Fear of Vulnerable Emotions

In my boredom and limited cable option, I started watching a Lifetime-esq love story.

You know the type: Boy and girl have baggage, they meet, have chemistry, really like each other, girl keeps hiding and running away, boy keeps chasing and chasing until she finally gives in, they get married and the whole town comes out to the wedding.

To be honest, I fast forward when his chasing and her resisting became ridiculous for any real world situation. As I was watching this movie, a few things came to mind

1. Lifetime movies and romance novels teach women the wrong things about getting into relationship. Running away repeatedly is not cute or healthy.

2. Constantly arguing and being oppositional are not romantic or healthy.

3. Being vulnerable is bad and to be avoided at all cost until the end right before marriage proposal – wrong!

Why are we so afraid to be vulnerable?

Common sense will tell you that laying your whole life out on the table to someone you barely know is a terrible idea. However, when this tight-lipped sort of behavior carries over into familiar relationships, it only creates distrust.

In the right atmosphere,
when you are open with someone,
it encourages that person to be open as well and forges a bond

When people think about being vulnerable, they usually associate that with putting their emotions out into the universe for the people who care about you to see the real you.

Emotions like love, care, pain, sadness, dissatisfaction, unfulfilled and frustration are difficult to share with others. However, they are necessary in the relationships in which you want to build trust, honesty and loyalty.

Trust means to be open
Trust means to lay your mask aside

Where is your mask?

Maybe it is me in my age of I-couldn’t-give-two-sh*t but I cannot muster up the mask the way I could in my younger years. Now, I am an emotional roller coaster which mimics the things going on in my life.

Guess what? I don’t care

If I am in a funny mood or leave me alone mood, people know it. I seem to constantly leave my mask at home these days. It must be something about getting older and being comfortable in my skin.

It slowly drains the soul
when you have to keep pretending

A marriage is unhappy but no one will never know unless you read extremely carefully between the lines
Someone is carrying too much on her plate but she smiles and says yes to another request
He can’t afford rent but dresses nicely for church every week
Someone with a new house and expensive car but can’t manage his money and has very bad credit

If you look around and even in the mirror, you can see the masks of ‘all is well’ that so many people wear to include yourself. However, if you listen very carefully, you hear the Freudian slip on rare occasions that gives away the difficulties that we all share.

The mask is like Instagram and Facebook,
everyone’s lives are always so smiling filter perfect

Who are you fooling? Yourself?

The problem with masks are they really are not for others. In reality, the true problem with masks are the less information the right people know about your issues, the less help you will receive. Give it time – when everything falls so badly apart that there are no more masks to hide behind – all that will be left is just embarrassment for pretending everything was ‘okay.’

Masks are about lying. Masks are about facade. Masks are about making you look better than you truly are. Masks are self-inflicted wounds which are dug deeper every time you wear them.

Mask help no one – not even you.

I had a very ‘messed up’ late teen in my office who lamented that he sees pictures of certain people on social media and he compares himself to them. Yet, he acknowledged that you cannot always believe what is posted but….

What was his mask? Not facing his reality and trying to find an escape into someone else’s snapshot of time in that person’s life.

What is wrong with those unpopular emotions?

People get so uncomfortable when you start to keep it real – emotionally real. People do not know what to do when you are not happy-happy-joy-joy. They want to cheer you up and hurriedly fix things ‘it will all workout,’ or ‘God will make a way.’

Even if it all works out later, it does not negate the emotions you are feeling at that moment. It is as human as Jesus crying.

People are going to judge you no matter what
but the people who care about you
will be there no matter what

It is okay to tell people to let you be in your emotions so you can feel them and work through them versus shutting them away as if they do not exist.

If you are feeling an emotion
It exists for you
If you are going through something
It exists for you

I always loved and will probably use Bob Marley’s line again: Emancipate yourself from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our minds – Redemption Song

Your mask keeps people out from the truth
but locks you in with your lies

What are you afraid of?

6 thoughts on “Fear of Vulnerable Emotions

  1. It would be nice if you had clicked Reply when replying so I’d see the lil alert thingy.

    So, Miss Scarred-By-Reality, why watch them at all if they hold no value? Eventually, I will get so tired of Solitaire, Farkle and Hand-and-Foot that I will cease to play those games with anyone. It’s destiny.


  2. There really is not much new in this world. Things are re-invented at least creatively.
    I have been scarred by reality so, mushy impractical love stories get eye rolls and the fast forward button.
    To a point, we all wear some kind of mask. Some people wear them more frequently than others.
    There is something to be said for the innocence of youth (if you had one). I think the older you are (passing age 40) then you become less concerned about opinions (unless you are in high society or politics) and certain restrictions of the youth.


  3. Translation: Lifetime love stories are for fish who like tugging on man’s lines; they keep pulling your heart away until you give in and, hopefully, enjoy the ending. But, it sounds like you did not…and neither would I if they became that predictable. ๐Ÿ˜›

    On that note, I am really worried about the future of practically everything creative. I was just thinking what would song writers write about if they didn’t write about failed relationships and lustful notions? It’s like stand-up comedy. Who writes jokes that don’t lead to a spouse or friend who made your head turn? Who doesn’t get personal? [But, more on that in another post of mine, coming soon.] I worry there isn’t much originality left in the world; and the constant rehashing is just putting a pillow over the screaming voice of interest/desire.

    It seems fated that, when you’re younger, you care more about and can muster more masks than we can as we get older. When you’re younger, you heal faster and can pretend nothing hurts…because it doesn’t actually hurt as much as it does when you get older and can’t hide it. But, when you’re younger, you are experiencing things for the first time and don’t know how to react; so human nature seems to dictate you get really upset and look to some older, wiser figure nearby for justification of your reaction.

    On that note, my parents have become a far cry of their former selves. They used to be so fastidious about vanity and military protocols and maintained themselves with routine vigor. Now, they may still let a few old lines–drilled into their heads by the adults in their younger days–slip, but they quickly look at their decaying selves, hold back the urge to freak out or weep and unbuckle their belts, letting all the ugliness fall out around them. Apparently, there is no mask to make them feel better in that state.

    Now, just because I found my voice in my teens and started spouting off whatever I felt when the moment struck, hoping my voice would be heard and respected, that doesn’t mean I am not self-conscious or eager to find a mask to hide my pain. And, if astrology holds, I must be wearing some kind of mask, still, which denies people the ability to see and/or sense what I am truly thinking/feeling. Because, the message is still rather unclear, and that bothers me (still). It bothers me that–being as honest and blunt and from-the-heart as I can be–I am still unheard and thinking on a level few if any seem able to process and/or accept, so they don’t have to cut me off or make me feel like the only person who’s going to listen to all that I am is a psychiatrist ready to write a prescription for one more experimental drug.

    My mask is something that pops up like floaters in my eyes. It shows its face. And, unless someone points out that I am wearing it, I don’t notice…until I look in the “mirror” and realize…my face isn’t showing the truth.

    This goes deeper, father than you’ve touched on here. Think of all the advertising out there that pushes for instant gratification over dealing with reality. The average McDonald’s commercial says you can brush aside the disappointments of summer with a $1 hamburger or “happy” meal (for a adults or kids). As if. Some might make light of that, just say, “That’s advertising; so silly.” But, it slowly sinks into your noggin…cuz it’s the trend; it’s everywhere. If you see enough of that…or run into people who do…it is sure to affect interactions…more than some pumpkin-spice latte.


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