Why I’m Vulnerable On The Internet
Childhood Trauma Plays A Role
When I was three, I learned that I would eventually die.
You can imagine that, for a three year old, this was a fairly traumatic turn of events. At any time you could go “poof” and you wouldn’t exist. Scary!
Expectedly, I had a temper tantrum. The emotions associated with this new knowledge were too much for me to handle, so I lost my shit.
This is where a parent comes to the rescue: to soothe the child, tell them that you won’t die for a long time, tell them that they understand how scary this is, sit with them and cuddle them for as long as they need reassurance.
My mother heard my temper tantrum and walked out of the room.
I was left alone to deal with these horrible thoughts, to self-soothe at an age where I wasn’t ready to do that.
Throughout my childhood and teen years, this became a regular pattern. My dog was hit by a car when I was seven, and I was left alone to deal with my anxiety. When I was 16, I had panic attacks related to getting into college. I had no emotional support. I was on my own.
I don’t blame my parents for this lack of support. They didn’t have the emotional capacity to react to their children how they needed to react. They had their own generational trauma that they never dealt with, so to expect that they’d all of a sudden become beacons of emotional support was asking too much. I’ve also been in therapy for over 12 years, and have gone through the typical waves of anger to acceptance of their behavior that a patient is expected to go through.
However, for a child like myself, this was traumatic. To be ignored in moments of emotional terror creates a child that must care for themselves far before they’re equipped with the emotional capacity and ability to do so.
Which leads to my vulnerability on the internet.
I say things about myself that others just don’t say. I talk about my pettiness, my jealousy, my irrational hatred of things, my bad moods. Nothing is off topic, and nothing is off target. The only reason I don’t share every “bad” shameful thing I know about myself is because the Internet isn’t ready to hear all of the details. I may be non-judgmental about you and what you go through, but others are less forgiving.
Since I had learned that sharing emotional stuff with the people that were supposed to deal with it didn’t work, why not share it out loud to a bunch of strangers? What’s the worst that could happen? In my mind, absolute hatred and vitriolic responses are way better than being ignored. If even one person read what I had to say, I could feel more seen and heard than if I hadn’t shared it at all.
And so, I share myself and my story as a way of healing. Putting it “out there” makes all of my experiences real for me. The reason that this is vulnerable, as opposed to self pitying, is that my motives are therapeutic. I don’t share so that others will feel bad for me and tell me how much they care (although it’s nice if they do and I appreciate it!). I share so that I can view the world as a place where our “bad selves” aren’t actually bad, but human. Being vulnerable makes me feel like the flawed, messed up, amazing person that I am, and that we all are.
So I’ll continue to share myself, my trials, my tribulations, my hopes, my dreams, my everything. It’s a huge part of my healing and personal development journey, and I don’t plan on stopping.