Anytime I was emotionally vulnerable with my mother she would take that opportunity to pounce on me and slice my neck wide open with her claws and watch as I struggled not to bleed out. All metaphorical of course but after years of that you get conditioned to never allow yourself to be vulnerable. You know better than to bare your throat to anyone no matter how much they tell you you can trust them. So then as an adult, when you need help, you can’t reach out, because reaching out requires being vulnerable.
This is why you have people who constantly apologize for, like, breathing.
Or have no problem being there for you but always feel like a burden or problem.
Or struggle to ask for any kind of help at all even if they desperately need it.
They’ve been conditioned from a very, very young age that if they ask for help or show any kind of “weakness” (which can be defined as emotional vulnerability; loving something, taking pleasure in a hobby or asking for assistance) it will either
- Hurt them repeatedly
- Be held over them as leverage for future “reimbursement”
- Come with strings attached
In an abusive family, nothing is free, nothing is done with love, nothing is done with good intentions. You learn to protect yourself often in weird ways. Like apologizing for standing in a particular spot in an aisle in the grocery store, or walking in a direct path and a coworker steps into that path or taking up someone else’s time.
Because you’ve burdened someone and you know, instinctively, that that comes at a deep, deep price.
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