Tag Archives: vulnerability

Closure with her

Last night, I dreamed of her. It was another one of those dreams… the kind of dream that you wake up from knowing it meant something. Heck, you even kind of know it’s a message while you’re dreaming it, it’s that meaningful. Rarely have I dreamed of her, so that in itself is something.

Let me preface this with a quick summary of my family. I was raised in a co-dependent family, which revolved around a narcissist. No, none of us had a clue that this is what was going on. Only I do, now, after a few years of therapy. Once this revelation came to me, I decided to no longer participate in the co-dependent behavior, which, unfortunately for me, is a condition of membership in this family. I am now the family scapegoat…cast aside, shunned, ignored…unloved. That’s how co-dependent/narcissistic families operate. Love is conditional.

OK, so that’s the summary. Don’t feel too badly for me. I’m grateful I woke up. Yes, it’s sad. And yes, I cry…from time to time. But no, I will not go back to those conditions, in order to be “loved”. That’s not real love, anyway. Even you can see this, right?

So, back to the dream. In real life, I have not seen her in at least two years. In the dream, I am at her home. It’s a surprise to both of us, yet we do not clash. We both seem cautious, yet calm. Like one waiting for the other to react, yet we don’t. We look at each other, without saying a word. Her eyes are soft, something I’ve never seen before. Both our eyes speak for us. They say, “I hope we can pull this off”. By “this“, we mean being in the same home without conflict, as I’m there to see him, and he is ill. Something I’ve been dreaming of in real life…as he really is ill…knowing it will never be allowed. In the dream, we pull it off. Sincerely. No conflict at all. I am there to love him, and she lets me. It was quite perfect.

God, I miss him.

My time with him in the dream is too brief. Next thing you know, I’m out of his room, never to see him again.  I passed by a sibling who is no longer talking to me, not since I broke the co-dependency requirement. She stood up to hug me, saying, “You know I love you, Jami…more than you probably know. You know why I had to do it”. I guess I do know why she felt that way, even though I knew it wasn’t right. I forgave her. She disappeared from the dream.

I move on, and find myself in another bedroom in the home, leaning on my side on a bed. She comes in. In real life, I suppose this is when the conflict would take place. But this is my dream, and we are calm. She looks at me, eyes still soft. So very soft. I really just can’t get over how soft her expression is. It’s surreal. I find myself patting the bed next to me, gesturing for her to lie down. She does, cautiously nestling her head in the crook of my elbow, like a child to her mother. She is curled on her side,  with me around her, like I’m protecting her. I stroke her hair. It’s stiff and uncomfortable, but I do it anyway. She looks up, as if she’s partially nervous, yet aching for this connection. I stroke her hair, comforting her…nurturing her. Yes, I was nurturing her. She was like a homeless, injured dog you see videos of people trying to rescue from an alleyway. Scared of everything, running from everyone, fighting with whoever crossed her path…yet desperately wanting to be loved. Her guard was down for the first time in her life. She was vulnerable as she lied there in my arms. So vulnerable. You just don’t see vulnerability in someone like her, I think because she’s just been so hurt in the past. That’s why all we see is her armor…her anger… in real life. In real life, we will never see her vulnerable side, as I think she’s just too fragile to take off that armor. All that would be left is fear, and no one wants to just be fear. I will never connect to her in real life, so it had to happen in the dream. It felt like a gift. Even while the dream was occurring, I knew something was happening. I think God gave me this dream to resolve a bit of the pain in my real life. He gave me a gift of closure I’ll never get in reality. All my futile hopes and dreams in the real world will never come to fruition, but they did last night. I don’t yearn for reconciliation or closure with her in real life, but I do yearn for it with him. I think God knows how these two go hand in hand, and because of that, it’s just not meant to bein the real world.  It almost feels like it really happened. I suppose that will have to do.



This post was written in response to Linda G. Hill’s “Stream of Social Consciousness Saturday”. Linda is a master of badassery, in all aspects of her life. Check out her author page, and read her amazing books. You can find her by clicking the link below.


The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Feb. 17/18



Vulnerability: Part 2

Well, you know shit’s going down when I write two posts in a week…

My last post was about the power and beauty of being vulnerable. I talked about how that’s the only way to truly connect with people…to be real, open and honest about who you are and how you feel. I talked about how it’s so hard to do, because it’s risky. You risk having your heart stepped on if you hold it out to someone in wide open vulnerability. But, if you want someone to hold your heart and nurture it, then you gotta pull it out and cross your fingers.  It’s the only way to feel love…by being vulnerable and putting it out there.

Yeah, it’s risky for sure. It takes courage, no doubt about it. You actually have to be pretty damn brave to be vulnerable. Well, to consciously be vulnerable.  You don’t see weak sissies holding their hearts out there, all exposed, all vulnerable and shit. Nah, they wall off their hearts like a fortress. No one’s getting anywhere NEAR that tender spot.  And if they do become vulnerable, it wasn’t on purpose. Someone snuck up on them. It’s easy to protect yourself by not holding out hope to avoid disappointment. Who wants to feel the pain of a broken heart? Well, apparently…I do. Over and over and over again.

