Tag Archives: vulnerability

Missing people & vulnerability

Suddenly missing De a lot.  I think it might have to do with recently being asked to submit art for a domestic violence awareness exhibit next month…

It’s a weird feeling; missing someone who played a really significant role in your life, but who you will never see again.

My train of thought then flips to TM, who I also miss. I could probably call her though. I could get away with some form of connection by listening to her outgoing voice mail greeting (wouldn’t presume to cross boundaries by actually calling when she could pick up).

Going to see Dr C in a few minutes. Bringing in my inside out box to show her. Not quite sure why it’s something I want to show her at the moment, but likely has to do with missing De… also with feeling very vulnerable lately. I dunno.

Vulnerable and overly emotional for no real reason. Trying to figure out if there’s an anniversary of any sort coming up (or recently passed), but nothing significant comes to mind. The closest I can think of is that this time of year was when I started talking to De about Duckboy details (should never have done that, it helped burn her out)… two years ago this month was the first time I every shared any of what he did… the memories of what I went through with him feel fake also (unless they are intruding upon my body). Maybe I’m just exaggerating everything…

The little kid inside is out…

the safety of a doorknob disclosure

With the end looming for my therapy, I find myself wanting to spill all sorts of info to TM. I’m not sure why. I suddenly have questions and thoughts and I want to ask her a whole bunch of stuff about my abuse and ptsd and self-harm… why can I only muster this resolve when I’m moving on to someone else? It’s like it only feels safe enough to bring all this up when the threat of having to see the person again is over. I am suddenly realizing I trusted her enough to express this stuff, but I kept freezing and getting scared before. I always worried she would hate me or use what I told her against me in some way. I didn’t think she would actually do those things, but I feared she might… Now I want to get as much support from her as possible, only it’s too late because there isn’t enough time.

These are the ultimate doorknob disclosures. They are all the big things I was scared to address, but now I desperately want to find support around… :sigh: Will I ever learn to do this while there’s still time to talk?


on vulnerability and being human

Brene Brown’s voice came up as “soothing” when I asked elsewhere who people thought had soothing voices. I couldn’t remember if I had ever heard her voice, so I threw her name into a google search. Up came the 2010 TEDxHouston talk on Vulnerability…

It kinda connects in topic (or maybe listening to what she was saying sparked a thought that led to a thought that led to remembering) to this blog post from Inner Canvas (a blog by an art therapist for therapists about utilizing creativity in their practice). Specifically, I’m thinking of the quote with which she starts the entry:

“Our profession is the only profession that gives you 5-6 chances to feel like a failure every day.”  Scott Miller

While I haven’t bothered to look up who Scott Miller is, I think this quote speaks not only to vulnerability, but also to the humanity of therapists. They are people, not “gods” or “robots” or anything else impervious and impenetrable we may conjure when thinking of them. This is something of which I often need reminding. I find myself at once understanding that therapists have their own lives with trials and tribulations, yet forgetting that they have emotions in reaction to not only their lives, but also to what we (as clients) bring to session with us. I’m remembering the recent session with TM where I was disclosing something I felt little emotion about, but to which I thought I saw an emotional reaction from her. In the same moment, I felt a fear that I would break her with the “truth of who I am” but also hoped that she was immune to the darkness that leaks from me… I’m expecting her to be stronger than I am against all of the “gunk” in me, but I’m also afraid that what I express will break her apart as badly as it has both myself and others…

I hope with all my heart that my vulnerabilities do not mirror her own because then they may actually break her. I worry about that with everyone and anyone with whom I let down my guard and allow to see the mess inside. Yet I’m reminded of something TL had said to me in session one day; “you’ll be surprised how many people appear once you begin to be genuine with who you are to the world.” She was speaking of that same concept of vulnerability Brene Brown talks of in her presentation at TEDxHouston…

Therapists become vulnerable daily when they invite us to show them our pain. While it’s different in quality to the vulnerability we present as clients, it’s vulnerability none-the-less…

…and because I saw she had another talk up from TED2012, I thought I’d listen to that too… I’m not done, but there was one quote I wanted to include here: “vulnerability is not a weakness”… can we get this in neon, blinking lights please? because I know I have a lot of trouble with this concept. Here’s the whole talk in case anyone is interested:

Just… weird.

