Enchanted Rose from Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” (Disney Wiki/Creative Commons), courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine
In the Disney version of the fairytale “Beauty and the Beast”, an enchanted rose is shielded against the elements by a glass dome. Though sheltered and hidden away, the rose remains fragile and continues to lose its petals. In so doing, it presents a perfect picture of vulnerability.
The victims of child abuse are all too familiar with vulnerability. We were preyed upon at our most vulnerable – at a time when we should have been protected and nurtured.
It is only reasonable that we retain a sense of fragility, along with the recollection of our very real abuse. This is an echo of the intense fear we experienced as children.
Feeling Vulnerable v. Being Vulnerable
But there is a difference between feeling vulnerable, and being vulnerable. To save our own lives, we must learn to distinguish between the two.
“…I might feel vulnerable whilst speaking of things I have kept hidden for a long time, whilst there is no actual threat to my existence. By revealing myself I reveal truths that I may not yet have fully accepted in myself. I may in fact be safe, but the experience of exposure feels like I am in danger….
By contrast, I might actually be vulnerable standing out on the ledge of a forty-storey building, where the merest breeze might shift my balance sufficiently to result in a terrifying death a few seconds later.”
-“Stephen” of Therapy Glasgow, https://therapyglasgow.com/2020/04/26/the-vulnerable-self/
Life was not meant to be lived under glass.
This series will conclude next week.
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