A nice, big wall

theletch1

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I've spent the vast majority of my life (at least since my teenage years) with a reputation for being cold, stand-off-ish, hard to get close to. I was never a truly angry guy. I was actually someone who enjoyed a laugh as well as the next person. But I was impossible to get close to. I put great effort into building my emotional "wall" high and thick. I envisioned it as a medieval castle with a deep moat, high walls and good store of whatever provisions my heart and soul would need to survive. I was in a great defensive position, I thought, to never be hurt by caring about others or loving someone or even allowing anyone else to love me. My one fatal flaw? I forgot to put a door in the wall. It gets awful lonely in a big old castle all by yourself. After awhile I didn't even have to repel attempts at breaching the wall as I'd built up a reputation for being who I was. No one wanted inside my wall anymore.

Eventually, I began training in aikido. The wall was still just as strong as ever. I trained without really caring if I got injured. Hell, I could take it, right? It was just physical pain after all and I had great defenses against that. One night the first crack appeared in the bricks in my wall. I was working a technique and it just wasn't working well. My uke, a higher ranking student, kept working with me until I got the understanding well enough to put him in serious pain. He already knew the technique so taking that pain for me to learn it really made me re-think everything I believed about interpersonal dealings. Is it, perhaps, that ability to experience a little pain in the moment in hopes of gaining the greater joy in the long run that makes life worth living?

Well, that's how the wall began to get modified. Oh, I still have the wall. It's just as high and thick as it's ever been. The difference now is that I have put in a few windows, a gate and a drawbridge. What's the point of all this rambling? Aside from it being a lazy Saturday morning I just wanted to share something of myself in hopes that a few of you would read it and maybe one of you would have that moment of clarity to understand that the wall (or whatever you call your emotional defense) is a fine thing but you must put in a door somewhere or you are just as trapped on the inside as you have locked others outside.

"Nice wall, where's the door?" ;)
 

tshadowchaser

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Is it, perhaps, that ability to experience a little pain in the moment in hopes of gaining the greater joy in the long run that makes life worth living?
That would seem to make one more human. Emotions and the ability to deal with them or even the ability to allow them is part of being what we are.
Building a great wall is needed at times but somewhere along the journey of life we must take a look beyond that wall and open a door or window least the air inside that wall get so stale it suffocates us
 

girlbug2

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Your post reminds me a little of myself. I am very used to my wall because I've lived with it for so long. It's not easy rethinking old habits.

The reason I built mine is because I had to move so often as a kid that it became more and more difficult to make new friends each time, only to say goodbye in a year or two. Eventually you lose your ability to reach out in friendship. I became seriously angry with God for allowing me to be put through all that heartache, so my attitude was "Fine, I'll learn to live without friends altogether" and just stopped trying. The positives are that I became a good reader and a better student in school, worked on my hobbies and skills more in my spare time alone and developed a closer bond with my sister. The negatives are that my emotional support network is confined to a very small group of family members and a few people I've known for many years already. Not a very happy place to be in.

The problem is, how to change this?

I think martial arts has exposed me to people that, for the first time in a long while, I would consider reaching out to and becoming friends with (beyond the training). It's scary to even think about trying however. If all goes well and I don't end up being a complete dork, I will start to worry about one of us moving.

Well thanks for listening to my little ramble. You're right Letch about needing the doors and windows.
 

teekin

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Girlbug, I think it also depends who you are around.
If you are around cold, selfish, sharp people than you need wall or you'll have your *** handed to you.
If you are around kind open generous people than you can be free, open and genuine.
It takes courage to step out and expose yourself, facing rejection of who you are. I was lucky enough to find some freinds who know exactly who I am and love me anyway. We are free to be our most human flawed miserable selves and know that when all is said and done, it OK. **** happens, now where were we?
I have nothing material they want or need, ( Google Don and Judy Wittman, you'll see what I mean). Our freindship is based on mutual respect and love. When the poo hits the fan and the world flys apart I am there for them and they are there for me. NO questions asked, no thanks needed.
I think if you can have the security of a few of those freinds in your life, they give you the courage to keep reaching out. Just a thought.
lori
 

Brian R. VanCise

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Like most people I have a wall with a gate. If you are let through then everything is cool. However it is sometimes hard for people to get through that gate. Yet, if you train in the martial sciences then your chances are very good!
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Sukerkin

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There is much in the above that rings so very true - I'm sure that it applies to many but I felt a particular resonance.

I wish I could claim that I managed, in the words of Pink Floyd, to "tear down the wall" of my own volition.

But in my case what prompted the dramatic change from my cool, calm, never-ruffled, stand-alone demeanour to my present, emotional, what-you-see-is-what-you-get, personality, was permanent brain-damage from my bike accident :eek:. I've often termed it as being like going from Vulcan to Klingon in two quick, heavy, head-trauma's :lol:.

Not everyone takes to the new 'heart-on-my-sleeve' me but those that do say they admire the fact that I say what I think; that, tho' I may wrap my thoughts in polite language, I have no 'guile'. Some may not realise that I have no choice in that and have made myself cringe many a time by the utter honesty that comes from my mouth :eek:. It is an attribute that has made me realise than an ability to 'lie' is sometimes no bad thing :lol:.

This is just a long-winded way of my getting to the point of saying that I agree that sometimes it is good to just let people in :D.
 
