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Arming and Disarming yourself in relaitonships
Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD posted:
Many of my patients and I have observed together how they unconsciously protect themselves by psychologically putting on armor. They stayed emotionally "strong" by making sure that nothing really penetrated them. While such protection helped them feel emotionally safer, it also left them physically tired and lonely.

To feel emotionally close to others, people need to truly open up about important inner experiences - such as their thoughts, feelings, values, and concerns. By doing this, you leave yourself vulnerable to getting hurt, but you also give people an opportunity to show that they care deeply about you.

Knowing when to defend yourself and when to be open is a skill that must be practiced in everyday life. And, you can benefit from assessing your ability in this area. Think about it: Do you share openly with friends? And, do you defend yourself when relationships are not so safe? Which parts of this process do you struggle most with?

You can read the blog here: Arming and Disarming Yourself in relationships
candykissesaresweet responded:
this is me to the letter, i have so much happen since i was7, every time i opened myself to move forward i get emotionally beat more.i have pulled so far away, that i cant believe when people tell when people are being honest ,i have been come so shut from all of It is so bad that when it comes to the feeling of wanting ro hurt myself . i cant say that u want to andi cab say that i do not want to because i cant, i an so numb. i have been lied to so mo much i cant take one more person doing that to me. i thought you should know me as lost souls
Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to candykissesaresweet's response:
What you feel and experience is so sad. Is there anyone you trust or feel safe with? It really sounds like therapy can help-- I can't remember, are you in therapy? If so, do you trust your therapist? If you are not in therapy, I suggest you consider going.
ajohnson08099 replied to Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD's response:
I definately struggle with this. My SO does too. We are just polar opposites.

I am sadly an open book, I put myself out there from the very beginning and show my soul. Sadly enough each time I do this, it seems people minipulate that trust I eventually give and strike me where it hurts the very most. I am trying to work on closing myself off when I need to, to protect my heart, but I find it very difficult at times. I kind of give it my all from the start, but I don't give my trust very easily. In fact, I don't know if I truly ever do trust anyone, because it always seems the few things I hold dearly: Honestly, fidelity, loyalty are always the items that get violated the very most.

My SO is quite the opposite. He acts like nothing hurts him. He has so many walls up that I think he forgets how it feels to care for someone with raw passion instead of calculated doses. He carries the philosphy "hurt before getting hurt" Where he'd rather inflict the pain and run then worry about ever getting hurt himself. He used to show his feelings, but as time as gone by he seems to be recanting those expressions, saying that it was so I wouldn't get mad or he doesn't know why he said that. When I ask him why he has the walls he says its because he's gotten hurt in the past. But whenever I ask him what he means it always seems like examples of how he's done the hurt and run away.. Then expects those people to magically forgive him.

I've asked him if he was willing to go to counceling and its always a resounding NO.
yankiewankie responded:
In my 13 year relationship with my wife we've gradually grown less clo rather than closer because of her anger issues and my "armoring" myself against her anger. I shut down emotionally and communicativly because like a rat in an electrified cage, I've come to expect a shock no matter what I do. Something I am working on is standing up for myself rather than avoiding an argument for the sake of keeping the peace. I try to remember that my defensive silence is a child's response to the fear of a parent, and not a healthy adult response to a partner--even to a partner's anger. I also try to remind myself that just because she has responded in anger in the past doesn't mean she will always respond in anger. Just as an example of what I am dealing with at home, my wife will make unilateral decisions that affect all of us, such as inviting someone else to go on vacation with us without consulting me. And when I object, she blows her top.
candykissesaresweet replied to yankiewankie's response:
I cant feel, i cant write. i was 7 . why do i have to live like this? why do i have to take pills just to be hurt? yes u do have a therapist
negritoamericano responded:
This is a great article and I enjoyed reading it. However, there are people like myself who have no interest at all in relationships and prefer being alone. It has nothing to do with hurt or past relationships at all. I do not have the vocation for it. Sharing my life with someone is not who I am as a person. I've spoken to my psychologist about this and she says that there are people out there who feel the same way.

