Two friends who I went to college with showed up at my door unexpectedly. I had kept in contact with them since leaving college but hadn’t seen them for a couple of years. I was surprised and excited to see them once again. They spent a couple of days with me and as they were leaving they asked me a couple of questions. Were you surprised to see us? Were you happy that we came? I was taken aback by what they asked and I told them I was very surprised when they showed up unexpectedly and was also very glad they did so. I have pondered this over the years.
Tonight my t and I were discussing friendships once again. She asked me what do I want from a friendship. I didn’t really answer the question because I wasn’t really sure. I told her that most of my f2f friendships except for a couple were all mostly one-sided. I like giving and giving of myself but I rarely ever ask or take from another. I tend to set up all my relationships in this way.
And as we were discussing this my mind flashed back to the above incident and I suddenly realized something. I looked at my t and said you know what, I think that I only give and give in a physical way. I give of my time, my abilities. If someone wants me to do something for them I will usually do it if I’m capable of it. But the thing I suddenly realized is that I don’t give to them emotionally even if I’m feeling it.
When my friends came to visit I was really excited to see them but nothing about my manner or expressions indicted those feelings. My t told me it was something I learned to do as a young child because it wasn’t safe for me to express any emotion good or bad. I learned how to become a blank page.
As a child it was safest not to show emotion no matter what was going on, no matter what I was feeling. Apparently I have carried it on into adulthood. It still has kept me safe but it keeps me so safe that I can’t connect with people on that deeper level and in all honesty how can they connect with me? People can’t read how I’m feeling about anything. And I think this is where I have a problem with professionals. I could be doing really bad but it doesn’t look any different than when I doing really good.
But here’s the problem. I don’t know how to put what I am feeling on the inside into my body language, onto my face. I have lived my entire life like this. I know I don’t have to become something I’m not but I do have to learn somehow to show what I’m feeling (in a safe way to safe people) even if it’s just in a small way. How do I unfreeze my body?
And most of all can I be vulnerable?