Allowing ourselves to become vulnerable can make us stronger.

AnxietyChildhood Sexual AbuseFinding the new MeHealing From Abuse

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What an unbelievably intimidating topic, vulnerability! The very thought of it raises my anxiety and give me that sick feeling in my stomach. It’s one of the fears I’m tackling along this healing journey.

Being vulnerable can definitely be scary, especially if your only memories of vulnerability were during past abuse as a child or any other time in your life it may have happened. It’s a totally understandable feeling to want to protect ourselves and not let our hearts be opened up to potential criticism, lack of validation, and more hurt. After all, as survivors of any type of abuse, we’ve been through more than our share of pain and fear which can lead to a total lack of self-esteem and lack of desire to expose our feelings.

So why then should we even consider being vulnerable in any way?

That’s a question that I have asked in therapy already and one that J, my therapist works with me regularly on. Allowing myself to be vulnerable is not a sign of weakness, but a sign that we are learning to heal. Maybe even more than we realize.

Learning to heal? Are you kidding me? I’ve only been at that this healing journey thing for about a year now, how can I be healing after 30 years of suppressing the abuse?

There I go again, not giving myself a break; not giving myself credit for the ability of my mind to help me heal at the proper speed. Like I always say, I’m an expert minimizer!  Maybe you or someone you know does this too?

Why is vulnerability so important to healing? Well, in my humble opinion, if we aren’t allowing ourselves to expose our past, it’s much more difficult to embrace the support that is out there waiting for us.

The first time we allow ourselves to become vulnerable and reach out, we don’t just want to go around telling everybody and their brother about our abuse. At least I wouldn’t want to do that. We need to be sure they are safe people. Someone you trust with your feelings, someone who knows you and respects you is generally what I would call a safe person. A therapist or life coach would likely be an ideal candidate to confide in if you don’t have many safe options available to you. That’s the route that I took, speaking to a professional before I ever even considered telling anyone else. 

As my good friend Athena Moberg says (paraphrased), we can’t just assume that someone is ready to hear our story, regardless of how close they are to us or how long they’ve known us. We need to ask them first if they’d be willing to listen to us, be someone we can confide in, and won’t judge or minimize our struggles.

If we’re going to allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we need to do everything we can to ensure that it doesn’t go sideways and end up pushing us back into the shell that we are trying to crawl out of.  Although we can never control what others will say or think, choosing a safe person gives us our best chance in taking this important step.

We don’t have to share our entire story with every deep emotion right out of the gate either. In fact, I’ve learned that it’s OK to be selective in what we share. That fact that we are stepping out of our comfort zone and talking about our trauma at all, is a victory in itself no matter how much we choose to share and when.

The decision to become vulnerable, reach out, and decide who is a safe person means that we have to trust our gut feeling and take a chance. That in itself is not easy for so many of us, myself included. The risk of trusting yourself can have a snowball affect in a positive way though, because once we take that one step and reach out, it gets a little easier to do it again.

It’s taken me months and months in therapy to even begin to talk about it to the extent that I am now. There are still things about the trauma that I haven’t fully shared yet.  She knows the majority of what happened, but some of the feelings are still too deeply buried to try and discuss, plus I haven’t fully processed everything my mind is bringing to light yet. I’m getting there though.

If I don’t allow myself to be vulnerable, I’m stifling the healing process and pro longing it even more than it’s already going to take, however long that is. I realize that I will never fully forget what happened, but I want to get to the point of feeling empowered and be able to live the life I want without my past living it for me.

-Lyric

 

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Blogger-Podcaster-Advocate for Mental Health.

Matt is survivor of childhood sexual abuse & narcissistic abuse, living with Dissociation, Anxiety, & PTSD.

This blog exists to inspire all who have survived the trauma of abuse. All posts, podcasts, and videos are my life as a survivor shared openly and honestly to help inspire as many as possible to speak up, speak out, and not be ashamed.

10 Responses to " Allowing ourselves to become vulnerable can make us stronger. "

  1. stewart thompson says:

    Thank you for your sharing Vulnerability has been my savour in many ways, it’s wonderful hearing your story and how using your past giving you freedom and a voice.
    Your story will help many understand that with some work you can heal.

    • Lyric says:

      Thank you so much Stewart for the encouragement. Learning to be vulnerable is so hard but I know if I keep at it I will continue to gain confidence in sharing my story and healing from the awful past. I hope this message reaches as many as possible with all the hope it can offer!
      Hope you have a great day and thank you again for comment, I look forward to hopefully reading more from you in the future!

  2. Matt this post reminds me of my favorite song. The lyrics talk about being vulnerable, daring to love again after being hurt. Maybe you’ll like it. it reminds me of u. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T19X22LY0hQ

    • Lyric says:

      Joy! Thank you for sharing that, I’m listening to it now as I write this reply. I enjoy so much interacting with you and reading your blog. You are special and amazing, never forget that and always know I’m here to help support you in any way that I can. #StrongerTogether.

      Being vulnerable is one of the most challenging and intimidating things I’ve done so far on this recovery journey, but it will be worth it in the end. You, sharing your story and your heart with us is so important, don’t stop, ever! 🙂

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this. This comment stood out to me the most(besides that it was bold) “if we aren’t allowing ourselves to expose our past, it’s much more difficult to embrace the support that is out there waiting for us.”

    This rings so true for me. After my assault, my story was public from the get-go because of the police being involved, and the hospital etc. Although there were still people that didn’t know. And when I would talk about it or open up about it to friends, I was in denial. I told people as though it didn’t happen to me, that it happen to someone else. I distanced myself from it that first year because I was scared to be vulnerable. And then, I realized talking about it made me feel better, and even though it was scary the more I did it, the better I felt.

    So thank you for sharing this difficult topic. I may be comfortable speaking now, and even in front of people about it, but there are still other aspects that I am scared because it makes me vulnerable. Thank you for sharing your story, you truly are an inspiration!!!

    • Lyric says:

      Kristine, you are an amazing survivor! Thank you for sharing some of your story. I am truly so sorry for what you experienced, but I am so glad that you are finding healing in sharing what you’ve been through. Being vulnerable is so difficult, talk about going WAY out of your comfort zone! However the inspiring and empowering feeling we get as a result has such a ripple effect on ourselves and countless others! I’m glad to have met you and I hope we can continue to interact here and on Twitter!

      have a great weekend and please contact me anytime! 🙂

  4. […] at any time for that matter, cause us to have serious trust issues. We don’t want to open and become vulnerable, for fear of getting hurt and invalidated again. We’ve spent so much time feeling like hell, […]

  5. […] more vulnerable I got, the more I wanted to shame myself. I had to literally bite my tongue a few times to make […]

  6. […] older, and try to do everything in our power to keep our lives on a short leash? If we aren’t vulnerable, and keep everything stuffed away in our minds, we are less likely to get […]

  7. […] What? Are you kidding me??  Actually let my guard down and be vulnerable?  How is that ever a good […]

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