I absolutely hate showing vulnerability. Hearing the word itself just terrifies the shit out of me…..
Last night, I had a soul to soul convo with a guy friend of mine and he discussed this issue with me–and how I need to start learning how to show it because it is intefering with my relationships, particulary with men.
He just may be on to something…
In my post Miracles do happen…., I share a small bit of my childhood. There is a lot left out but I think I said enough to where you can put the pieces together of what it was like. I don’t have problems sharing details with trusted people in private but for obvious reasons, I’d rather not share specifics in a public blog posts.
I was around 10-11 when I made the concious effort to never show vulnerability anymore. It was during a traumatic episode and I wanted to cry-but decided that I was NOT ever going to give that person the satisfication of watching me do that again. In addition, I was tired of also having other people laugh and make fun of me everytime I allowed my emotions to flow out. So I learned how to “swallow it” and put on my “tough girl suit”.
It was a survivor tool that I had to develope in order to get through my life.
Fast forward to my adulthood…
Those survivor skills carried over with me. Except that I had them so fine tuned that I became an emotionally unavailable person that became easily detachable and afraid of committment.
The one time that I did allow myself to become open in my adult life ended up breaking my heart
So the walls came up again even stronger then before.
Today, I have awesome friends and family that would do anything for me and I am very much loved. However, that wasn’t always the case. For many years, I was alone with very little to no support so I also became very self reliant-to a fault.
I had to fight and scape and crawl myself out of many very dark lonely black holes all by myself. It all helped me become a much stronger person and has gotten me very far in my career. In addition, I ve become to be known as the “strong” one that family and friends always come to for help-the “one” with enough courage etc to stand up and fight for them and jump in and solve their problems and take care of bad situations.
However, I have also been single and out of a long term relationship for 16 years..16 years.
The past year or so and especially in the past several months, I have been doing a lot of soul searching and self discovery. I’m not one of these women that blame men for failed relationships etc. I prefer to take responsibility for my own actions and see how I set the ball rolling instead.
Don’t get me wrong. I get asked out frequently and I have a lot of men that express interest in me and try and pursue me. I also have had many “short term ” relationships so I’m not exactly a total loner.
It’s just that I ve gotten so independent that I don’t like to bother with the ones that I initaly don’t like. Unlike most, I know exactly what I want. My intuition and sence of people are pretty strong so it’s not neccesary for me to waste time getting involved in something that I already know won’t work out. I pick up on red flags rather quickly and in my gut, I just know. My time is very valuable and I’m very busy so I just don’t have time to throw away. I get a lot of criticism from my friends on this but they are not the ones living my life or walking in my shoes. I’m not going to settle!
It takes someone really awesome and special to grab (and hold ) my attention. I have to have that “bam” to stop me in my tracks and make me take notice. Unfortunately, I rarely find that and when I do, it’s not recipicated.
I know myself-I know myself very, very well. So I am aware that there are things that I ve done and/or maybe still doing that contributes to me pushing men away.
This past couple of years and especially the past few months, I have grown tremendously and I am so proud of myself for it. However, I feel like there is still a “missing piece” per say. It’s as if “it’s” almost there ready to come together for me but that one little piece is holding it back.
So returning back to my conversation with my friend…
My friend is incrediably spiritual and insightful. He told me that when I don’t show vulnerablility it gives men the impression that I’m “too strong” and that I don’t need them and that it can be very initimatding and a turn off for them. It may also send off vibes that I may be detached and appear to not be “real”.
He went on to tell me that I also need to open myself up more and share more of what I’ve been through with others.
I have been very open with sharing about my depression, sobriety and other traumatic events. So, at first, I couldn’t understand why he was telling me that. I started thinking that yes, even though I have shared that, I’m not really sharing about my feelings-only events.
On some occasions, I do share my feelings but it’s in writing-it’s never face to face with someone. In my writings, I “let it out” but then afterwards I quickly shut them down again
I hate showing vulnerbility!!!
One of the reasons, I think, is because I was laughed and teased so much as a kid. Also, though, I want to be treated as a normal person. I don’t want people seeing me as some sort of a victim of circumstance and/or have anyone pity me in any kind of way. To be honest, there’s also a part of me that is afraid that some people will judge me or see me in a way that I don’t want to be seen in.
Despite all that I have been through, I REFUSE to victimize myself! Life is what it is and it’s your choice as to how you deal with it. I chose to deal with it by letting it make me stronger to get further in life and to help others who are struggling with the same things.
So in my mind, to show my feelings and emotions is some sort of a submission.
I do fully understand though that this “coping mechanism” is not always healthy and the older I get I do see how it inteferes with my relationships and interactions with people.
My personal goal is to continue to grow and to continue to let my guard down. I very much want to be with someone one day. An amazing great guy that I can emotionally be there for. Someone that I can do life with side by side. I want to be that great awesome girl that is the answer to someone’s prayer…and I want him to be the answer to mine.
However, I’m scared but I can not exactly pin point what it is that scares me so much.
Last Sunday, my Pastor said something that caught my attention. “There is always something great waiting on the other side of fear” That planted a seed in my mind that stayed with me all day.
Later that evening, is when I had the talk with my friend.
Looking back, I ‘m starting to see how things lined up to bring me to where I am right now-where I need to be. For a long time, I’ve been asking for God to guide me and show me what I need to do to grow some more because I knew I was not done yet…and here I am.
Maybe my friend is right….and that “missing piece” is that I need to stop “putting on a front” and to overcome my fear of exposing myself.
As I said, I desperately want to be able to have that “guy” and to have all my pieces of my puzzle together.
In order to do that, I need to finally break down……as much as I hate too….I mean really, really hate to…..I feel that I do need to do this to get to that “something great” on the other side.
Here are some things that I’ve never shared:
- Overwhelmed. I get overwhelmed a lot. I am very busy and commute almost 2 hours a day for work. My house and yard is entirely too big for just me and my daughter. Its very difficult to try to keep up and it breaks me down sometimes. I also have too much pride to invite people over when it’s not as clean as I want it to be. However, I have recently found someone to help me–and it took a lot for me to ask for help
- My weight. It goes up and down and when it’s on the upside, my self confidence plummets and it keeps me from dating
- My left eye. The muscles and nerves in my left eye is messed up. It doesn’t always move like it should. I got laughed at and picked on a lot because of this when I was a kid. People, adults, sometimes laugh at me to this day–and he hurts. These same people would probally not laugh at anyone that is disabled but I’m fair game for some reason. This has always held my self esteem back and made me feel like I wasn’t good enough when I was younger-and sometimes still now.
- I pretend like things don’t bother me when in fact they do. Like when a guy I like starts seeing someone else. I’ll wish him well and play “tough girl” but the truth is that I’m crushed and disappointed on the inside. I m also scared that I am going to end up old and alone.
- I have a tooth that needs to be fixed. This really, really bothers me and at this time, I can not afford to have it done because of my daughter’s graduation expenses. I always hope that no one notices it especially at my office.
So there you go…
I’m now sitting at my kitchen counter, fully clothed, but yet feel completely stripped.
I must admit, there is a little more lightness in my heart now and it wasn’t as bad as I thought that it would be…
Here’s to the start of finding that “something great” on the other side…