Does any of this sound familiar?
It can be so VERY painful!
How do we handle it?
How do we move forward?
I am currently working on being more vulnerable with my SAFE trusted people.
I do not encourage jumping into vulnerability with strangers or acquaintances - you will almost always get burned.
Instead, I encourage you to try it - tiptoe into it- with a very few people that you trust.
Share your true feelings. Your fears. Your struggles. Your feelings of inadequacy. Your shame.
But beware- even your SAFE people may not know what to do when you share these things.
You may be the one who is always strong. You may be the one who always helps others but never needs help.
This may be due to your Enneagram or personality type, or it may be a learned skill from your family of origin.
And by skill, I also mean defense or coping mechanism, but I digress...
So... what if you finally open up with said trusted people and they don't know how to respond?
My suggestion is to allow THEM time to process it. After all, they aren't used to you coming to them for advice or support.
After adequate time has passed, ask them if you two can talk about it. Remind them that you shared this with them because you trust them and you value their feedback.
If they are unable to support you for whatever reason, you will know that they might not be someone you can turn to in a time of need or that right now they just do not have the bandwidth to support you. And that's okay.
If you receive pushback from your person or one of the rejections I listed above, then perhaps this says more about them and their own feelings of self-worth or lack thereof. Perhaps empathy is not their strong suit. Perhaps not being the center of attention does not fit within their needs. Perhaps supporting you takes too much of their energy that they would rather spend elsewhere. And if so, then you have your answer. Take that however you choose.
So that covers the topic of vulnerability with SAFE loved ones.
What about rejection?
Rejection can occur in friendships, romantic relationships, at work, at your child's activities (mom hate, anybody? or mom cliques?).
Rejection can be aggressive and in-your-face or it can be silent and manipulative.
Rejection can be someone you love simply not supporting you or asking about your newfound passion or project (or marriage or kids or job or anything for that matter). That feels like rejection, right?
Rejection can be passive-aggressive or outright pointed and forceful.
Anything that makes us feel like our efforts are either unnoticed or unappreciated or unsupported FEELS LIKE rejection.
Perhaps your corporation just doesn't know what to do with you. So they just kinda ignore you and your talents and even though EVERYONE ELSE you encounter praises you, they just watch you from afar.
Perhaps your love interest is jealous of your success, so instead of celebrating and bragging to others about you, they just sit quietly while complete strangers are the ones to congratulate you.
Maybe your family members have always wanted to do what it is that you are actually brave enough to do now and so they can't find the words to talk with you about it. Their feelings of inadequacy outweigh their actual love for you and desire to support you.
All this stuff is DEEP, ya'll - and it's real.
I have witnessed it on both ends - both the recipient of rejection and the one crippled with (insert emotion here) so much that I couldn't tell my loved one I was proud of them.
How many social media posts have you AVOIDED (scrolled right by) because you weren't sure what to comment or if you were truly happy for that person OR it made you feel some type of way?
STOP RIGHT THERE. I know for 100% FACTS that I just told the truth. Every single person reading this right now has done that. DM me if I'm wrong.
It's okay that you have done it (I've done it too!!!!), but I would encourage you to stop. Take some deep breaths. Walk outside if that's what grounds you. And ask yourself what emotion you are feeling and maybe why you are feeling it. That person who posted whatever it is that triggered you was NOT thinking about you when they posted it. (Everyone is always only thinking about themselves, 99% of the time, or so Dear Therapist reminds me regularly).
Perhaps YOU need to work on whatever it is that was triggered inside you to the point that you couldn't congratulate or console someone you actually care about.
I REPEAT. Perhaps YOU need to work on whatever it is that was triggered inside you to the point that you couldn't congratulate or console someone you actually care about.
Again, I am not a licensed therapist, but I have worked with patients for over 20 years. I'm in my second marriage. I am a regular mom and a full-time step-mom. I have been in and lived in functional families and dysfunctional families. I have been betrayed. I have been lied to and belittled. I am a trauma survivor and I am honestly only trying to help anybody, not everybody. If I can help one person know and feel that they are not alone, then me sitting here typing on my back patio on my glorious day off is worth every second of my time and ounce of my energy.
The birds are chirping, ya'll. The sun is shining. And I want to live. I want to both be alive and enjoy my life. It's almost spring and I feel a shift on the horizon. I'm tired of all the surface conversations and BS. I'm ready to speak my truth. Vulnerability is hard and rejection stinks. Bottom line. But we can do better. We just have to pause, think, consider who it is we may be hurting (because of our own garbage we are also working on), and then do better.