I’ve noticed a pattern in myself over the past few years: that when I feel very vulnerable and in need of help from others, I reach out more easily and ask for help. And, significantly, others want to connect with me too.
Over the past two years I’ve undergone several major life altering experiences, a serious riding accident, selling my horses, relocating and transforming my business, starting a new job and moving house! And it’s during these intense experiences that I feel very vulnerable and in real need of help and support from others.
Then when these periods pass and I feel less vulnerable, I reach out less to others and less people connect with me.
I’ve realised what is happening: When I’m vulnerable, my barriers/walls are less strong, this enables others to find me and connect with me. They must feel it’s safer, that I’m less “defensive” so to speak.
Yet as soon as these intense periods of vulnerability pass, my reaction is to swing into the other end of the specturm, i.e. “I don’t need anyone.” And up come my walls again, and what happens? People don’t contact me and I withdraw, as I tell myself, I feel “better” and again, I don’t need anyone.
The result: I feel very alone. Hmm&
Over and over again, my horses showed me that to feel vulnerable and to need others is OKAY! Yet it’s still very hard for me to believe and accept this.
And my default position is to isolate myself and think I don’t need others, and further still, that it’s wrong to need others and depend on them.
I believe this stems from my childhood. As when I feel very vulnerable and am indeed dependent on others for help and support, some deep memory of this gets stirred in my. A very painful memory of when I was a small child and wholly dependent on others for my safety and survival. And boy do I not want to re-visit this state.
Yet in my adult life, it’s different. I’m slowly learning that I both do and don’t need others.
I’m slowly unravelling my confusion around asking for help, and knowing when it’s better for me to attend to my needs. It’s a long slow process, but little by little I’m getting the message.
My task now then is to stay connected to others and allow them to connect with me, and to not allow my barriers to keep out others and end up alone for much of the time.
How do you deal with intense periods of vulnerability?
Do you find it easy to ask for help?
What is your “default position”?
© Angela Dunning, 2nd February 2012