Thursday, May 11, 2006

Vulnerability

Vulnerability is a hard trait to show when you’ve been hurt before. Sometimes a person can come off as ‘tough’ or ‘stoned face’ when it comes to revealing how they feel; when in fact, a lot of emotions are flowing through them. There’s a saying, “…Love like you’ve never been hurt before.” I don’t know who quoted that, but it’s a hard rule to live by. Our memory gets stuck in the past sometimes, not letting ourselves be free with the ones we care about the most. Are we scared that every single person is out to hurt us? Why do we think that one person may act like another person from the past? Each person is different—with different feelings.

For a lot of us, it’s difficult to trust someone. ‘Well, I’ve heard this story before and it all sounds the same to me’ kind of attitude. Why are we placing blame on the person we’re currently with? Why do we expect everyone that comes into our lives to hurt us? Is it a self-defense mechanism? Or do we choose to close ourselves up and let no one in?

I built a huge wall when I was younger. I was devastated by a woman whom I was deeply in love with. The pain was so intense, that I nearly shut down and became emotionless. My relationships were unstable and unpredictable due to my lack of trust for anyone. This even trickled over into my friendships and relationships with my family. It was almost as if I was paranoid. “They're out to get me!” Someone I cared for and loved intentionally hurt me. I don’t know why she did this, or what her motive was, but it hurt. I forgave her, and moved on with my life, but the memories are still there. They've faded out like a scar from the past.

My pain turned into other people’s problems. I’m talking about the people I got involved with afterwards. I lied, I cheated and I treated some people in my life unfairly. They got the wrath of my resentment and pain from the past. Did I do this intentionally? Not to my knowledge, but looking back it was done because of what I went through. I held a shield up to protect me and kept a sword on my side at all times in case I needed to inflict emotional pain upon someone who 'I thought' deserved it. My behavior and jealousy rages were a force to be reckoned with. I was a complete mess. I also hurt a few people that never deserved to be in that position to begin with. For that, I am sorry.

And no, this is not an AA 12 step program apology—so get that right out of your little noggins right now. This is, however, an apology to those I have been with either on a friendship level or an intimate level, to whom I hurt emotionally. I’m not blaming my behavior on the people of my past. I’m blaming my behavior due to the lack of maturity on my part for not deciphering the difference between other people’s actions, and the way I handled each situation. ‘You’ had nothing to do with it. My reckless behavior may have hurt ‘you’, but it hurt me more in the end. My intentions were not to destroy your level of trust for the people in your life. Even though I piled on the bricks and layered that wall nice and thick so that no one else could penetrate it—you still have the ability to knock it down. I’m not saying to let down your guard; I’m simply stating that not everyone is ‘me’.

42 comments:

Saur♥Kraut said...

You make excellent points. The only think I'd argue is that we can be wary and not be jaded.

There's no doubt I'll be wary in future relationships (no, I don't think the current one will last) but I will try to be objective and treat each possibility as fairly as possible, too. I'll just be able to identify the difficulties sooner than before.

normiekins said...

you just inspired me.....!

Mike said...

We all build up walls to some extent..mine currently consists of straw.

Sue said...

Deb, got here from CP's. It takes a very big person to admit this type of pain and/or behavior. It sounds like you have come full circle from the pain being inflicted on you to the pain you have inflicted to the person you are today. Bravo!!!

messiah said...

you got heart kid. that's a tough one to work through, and tougher to stand up and admit. way to clean house.

TrappedInColorado said...

“There out to get me!” should be “They're out to get me.” .. see what Kettle One will do to the grammaritious stem of the brain? Level actually improves and expands it. I'm just saying....

Oh. As far as the post. My ex-fiance broke off our engagement 5 years ago and I still keep people at arms length. The pain was horrendous. As you know. It's natural to flinch when feelings for someone begin. I hope someone will come along that will blow me out of that mind set and help me to jump in with both feet. I want to get wet again!

Ã…sa said...

Deb! I know from experience that if someone hurt you or in other ways let you down when you are young: it takes a long time (if ever) to recuperate and not let that effect your actions. All your friends and x-lovers will hopefully come to realize this as well! You are not to blame. Blame doesn't help anybody anyway. And sometimes we think our bad behaviour was worse than it actually was. Start liking the person you have become instead. I know I like the person you've become ;-) Happy thoughts coming your way!