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theletch1

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Girlbug, I think it also depends who you are around.
If you are around cold, selfish, sharp people than you need wall or you'll have your *** handed to you.
If you are around kind open generous people than you can be free, open and genuine.
I can't remember which member it was here that had the sig line that said "If you can't change the people around you then change the people around you." This rings very true with you post, Lori. Often times we find ourselves knee deep in the stuff and can't figure out why we're there. Take a step back and look at everyone else's shoes. ;) It's hard enough managing who you let in without having to wade through 500 people that have no business being on the property in the first place.

My hypothetical wall with a moat works sort of like this: Once I opened up enough to have my "drawbridge" I began letting folks in. They were able to cross the bridge into the courtyard. Mingle, have fun, whatever. Cause a problem and you're still close enough to the gate for me to toss your *** into the moat. Spend enough time in the courtyard and maybe I'll let you into the castle proper. Again, I can toss you out into the courtyard or even the moat if need be. You'll need to spend a long, long time in the foyer of the castle to actually be allowed into my chambers. There may be two or three people that are allowed in there. It's about degrees, really. Wide open or sealed off don't work... at least not for me.
 

Rich Parsons

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Like most people I have a wall with a gate. If you are let through then everything is cool. However it is sometimes hard for people to get through that gate. Yet, if you train in the martial sciences then your chances are very good!
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Brian,

I agree. If they get into through the gate and into the yard or garden then they still have to get into the building. The layers of self-defense we define for ourselves does not end with the physical. It also extends to our emotional as well.

There are those who live with no care and can bounce from one relationship to another and always wonder why they get hurt or make the same mistakes.

Those that are paranoid and refuse any interaction physical or emotional limit their experience.

So, even if you bring someone into the building (* house/home *) they might just get the quick tour. Others might spend some time there but move on, but can come and go as they wish.

But, it is rare to find that person that lives in the heart of the building, the Kitchen. To share the kitchen takes work and cooperation. But what comes out of it can be great for self and also for the family and friends.


Thanks
 

matt.m

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Hey bud,

It comes down to the ol' saying in the Marines....."Ya wear different hats for different occassions." We were taught not to let our guard down, always be tough and emotions were for women, etc.

Makes ya wander why the P.T.S.D. clinics in the V.A. system are filled 95 percent with prior Marines doesn't it?

It seems to me you are going through a lot of what you and I have spoken about. The too fast of a rush of emotions coming from everywhere and you don't know where to file them properly.

Emotional repression is a dangerous thing my friend, I like to keep guarded as well. However, I try to use coping mechanisms to calm down etc.

If you need to talk man then PM me........I will give you my cell.

Semper Fi brother Marine,

Matt
 
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theletch1

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Thanks, Matt. I'm doing great and am truly optimistic. Any PTSD that I've had a result of my service has been dealt with for the most part by training and a wife that's willing to listen when I need to talk. I started this thread as a result of a few conversations with another member here who I've come to know as a great person who has been (for quite some time) having serious problems allowing themselves to "let people in". I felt that hearing other people's take on their own walls would help them modify their own little by little and hopefully find happiness. I've known folks with solid walls and those with no walls at all but the truly happy people that I've known are the ones that have learned to have varying levels of entry into their heart.

Semper Fi, Jarhead.
 

Lisa

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I don't think I have a wall for everyone, always. I think I build walls after I have been hurt, they are slow to build but once up there usually isn't any way of getting through, I usually don't put a door in there. For me, it is a reflex. I can't deal with the pain, so I back off because I know that after trying and trying and trying with that particular person and nothing changing, that I am emotionally more stable without them in my life. I look at it as part of my glass being half full. If I remove that person from my life, the pain goes away and my glass seems fuller...does that make sense?
 
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theletch1

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Makes a lot of sense, Lisa. Seems like you're on one of the extreme ends of the spectrum. Do you tend to let folks in immediately and deal with the fall out later by building a wall after the fact? See, my premise is that I let no one in all the way without a long vetting period. It allows me to socialize superficially without the fear of getting burned. Once they've made it through the gate, the courtyard and the foyer I've known them long enough to know whether or not I can trust them to not hurt me. There are only a couple of people that I allowed all the way in and got burned on. These were before I realized that I didn't have to have an all or nothing approach to relationships. Those two people got tossed from the highest pallisade into the moat... with gators swimming around in there. I haven't been burned in a long, long time. It's kind of my way of looking at respect. Everyone starts off with a base line amount of respect and goes up or down depending on their own actions. My trust is the same way.
 

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I guess we are the same that way, but I never think of it as "letting them in all the way" It is forging relationships with them ~ Time, Experience and Trust. I, like you, meet someone and give them a certain amount of respect and build from there but I never shun them away immediately and wait to put the door in after. The wall isn't there until they give me reason to put one up and usually when that happens there is no going back.
 

morph4me

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My castle is built pretty much like Jeff's. There are a lot of people outside the walls, some of whom are allowed into the courtyard, fewer into the foyer, and even fewer past that point. I can count on the fingers of one hand those who are allowed into the inner chambers. I also have trapdoors and catapaults to eject those that I feel need to be removed. Some are sent back to the foyer or courtyard, and others out past the walls, never to be allowed access again. I also have my intermost chamber, the closest anyone has ever gotten to that room was a peek through the crack of an door left ajar, and then quicly closed.
 

hkfuie

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What a great conversation. I have been thinking alot about this thread since I first read it.

I used to have huge walls and have learned alot and have grown alot and now have better ability to vary the walls. Sometimes now I even let them down too much, unfortunately. But as always, I continue to learn.

How have people learned to let their walls down?

For me, I guess it is gaining an ability to trust my senses about people and also trust that I can handle the consequences if I get hurt.
 

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