song?

Jeannie (25 year-old woman) from Michigan



Yours is a fascinating question. Thank you.

My guess is that singing unconsciously "holds" all kinds of memories for you. While you may not actually bring the feelings and thoughts of singing with your mother in church to your conscious mind when you sing, they, nevertheless are there, just below the surface of your conscious understanding.

For so many years, singing in church (and whatever it involved - maybe dressing up, getting ready, going along with your mother, seeing other church members), offered you a repetition of actions over time which you internalized as "singing". In that way, singing actually means more to you than it does to most other folks. To you, singing means all that those church times were for you - structure, guidance, beauty, faith, and probably, even your mother's love.

Although you did not (and do not) feel sad when you sing, it's likely that you may have had a longing for your father to be a part of these memories, because they are so rich for you.

My opinion is that singing taps into much of who you are on a very deep and personal level. In some ways, singing may make you feel vulnerable and open, since, when you sing you connect with the child you were in church with your mother. Feeling vulnerable could easily lead you to get misty eyed.

Maybe this insight can comfort you when you begin to feel self-conscious or anxious when you have tears running down your face as you sing. My guess is that they are tears of love, joy and strength.

While it's very common for people to be moved to tears by music, they usually do not have such a clear way to understand why they are. You have been given, I think, a wonderful gift. By singing, you can be transported to some of the most important and self-defining moments of your childhood.

Sing out!

Margaret "Peg" Burr , MA, MFT

This question was answered by Margaret "Peg" Burr . She is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFC34374) with a private practice in Santa Clarita (near Los Angeles). She performs psychodynamic psychotherapy with individual adult clients as well as couples, teens, and families. She also runs groups for adults and adolescents. Her specialty area is Object Relations Systems Theory. This branch of psychodynamic psychotherapy uses a client's interpersonal relationships as windows into his or her intrapsychic structure.

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