Grant said...

Speaking for the neo-Satanic cannibalistic front, we'll forgive you if you start responding to everyone's comments the way you once did. We miss interacting with you. And there are millions of us and one of us could be sneaking up on you right n-OMFG LOOK OUT BEHIND YOU!

Okay, false alarm. This time. :p

GirlGoyle said...

I think we tread careful waters because ultimately we seek out the same relationships or people types we got hurt by. The perennial "I'm going to fix him" attitude. Hard to learn that you can't change someone. I for one, have an incredible magnet for total and complete emotion lacking assholes. Even Dr. Phil couldn't fix that. Eh what to do!

~Deb said...

Saur…I guess it’s normal for us to be wary and cautious. But sometimes it’s nice to be comfortable with the concept of becoming vulnerable again.

Normie…I hope in a good way!

Mike… Straw is better than brick!

Sue…I guess it is a vicious circle of pain we inflict on one another on a psychological matter, but the weight of ‘guilt’ I held was a bit much. Thanks for stopping by!

Messiah… Thank you. Not just trying to clean house, but apologizing to those people out there who read my blog, who have been affected by my behavior as well. Friends and ex’s. Thanks!

Trapped… What do you mean? It should be “They’re”, ……that was in there already. I see, you’ve been drinking the cheap stuff, huh? Stick to Ketel One and your grammar will be perfecto!
On another note, I am sorry that you went through that type of break up. You’ll be back in the saddle in no time.

Asa… That’s what I have been trying to do---being better to myself and forgiving myself—which I have. Now I want to apologize and for my victims to forgive me…even if they still ‘are’ friends with me this current day. Conversations like those don’t really sit well with me. So I blog, and hopefully they’ll read what I have to say. Thanks Asa… {{hugs}}

~Deb said...

Grant… Sometimes in my posts, I’ve already ‘said my peace’ and feel weird about commenting on certain things back… But I try to comment to everyone because I appreciate everybody’s input. Especially to my neo-Satanic cannibalistic buds!

Girlgoyle…You are so right. Sometimes we even try to duplicate the ex! Ha! That’s so true. You can’t change anyone. You have to just accept them for who they are. If you can’t---then it’s a huge sign to leave that relationship whether it’s a friendship basis or intimate one.



Sorry if my comments are coming in late----you guys are jumping ahead of me so it makes me appear that I am not commenting back....bear with me. :)

TrappedInColorado said...

OMG! I had no idea Kettle One made you a liar! :) Ofcourse, you have perfect spelling. I obviously misread that typeo 10 times straight. You were right, dear. Yes, dear. Whatever you say, dear.

Peace

~Deb said...

OMG! I can’t believe you’re getting all delusional on that cheap moonshine you’ve been sipping down in that fancy martini glass of yours. You even read it ten times straight. That’s a lot of effort for one word! ;)

TrappedInColorado said...

Pffftt!!! I'll get you my pretty! And your little dog too! I need to come out there and have a blind taste test. We'll both drink 4 martinis, 2 made with your cheap shit and 2 with my quality stuff. Now, that in of itself, will prove nothing but it will be a wonderfully flawed experiment. You up for it or are you chicken?

Should we be airing our argument in public like this? I'm just saying....

~Deb said...

Bring it Colorado man! Beware, I have alcoholism that runs in the family. I'll be sure to bring my AA meeting with me as well.

Awaiting your arrival my friend. ;)

Heather said...

The worst thing I ever did in my life was hurt someone I cared about because of my reactions to how other people had treated me. Had nothing to do with him and everything to do with me. Took me a long time to forgive myself.

Takes a brave person to admit when they are wrong and apologize for it.

nosthegametoo said...

To my knowledge, I’ve been unfair once, and reckless once, in the handling of another person’s heart. Although, these specific two instances are the two that I acknowledge.

Truth be told, there certainly is the possibility that I have been unfair to more hearts than I am aware. But I can definitely say that I haven’t been malicious to anyone. Cruelty is not a game I play. When I see that someone has a cruel streak, I being the process of moving away from them. Soon enough, they are out of my life.

