Bringing Down the Walls

Warning: This is not my “normal” post, but I thought that expressing what I am feeling would be cathartic for me.

Most of you don’t know me very well. In fact, most of you know about me only what I write on this blog. In real life, I do not seem to have the ability to make numerous close friends. I found it interesting that when I sent a few people an e-mail requesting them to describe me in one word, my sister, Sho, who is one of my closest friends e-mailed back the word “reserved.” I think that was actually the truest description I received, although the ones saying “sweet,” “kind,” and “loyal” were nice to read.

I have finally figured out why I can make plenty of friends but seem unable to develop really close friendships. I am afraid of getting hurt. So I erect walls, rarely allowing people to come close enough for more than a superficial friendship. If I do let a person “in” and they end up hurting me badly (I’m good at shrugging off the little hurts), I never confront them with my feelings, opting instead to shield myself from further hurt by holding that person at arm’s length. I am always polite, but I often use that very politeness as a defensive weapon to keep others at bay.

Another way I cope with hurt is to run away, whether figuratively or occasionally even literally. I would rather run away than confront someone who has wronged or hurt me. During my teen years, I can remember times when I would not tell anyone I was leaving but simply took off walking because I was upset or hurt. After I got my first vehicle, I went for a very long drive a couple of times. Now, I no longer have that freedom and instead retreat into myself.

I also refuse to show emotion if I can possibly avoid it. Mr. Incredible told me that I am the only girl he knows that will not show emotion. Somewhere I got the notion in my head that openly showing anything other than pleasant emotions would make me weak and vulnerable. It does not bother me when others cry; it’s just not okay for me. So I hide my true feelings, stuffing them away to pop out another day in another way (usually as anger).

Let’s see – in me you have a person who is unwilling to risk getting hurt, who retreats when she is hurt, and who refuses to show or even acknowledge negative emotions. Yeah, I’ve got all the right qualities for developing great friendships – you know, the ones that demand that you be vulnerable so others can get close enough to really know you.

This whole problem came to a head recently, and I finally acknowledged my fear of being hurt and my unwillingness to make myself vulnerable, even to those whom I love the most. I decided that I am tired of shutting out the very people with whom I want to have a deep relationship. After deep reflection (deep breath), I have resolved to tear down the walls I have erected. I know this will leave me vulnerable, but I am now convinced that being vulnerable is better than being lonely.

Does this affect you? It might. Instead of simply saying nothing when something is wrong, I may mention that I am not having such a great time. What you won’t see is me sobbing out all my troubles on this blog. That’s just not me. But if, after reading this post, any of you have any advice pertinent to my situation, I would be most happy to hear it. Thanks for listening.

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