Being Vulnerable

As I try to figure out how not to push people in my life away and how to be open to a new and real relationship, I sought advice from two people who know me all too well--my ex-husband and my mom. Both of them told me that I need to be more vulnerable. Moi? Not vulnerable? Hard to believe! Yeah, right! LOL!

My ex and I were talking about our oldest son hitting on a 22 year-old hairstylist. I said it was good that he learn early since he'll need a woman to take care of him. He made the comment that no one should ever have to depend on another because that doesn't work. I explained that it didn't for me, but I thought it had for him. He said it hadn't. That led me to ask if this imbalance made it harder for him or made him feel like less of a man. Here is what he said:

No it didn't make me feel like less of a man to have someone take care of me, but it does do something when the couple doesn't split it evenly...You might consider giving in a little control to the guy though. You are a very dominant girl and that might scare a lesser man. I was such a MACHO MAN...LOL.

You are afraid to be vulnerable again

I wanted sensitivity from you and I became the sensitive one as a result....If you harden your heart and won't put it out there...then it will never happen.

Hmmm...I don't know how to be vulnerable unless I am feeling weak and I don't like to feel weak. I think that allowing a man to pick me up, take me places, open doors for me and pay for it all is being vulnerable. Boy, do I have a lot to learn. My independence and need to be in control were in place long before I met my ex. I knew that before our separation in 2001, that was the #1 thing I had done wrong all along...I had been the one in charge, paid for everything, took care of everything--him included--but then resented that I had to be all of that. It was self-imposed and neither of us ever spoke of it as a problem. I tried to turn that around when we got back together in 2002. I wanted to be a princess and treated like one to some degree, but he wanted me to be what I had always been even though he hated it, too. It's hard to break free from what you've always known. We'd learned in counseling that he'd gone from his dad's control to mine because that is what he "needed".

In 2010, we both had a lot of tears and a lot of hard times because of our time together. At the same time, we've both had a lot of healing take place. He still tells me he's sorry for what he did to me and the kids because of his own selfishness. As much as he still can irritate the heck out of me, he has grown a lot. I am very happy for him. At the same time, I can also be a little sad because he's found someone special and I am still waiting for my someone special. I know that when it's right it will happen, but it's not easy when all you've ever wanted is to be with someone...to have someone all your own...someone to love you and be loved by you.

So, I found this article on Livestrong.com about becoming vulnerable and I am going to learn how to put myself out there. I was vulnerable once, and I know it will shock you, but it was with my SAM. No wonder when I met DK I kept my mouth shut and listened and interacted with him on what he wanted to say rather than to open myself up to him. According to the article, this is why people avoid being vulnerable:

* Basic self-survival.
* Basic insecurity and lack of self-confidence.
* Lack of trust in self and others.
* Fear of the unknown or of uncharted waters.
* Lack of forgiveness and inability to forget past hurts, injustices and pain.
* An overwhelming need for personal privacy and confidentiality (illustrating insecurity).
* Denial, unresolved grief, self-deceit, lack of personal awareness or refusal to face life the way it is.
* Discomfort with change, lack of acceptance of change and unwillingness to change.
* Unwillingness to unmask one's true emotions or reactions to life.
* Lack of acceptance of self for who I am, what I am able to do, and who I am able to be.

At any given time any of these reasons have been true or could be true of me and how I deal with relationships with men. Like I've said before, I am not all that skilled in this area. I haven't had a lot of success or experience other than the fact that I was married to the same guy for over 15 years (though, we were separated the last 6 months before our divorce was finalized). I've got some work to do in this regard, but I am willing. I am ready. I will allow myself to be open and vulnerable. I will allow myself to be seen as I am since I want to be loved just as I am. Kinda scary and exciting all at once! Wish me luck!

Comments

  1. Hmmmm....seeing myself in some of this too, especially some of the reasons for being afraid to be vunerable. I do wish you luck and will be praying for you. I think I need to work on this myself too. :-)

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  2. I think anyone who's ever known hurt has some level of fear when it comes to allowing yourself to be vulnerable to someone...even when you love them and they love you. I suppose it has a lot to do with trusting yourself and the person you're with as well...which is another challenge for me. I'm up for the challenge, though. This is going to be the year to start fresh!

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  3. Vulnerability doesn't define you! Be the strong woman everyone knows and loves, pain can come in many forms, sometimes it hurts so bad that we don't realize there is actually a lesson behind it.

    "Here's comes the start of every sleepless night, here comes me wishing things that never change, but here comes goodbye."

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  4. Of course it doesn't define me because I would never allow that to be a defining piece to me. Can I allow myself to be who I am and be seen outside of my "mask"? Yes. I did with you. And I hate good byes! You said it wasn't good bye before. And now it is? And, yes, I know the song all too well...all too well!

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