Walls of Protection
We all have them. We have these invisible barriers that we’ve constructed over the course of our lives and most of us have no idea they even exist. We put up walls to keep others out. We put up barriers to keep ourselves in so know one can see who we really are with our weaknesses, challenges, or vulnerabilities.
We put up emotional walls and sometimes even create physical walls with our bodies. We believe that if we create this pseudo-separation we will protect ourselves from being hurt, eliminate unnecessary emotions and be sure the past never happens again!
Sometimes, we will raise those walls higher or make them thicker under certain circumstances or in the presence of certain people while under other circumstances we might lower our walls temporarily. Notice… we have at least some control over the existence and depth of our walls. 😉
Does this sound like you? Are there times you let others in?
Are there times you put up an invisible barricade to your heart?
We usually build these walls slowly as life happens. When we experience an event that feels uncomfortable or brings up unwanted emotions typically some part of us will decide that we don’t want that to happen again. Then some part of us – often unconsciously – decides how we need to act or behave to prevent the past from reoccurring.
It is inevitable that at some point we will feel hurt, embarrassed, or ashamed. It’s likely that we could even be abandoned or abused. When these experiences happen, especially when we are young and we don’t know how to process the emotions that arise, the seemingly most obvious choice is to ensure they never happen again. We “automatically” build some form of protection so that experience doesn’t happen in the future.
There is a survival instinct at play here. Our bodies are designed for survival and instinctively we will do anything to be sure nothing threatens that survival. To a child, even emotional pain can seem life threatening. If the child believes “Mommy or daddy is upset with me or they are not here when I need them,” The child nervously thinks, “They might not take care of me and what will happen to me then??”
So not that we know how and why walls of protection are built, let’s start looking at how many walls of protection we might have and the forms they take. I mentioned earlier, some of us of create actual physical walls with our bodies. If someone has threatened us or actually hurt us physically, we might gain weight to prevent that from happening again. We might build lots of muscle or take on a standard “don’t mess with me” posture.
We can build walls with our intellect or our words… We can be sure that no one can “touch” us by being able to outwit them with our intelligence or we can be so quick and sharp with our tongue that it can send loved ones or colleagues reeling back from the bite or our words.
If we feel like we’ve had our heart broken – even by a parent – we can steel our hearts so that it will never be broken again.
If we have learned that emotions are painful. We can build protective walls of numbness and depression so that we shield ourselves from those undesirable emotions. Unfortunately, when we wall ourselves off this way, we cut off not only the uncomfortable emotions, we also numb out all the juicy wonderful ones too.
So often, our decisions to build walls are unconscious and the walls we build are intangible and invisible. When asked, many of us would respond, “No, I don’t have any walls around me.”
I invite you to look closer. If you did have any walls – mental, physical or emotional – what might they be? What do you want to protect? What do you want to be sure never happens again? What do you want to keep out or in?
What would you have to feel so that you can take these walls down and let love and life flow through you once again?
Is it time for you to take your walls down?
Is it time for you to feel love, passion, bliss, or joy again?
If you know you have walls, but you aren’t sure why they’re there or if you know why they’re there, but can’t seem to bring them down yourself, please reach out for help. Call me. Email someone. Find the support you need to be free of your walls.
You deserve to love and be loved.
*At Ecstatic Intimacy, an all-inclusive website for singles and couples, we welcome all sexual orientation(s), gender(s) and relationship expressions. In this article we utilize the pronouns he/she/him/her.