Fear of vulnerability

There is one feeling I cannot bear: vulnerability. I don’t like people in my world acknowledging my blog posts; I wish I had never shared my blog to begin with. I feel too vulnerable. When I speak about my struggles, I avoid eye contact at all costs, even in therapy. I feel too vulnerable.

When I get that distinct feeling of vulnerability with someone, my need to sabotage above all costs overrides my desire for self-control and health. I think the only reason my marriage has stood for five years is that my husband scoffs at awkward and emotional topics; he’d rather discuss politics, sports, and his current research on finding the perfect running shoe.

I have been rejoicing over a family member who just adopted two children, and I have been watching the kids settling in for months over Facebook. Then last week, even after the adoption papers were signed, the oldest was ripped from loving arms (“hero daddy”, “Prince daddy”, her “rescuer”- her 3 year old words) and placed with one of her abusers… The only person she was adamant she did not ever want to see again. We are not sure what will happen with the adoption, but her sudden vulnerability has spiraled me into an incredible fight of my own.

Since then, the work I’ve done to move forward and establish healthy relationships has ended abruptly. My flashbacks are back. My non-psychotic hallucinations are back (seeing blood). My anxiety attacks are back. I’m frozen again. My patience is low for my husband and son. Anyone I see who has especially been kind or caring has got to go. SABOTAGE. SABOTAGE. SABOTAGE.

And I don’t know what to do about it. I used to run as hard as I could until I felt like I was going to pass out, and then my body would hurt too much to self-harm or sabotage relationships. Due to certain circumstances, I can’t do that right now. Nothing else has worked for me.

Yesterday I did my very best sabotaging with a fairly new but very sweet friendship. Because she is too sincere (another word I’m afraid of: sincerity). Her response was, ” I’m still here. And will be.” Scary words to a person with attachment issues!! So now I must pull it together, whether I want to or not.

I will stand and fight. I will not sabotage. I will take it one step at a time. Meet each of my family members’ needs one at a time. Complete one task at a time. Put one foot in front of the other, one at a time. Focus on things above, not on things on the earth. Trust God to do a work, trust that He has been working. Do my devotions. Lean on scripture. Lean not on my own understanding.

One task at a time. As unto the Lord. Because He is greater than my trauma, my symptoms, my fears. He alone is greater.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. -Ephesians 6:12

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A year of healing

I thought today would be a fairly significant day for me. A year ago today, I lost friendship and fellowship with someone I continue to deeply admire. Someone who saw my brokenness and tried desperately to come alongside and mentor me, at my initial request.

But I have changed. Changed immensely and entirely. Today was rather insignificant. I changed diapers, laughed with my son, cheered my husband on with his marathon training (for I have dropped to the half-marathon, but that’s a post for another day), and easily kept my mind on things present. If I had not changed this year… If I were the same broken woman I was the day my dear friend stepped away from me, I would be an emotional heap on the floor, unable to contain my fear of abandonment, my self-harm, and my anxiety attacks. But I am put together and smiling after a long day of serving my family.

In honor of my Christian sister (for that is still what she is, if no longer a friend), I will share what I learned from her.

-All life is a gift of God and is to be celebrated.

-There is healing after trauma.

…In Christ.

-If you make excuses or believe you cannot heal, you won’t. If you stand upright and just do it, you will heal.

-If you put your deep shame and fears into any relationship, it will crumble.

…Only God can withstand the intensity of the emotions that deep trauma provokes.

-Husbands are worthy and in need of attention, love, servanthood, and respect.

-Friendship ought to be lovingly cultivated and kept, thinking of the other before yourself.

It seems that a person I speak so highly of ought to have taught me more than six lessons, but these are profound life truths. These are things she tried to teach me while we were in fellowship, but they are things I did not learn until I was left to myself. To learn that I could heal. To learn that I am strong enough to stand.

I wish this hadn’t been the case, but it was her stepping away that tore open the remainder of my deep, dark wound that had festered since childhood. Only once I was torn open and oxygen hit the wound could I begin to find my way towards healing and wholeness.

Am I healed? No. Do I still have PTSD? Yes.

Am I healing? Yes. Am I walking forward, no matter how bruised and bloody my soul feels at times? Yes. Do I have the desire to self-harm? Sometimes. Do I? NO. It’s been so many months, I’ve lost count. Do I have the desire to sabotage relationships? Yes. Do I? NO (well, I do still try to push my husband away, but at this point we both start laughing through my angry outbursts because we recognize the ridiculous pattern).

Thank you to my dear Christian sister for stepping away, for through it, you have mentored me one thousand times over what you could have done if you were still alongside me. I still pray sometimes that our fellowship would be restored, but I know I still have a long way to go before He will answer; it’s not yet time.

I know many who read have lost relationships for which they care deeply. I hope that one day you will see how God has used both the presence of, and absence of, the relationship to mold you into who He wants you to be.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. -Romans 12:2