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Is vulnerability a dirty word?


I had an interaction with someone I care about recently that made me feel really vulnerable. It basically made me feel like my heart was outside of my body and exposed to the elements and it was oh so very unprotected. It felt as though giving a piece of my heart to this person was giving them control over my very survival.

Dramatic? Perhaps but hey -I’m an Aries. We are one of the most dramatic of the Zodiac and we are also the most willing to punch someone in the throat if we feel threatened.

So when I had this interaction with this person I care about and I felt myself slip into vulnerability the most interesting thing happened. It triggered my fight or flight response. I wanted to cut and run. I wanted to ditch the friendship and whatever else was developing and move onto the next. Basically the same thing I’ve done with every relationship I’ve cared about.

It showed me something about myself. My “itchy feet” that I’ve talked about getting in relationships at around the three month mark, perhaps that was my gut response to feeling vulnerable and it was either shit or get off the pot time and if I wasn’t going to give my heart fully I needed to get the holy hell outa there. Which is what I did in each and every one of those relationships.

So here’s the question, how do I get past that? I keep doing the same thing when vulnerability happens and I keep not learning the why of it. I mean, I know why I feel scared of being vulnerable. I was in a twenty year marriage where there was financial abuse and physical and emotional withholding. I was vulnerable all the damn time, the worst occurring in the last ten years of the marriage. The last half of my marriage was spent never knowing if I was going to lose everything on any given day or if I was going to have my basic physical, financial or emotional needs met that day. It was always a game where he made all the rules and I was powerless. Now that I’m single I’m in complete control over my day to day need meeting. I know where my money goes and how much I can spend. I can comfort myself and I trust me with my heart. I know that my day to day needs will be met because I provide them. Full stop. End of paragraph.

This makes so much sense to me as I write it – why vulnerability is a trigger that makes me respond by running away and finding someone new to play with. The questions is, how do I fix it? How do I keep myself from running? How do I stop and invest in someone who is worth investing that kind of vulnerability in? What if I chose wrong? What if I trust the wrong one again? What if I choose and get hurt yet again? I would quite literally rather cut off my own limb than allow myself to be hurt again by another human being of the opposite sex. I would rather be alone and care for my own needs – I can trust me! I know I’ve always got my best interests at heart. Anyone else would require trust and being vulnerable and when I comes right down to it, I’m a huge chicken shit when push comes to shove and I need to hand my heart over to someone. I just can’t do it. Will I ever be able to do it? Will I be Single and Selfish forever?

These are my thoughts for the day. I know it’s not a normal blog post and I think part of me just wants to put this out there because it was a huge A-Ha for me today and I want to remember it. I also think a lot of other people hurting from divorce and unable to pull the trigger on trust will find they aren’t alone in feeling alone and scared of being vulnerable.

As always after trauma, divorce, betrayal, we are all a work in progress. I knew this knee injury was going to give me time to do the inner work and it turns out I was right. Here’s one piece of it right here in these words. The work. I may not know the answer, but at least now I understand the question and can pick it apart and maybe find my way through it to an answer some day.

Some day.

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