Went out with friends today to a part of the city I don’t frequent. It’s a great section, and I would love to go there more often, but today triggered something weird. I don’t know how to describe it… It’s similar to the post-weird-dream-weirdness, but not quite. It’s a longing, and a familiarity, and a vulnerability, and… I’m not sure what. None of those words describe it correctly, yet they all describe it (at least parts of their meaning describes parts of the feeling). There’s an ache too, but I’m not sure for what. I think I might say it’s part “kid emotion” that got triggered. It’s near the same part of town where De’s office was, and I certainly thought of her, but that’s not it either. I’ve been near and around De’s old office since terminating with her, so I don’t think it’s that. Maybe part of the trigger was parking in the government center garage where we parked when we checked out the display for sexual assault awareness month last April? Maybe it was being a bit disappointed by the activity we were down there for? Maybe it’s frustration with myself that I could have chosen to contact other friends to hang with when we were done at the museum, but the weird feeling was so overwhelming I left instead? Maybe it was that I should have headed to the beach to gather my thoughts but instead choose to wander an art store? Or maybe it was that I didn’t say hi the guy in charge of the event we went for because I didn’t think he had reason to remember me out of the context of the journal class?

So maybe there’s a bit of regret in this jumble of weird emotion. There’s also a lot of stuff that simply has no words… maybe going there this weekend was different because not only was I thinking of De, but I’m anxious about the re-intake with the new therapist in 2 days. I’m going to be asking her to push me through some tough stuff, and I’m pushing myself to try to be very open from the first session. I don’t want to screw up this second chance to tackle this stuff. But I’m also terrified of what I’m supposed to be tackling. Before this, I’ve hinted at it, and talked around it, and denied it, but never said: “I think these were real events. I think I know they are accurate memories, and I think I’m ready to know that.” I have no idea how to process it (internally), but I’m going to try to process it with this new person… and then I hope it leaves me alone. I hope talking to her about it, and working on it (at this point I have no real concept of what that even means) will let it fade into the background. I hope it will fade the body memories, like it did with the DuckBoy stuff. And I hope it will allow me to move on.

So maybe the weird feeling is the little kid stuff mixed with some adult stuff and topped off by the concept of nightmares ultimately always being real…

“I’m friends with the monsters inside of my head…” – Eminem & Rhianna “monsters”
I think I figured out part of that feeling is also a dissonance with respect to time and place. It’s not quite dissociation, but I feel out-of-sync with the present both emotionally and mentally. I know my physical body is in the here-and-now, but it feels displaced and wrong. Mentally, I’m elsewhere, though I can’t tell you where because I’m not sure. After a dream, it still feels like I’m simultaneously in the dream and in the present. I have no frame of reference for where I would be this time around. It wasn’t a dream that triggered this feeling. I’m actually not totally sure what triggered it. I know it came on while at the museum, but I don’t know the trigger…

Ellie Goulding love & some ramblings

Recently got my hands on 2 Ellie Goulding albums and I must say I am in love with Halcyon Days!!! I think there are about 7 or so tracks that I absolutely can’t stop listening to. At the moment, I’m loving on Explosions. “on the day you wake up/Needing somebody and you’ve learned/It’s okay to be afraid/But it will never be the same/It will never be the same//You left my soul bleeding in the dark/…/And I’ve lost my faith in everything”… the tone of it matches my mood today (though I am interpreting it to be about her leaving due to domestic violence now that I read the lyrics. eh, whatever. the way she sings it still very much fits my mood right now)…

