I am in a rambling mood today. I decided to share some of my thoughts about being vulnerable. Thinking of my own vulnerability, I decided to look the word up again and read through the definition.
vulnerable (ˈvʌlnərəb ə l) — adj
1. capable of being physically or emotionally wounded or hurt
2. open to temptation, persuasion, censure, etc
3. liable or exposed to disease, disaster, etc
4. military liable or exposed to attack
5. bridge (of a side who have won one game towards rubber) subject to increased bonuses or penalties [C17: from Late Latin vulnerābilis, from Latin vulnerāre to wound, from vulnus a wound]
As I thought about the definitions I went through many events in my life and how I have been incredibly vulnerable.
There is something special about a child and even the rare adults, possibly on the spectrum, who have an innocent vulnerability. There is an openness and freedom that has not yet been tainted, or discovered. The hurts of this world have not caused a protective layer from the outside attacks. For some this innocent vulnerability is stolen from them at a quite young age and they have to put on some sort of armor in order to survive. For others, it is years and years of people mishandling the vulnerability. It seems there are others as well who have watched the attacks on the vulnerable and decided they would put on their armor based on the possibility of such attacks.
I do not realize my innocent vulnerability until after the fact.
In the past I have covered myself with shields, hoping I had them tightly fitted as to stop the arrows from penetrating. I would then forget. As much as I try to keep patterns of people and their behavior at the fore front of my mind, I cannot always remember what the attacks look like. I find it interesting that I am unable to read these things for myself but for others I can see them clearly. I am very protective of my children’s vulnerability. At this age I really do not care if people think that I am overprotective, I want them to have that freedom instilled in them. I also want to equip them with the knowledge of how vulnerability works and how people will prey upon it.
I do not want them afraid of being vulnerable nor afraid of invulnerability.
There can be a healthy balance. They can be taught to be wise, I am talking about safe vulnerability. They need to be able to say what they feel without the fear that someone will come along and tell them that they are weak for doing so. I am not talking about the vulnerability that comes with abuse, that is unacceptable. I am only tapping on being open and honest and having the freedom to feel emotional issues. Our society has made it wrong or unacceptable to be vulnerable. We get trampled on by our vulnerability. We get bullied, tortured emotionally and belittled for expressing our true feelings.
In a way, I see how using our own vulnerability can be our weapon.
If given the freedom in a safe environment to express ourselves, we feel validated in our words and actions. We become stronger in them. I have had my vulnerability cause people to run. Most people do not like to be open and honest, or they can’t for some of the reasons I listed earlier. A’ha! My weapon of defense. It will cause those who are not accepting of me, to flee. I am sure I have not expressed myself in the best ways, I may have run from me too. It is hard to handle, but in the long run I think it’s worth it. I think a lot of my vulnerability comes from lack of social skills, such as reading body language or understanding verbal cues. I seem to have no idea that I am being attacked.
I may feel something at that moment.
However, it is only later that I discover that I am feeling a tinge in my head of confusion, anxiety and fear and I do not know why. I then replay the situations over and over in my mind to try to discover what had just happened. When I see it. I have a choice. Sometimes I would run and hide, other times I faced it head on. It would depend on how I felt about the situation. If I felt I was going to gain more damage I would internalize, if I felt that I wasn’t going to let it hold me back, I would face it. However, both of these have caused me great harm. But have they?
I am still changed and that can be good.
They can only harm me as much as I allow. Again, I am not talking about emotional abuse that is entirely different. In some cases, it is good to be oblivious. Since I did not understand some situations, I wasn’t hurt terribly by them. There were times, that after realizing the situation, I became terribly hurt.
But what do we do with that hurt?
I am not an angry person (despite my rage at times), I am very forgiving and tend to forget the bad things that people do. It can be detrimental to me at times, but then again I ask myself do I want to be angry and unforgiving? Not really. There always has to be a balance, I understand that. The only way to gain balance is to understand what is out of balance. It is ok to be vulnerable as long as it will not destroy or harm you. I am thinking being vulnerable, can be good or bad, you have the power to use it for either.
We got the power!
I have a terrible time not being honest, it physically makes me ill and I cannot eat or sleep until I have come up with the best way to be honest. Sometimes my honesty hurts people but I cannot keep it in me. It has to come out. I am not sure if others feel this so intensely but I cannot live with myself if I hide things. It usually comes out in some crazy babble anyway, so I just say it now. This kind of vulnerability is not always conscious, often it just comes out before I have ever given it a thought. I ask is it that wrong? Of course, I do not mean speaking viciously toward people. We need tact.
I am just thinking, it would be nice to have the freedom of being vulnerable without the ridicule or fear for doing so.