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How We Use Strategies to Protect Ourselves From Being Vulnerable

When someone comes to me for help, they don’t always share with me straightaway what is troubling them. Either because they feel worried about being judged, or because they haven’t quite made sense of it themselves. Or because they have learned a particular coping strategy to protect themselves.

Some of our emotions can be hidden, not only from others but also from ourselves. Perhaps they were emotions that were not acceptable growing up, for example, anger is a classic one.

Many people shy away from expressing anger, or being around it, either because they never experienced controlled anger expressed, or because they witnessed violent angry outbursts that may have involved physical violence. In this case, being in the presence of someone raising their voice can be distressing and even triggering.

If you never witnessed anger being expressed in your family growing up, because your parents never argued, healthy arguments wouldn’t have been modelled to you. So, again it could feel unfamiliar, or uncomfortable to you.

So, you can see how difficult it could be for someone to share feelings of anger, or even feel that it’s an acceptable emotion. Let alone know how to express it in a healthy way.

Anger can also be a mask for fear

Protection from showing vulnerability, It can feel safer to get angry than to show someone how scared, worried, or upset you are feeling. A signal of ‘Keep Your Distance’ can keep others at a distance, both physically and emotionally.

The problem arises when you use those strategies in a relationship because it can easily lead to disconnection.

Anger is only one strategy in an attempt to keep you safe.

There are others, such as distance, silence, or walking away. You may use one coping strategy, or perhaps several different ones in different situations.

When you open up and show your vulnerability, it means allowing someone into your inner world, allowing them closer. Showing more of 'you', and that isn’t always the right thing to do. Especially if others didn't treat you respectfully, or manipulated you. Perhaps bullying you.

You have to build trust with the other person, and they have to prove to you that they are worthy of that trust.

So, when I first meet someone, I know that trust needs to be built before they are able to lower their protective walls, and allow me in. Once trust is built we can get down to the real work.


Love ~ Listen ~ Talk ~ Repeat Podcast with Wendy Capewell

Ione Upfold is 22 and want s to raise awareness for Tourette's and Dissociative Seizures, conditions that she has. She talks about these on her Instagram and tiktok.’

Ione shares her story of how she started having symptoms that she didn’t understand in 2021. Up to that point her life was on track. She was studying musical theatre at Uni. And then suddenly her life changed. Ione started having seizures and tics. Ione candidly shares her experiences as she wants to raise awareness for those who also suffer and also to help the rest of society understand and how they can best help and support those who have to live with this condition on a daily basis.

You can listen to the full episode here - Link

If you would like to find out more how I can help you, then contact me -, and we can have a chat.

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