This from an article I read on
What we do to avoid vulnerability
That insecurity is present in all of us, and it’s so strong that we often go out of our way to avoid situations that might make us feel fragile. In Dr. Brown’s talk at the University of Minnesota, she described the ways we try to sidestep the shaky feeling of vulnerability. We emotionally “armor up” each morning when we face the day to avoid feeling shame, anxiety, uncertainty, and fear. The particular armor changes from person to person, but it usually revolves around one of three methods: striving for perfection, numbing out, or disrupting joyful moments by “dress rehearsing tragedy” and imagining all the ways that things could go wrong. Do any of these sound familiar?
All of these types of armor can make us feel safe and “in control” in the moment, but they’re really doing us more harm than good. “Perfectionism is a 20-ton shield-we think it will protect us but it keeps us from being seen,” notes Dr. Brown. Numbing our emotions is damaging because it has a widespread effect-you can’t numb fear without numbing joy at the same time.
The urge to imagine the worst-case scenario in moments of joy (such as not being able to enjoy a hug with your child without worrying about something bad happening to him) is an amazingly common phenomenon, according to Brené Brown’s research. And why is it so hard for us to soften into joy? “Because we’re trying to beat vulnerability to the punch,” says Dr. Brown. But this has a negative impact, for without vulnerability, there is no love, no belonging, and no joy.
Wow. I have done all three of those “armoring up” techniques most of my life. I have stopped using alcohol to “numb out,” but perfectionism and “dress rehearsing tragedy” are still there.