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Vulnerability: Sharing without Being a Victim

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You want to be more open and transparent, but how much do you share, with whom, and what do you share so you feel good about the interaction, and don’t come across as a victim?

Cathy: You may have just seen the video we did on vulnerability and how important it is to creating intimacy and deep connection with people. But if you want to start being vulnerable, how do you know how much to share and how do you share without some of the stuff you may want to be sharing is rather personal and it might be things that weren’t great in your life. So how do you share that without appearing like a victim? So we’re here with Reid Mihalko from http://www.ReidAboutSex.com and I’m Cathy Vartuli from http://www.TheIntimacyDojo.com.

Reid: How do you share vulnerably and when enough is enough or when too much is too much and how do you not come off being —

Cathy: Poor me —

Reid: Poor me —

Cathy: — look how bad my life is.

Reid: Yeah. Well let’s work backwards, so how do you come from a place of not being, oh, poor me. If you’re feeling when you’re sharing it, oh poor me, then you’re probably coming from the, oh, poor me place.

Cathy: And that’s not always bad but when that becomes the whole tenor of your conversation, that’s setting a tone that you may not want to create.

Reid: Well the question I would think you might want to ask yourself is why are you sharing it in the first place.

Cathy: Uh-hum.

Reid: You know, just because —

Cathy: That’s a really good question.

Reid: Because Reid and Cathy said be more vulnerable. No but like what’s your intention with sharing. Get really clear on those things. Are you sharing to unburden yourself because you can’t stand keeping it a secret anymore? If you don’t, ask somebody for –you know, is it okay if I share something with you that I need to reveal.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: Then it could occur to them like dumping.

Cathy: Right. So it’s really nice if you go, “Hey, Reid could I vent to you for a few minutes?”

Reid: Yeah.

Cathy: That’s different than just going up and blah.

Reid: Yeah and then the poor me piece, getting clear about why you’re sharing and what it is you’d like to get out of it.

Cathy: Yes.

Reid: I think that can be really important because there’s clarity there and you can set it up that way. It’s like, “Hey, I want to share something that might be troubling –

Cathy: Yes.

Reid: — and my intention is I want you to know a little bit more about me and I just kind of would like to hear at the end of this some reassurance that I’m a good person.”

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: That’s a lot more context than, “Hey, I had this horrible thing happen to me, what do you think.”

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: Or, you know, do you agree that this was a horrible thing.

Cathy: Right. So you’re kind of using Reid – we have a video on difficult conversations and Reid has a great download on that. So you’re kind of frontloading it and letting them know what you’d like out of this and giving them some guidance on how to hear you.

Reid: Yeah. And that I think will kind of clear up any unconscious agenda that you might have. Coming out sideways when you share things about yourself.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: And those unconscious agendas for some folks kind of are along those lines of “I need support” or “I need you to agree with my plight” not “I want you to get to know me better so we can have a deeper relationship.” I think people share unconsciously sometimes in the name of, “but I’m being vulnerable, I’m being transparent,” which you can get, make that more empowered by getting clear on what your intention is.

 

Cathy: Yes.

 

Reid: Like being more conscious about how you’re sharing and relating to people. The vulnerability piece is key but vulnerability just kind of like a garden hose or a fire hose turned on without anybody holding it.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: And then it whacks somebody in the head and your vulnerability is not so pleasing.

Cathy: Yes. 

Reid: And creating disconnection rather than connection.

Cathy: One of the tips we’ve heard from Brendon Bruchard as well is if we can share from a point of having at least some path forward that we’ve found some wisdom from it. So I have an abuse history and I sometimes share some of that with people and sometimes I’m sharing it to let them know that they can get past it too. Like I can share my path, the victory over it and that will definitely take away the victim, the tone of victim rather.

Reid: Yeah. Or you can just share with people like hey I want to share this thing that I haven’t quite worked through yet.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: So I might have a lot of stuff come up but I feel like it’s time in our relationship for me to share some more vulnerable things with you.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: Would you be up for that? You know, sometimes like you can try to build all the context but the context is really in you telling me what happened.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: So at some point you can’t give people all the answers because of what you’re sharing part of the answer lies in what you’re actually sharing with them.

Cathy: Yes.

Reid: But you can kind of warn them a little bit or check in and make sure they’re in a good space to hear this or at least announce what your intention is.

Cathy: Yeah. I think we should do another video for the other part of the question.

Reid: Okay.

Cathy: Thanks everyone.

Reid: Next video coming right up.

 

More articles on improving communication and relationship skills:

Vulnerability: Authentic and Positive

Having The Courage To Be Vulnerable (Appreciation)

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