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202: Vulnerability...I'd Rather Be Mad

On Air with Ella - podcast episode 202

Let’s talk vulnerability. But, before you make any assumptions about where we're headed, I need to tell you a deep, dark secret of mine: I prefer to run, to hide, to deflect, to protect. I hate that feeling of having my belly exposed. I do NOT like feeling vulnerable.

You’ve probably heard the name Brené Brown a million times - she’s the queen of vulnerability research and a prolific author. She’s genius. AND I CANNOT EVEN READ HER BOOKS. Not a single one. I see her TED Talks, and I'll listen to an occasional interview - that's how I know she's genius - but, confronting my own vulnerability and doing the work? Thank you, no.

It's like meditation. I know I should be meditating. The internet says it's really good for me. But I struggle. This is the same for me - doing vulnerability work. I struggle, and I want to share the struggle story with you. First, a little backstory...

I really, really dig my husband. I still have a crush on him, I still think he's cute, I think he's hot and sexy, and when I don't want to throttle him (we’re married, give me a break), I love him a whole hell of a lot. He's also my best friend, and he's one of an extremely small group of people that I trust with my everything. You get it. He knows all sides of me and I'm still - still! - scared of doing the work!

You can go to episode 186 where I have him on the show….all of our secrets are there ;-)

The other night I needed something from him. I needed him to show up for me and to “hold space for me” to use the vulnerability vernacular. So I'm feeling my feelings, and I have this unspoken need that I fully expect him to intuit, okay?!? We’re married, he should just know what I need. Read my vibe!! Shouldn’t he just know?!? (Does anybody else do this? no? Just me? cool).

For some reason, he doesn't pick up on my crazy, and so I proceed with creating a story in my mind about WHY.

Maybe your story is that he or she is selfish, or you're not attractive enough, or they don't really love you - or whatever! Whatever your go-to story is. I have all of this in my head, and then I get angry and resentful because have you read this novel? Have you heard the one where Ella has a need that the husband doesn't pick up despite all of these (unspoken) clues!! Come on! So yeah, I've written an entire narrative around why this is and at this point I'm actually in bed, and my husband turns to me and says “is everything okay?” and kisses me really softly. Well, actually he kissed my hand, because it was in front of my face. (I was kind of curled up, fetal style with my hand in front of my face.)

"I would rather go to bed mad and not seek respite in my hubby's arms, because I would rather be mad than vulnerable. It’s easier."

So I now decide that we have become a couple that doesn't kiss goodnight, and he is clearly only willing to kiss my hand. (I'm so embarrassed telling you this.) So I file that information into the novel that's in my head: the romance is now completely dead. This goes in my narrative, FOR SURE.

Please note that ALL THAT I HAD TO DO was to say how I was feeling and/or ask for a hug or a snuggle, or a little bit of attention - or whatever it was that I needed in that moment.

THAT IS ALL THAT I HAD TO DO. To say, “I need…” And I couldn't do it.

The next morning after a good night's sleep (pro tip!), I woke up kind of bummed that I went to bed like such an idiot the night before when I could have had a snuggle, and I could have had a lovely evening. I spent a moment actually being accountable for my behavior and my attitude, and this little voice inside says plainly, “You'd rather be mad then vulnerable.”

You'd rather be mad, resentful, cold, aloof than be vulnerable. Well, damn. I totally would.

I would rather go to bed mad and cold and stupid, and not seek respite in my hubby's arms, because I would rather be mad than vulnerable. It’s easier.

Let’s pause for a moment and appreciate the irony here, please. Because it's a vulnerable thing to be sharing this with you! You might judge me. You might make assumptions about me, or my relationship - I don't know, but I want to share this with you because I think we all might be doing this in some way.

This is my question for you: where are you showing up a certain way because it's safer, easier, less threatening than being vulnerable?

Where is this true for you? In what contexts? What is your go to defense or deflection posture?

Let’s talk about it. Hop over to Instagram and drop me a note, or comment here. I can't wait to talk with you about this more!


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