The Potential State Podcast - Enriching Relationships

Vulnerability is The Crucial ABILITY in Intimate Relationships (especially for men)

August 22, 2021 Dr. Assael and Galit Romanelli
The Potential State Podcast - Enriching Relationships
Vulnerability is The Crucial ABILITY in Intimate Relationships (especially for men)
Show Notes Transcript

Many of us learn at a young age (especially boys) that vulnerability=weakness.
We therefore try to hide it and don't show it to our partners.
This results in shallow, self-presentational relationships with little vitality, excitement, play or curiosity.
Moreover, when you're not vulnerable, then you're less interesting to your partner and over time you become more numb to your own inner workings.

The solution? practice the ability of vulnerability. The more you'll show, the more free you'll feel.

But how can I be more vulnerable (especially if I'm not used to it)?

In this talk, we unpack the issue of vulnerability in intimate relationships, using examples from our marriage and the clinic.
Practical tips will help you dare to be more vulnerable in a safe and gradual way.

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Speaker 1:

Nothing too confident right now. Oh , that's okay.

Speaker 2:

We'll do it together . Do it together. Yeah. Well , I just now did , I was being a bit vulnerable and that's not easy, but today we're going to talk about vulnerable ability as a crucial ability in relationships. Yeah .

Speaker 3:

You are listening to the potential state podcast with your hosts, Dr. Sal and gullied Romanelli. Hi, my name is Dr. Estelle Romanelli

Speaker 2:

And we're the potential state . And today we're gonna talk about vulnerabilities, the crucial ability in relationships , especially for men. So we're all taught that vulnerability is weakness, especially men, psychological patriarchy, and we try to hide our vulnerable sides, our shadow.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. Yes. I think we are taught that vulnerability is considered kind of weak, right? Um, Bernay brown talks a lot about vulnerability and how actually, if we can step into our vulnerabilities, then that's a place for connection and intimacy and humanity, right? Like that's where we can all connect as individuals and humans. But I think that kind of the messages that we have received is that it's considered weak , um, that we might be that if people know our vulnerabilities, then we'll be taken advantage of, or they'll leave us. Or they won't like what they see or they'll use them against us. And so we kind of went around and talks about it as armoring up. Right? It's like we put all this armor on so that you can't actually know what I'm really feeling or what's really going on. And I think that what we've found , um, especially as we kind of work with more and more couples is that vulnerability is key, is key to unlocking the intimacy and to really getting to know you and your partner . Okay .

Speaker 2:

And this refers to the episode of, if you want to be loved, show your shadow, because if I'm not showing my vulnerability, my vulnerable sites, then I'm in self-presentation . Then we have this kind of reflected science as kind of a shallow, but not interesting , um, relationship. And this kind of prevents us from raising differentiation. You can reference the differentiation episode and the solution is to show your vulnerability. And I think, you know, Brittany Brown is a mess . She speaks a lot about , I , we think everyone ability is the 21st century strengths . Yeah. Like that is what brings people together. That's what an A-list is, creates empathy. And that's, that really helps us release shame and guilt because I'm sharing when I'm bearing it out. And sometimes couples ask us, well, what's the difference between vulnerability and co-dependence or dependency.

Speaker 4:

Right. I think that the biggest difference is the intention, right? Like how we approach it because, because being vulnerable, isn't, doesn't have the of, I need you to fix this. Vulnerability is just, this is where I'm at.

Speaker 2:

And then the art of intimacy episode, we talk about other validated intimacy where I'm saying, sending for you to validate that or to

Speaker 4:

Right. And I think with, with dependency, there's this kind of, oh, I need you to fix this or I need, you know, I need you to do this . Yeah .

Speaker 2:

Or reciprocate , uh , that's all they're validated intimacy. But then what we were trying to go for self validated to see where I'm sharing, not for you to fix it or heal me, or also share, it's just, I'm sharing where I am.

Speaker 4:

Right, right. Just sharing a deep truth about myself, what I feeling, what I'm fearing . Exactly.

