My parents came to visit me the other day and my mom said something that keeps spinning around and around in my mind. My mother said that for years, as I struggled with my romantic relationships my father would go back to the same observation every time they would visit me and that was that I was so vulnerable. Now that word continues to hang in the center of my mind like a brilliant chandelier covered in dust and I'm trying to reach it to clean it off. Terry Crews hasn't helped with my current fixation. His vulnerable and viral videos about his porn addiction (Dirty Little Secret Series) really got me started before my parents visit and to illustrate my point I'm going to put gender aside (please go with me on this) and use him and myself as an example of the opposite ends of the spectrum / vibration of the word vulnerability.
If you have seen my YouTube channel then you know how I have struggled for years with Love Addiction and that has affected my life in a major way. Recognizing when you are obsessing over an idea of someone or a fantasy of what your romantic life should be can be crippling, especially when the realities of life come in and you feel nothing but terror as your dreams (fantasies) are dashed and there's another human in the room with you, not Cinderella or Prince Charming - not that we are all quite that naive but you get my meaning; there are various levels of delusion we put ourselves through in order to believe we can have "that kind" of love, whatever "that kind" means to each of us. So, when my hopes and dreams feel betrayed I withdraw, I feel sorry for myself and that has either forced the man I'm with to try to reach me, to the point of violence because of his own unaddressed needs, or with other men they choose to abandon me - or it feels that way to me - when in reality they see my imbalanced expectations and run OR they are just plain self-centered and take off until I get my head straight and then they are back again to enjoy only the best parts of me -see Emotionally Unavailable Love Avoidant. By now I'm hoping you can see how I can become vulnerable in an unhealthy way. From my perspective I continued to feel more and more victimized and used. To be honest, I contributed a great deal to this cycle because I became desperate to feel and see the love I had fixated on in my mind since I was young.
Now to go back to what my parents had brought up about my vulnerability, the observation is a profoundly important one because healthy vulnerability is empowering not only to one's self but to others - back to Terry Crews. Terry Crews is able to share his story as an observer of his former self in a way. He is not attached to the drama but he shares it in a way that helps him to be compassionate and understanding of his former self while recognizing what brought him to that point and how to never again fall back into the cycle that brought him there. It would be safe to say that he is no longer a victim of his addiction and he has emerged a better person for doing the work and facing it. This is an important point too though, it took vulnerability at his lowest point to admit he had a problem at all and that vulnerability is why he has come so far.
Now speaking only as a woman who lived her life in an unhealthy state of vulnerability I attracted and was attracted to men who, whether they realized it or not, felt the desire to "rescue" me. They were struggling with their own unmet needs, their own fantasies and that is what attracted us. When two people meet when they are both in an unhealthy state of vulnerability then that unhealthy state begins to grow and expand just as much as two people in a healthy state of vulnerability can grow and expand together. Sex was often what the men would hide behind to keep from becoming too emotionally intimate and I used sex to try to get them to be emotionally intimate. I have learned that this dynamic or how it shows up isn't exclusive to either gender as many Millennials are confiding in me what they are going through.
Being mindful of how we use the word and show up in vulnerability is key. When I was in an unhealthy state vulnerability, just needing to be loved by a man so bad, I allowed myself to be taken advantage of; I was blind to the cycle I was in and began to wonder if all men where the same when really, all people who are still in that state are the same. And what healthy person is going to risk their own health to step into that? When we grow and become healthier people we take great care in what we expose ourselves to whether it be physical, emotional, mental or spiritual. Now I'm working on being the healthy vulnerable; letting go of any attachment to my story or how I have identified myself in any role that made me feel victimized and using what I have experienced and learned in an empowering way for myself first and hopefully others in the future.