Vulnerability, Part 1

Enchanted Rose

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,

Life was not meant to be lived under glass.

This series will conclude next week.



Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, domestic abuse, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse

16 responses to “Vulnerability, Part 1

  1. Dear Anna, a definitive, in-depth penning that clearly distinguishes the two types of vulnerability. Both extremely harmful, hurtful with the one distinction- one is mentally abusive, the other physically abusive. Both of these unfortunate victims live in the dark shadows of a society that has a tendency to turn a blind eye by neglecting those harmed.

    And when these children grow up (if they’ve survived), they in turn will inflict the same punishment on their offspring. Oft times, it results in violence against others. They are like a pressure cooker that can no longer hold in their anger. And, somehow they’ve slipped through the cracks of psychiatric help or medication. You continue to strive and put this out there in hopes it’ll make a significant difference. I truly believe it does. Blessings, my wonderful friend.

    • My dear friend, you give me too much credit. “Stephen” at Therapy Glasgow drew the clinical distinction here. I wholly agree that violence often gives rise to violence. Emotional abuse, too, can be passed forward to another generation. More often the latter, I think, leads to self-destruction. Either way, these are profound scars. But I believe, w/ Christ’s help, they can be overcome.

      My heart goes out to all those who have endured such pain. And my thanks go out to you for your friendship and unfailing support. May God bless and watch over you.

      • Dear Anna, thank you for bringing that to light. Yet, it is your undying work that deserves so much credit for putting the merciless tragedies out there for so many readers ( especially those who have lived it).

        It is always a pleasure, my wonderful friend. And, thanks very much. May God bless and watch over you as well. Peace and light.

  2. This is a really good point. We may feel extremely vulnerable because we were deeply wounded in the past – but that is not the same as actually being vulnerable. Looking forward to the next installment …..

  3. Great post. I really like the comparison to the film scene. I have that movie, but haven’t watched it yet.

    Suggestion- movie titles are italicized, not in quotes. If you write on a short story or poem in an anthology, quotes are used but not italics.

  4. there is a big difference between the two as you say being in a safe state knowing no more harm will come as opposed to still being vulnerable to the point of of actively wanting to leave it all behind.

  5. Anna you are right. I too found that living with two maintenance alcoholics I was vulnerable. However with the power that God yields he was there for me. It is possible to break the cycle, in fact anything is possible with the power and love of Christ. I started calling out his name and praying to God by the first grade and He literally saved my life many times. Anything is possible with God. Great post dear Anna. Love 💕 Joni

    • That is a powerful statement, Joni. It is exactly the point I try to make on this blog. As an incest survivor, I know I would not have survived had Christ not been present in my life — even during the years I denied Him. May He continue to watch over you. With love, A. ❤

  6. This surely presents the chill that either way, or additively, those abused must always be on guard.

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