Despite a very long blog hiatus, let’s talk about something serious: vulnerability. Ok, so I just watched this TEDTalk that my therapist recommended to me and I’m still coming down from the feels that I got from it (I’ll post a link at the end). But think about it, how do you define vulnerability? And, how many people are actually willing to feel vulnerable?
Well, for one, the answer to second question is not me. Vulnerability can stem back to as far as being a toddler. Were you ever punished for throwing a fit when you were a toddler? Of course you were. Parents are consistently teaching us to numb our emotions or keep them to ourselves. Numbing our emotions is numbing our vulnerability. For whatever reason, being vulnerable is almost taboo. And so, as we continue to be punished for crying when we’re upset through childhood, we carry that into our adulthood. And during your adulthood, a lot of people will find themselves in situations where wanting to be emotionally vulnerable is out of the question. Crying in public is embarrassing because we don’t want the world to know that we’re feeling a certain way. Everyone is supposed to be happy, right?
But why do we have to be programmed to be this way? As a kid (as far as my very faded and repressed memories can tell me), I was never allowed to be upset or was always told that I was “overreacting.” This constant reminder to repress my emotions has scarred me to the point that disassociating is my way of numbing. I can’t feel vulnerable. It feels wrong, unsafe even. I’m always being punished for being vulnerable. I’m always being punished for displaying emotion.
Here’s a game changer: let’s call the previously mentioned person in my life “Sociopath.” Sorry, but that’s just how I feel and I’m sure he can agree to an extent. It’s not an insult, and it sounds harsh, but I’m permanently hurt by this person. This is the part in my blog where I should probably put out a trigger warning or a NSFW. So, if you keep reading this….
TRIGGER WARNING NSFW
BDSM relationships are complicated to say the least. I’ve semi recently found myself in situations where I’ve been forced to be vulnerable. This vulnerability, however, has to coincide with the trust that you put in the other person involved. For some people, this could be a really great thing. If you truly trust and love a person, you can be vulnerable around them and then a BDSM relationship will not be harmful. But unfortunately, there are times in which you think you trust a person, and then later realize that you shouldn’t have trusted them in the first place. With one individual, I was pushed to always be vulnerable, both physically and emotionally. I went with it. It was comforting to know that someone wanted to know how I was feeling. I pushed and pushed and always let them know I was feeling… until one day I realized that they had completely removed themselves from the relationship because they didn’t want me to be so emotionally vulnerable. I realized that being vulnerable was no longer an option for me. I had to numb myself. This spiraled into a crazy collection of alcoholism, self harm and then developing multiple personalities so that I could remove myself from any situation in which I felt too vulnerable. These alternate personalities would protect me. The alcohol would let me feel vulnerable without feeling bad.
Last night, while with someone that I’m not sure if I trust yet, I found myself in a position where I was trying to let myself be vulnerable and was then overwhelmed with a sense of distrust and disgust at how I let myself be so vulnerable. I felt bad for feeling bad. I wanted to cry. I wanted to let all of my disgusting and vulnerable emotions come pouring out but I couldn’t. I started hearing voices. Voices that told me how pathetic I was for feeling the way I was. The last thing I remember was taking out a pocket knife and stabbing my alter Alice (which was really just a carpet). There was blood everywhere. Alice was dead. Her constant whispering in my ear disappeared and my head was silent. Next thing I knew, I was in my car driving home. It turns out that I have another personality, Tyler, who in whatever realm in which personalities hang out, who also turns out to be Alice’s lover. I had a feeling there was another alter in there somewhere but he had never come into this realm. I know nothing about him and now I know that I don’t know my brain. But now I know that apparently I cannot be vulnerable.
The ability to be vulnerable is extremely valuable. It allows us to feel whatever we want to feel and not feel bad for doing so. It lets us connect with those around us. It helps us stay in the moment and not feel the need to push away negative (or positive) feelings, but instead, embrace them. Being vulnerable strengthens relationships, gives us self worth and lets us accept ourselves for how we are in any given moment. With the power of vulnerability, we no longer need to numb and always keep running from ourselves.
And here’s the link: https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability?language=en#t-1200539