I can really identify with this one. No wonder I think of you as one of the most sophisticated thinkers in blog-land.

Peace and Love

TrappedInColorado said...

Email me a date, time and place and I'll be there. Don't believe me? Just try me. Chicken! ;)

Peace

say it hot said...

I love reading your blog because you make me turn inside of myself and consider, study, and critique my own behaviors and patterns. This makes me a better person, even though it is hard to face my shortcomings.

I am currently on the recieving end of my ex, a person who is behaving very similarly to what you describe in your entry. Reckless, impetuous, and uncontrolled.

Reading your apology to those from your past is serving up a spoonful of comfort, because it gives me hope that she will one day realize what you have written. That she will develop and progress and look below the surface of herself and her relations.

Her walls may be up, but they are built on a cracked foundation.

Up until today I gave her a standing offer to help her rebuild when they finally crash in on her, and at any other time. Today I realized I am not capable of offering that to her anymore.
The offer stands no more.

I have my own walls and vulnerabilities to deal with.

AWE said...

I can't begin to tell you the things that I did to women after one of my breakups. I was a very bad person. I would go out with all intentions of using and abusing a woman's emotions. I finally realized I was taking everything out on everyone else when I needed to deal with the problem internally. I go into relationships with a better attitude now but I still have the ability to bring out the bad side if needed. If someone does me wrong now I can usually get the best of them in the end.

~Deb said...

Heather… Thank you. It has everything to do with forgiving yourself. I’m glad you realized that. We’re too hard on ourselves a lot of the times.

Nosthegametoo… Well your blog certainly explains a lot about the human behavior as far as relationships goes as well as the whole ‘game playing’ thing is started. Always thought provoking when I visit. You can usually detect that cruel streak in the very beginning…their true colors show in certain circumstances.

Trapped…Meet me at the Winn Dixie at 2pm in midtown Manhattan. I have to pick up a few things.

Say it hot… Since I know you personally, I have to say I admire your strength and your ability to forgive and forget the past. It takes a lot to do that. I’m sure from ‘what I know’ and from what you tell me, that your ex is hurting very badly right now due to how things turned out. I hope the both of you are able to heal, and move on with your lives. The both of you are wonderful people that unfortunately took a turn for the worst.
Thanks for sharing that on my blog sweetie. {{hugs}}

~Deb said...

Awe... Well that's the past and I think it's safe to say that we all went through that turmoil in our heads. I used to do that 'I'll break up with you before you dump me' type of behavior. It never worked out in my favor because I always ended up wanting them back. Totally backfired! ha...my luck!

Grant said...

Dear ~Deb,

Please respond to this comment.

Thank you.

Adorable Girlfriend said...

You have a lovely blog. I also enjoyed your point over at that nutter Dani's site.

~Deb said...

Grant… Responded. We cool?

Adorable Girlfriend… Thank you. Sorry you had to endure that.

Valkyrie said...

I recently found my birth mother (long story) and she told me flat out that she did not want anything to do with me. I think her hateful words nearly destroyed who I am. The hurt became an 'abscess' and the poison affected me deeply. Not just me--the pain leaked out onto my friends. I didn't know what was wrong with me. I didn't even realize the rejection was the cause. All I knew was that I couldn't stop the hurt. The more I tried to stop it, the worse the pain and anger grew in me.

Anyway, I started flipping out-- I saw everything as a personal insult because my fear of being rejected pushed every rational thought out of me. Yet at the same time, I *thought* wanted to be loved so bad. Go fig. I took it out on me, but I regret taking it out on my friends. I'm not making excuses; I deserved every bad thing that came back to me because of my nuttiness.

I had to have a slap in the face to wake me up. After much soul-searching, I discovered that I was trying to find a way to love myself. I realized that loving myself was a choice I had to make if I wanted to move on, to get out of the abyss of misery I dwelt in. I also came to the conclusion that it was her own misfortune if she didn't want to talk to me. In fact, I'm better off not knowing her.

As I look back now, I think I wasn't looking for others to love me. I just wanted to come to terms with the fact that I deserve happiness every bit as much as the next person.