Am I seen as strange? yes, because in society everyone wants to be in a relationship or find their better half because that's what movies, advertisements and our parents tell us. I refuse to fall into the trap. I work better alone and as long as I have my friends, family and church community, I'll be fine in life. I am a social person, but when it's time to go home, a silent house is what I crave most.
Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to negritoamericano's response:
If you look back at what I've written, you'll notice that I was talking about relationships in general -- not 'relationships' as a euphemism for having a significant other.

As for your situation, it is less usual; but that doesn't mean there is anything wrong with your approach to relationships (in general or specifically with not wanting a SO) as long as it comes from knowing yourself and being honest with what you want and need.
negritoamericano replied to Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD's response:
I understood what you have said without any problem at all, but I wanted to talk about a relationship as far as finding a SO, since many people in society today see this as a relationship.

I have walked away from may friendships because of not being valued or mistreated, as well as having family members I no longer talk to. For many, it's not about forgiveness as much as it is about self-respect and not having anyone treat you as if you were nothing or dirt on the ground.

Have a great day!
Anon_596 replied to negritoamericano's response:
Very well spoken! I applaud you for your insight for your situation. I too have lost some faith in humanity. We give and they take never ending. It is very difficult to draw that line, especially with family members. In the same token, you are shutting yourself down from a possible relationship or friendship that could bring you much happiness.

My mother once told me that she would like to have a man in her life, just not in her house or home. I have to say that I agree with that, and I agree with you.
wheretogo3 responded:
I wear my heart on my sleeve and had a very nasty break-up. I know I don't want to be with my ex or someone like him ever again but now I'm dating and trying to be in a relationship with someone new, I'm nit picking every flaw. I broke up with him to be friends w/ bennifits which is not what I want. And I don't believe it's what he wants he just doesn't want to make me unhappy. I am so scared of being in another toxic relationship. I am in councling for depression & I've been broken up with my ex for a little over a year. I told him some very personal things and he used them against me to make me feel even more worthless. It was a very hard & negitive break-up. I think now I'm not wanting to trust for fear of the same mistake. I want to beable to love again yet not be silly about it. I find it hard not to put up a wall & I'm very untrusting even though my current guy hasn't given any reason to not trust him. I guess my question is how to have faith in myself to trust again & how to know when I can really trust someone?
negritoamericano replied to Anon_596's response:
Actually, Anon, I am not shutting myself down from a possible relationship of friendship at all. I am very clear about what I want in life and I have great friends and close family members that are wonderful to me and I return the favor.

We do have to remember that not everyone is meant to be in a relationship and if we look at the numbers, it's not humanly possible. To tell people that there is someone out there for everyone gives people a false sense of hope. I have done the relationship thing twice and it's not for me. I am fine with that. I am a solitary man and enjoy doing things alone. It blows the mind of many people when they see that I am able to do things alone and really have fun. I am at my happiest when I am alone. I can be social, but when coming home, I enjoy an empty house.
negritoamericano replied to wheretogo3's response:
I say take it little by little and day by day. You can't be too hard on yourself. You are in counseling and that's a great start. I still see my psychologist from time to time and am working on some past issues as well. Trust comes in time. You can't force it and if you want it to come, it will come when the time is right. Hang in there and continue making stride towards a happier future.

Sending you encouragement and love from Madrid, Spain.
candykissesaresweet replied to negritoamericano's response:
am sorry if i was talking to much, i just have a hard time dealing basic relationship issues and i dont mean as a couple
negritoamericano replied to candykissesaresweet's response:
I was responding to the article in general, not to any particular response on this thread. Take it one day at a time and don't be afraid to deal with the past. I am seeing a psychologist and we talk about many things that have brought me pain, but I am working through them day by day. You can do it as well.

Have strength knowing that you have the power deep within you to be the person that you always wanted to be.

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