Embracing Vulnerability

I discovered Brene Brown at http://www.ordinarycourage.com/ when I noticed the badge at http://healingmutti.com/. Thank you! I have added the badge to my page, as I think it is very powerful. The notion that we choose to live wholehearted or not. I feel that is true.

About a year ago, I made a choice to open my eyes and my heart and start actually living. No more hiding. Just like the quote above from Brene Brown, I had absolutely given up on love and belonging and joy. I never gave life a chance. I was so used to being the victim that I did not know how to be me. Hope was no longer even a glimmer, and life felt like a punishment.

How can this be? How did I get there? How could I have a husband, lovely children, a house, a dog, a decent job – all this – and feel like I was nothing? More precisely, how did I feel nothing? I went through the motions every day, appeared to be a mom, wife, employee, and people even praised me, but it all meant nothing, since I knew inside I was worthless.

At the root of it, I discovered I was lonely. I have a job where I can work 100% from my home, so I have always been home with my kids. My husband works long hours – he gets up and leaves before we wake up, and comes home very tired, often after we have already had supper – too tired to give us his attention or affection. I had no friends. None. I only spoke to family, coworkers, and secretaries – and usually only on the phone.

For the first several years of motherhood, I had no car, and would walk to the grocery store and parks with a stroller or wagon full of kids. I handled (still do) every detail of managing our family. My husband expects trusts me to take care of every decision, from paying bills, arranging doctors, schools, repairs, meals – as well as work 20-30 hours a week while kids are here too, clean, do laundry, yardwork. EVERYTHING is my responsibility. So my husband works hard and supports us financially, but he can be cold or hot tempered, making us wary to bother him.

So the thing I now think is strange, and never used to, is that my husband has no friends. Never did. I was 17 when we met and started dating. I know why I had no friends, they all abandoned me when they found out about my abuse. I latched onto him as the only person I could trust. I never questioned why he didn’t have any friends. It was like all he needs is me, and that felt great way back then, and he wanted me to be the same way. I never recognized how he liked having me to himself and how slowly he cut me off from everyone. I would be invited somewhere in college and my early years as a new teacher, and he’d say he didn’t want to go, so being polite, I declined for both of us. This continued until there were no more invitations.

For 8 years, I barely left my house, really only to run errands. I spoke to no one except my kids on a daily basis. Interactions with husband were typically brief and strained/rushed, as I was afraid to bother him – he worked so hard, and afraid to set off his temper. (which I now know is verbal abuse) I never knew why I made him so angry (yes I blamed myself – ugh) and always tried to keep things peaceful.

Skipping ahead to present. I have some friends now, (though it is difficult for me to accept and trust them). I get out of the house to do my own thing weekly, sometimes more. I volunteer, I work, and sometimes I just go out and have harmless fun with a great group of women I met through performing together at festivals.

I am speaking up to husband, not letting him yell at me or kids any more. He is trying. We are working though it, but I just don’t feel attached to him. And I wonder if this is somehwat normal after being together 18 years anyway. I would never cheat on him, and I’m not even interested in finding someone else. I need to find me first.

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5 thoughts on “Embracing Vulnerability

  1. You are right about needing to find yourself before thinking about finding someone else. I will add that since your husband is trying it would seem that he is willing to change as well. It is a voyage you two can share and, speaking from experience, I can say with all confidence that to have someone there, going through that journey along side you, is something to be grateful for. It will be a rough trip. You will learn, grow and suffer. The pain will be lessened by sharing. For both of you. In the end, it is most beneficial for both to take the journey together regardless of the final destination. As long as the effort is there, as long as he keeps wanting and trying, it will be helpful for you. It will also help you immensely to have someone there that will distract you sometimes with their own pain; gives you a little relief from that intense focus on yourself. There are no guarantees that in the end you will still be together, but you will definitely have greater respect for one another. Either way, I wish you both the best of outcomes, whatever that turns out to be:)

    • Yes, we’re both trying to be better to each other, and better parents, better people all around. I think I just got further ahead in my journey, and he got stuck in his, so it may be my turn to lend a hand.

  2. Ahh…yes when you’re vulnerable you give people the opportunity to hurt you…but it’s so worth it to get to that moment when you realize “wow! I’m not the only one that has these thoughts – so glad I met you!”

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Being able to let down your guard and share yourself creates beautiful moments and memories. There is nothing quite like that feeling of finding who ‘gets you’ or at least accepts you for you if they don’t completely get you.

  3. Pingback: I am (mostly) Enough, Embracing Vulnerability | Roots to Blossom

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