Sorry for the long comment, but this post made me think.

Cheetarah1980 said...

Wow! I just wrote about something so similar early last week. Signs The need to protect yourself from getting hurt is innate. And when you sense danger that you've seen before, it's natural to react to it.

Bent Fabric said...

It's insightful of you to recognize it and brave of you to do something about it.

I'm struggling with my own issues in that department.

P.S. I like your blog.

~Deb said...

Valkyrie… Of course there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s normal to feel hurt and rejected by someone you wouldn’t expect. It’s painful and has an affect on our emotional wellbeing. I’m sorry you had to go through that—and I thank you for sharing that with me and my buddies. The truth is, we all want to feel loved. We all want to feel ‘needed’. It’s human nature. You’re “okay”.

Cheetarah… It’s hard to protect ourselves and be vulnerable at the same time. I’m trying to get over that hurdle. It’s taken a while, but it’s getting there. I have to read that post! Thank you.

Bent Fabric… Daria!!!... Used to love that cartoon. Thanks for stopping by… I think it’s safe to say that we all have issues to some degree in that department.

Valkyrie said...

It took me a surprisingly long time to accept that I was normal (though slightly neurotic) and ok.

I love being me. I love being ok.

Casually Me said...

Normal. That word has frightened me more than any other word, with the possible exception of no.

kathi said...

I learned the basic instinct of protecting myself from those who were suppose to love and protect me as a child...so walls comes naturally to me. I don't know if I've every learned to totally trust anyone completely. I'm not sure I regret it either, after having witnessed so many people in my life go through heartache.

Anonymous said...

Good points Kathi,

I am new to the blogisphere and was wondering, Deb, how you got your graphics that are part of your title on your blog? What part of the blog template do you insert them into?

In need of a quick fix.

~Deb said...

Valkrie… Who wants to be normal?

Casually… Amen!

Kathi… Heartache is sometimes—well most of the time inevitable. We just have to be comfortable with who ‘we’ are first in order to accept anything that happens in the future. I still have issues with trust, but it’s getting better.

Anonymous… Welcome! I have no clue how to do any graphics. I am technically challenged. Another very nice blogger helped me out with my header. I am assuming that she hosted it to photobucket and then linked it in the header or ‘footer’ (am I correct techies?) As far as placing things on the sidebar, just get the html code and insert it into your template. Sorry I couldn’t help you out more—I’m still lost myself! And this blog is BLAND compared to others out there.

~Deb said...

Anonymous, you can also inquire about technical HTML codes and how to use them correctly by searching in Google, and also www.blogexplosion.com has a message board where other bloggers help people out with technical stuff. Try that. It helped me with inserting my html codes.

kathi said...

and deb...was wondering how you get your whites so...well, white?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Deb, I will check out those sites.

Madelene Rose said...

this is an amazing entry! I totally understand what you mean. This is strange because I am going through the whole thing now... apoligizing and stuff. This hits home, dear..

Ciao bella!

LisaBinDaCity said...

Yup, vulnerability is a tough one. For me as well. I was once told I had higher walls than anyone they had ever met. I guess they were needed at some point, right?

Casually Me said...

Deb...swing by my blog...morgellons disease? One more reason to be really freaked out..just don't go to Texas...

Natalia said...

To me there is no other way to be than vulnerable...because to me vulnerable means open but not weak. I don't know that it makes sense to anyone else than me. And maybe I am just taking poetic license to allow it to mean to me what I need it to mean...or maybe there is not better word to describe it. Hmmmm. Weird.

-N

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

“Love as if you have never been hurt (by Love)” is only part of the quote, Deb. Supposedly Mark Twain wrote: “"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth." I suppose that’s an excellent description of living vulnerably.

When I was in seminary, vulnerability was stressed to us over and over. Even though I was almost middle-aged when I entered seminary, I admit that I really didn’t understand what the professors were talking about.

I suppose that I kept running through my mind the last stanza of Henley’s “Invictus”:

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

I know now that I didn’t understand that poem then—what it means to be the “master” of one’s fate—any more than I understood what it means to be vulnerable.

I comprehend both must better now.