PTSD and the Importance of Setting Boundaries to be able to Allow Vulnerability
To open up without being able to set limits is a recipe for getting hurt.
As a child, you don’t have that choice, though. You are naturally vulnerable and don’t yet have the skill sets to defend yourself when that vulnerability isn’t acknowledged or honored.
And this is the case with child abuse and neglect, which often leads to Complex Trauma or CPTSD.
Perception of Vulnerability
When your vulnerability is not acknowledged, and you have been hurt; your perception of it changes.
Vulnerability will be perceived as a weakness or as emotionally dangerous, and as a result, if you venture there at all, it will only be extremely cautiously.
And it comes at a cost!
Healthy vulnerability and the ability to open up, without the threat of being hurt, helps you to connect with others; it makes for more compassion for oneself and others and allows opportunity through that connection with others, to come your way.
The Importance of Boundaries for Safety
Those constructive attributes of vulnerability can only be realized when you can set healthy limits.
And there comes another problem with Post-Traumatic Stress which is that you have not learned nor have been given the opportunity to set healthy boundaries. You have managed so far to survive using either; fight, flight, freeze or pleasing.
So setting healthy boundaries is an alien concept to start with. You will likely fix them either too rigidly, which is then followed by a collapse when you get triggered by something or someone.
Re-Learning to set Boundaries; to come closer to Allowing Vulnerability
Once you are aware of the importance of both boundaries and vulnerability, the need then arises to explore and define them for yourself.
And this is a process.
Starting out you are going to meet your fears and resistances while hesitantly setting your limits; your yes and no responses towards others. Equally so, when you are starting to allow yourself to feel vulnerable and open up again, you will meet the pain of that disrespected vulnerability and the grievous hurt that surrounds it.
It’s a challenging but very worthwhile growth process.