Victim of Vulnerability

I am the victim of vulnerability.

Co-dependency crippled me all those years ago.  I carry a scar so long, so deep that I can feel the rippling skin tightening without thought.  So calloused and yet paper-thin.

It’s hard to move forward with such a scar.  But I try.

And recently, I’ve managed to build this rickety relationship with someone who cares; but like a birdhouse made in a high school shop class, it doesn’t show much proficiency.  It sort of leans to one side and the pieces don’t quite match.

But somehow it manages to keep the rain off the birds’ feathers when it storms.

Despite this precarious creation and it’s deepening intimacy, I find myself unable to say what I think is expected.

It’s like dirt in the throat.

Sand in the mouth.

Broken glass along the tongue.

That fear bubbles up and locks my tongue so neatly whenever I have that moment.  And the moment happens more and more. It’s almost casual now.

When he’ll go out of his way to check on me when I’ve been my quiet, reclusive self.

When he knows what joke to make to get me to smile.

When runs his fingers through my hair in that slow, gentle way I like.

When he makes sure he can be there during my upcoming surgery.

I lov-

I want to say it.  I do.  But that fear, that victim mindset leaps to attention.
It hisses-snarls-screams at me…

Do not give him that power.

No one ever deserves that knowledge, that ability to damage you so completely.  No one does ever again.

Remember what happened last time.

The one time I tried handing my heart over.  I tried full, unconditional trust.

Unconditional trust is overrated.

Unconditional trust is what turned me into the victim.

Conditions are safe.

I stare at that birdhouse I’ve created, and part of me wants so badly to sand it, varnish it, paint it.  Make it something of beauty that will last a long time.

But that victim-voice reminds me that it will only make the pain sharper when the birdhouse finally does crumble.

And it will crumble.

14 thoughts on “Victim of Vulnerability

  1. Wanderer

    It’s hard to be open with your emotions even if you haven’t been hurt. Don’t be too hard on yourself–trusting someone enough to say that is a big deal, and it’s better to say it a little late than too soon. Hang in there! ❤

    1. Pen Post author

      ❤ Thanks. It's so easy to say it when it means platonic love but that whole "I like you but in a deep, intimate, romantic way" is just a lot more terrifying.

      1. Pen Post author

        Completely fair response. It took me awhile to say it in my first relationship too. And look how that turned out…
        But whenever I tell friends how long Army and I have been dating (on and off, but still) they’re always floored when I admit we haven’t exchanged the “I L U” stuff at all yet.

      2. Wanderer

        I knew a couple who didn’t say it to each other until he proposed. I’m not saying that’s the way for everyone (I’m floored they managed it!) but it brought up the point that saying something doesn’t make it true—and not saying something doesn’t make it untrue.

        You can show someone you love them, and see that someone loves you, by so many other things. Sure, it’s nice to say it and hear it, but, as George RR Martin says, “Words are wind.” 🙂

        Sorry that was a bit of a ramble, but I hope something in there was encouraging!

      3. Pen Post author

        Yes. That was very encouraging. 🙂

        And a lot of what my friends like to say. They see Army and I together frequently and have told me that they see the love, even if neither of us say it. And I haven’t really felt super compelled to.

        I’m more terrified of that moment where he might say it and I’m *expected* to say it back, but the fear will bind my tongue.

      4. Wanderer

        I *feel* like Army might know you well enough at this point to know that’s not something you would necessarily be able to spout back to him.

        I think, if he says it and you can’t say it back then the best thing to do is to tell him that–Maybe not in so many words, but to somehow let him know that you do care, but you’re not ready to say that yet.

        But I’m far from an expert where ANY of this is concerned! Take it one moment at a time–there are worse things to worry about than being loved!

      5. Pen Post author

        Hah. So true. Like the upcoming surgery. Less than two weeks now. -shudder-

        Your insight is lovely. I appreciate it so much ❤

  2. NotAPunkRocker

    Say it here or someplace else that is “safe”. Write it down, rip it up, burn it, do it again.

    I know where you are coming from with this and get the fear.

    1. Pen Post author

      I dunno if there’s anywhere safe. I feel like once it bubbles up completely from my mind/throat then it’s out and not-safe anymore. This post was really as close as I could get.

      And I’ve been working on this post since that afternoon/evening we chatted this past weekend. So that shows you how long it took me just to get out the vague fear of the words. I dunno if I can say the words- even to myself.

      1. NotAPunkRocker

        And I can understand that fear and emotion too. The power of words and the reality of emotions, or is it the opposite way around? IDK. I know people say that life is short, but I think y’all still have time to figure this out.

  3. Mental Mama

    Honey, you know how I feel about you, so please know that there is love in what I’m about to say.

    Life is not safe. If you’re living your life to be safe, you’re really just living in a cage. You’re still young – go out and live, really live. We get one go ’round on this planet, make the most of it. Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all – you’re familiar with this? Go forth, seize the moment! Open your arms and your heart and – most importantly – your mind. Maybe he’s not worth it, but if you don’t give him a fair opportunity to prove himself, you’ll never really know.


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