Trouble with affection and vulnerability

Growing up, even as a young child, I never really got any affection from anyone, or positive expressions of love, or anything like that. Shit, an “I love you” was hard to come by, let alone a hug.

I was always different than my friends were in that sense too. You know how it is, you see a group of girls and they’d be all like, huggy and close and telling each other they love them, just normal shit that girls do. (I think. At least where I grew up, that was very normal.) But I was always the outcast there.

I felt weird when any of my friends hugged me or like, said I love you, or anything like that. It just wasn’t how I experienced life as a kid, and it always felt weird to me.

Even something as simple as saying “I love you” to my best friend always felt…forced. Like, I felt it, and it was true, but saying it felt so weird rolling off my tongue. Like I was saying or doing the wrong thing. It just always felt so strange.

Even with boyfriends, it would be the same thing. They’d tell me they “loved” me, I’d think they were full of shit, and I wouldn’t say it back. Maybe a few times, here and there, especially if I was feeling particularly vulnerable, but never with any regularity or consistency.

Now that I’m married and a mom, I’m finding that that translates in some interesting ways. It can be difficult to find the words I need to express myself and any affection I have towards anyone. I know there are things I need to say, that my family needs and deserves to feel, but it can just be SO hard.

Some days are easier than others. Some days it feels natural, or, again, maybe I’m just feeling more vulnerable. Those days are nice. They feel natural, normal. Like, I’m normal. But the majority of the time, it takes a large and intentional effort on my part. It’s important to me that my family knows how I feel. So, even if it’s painful for me, I have to force myself to say the words.

It isn’t just saying things like “I love you”. Yeah, thats hard, but there are other expressions of….positive vulnerable language? that are equally as hard for me to wrap my head around.

Like, in therapy. Telling her something as simple as I appreciate her, or I care about her, or that on some level I need her, maybe, all of those things are freaking impossible. And I don’t even think those are things that are supposed to be hard.

I struggle with vulnerable language quite a bit. Both positive and negative vulnerability is very difficult for me.

I joke a lot about how I struggle with the most basic of human life functions. You know, eating, breathing, walking…it’s a struggle. For real.
I feel like saying thing like “I love you” falls under that category, too. Like, it shouldn’t be hard. It isn’t hard for the majority of people in this world, yet for me, it feels like torture. Even if it is something that I feel.

Tonight, I have therapy. I was supposed to have a very vulnerable conversation with my husband before I went about how we might start working through some of my sexual trauma and stuff in therapy. That was….hard. Like, extremely painful for me to even think about. So, naturally, I sent him a text this morning, while he was in a different room.

We had a little bit of a conversation about it, and he knows he can come with me to therapy tonight if he wants to so we can talk about it more, in a hopefully far less awkward way.

I really don’t know what it means to “work through” all of this bullshit, so if you have any idea what that entails, please let me know. I’ve never actually gotten further than this step, despite trying to in the past.

I’m nervous, but hopeful about therapy tonight. I just really need and want it to go well, and I want our relationship to feel more solid and stable again. Which means that yet another thing I need to work on is probably attachment. I know I’m a disaster when it comes to that as well, and I have a really hard time with it.

I know I have a lot to work on, and I know I’m quite far from perfect. But I really do want to try to work on all of it. I know I can do better and feel better.

I really just need people to help me, because I know I can’t do all of this alone.

8 thoughts on “Trouble with affection and vulnerability”

  1. I think things are only easy if they’re effectively modelled for us. You didn’t have affection or vulnerability modelled for you for so many years, so no wonder it’s hard.

    Does your husband know how you feel during sex? Or does he just have the vague idea that it stirs up trauma stuff? Working through it seems like it would involve talking about that.

    1. That’s why I want to do better for my kids. So they don’t have to feel like I do now and struggle with the most ridiculous of things.

      I don’t think he knows. I know we talked about this a few years ago and he came to therapy with my and we had a long session about it, but I’m not sure what he really knows or even remembers. Talking about it is sooo hard for me. I really never have. Not in anything less than very vague terms anyway.

      1. Yeah, I can definitely see that being a really tough thing to talk about. Would it maybe be a bit easier to talk about what it feels like in the present without getting into the details of what’s happened in the past?

      2. Maybe..but even that sounds painfully hard. I know I really need to work on it though. It’s causing me a lot of pain and it’s just not worth it to suffer in silence about it anymore.

  2. I recognize a lot of this and your feelings make so much sense to me. I used to be able to say I love you quite ok. But I found out that, because of all the bullying I’ve been exposed to, my love was misplaced a lot of the times. If someone treated me a wee bit better than the bullies, I immediately felt some form of love, because I felt good for a change and I mistook that for love. Of course it never lasted long and people took advantage of me once more… So I have become very careful with my love.

    I hope your therapy went well and that your husband went with you. I have not been there so I can’t possibly imagine those emotions and feelings. But I’m here for ga nevertheless, should you want to chat! 🤗

    Wishing you a very lovely day dear 🍀 🌻

    1. It’s sad that people have to learn to be careful with their love. I’m sorry that has happened to you. It’s a hard thing to unlearn and become “normal” at again when you want to.

      1. Yes it is very hard to unlearn and I wish it wasn’t necessary… But ah well, it is as it is. And I’ve lived and learned and now I move on… 😊 Hopefully to better things 🌻

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