Setting Boundaries to Be Able to Allow Vulnerability

Keywords: Setting Boundaries.

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.

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 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 Setting 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.

Relearning 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.

How is setting boundaries for you? Leave your comment below.

  • Juda Keeper says:

    Need this type of information

  • Sue says:

    The problem is, noone cares. You can’t make people understand or listen, if they don’t care.

  • Veronica says:

    Thank you Roland!! It is very clearly explained here. I’m in this process right now, in this precious growth. I am supported by a trauma therapist, and I moved away from the main abusive relationships I had. Yes, the process is to face my fears, to pricess my trauma, to learn to say yes or no when I really mean it, to learn something I have never done that is: listen to my inner voice, to my needs, to my body, so its kind of a blank territory, I really feel like stepping into the unknown after a whole life of freeze/collapse and please/appease (that I understand they allowed me to survive and be safe) but they dont serve me now, they kill my inner power, and…mostly… they are not my deepest Truth!!!
    I was noticing lately that I have always had, and still have, a profound, mysterious feeling inside that says: I am not this freeze/collapse reaction, I am not so scared/weak/powerless, deep inside it’s like I feel, I know I am strong, and creative, and rebel, and free, and powerful, and full of resources… It is just like this very deep feeling/knowledge has been locked behind a wall, a big wall, a surface made of ice, it has been crystalized, frosted…. So… now it’s the time, it’s a very precious new beginning!!! A great discovery inside. And mostly A GREAT EMBRACE AND ACCEPTANCE of whatever I AM… all included!
    I appreciate the therapy work Im doing, because it’s very gentle and at a low pace, in respect of my inner rhythm… As you write, if I open up, show up (again) when my foundations are not strong enough, huge vulnerability and huge empathy together with all my old coping strategies would be overwhelming…
    So, baby steps…
    Self love, self acceptance, self compassion, and inner exploration… possibly with a trusted, compassionate helper!

    Thank you for your work!!

    Loving kindness

    I met my therapist thanks to your video where you invited him to speak and share about trauma and post cult trauma.
    Keep up such good precious work, sharing it openly. 🙏

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