Jesus, then that must mean I’m a fucking warrior.

I don’t feel like a warrior right now. I feel like a baby deer that got hit in the middle of a dark road, and the driver stopped, but didn’t take it to the vet. He just looked at that broken, damaged deer…feeling sorry for it, but at the same time, blaming it for running in front of his car like that. I mean, why would someone take a deer to the vet? It’s just a deer. There’s millions of deer out there, and they get hurt and die slow deaths every day. Why go out of your way to save this one? Sure, the driver might start to feel a little guilty, but he pushes it out of his mind fairly easily. Come one now, all he was doing was driving along. It’s not his fault the deer got in the way.  Deer are stupid…

OK, that analogy got a bit off track, but you get the gist…

So, I’m walking that oh so thin tightrope right now, where one side is me falling into the pit of despair. You know, the place of shame and self-doubt, the place where I realize it’s not all these other people who have the problem…it’s me. I’m the damaged one.  The place where I feel pretty damn comfortable admitting that I’m not good enough. That I’m too needy. That if I just say it a different way, or if I just act a different way, then the person I just handed my heart to will pick it up and love it. And the other side of the tightrope is where I feel empowered and worthy of someone taking me to the damn vet after they accidentally run me over. Or maybe I’ll just take myself to the damn vet. Maybe I don’t need a driver at all! My problem is that I can’t consistently stay on either side. I just keep swinging back and forth between the two, and if you don’t pay close enough attention to what I’m doing, you might think I’m bat-shit crazy. So pay attention.

Tonight, I had a revelation. I thought about how I work so hard to heal people. How I have these amazing experiences where I make people feel like they matter, where I don’t judge, where I accept things for what they are.  People tell me all the time how compassionate and loving I am when they hear these stories, or get to experience them first hand. They tell me I am special, loved and worthy. But I’m wondering tonight…am I only doing those amazing things with people to overcompensate for what’s wrong with me? If I create these experiences with my patients, with strangers on the street, with my friends…experiences that result in people accepting my love and giving it back in return…does that make up for the other people in my life who don’t want my love, the people who can’t seem  love me? Is that why I’m doing it all? Am I trying to create love in places it wouldn’t normally exist, in order to ease the pain of it not existing where it should? Do I think this will make me feel less “less than”? Does it even matter? I think it might. Or maybe not. Lately, I’ve been asking what it is about me that keeps love just out of reach. It must be something about me, as I end up repeating the same scenario over and over and over. Sure, these people like me. They actually think I’m kind of great, in certain scenarios. But, as soon as I ask for too much, I’m not so great anymore. Maybe I want that kind of connection so badly, people just can’t handle the amount of love I have to give. I really do have a lot of love to give. Maybe too much. Maybe I’m too intense, and that type of connection I’m craving really doesn’t exist anywhere, so I’m setting myself up for failure by even wishing for it. Maybe I really am too demanding. Maybe I should tone it down a bit. All of it. My expectations. My passion. My needs. My wants. My desires. My love. If I did that, then maybe I could get something, and maybe getting something is better than getting nothing. Does anyone ever really get more than something? Does that really exist?

Wow, that’s almost kind of easy to talk myself into. Of course it is…that’s how I’ve rolled my entire life. How’d that work out for me so far? Not so good. Yet, I’m finding myself leaning towards doing it again tonight…

Yeah….I think maybe I’ll hold out hope for a little bit longer. At least, that’s how I feel right this minute. Tomorrow, I might beat myself up again, but right now I think I want to hold on to the idea that I’m not craving something that’s just a fairy tale. Sure, I still feel like that baby deer, alone, bleeding and crying in the middle of a dark road. The driver has since moved on to wherever he was going. People feel bad when they hit a deer, but they tend to forget about it once they go back to their daily routine. Oh, and you know, there’s more than one driver in my life, by the way. One who just keeps circling me from time to time. “Oh, here he comes….oh, nope…he’s leaving again….” I’m just going to have to get used to the fact that he isn’t ever going to stop long enough for me. It sucks, but it is what it is. All I can do is feel the pain, for as long as I need to, and hopefully find myself dancing in the woods again. Ha ha…that’s so easy to SAY, isn’t it???  Just get used to it. Good one, Jami….

The good thing is, I’ve lied in this road before. I know I will stop bleeding. Eventually, I always do. How do you think I got all these scars? Warriors have scars, they say. So yes, I will try to hold out hope for a little bit longer. Faith is taking that first step, even when you can’t see the staircase. God has a bigger plan for me, and this, right now, bleeding in the road alone…is not it. There’s got to be someone out there who’s searching for an intensely loving, previously traumatized, tightrope walking deer, right?




