Vulnerability, Shame and the Fog

On Sunday I became very excited when I found this talk posted here. Since then I’ve watched everything else I can find by Brené Brown on the subject of vulnerability and watched this talk multiple times. It was exactly what I needed to find… and makes what I was trying to discover about the fog stuff about a hundred times easier, not that I’m lazy or anything. Well, not too lazy.

When I put the initial fog stuff aside in my heartache I still had quite a few questions I was working through. I’m glad I left it alone, especially since the answer can be summed up in  one sentence… I didn’t believe I was worthy of connection, so I would go numb.

Shame, described simply as “the fear of disconnection – Is there something about me, that if other people know it or see it, that I won’t be worthy of connection?”

My answer at the headland on Saturday was shame… I didn’t want people to see me, because I didn’t want them to see how unlovable I was. What did I do with this “fear of disconnection” when I felt myself in a moment of time totally alone in it? I tried to disconnect, detach, disassociate, whatever it was or whatever you want to call it. I think the fog looks attractive in comparison to that.

I didn’t believe I was worthy of connection, so I would go numb. I’ve said that sentence so many times over the last few days.

I had already decided the fog was my reaction (learned behaviour) to an emotional overload. So think of the fog as the place I could go numb when I had  too much Shame to face day-to-day. I rarely drink, I don’t use drugs, I can’t afford much in the way of shopping therapy, besides the fog is the way I learned to go numb as a child. Children hide. I hid inside myself. It was a build up of feeling unworthy and not good enough. If I had felt safe enough to open up and say… I failed, I could have done better, I’m not good enough, I hurt, I don’t like this, or any of a hundred things I might have been thinking at the time, right or wrong… then I might not have needed to overload into the fog.

I grew up believing that I wasn’t worthy. I was almost  going to say that I was afraid of connection, except connection, that feeling of belonging somewhere, is actually wonderful. It’s the fear of losing that connection that terrifies me. Feeling vulnerable is far too easy to run from when I’m so afraid. Think about it this way… How do I remain vulnerable through the little hurts in life, knowing the big hurts are coming? This is the thing… I was always preparing myself for the big things. Something big and ugly was always coming. I thought I couldn’t trust anyone enough to believe they weren’t coming. In my mind no place and no person was safe.

… and that is the fog simplified. There’s no 3 part outpouring of the heart about leaving the fog. Suckers! This is all you get! *begins dodging tomatoes* But seriously, I really don’t think that I need the big fog outpouring now, since it was a search for answers, for understanding. Besides, I know now it would touch too personally on my relationship with Chris and certain things should be kept private, even though we’re no longer together. I’m not sure what I’ll do with the rest of the writings, the memories and similar. Maybe incorporate them into Remembering posts in the future.

Since watching this talk, I made a decision about the way I’ll live my life. As entering the fog is the equivalent of avoiding connection, I’m making extra efforts at connecting. Hmm, by that I mean that I’m attempting to step out of my comfort zone and reach out to people. Putting out a little trust. Little steps can feel big when you aren’t used to taking them. I’m not expecting anything in return, except maybe a feeling of being more open, more vulnerable, hence more connected overall. Less alone.

Now, don’t start jumping up and down screaming at me… It isn’t that simple! I know it isn’t this simple *sticks tongue out* Knowing (or thinking I know) doesn’t equal healing. I don’t know how to get there. So I’m actually, kind of, looking forward to therapy, especially as I have a better understanding of outcomes… and for the first time in my life the outcomes don’t scare me more than doing nothing. Today I received my initial referral for 5 sessions. I’ll admit I’m nervous. Actually I’m more than just nervous.

I’m used to keeping almost everything inside… really, almost everything. Sharing almost anything with anyone is was a struggle. But you know what? That hurt little girl inside me thinks it’s going to be okay. I can choose what to share. I can choose who I don’t want to share with. I can say no without guilt. There are people I just shouldn’t share with and I’m sure I’ll come across more of those. Everyone else? I don’t know everyone else and there is no way of knowing what might come from a simple connection. That thought fills me with hope. Yeppers, more hope today.

I’m stepping up and looking for “the courage to be imperfect”… finally *rolls eyes*

*Cue sunset and uplifting music to complete the whole feel good atmosphere*


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