Speaker 2:

Yeah . And all that's in the art of intimacy. So I want to give an example because I see this all in the clinic, especially with men, like just the other day, I was working with a couple and they're having a hard time financially. And he has historically been the one that's in charge of the finances. And I was trying to help him share his, his tension, his fear, his anguish about this. And he, he couldn't, he couldn't, you said, why would she want to hear that? Like , right. Like

Speaker 4:

Why would I want to , um , burden her with that ?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. My PA I mean , reference the episode of your pain is not our responsibilities . Like, why would I burden her on this? So he didn't, he , he couldn't found him that actually sharing his pain or his worry would actually bring them closer. And when he did do that, in fact, she was very happy to hear that. Yeah. And again, and again, I'm noticing this and also notice about myself. Like I remember when we just started dating, I kind of went Mia for a couple of days and then Gilead came back and no, no, we , we

Speaker 4:

Were supposed to go away together for a weekend. And you just a couple of days before total Mia, like, didn't call couldn't reach you. I , I freaked out. Yeah . I like, I didn't know what the plan wise , where are we going to go? Where are we going to go? What's going on? And then when we finally got together , um, I think to kind of like meet up to, to go up north, where are we going to go? I was like, I'm not this, this, this is a no go . Like we can't, I don't, I haven't talked to in two days. I don't know.

Speaker 2:

And in that moment, I'm freaking out thinking she's going to break up with me. And then before I even noticed it , I say that the historic words of please don't leave me, want all puppy, dog eyes. And that was a moment of really vulnerability for me. And I didn't know how that would land. And how was that food? When I said that,

Speaker 4:

I think it was a moment where you were willing to be very honest with, you know, certain fears. Um, and like , uh , almost this kind of, I don't know, you tell me, I just remember it really, it opened me up to, yeah ,

Speaker 2:

I was super embarrassed because it was super like, ah , cause for me, you know , when Billy was like, ah , being childish and not , I think

Speaker 4:

It , it allowed the conversation to shift. So rather than it being an argument and me being, you know, a new being defensive and kind of like, you know, going down a kind of more fight path, but it allowed kind of the softness to come out of. Like, let's talk about, you know, where our relationship is going.

Speaker 2:

And I think for a lot of people and a lot of men I work with it's a reframe vulnerability brings people together. You'll be more loved. You are more beautiful and more sexy and more attracted and more interested in interesting when you are more vulnerable. Why

Speaker 4:

Really? Right. Like in total, this is totally Renee brown and this is what she talks about. Like vulnerability and elicit empathy. It just does. It's just this, it's this like magnet. And you just allow yourself to drop the armor and to really connect heart to heart and to really see each other. Because basically what you're saying when you're willing to be vulnerable is you're willing to expose yourself. And I think that that ability to expose yourself comes with great trust because you won't do that with just anyone. And I think that that's kind of, I think that was what happened at the moment. You know, that you said that in the car with me was that I recognized your vulnerability and I recognized fear. And I think that I wanted to meet you there. Like I wanted to not be angry that you kind of, you know, we're gone, but rather like, okay, let's use this opportunity to reflect and discuss

Speaker 2:

Because violin , vulnerability begets vulnerability. Self-validating intimacy. It brings more self out into the sea or Schnarch calls itself. Exposure brings self exposure. It's exact opposite from self presentation or , oh , I'm fine . I'm fine . And there , that all gives up to a sense of freedom to bring my different science. I can just be myself. I can say the thing and to have that to be vulnerable and be accepted is one of the greatest feeling serious. So how to do that. So first of all, share this episode with your partner and then check your core beliefs about vulnerability. What did you learn about being vulnerable? Right. And this can also be a gender thing if you're a man

Speaker 4:

And, and, and yeah, I think that's really important. I think looking at, you know, what is our, how is our family with vulnerability? Are we vulnerable with each other? Um, are there secrets? Is there guilt and shame and things like that? Um, what are the messages that I received from my surrounding? Is it okay? Is it safe to be vulnerable? Right. Cause I think that when we then try out to this place of being , um, exposed and showing up our vulnerabilities, we have to start in a place where we're really safe, where we know and are confident that it won't be used against us.

Speaker 2:

I think vulnerability, it's not just my fear. Some it won't be , it can be my anger or my sexuality. Yeah . So my selfishness, right?