When vulnerability is good

When you have a year like I just had, you learn to pay attention. Like, when my old friend Kara, who is not someone I regularly talk to, happens to send me a text with a link to a podcast, I pay attention. Even though listening to a podcast is something I’d never imagine myself doing. I always thought they’d be boring, which really isn’t fair of me, considering there’s about a million different ones out there, but it is what it is. Let me backtrack a few steps… I hadn’t spoken to Kara in months, when she crossed my mind the other day as I was buying theater tickets. I thought it would be a nice way for us to catch up, seeing a show and spending the night in Boston. I bought the tickets without asking her, and next thing you know, she’s texting me, telling me she’s listening to one of Brene Brown’s podcasts and thinking of me. I ignore the Brene Brown part, because I have no idea what she’s talking about, and I tell her how weird it is that she’s texting me the same day I’m thinking of asking her to get together. She says yes, and we chat a bit and the conversation ends.

A few hours later, she shoots me another text, letting me know she’s coming into town (she lives a good hour away) and asked if I had a free hour or so. Totally last-minute, and her text came as I was in an appointment, so I didn’t answer right away. By the time I answer her, 20 minutes had gone by. I tell her which town I’m in (which is a good half hour away from the town I live in, the town she expects me to be in) and she just so happens to be coming upon that exit that very minute. Ten minutes later, we are sitting having an unexpected dinner together in a town neither of us are normally in. The stars aligned perfectly, so I paid attention.

She talked of these podcasts she was listening to. She commutes to work, so has plenty of time for them. As she’s talking about it, I’m thinking, “I never have down time for listening to someone talk”, but of course, I don’t say that out loud. I listen, and honestly, they do sound kind of interesting. Dr. Brene Brown has spent her career studying shame and guilt. Sounds awful, doesn’t it? Anyway, she said one of them made her really think of me, because they spoke of how most people think that the worst part of sexual abuse/assault is the physical act itself, but really, the worst part is the shame that follows. People can get over the physical part, but the shame never leaves. I nodded my head, knowing all to well what she was talking about. I looked at my friend as she described how it affects people’s lives forever, especially relationships, because that shame doesn’t allow us to be vulnerable. And we don’t allow ourselves to become vulnerable by sort of walling ourselves off. It’s a protection type of thing. The gist of it, as I interpreted it, was that people who have relationships with me, platonic or romantic, don’t get the whole me, because I don’t allow that vulnerability. It’s too risky. Or I don’t deserve it. Or I know it’s never going to work out, so I don’t put myself in the position of being hurt. God, that was spot on. Not so much in regards to the me right now, but it sure as hell described me for most of my life. And honestly, it takes a lot of work even now to allow myself to be vulnerable, but I do. Of course, with vulnerability comes the risk of shame…

So, dinner ends and we hug and go our separate ways. She ends up sending me links to the ones she was talking about, where Brene Brown was on Super Soul Sunday with Oprah Winfrey, and even though I would never normally listen to them, I knew I was supposed to…because the stars don’t align things up for no reason, right? And plus, she had me at Oprah…

I listened to them. Twice. And then next thing you know, I’m asking her if she has the link to Brene’s TED talk podcast, which started it all…and my life shifted. Just like that. You see, I have been struggling with feelings of rejection, insecurity, shame and guilt…well, pretty much my entire life. But more recently, it’s been a struggle due to a few specific relationships in my life. The struggle has sort of come to a head in recent weeks and left me in one of my funks that’s pretty hard to shake. It’s the result of me allowing myself to become vulnerable, and the risks did not pay off, and I easily slipped back into the swamp of shame. It’s crazy how it’s not even a conscious effort to go back to shame. It just happens. You wake up and there it is. Like it never left. I am unworthy.  It took me a bit to claw my way out of that dark area… in a sort of “fake it till you make it” kind of way. I still felt the feelings, but I made some decisions based on the knowledge I’d gained in my practice of therapy and mediation…my journey… and prayed I’d eventually get my heart to match up to this intellectual knowledge and decision. You know… when you know what you need to do, in your brain, but your heart yearns for something else. It’s tough, but the pain of it never working out for me was enough to make these decisions. And once I made them, I found myself wanting to wall off my heart so it wouldn’t be hurt again. Nope, I’m not ever going to put myself in that position again!  But, listening to these podcasts, well, damn… I felt the shift that day! I don’t know if it’s because it’s coming from an analytical researcher or what, but Jesus…was it validating! And it opened my mind to a new perspective. Creativity, growth and joy breed from vulnerability. I think I just found the key to opening my heart without regret. Without shame. Without guilt. Yes, I think someday I just might put myself in that position again! I know I will not ever be able to do this subject justice, so please, if any of you have even a hint of wonder or recognition about this, just click here . 

Because, if any of this resonates with you, then the stars are aligning right now by having you stumble across this post. Watch the podcast. You won’t be disappointed.


The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Aug. 26/17