Brene Brown is a speaker, therapist, and researcher who has a new documentary (that actually is quite funny and could almost be stand up comedy) on Netflix called Brene Brown, The Call to Courage. If you are in a partnership and want to learn about some ways of doing a better job of being partners, you would do well to view this show. She has talked about shame a great deal and this particular show is about courage and vulnerability. How vulnerable are you in your relationship? Perhaps in all your relationships?
Are You Being Vulnerable? I am not suggesting that you should be completely vulnerable to everyone, and in fact, I would argue against that. But with your significant other, your closest partner, what does it mean if you can’t? Let’s take that statement apart. First there is you: can you be vulnerable with your partner? Are you saying what you really mean and feel and think, or are you reverting to old patterns that cause escalating fights? Second, if you feel that you cannot really safely be who you are when you are vulnerable with your partner, what is that telling you about the relationship? Taking an abusive situation as the example, it may be best to not be vulnerable to someone who abuses you, except for in couples therapy, but even then the abuse would need to be controlled. And it is not worth the time to be vulnerable with someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol because they are not clear headed and may not even remember what you have said later (that is called having a “black out.”)
But when a partnership is not experiencing abuse, or one or both are not under influence, what is going on with vulnerability? Can each partner find the courage to talk about important issues and happenings and feelings and opinions? If you are in a relationship where there is not much vulnerability and each of you is fine with that and things are working well, it sounds like that means your relationship is working that way. But if you are in a relationship (which does not include the exceptions stated above) and one or both are wanting more, are you being vulnerable with your partner?
One last thought for now: Dr. Brown often uses a quote by Teddy Roosevelt that is worth looking up, you can reference it here: https://blog.ted.com/5-insights-from-brene-browns-new-book-daring-greatly-out-today/ If you read the quote and then think about being vulnerable in your significant relationships, what does it bring up for you?
Dr. Robert G. Kraft is a career psychologist in Omaha, NE. He earned his doctorate, as well as his bachelors and masters before that, from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Has practiced in Nebraska ever since.
As well as maintaining his practice, Dr. Kraft is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Creighton University School of Medicine, where he teaches residents about psychotherapy.