Speaker 4:

Like one time I said to , you know , I'm, I'm selfish and I'm lazy. Like that was me being vulnerable. That was me showing that was me being willing to show a side of me that most people don't get to see. And I needed to trust that in that moment, when I say that to you, won't use that against me later , um, in future fights or even in the moment, right? Like with contempt or, or with kind of like discussed guy needed to trust that. If I say that to y'all , you'll recognize that moment for what it is. So

Speaker 2:

That's interesting. You're saying, because a lot of couples will say, I say this to them like, well, I don't trust my partner. And then I say them all, you will never know. Like you can either wait till , you know, a hundred percent you'll get the safety and the validation from your partner, or you can start being vulnerable and seeing if your partner can deal with this, because you're raising the bar, you want to create a relationship where you can be vulnerable. And if you're, if you say I'm going to get the tips, but if you find yourself again, again, being vulnerable and your partners not meeting,

Speaker 4:

Right. I think that's also kind of where Snarks comes in. Right? Like if I'm vulnerable and you're, you're not, you're not reacting that to that. Then I , I, that's an, that's an opportunity for me to check with myself, like, you know, how do I ground myself and how do I react to that? And is this, do I want to be with someone who can't, who can't , um, who can't handle my

Speaker 2:

Vulnerable? Yeah. Would you want to be in a relationship where you can't be vulnerable? Like , what's the point

Speaker 4:

Of that relationship ? And I think, but even more than that, right? Like, like if I, if I don't trust this person with my vulnerabilities, then what is the foundation of this role ?

Speaker 2:

But I always need to be armored up. I wasn't being self-presentation that's a recipe for loneliness, boredom, apathy. Okay. So we were talking about the core beliefs reflect on that, share with them then , um , sharing bite-size, this is really important. Like choose someone, it could be a part of it . If you don't feel that safe as a party to be a family therapist or mentor or, and start with bite-size , you can reference the episode, the art of sharing and ideas to share a little bit . Bite-size like little things, seeing Atlanta letting it land. I have that feeling like it's a muscle, right? It's a muscle. We how we are . Right. So I can start with something that a little bit embarrassed of, or a dream I have, or one of the flaws that , or mistake I've done in the past. I'm like sharing them in bite-size and it's important for the part whoever's listening to that to ground themselves. They don't have to do anything. They don't have to , uh , they don't have to cheer me up afterwards. Right.

Speaker 4:

I think that one of the, one of the things that we find so difficult with, with vulnerability is that again, reference Bernay brown for this, but it's the sitting with someone who's vulnerable. Right? Like just being able to sit with that feeling makes us a little uncomfortable. Right. Um, and I think that often we think we need to do something, but it's actually just sitting with it. And that

Speaker 2:

Reminds me that oftentimes, like when I was working with the man to admit about the front end , I need to work with his partner, with her. Just kind of like just letting it land, just letting it land, reference the episode of Europeans , not my responsibility, because it usually feeds each other. The more I can sit with my partner's vulnerability without feeling the need to fix or heal or cheer them up, that's going to encourage the partner to open up more. Yeah . And then after you do share that little nugget, it's try to stay open no-go silly or cute or change topics. Like let yourself be seen there because it's , the ability is not right . They didn't say,

Speaker 4:

You know, that was really hard for me. Yeah . Right. But I also feel kind of like, it's almost like riding that wave, right. Um , Emily and goes , can come as you are talks about how our emotions kind of have a cycle. So if we can kind of ride that wave of the, of the vulnerability emotion, that, that, that it will take us on to just kind of let it wash through us. Yeah. And over

Speaker 2:

Time you'll be sharing more and more parts of yourself referenced the episode or your faults are welcome here. And you'll be able to be more and more of yourself. And then you will achieve a sense of freedom. I can be myself and big show, all my flaws.

Speaker 4:

You can also get more connected with yourself, right? You can start exploring what are these emotions that are coming up? What am I feeling? And you can then express them. You can name them and express them. It just, I think that what we've learned is that vulnerability and being able to step into it and express it, recognize and express, it has really opened up and unleashed, you know, this whole treasure of an emotional world between couples.

Speaker 2:

So vulnerability is the crucial ability in relationships. You can do it and you can develop it. This was Lee Romanelli where the potential state we'll see you next time. Ciao .

Speaker 3:

You've been listening to the potential state podcast for more information, visit us@potentialstate.com. Thanks for listening.