I’m also really loving Dead in the Water (apparently from the Divergent soundtrack)


and How Long Will I Love You

I see TL tomorrow. Still thinking I want it to be our last session… I’m finding I’m obsessing way too much about it/her so best to just walk away. I do that when I’m about to lose someone out of my life, I need a stranglehold on them before they slip away, and it’s never been a healthy thing. So I’ll take the painting (which today I am concluding it stupid and I hate it, though I may feel different tomorrow about it) and give it to her and tell her it needs to be the last session, and can we talk about whether or not I will be seeing someone at the agency (and hopefully not have to switch again) after her. I know she had said that was the plan, but it doesn’t feel like it right now. And I’m not sure I want to go through this again (I know, I say this every time). It just sucks to learn to trust someone only to know that you have to figure it out again with someone else down the line. Also, I had visited with Dr. C for a bit while up north. She will be retiring in the coming year, so unless I get back up there soon, I will be looking for yet another new therapist. It’s an exhausting process. I just don’t want to keep doing it… (though at the same time, know the neediness is worse when I don’t have that support)… I don’t know. I wonder what the point of it all is sometimes. Why bother trying to trust someone with the heaviness if I never do get around to talking about the really heavy stuff before I have to switch again and start it all over again. I’m tired. I’m spent on building trust and trying to figure things out every few months. I’m tired of finally getting to a comfort point of being able to bring up the ickier stuff only to find out that the person is leaving and all that vulnerability was for nothing…



You trembled like you’d seen a ghost/And I gave in/I lacked the things you need the most,/You said where have you been?//You wasted all that sweetness to run and hide/I wonder why/I remind you of the days you poured your heart into/But you never tried//I’ve fallen from grace/Took a blow to my face/I’ve loved and I’ve lost/I’ve loved and I’ve lost//Explosions…on the day you wake up/Needing somebody and you’ve learned/It’s okay to be afraid/But it will never be the same/It will never be the same//You left my soul bleeding in the dark/So you could be king/The rules you set are still untold to me/And I’ve lost my faith in everything//The nights you could cope,/Your intentions were gold/But the mountains will shake/I need to know I can still make//Explosions…on the day you wake up/Needing somebody and you’ve learned/It’s okay to be afraid/But it will never be the same//And as the floods move in/And your body starts to sink/I was the last thing on your mind/I know you better than you think/’Cause it’s simple darling, I gave you warning/Now everything you own is falling from the sky in pieces/So watch them fall with you, in slow motion/I pray that you’ll find peace of mind/And I’ll find you another time/I’ll love you, another time//Explosions…on the day you wake up/Needing somebody and you’ve learned/It’s okay to be afraid/But it will never be the same.

just want to cry

Flashbacks are returning hard. Got really triggered in therapy last time and I can’t seem to pull out of it. I want to bawl my eyes out, but there’s no place to do that; no safe person to do it with… the flashbacks bring more complete memories, and they are unrelenting. I’ve been rehearsing my mantra that is supposed to remind me I’m in the here and now, not the past. The words are starting to blend together and not make sense because I’ve said them so often recently.
Every little thing makes me jump again. I thought that it had finally calmed down a few weeks ago, but it’s back. None of my usual coping skills are helping. I hate this so much. I just want to be able to get through the days without feeling so terrified and alone…

I keep going back to wanting to run from therapy because it’s so triggering. Maybe if there were more resources during the down-time, or I had more in-person support around what we talk about, I wouldn’t feel so lost. But there’s nothing else. Nothing that TL can offer or suggest. Nothing I can afford in terms of additional supports. And I just want to isolate from everyone and everything 😦

Is it Saturday yet? Does it really matter anyway when the hour flies by so fast leaving me feeling raw and triggered? My neediness is through the roof today, but it’s very specific: I don’t want to have to talk. I just want to sit and feel supported. I want that closeness without the pressure of being “on”… I want to be understood and have all this figuratively held for me so I am not so alone in it. I don’t know how to do that with what I have in the moment. I can’t talk about what was triggered with anyone close to me because I need to still process it first with someone objective (translate that to: safe & non-judgemental & relatively unaffected).

