I used to be a lot more open about my emotions; I could cry, laugh and yell when I needed to, admittedly the crying and yelling was in an unhealthy amount, In hindsight this was probably due to my BPD but my point is I didn’t have such a big guard up around me.
You see this behavior got me singled out as “emo” “weak” and “strange” and I was bullied for it when all I had been was vulnerable and in our world being vulnerable is considered the same as weak and sharks like to take advantage of this “weakness”
This bullying led to me having panic attacks, crying and self harming almost every night, keep in mind this bullying was added to trauma from assault, abandonment and being a young carer for my sister who has autism basically I already thought my life was pretty shit even before the bullying and the exposure to such things gives your brain a right battering, hence making you more vulnerable.
I understand now that the bullies were most likely going through some shit themselves but instead of letting themselves be vulnerable, they put on a front and took out their issues on people like me who were more expressive with their vulnerability.
After a while I “toughened up” but for me that meant bottling up the tears and the anger; not letting myself be honest about my feelings and this clashed with my values of being true to yourself and being honest, this only encouraged my self harm as I took on the bully mentality and would basically bully myself for feeling like crying for “stupid” reasons.
I learned yesterday how truly unhealthy this “toughen up” attitude is and got me thinking we should be more encouraging for people to show their emotions and let people be vulnerable sometimes. I’ve spoken about this before where I’ve said that schools could do more to help children and young people understand mental health, teaching them how to not only help others with difficulties but themselves as well. There are so many lessons that can be taught on how to express our emotions in a healthy way instead of hurting ourselves and/or others.
Yesterday was the first time I let my guard down in a setting I considered unsafe to do so and nothing really happened; the counsellor gave me some tissues and let me talk things out, I then went to the bathroom to clean myself up and grabbed myself some chocolate and a cuppa tea. So I relied more on myself than I did the counsellor which is empowering but the counsellor helped because she didn’t make me feel judged and I felt safe to be vulnerable with her and that’s how a school, college and busy workplace should feel SAFE.
- Safe to be yourself
- Safe to be vulnerable
- Safe to be honest
I learned that vulnerability isn’t weak, in healthy amounts its good to let your guard down to truly communicate to people your needs. Honestly if I saw one of my bullies cry I wouldn’t hurt them how they hurt me, I would help them and let them know the safety they need to be vulnerable and hope that my compassion would promote their sense of compassion not just for others but themselves as well.
Thanks for reading,