The Porch Light copyright by Revka (2006-2010). All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

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.


The New Parent said...

Hi R---thank you for sharing such an in-depth look into you. Now, it seems like you may wish to show emotions just not much negative emotions. Though repressing is definitely not the way to go (smile)!

Like you, I don't wish to share negative emotions with others, I don't think it's a necessary "gift." I also don't go down the repressing route, preferring to refocus away from the negative.

A really good post, R thank you again!

Shoshannah said...

Have fun, Mrs. Reserved. :)

mom huebert said...

Good for you. That takes a lot of courage.

Revka said...

Hi, Frank. You are right: I have no problem showing positive emotions - happiness, excitement, compassion. It's just negative emotions that make me uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, that has meant that I have failed to address issues that really needed to be dealt with instead of being stuffed away. That choice has been detrimental to relationships that are very important to me, and it was very painful to fix those relationships.

Like you, I don't believe negativity is a great gift to someone else, and I'm not going to dwell on negatives all the time now. Mostly, I have determined to deal with issues rather than pretending they don't exist.

I know you said you prefer to refocus away from the negative. Does that make you forget the problem, or does the problem just throb like am aching tooth that you can't leave alone?

Revka said...

Yeah, Sho. Fun like having a root canal! :)

Revka said...

Hi, Mom Huebert! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave such an encouraging comment. I really appreciate it, and I hope you'll drop by again soon.

Linda said...

Here is my thoughtful comment. See I can talk about this a lot because I have experience as you already know.

I was like this for years and of course I still get hurt and I am extremely sensitive to other people and get very hurt if they do something that hurts my feelings.
But one day I decided it was time to stop. I learned that I can only gain true friendship if I put myself in the middle with all those feeling and worries of being rejected.

And I learned that it was OK.I have learned to see through people in a different way. We have to see the INcapability in some people and understand that sometimes they do things because they haven´t got the emotional strength to be better. They don´t know better through their heart. Often most people are just as afraid as us, only that they dont´show it.

You are doing great!And I´m sure it can only get better!
Love you lots!

Revka said...

Thanks, Linda, for your advice and encouragement. It means a lot. :)

Heather Bixler said...

You are rigth we are alike, LOL! I am so the same way, running away from freindships, or not even trying to form new ones because I am afraid they may reject me. It is a vicious cycle and the more I allow this in my life the worse it gets.

I am so glad you commented on my blog, I love your designs. I don't do blogger blogs, for some reason they confuse me, LOL! But you do a great job at designing blogger blogs, for sure!

Revka said...

Thanks, Heather. :) I'm glad my comment didn't make you think I was a freak. (haha) It's going to be a hard journey for both of us, but we'll make it, I am sure.

Thanks for the compliments on my designs as well. I'm much more familiar with Blogger than I am Wordpress because I started out with Blogger and first learned about CSS and HTML by messing with my template here. Right now, I mostly create headers and other images and add columns to layouts, but one day I will feel confident enough to do the whole template.

I'm glad you stopped by, and I hope to see you here again.