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How To Be Vulnerable In Relationships

This blog post was written by Recovery Help Now’s, Cindy Nigro, MFTi.

As a therapist, I’ve worked with many men who struggle with intimacy and emotional expression.  Often times, men will wear masks so that true feelings and emotions are safely protected. If you strive to hide feelings of vulnerability then you are certainly not alone.  You may have been raised in a family that doesn’t openly express emotions.  Perhaps you were taught that being a “man” means never showing vulnerability or sadness.

You’ve managed to get by for this long without being vulnerable so why change now?  Well, feelings cannot be selectively numbed therefore numbing out the difficult feelings will also lead to numbing out positive feelings such as joyfulness.  Also, your behavior is most likely negatively affecting your relationship.  Your partner may request or even hassle you to share yourself more openly and honestly.

How do you go about showing vulnerability once you desire to offer a glimpse of your true self to your partner?

Start by sharing your feelings with those closest to you. If you can learn to verbalize your inner emotions, others have the opportunity to truly know you. It also provides a way to feel validated. When you share intimate aspects of yourself you learn that you’re not alone and also not that different from anyone else.

Retrain your thinking. Most people feel that being vulnerable is a negative trait.  You feel exposed, weak. Instead, look at those you admire most.  Do they share deep aspects of themselves? Appear open? If you can re-evaluate the way you feel about vulnerability it could help you to open up more.

Connect with others on a deeper level. Sharing and showing vulnerability isn’t something you will want to do with everyone, rather it’s a trait you’ll want to incorporate into intimate relationships.  Work towards learning to expose a deeper aspect of your personality to those you love.

Write a blog or journal, join a support group, or attend therapy–just start sharing. Practice opening up to others and it will get easier.  Only then you can reap the benefits of closer, deeper relationships.

 

 

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