The a/c was fixed yesterday, so I moved my art supplies back out of the bedroom, but I don’t want to sit out there to do anything. I like my little cave at the moment, even though mom is shopping and the house is empty. Feeling very vulnerable, so the tighter space is welcomed. The comfort of the bed and the dogs and the music through the speakers helps… Fuck, really miss De right now. SJ is very much here and very much out and very much missing her comforts and safety…

The appropriateness of tears

I was journaling to De, and the topic of crying snuck its way in.  I don’t remember if I have talked about it here yet.  It’s not an easy thing for me (crying).  There has to be a really damn good reason to cry “legit” tears (not the ones that seem to spill uncontrollably from my eyes at random commercials or sappy stories, but tears that are backed by deeper emotion, tears that actually mean something or are connected to something).  It’s never appropriate in front of another human being.

Crying was not accepted growing up.  It was never soothed, only discouraged (and in some cases punished).  The only exception to this was when K died; then it was ok to legitimately cry (though only up until the funeral and burial in my recollection).  It wasn’t ok to cry for T though, “because he wasn’t real family” (G hated T and refused to consider him a relative because he “wasn’t blood”… I think love makes a family, not genetic material.  I will never consider Bitch family though she is my father’s biological sister).  T married K.  He was kind to her (mostly), and to us.  He will always be family to me and I have a right to cry when I miss him… But I digress. G never allowed crying.  Mom looks down on it also, though she was more consoling about it than G ever was.  Regardless, crying was like a sick day: hell froze over before it was allowed (or the school kicked us out because we were contagious).

Despite new learning and a cognitive understanding of the benefits of crying, I still have a lot of trouble allowing myself to cry in front of anyone else. That rarely happens.  It has taken me over a decade to learn to talk myself into crying when I need it, not just when it falls under the “ok” column set by my early experiences.  I have to have a drawn-out conversation with myself to convince that gate-keeper to let the tears fall.  Sometimes I can’t convince her to let go, but a few times every few years, I can actually manage to cry as an emotional release.  Most of the time, blood had taken the place of tears… I haven’t cut in months, but I haven’t cried either (except maybe twice in the ER or the hospital).  Tears tumble forth at stupid sappy stories, or emotional moments in movies, but there’s nothing really behind them.  It’s not a full-fledged cry, but just leaking eyes.  I wish I could bring myself to release through crying more often.  I think it might do me some good, but the keys needed to open that gate are stashed away somewhere “safe” from my prying.

One of the few things I remember from my childhood is a recurring nightmare.  I would be crying, and Skeletor would yell at me to stop.  He would tell me that if I didn’t stop right then, he would kill me.  He would grab me and physically threaten until the dream me stopped crying… I think the dream me, conditioned by Skeletor, is the gate-keeper to allowing the adult me to cry.  She’s terrified though, and repeats Skeletor’s words over and over again even when I try to tell her it’s ok to cry.

The other fear of crying comes from the fear of being overwhelmed by it.  If I start to cry, will I ever be able to stop?  I’m reminded of one day in 2007 when I cried hysterically for about 8 hours straight.  I would stop only long enough to catch my breath for a few seconds, then the choking sobs would start again.  I remember calling 211 because I hoped talking to someone would help me stop.  They sent out an ambulance without telling me and I was hospitalized (I cried hysterically the whole time until they drugged me up enough to put me to sleep for a few hours before they admitted me upstairs)… Kinda shitty experience.  Similar in “turn-off” factor as the Skeletor dream.

Anyway, I’m not really sure what the purpose of this post is… We all learn different things growing up (many of us learn really warped stuff), and it tends to affect us into adulthood even when we try our best to shake the lessons.  I look forward to the day that I can cry “as needed” without having to go through a 30 minute back-and-forth with the old tapes.