Knocking Down Emotional Walls

I don’t wish heartbreak on anyone. It’s probably one of the cruelest and most horrible feelings to experience. Unfortunately, it’s one of these feelings that can’t disappear over night – it’s not something that can be fixed by simply sticking a plaster over it. Heartbreak comes in many forms – it could be the loss of a romantic partner, a family member or even a friend. It’s these types of relationship experiences that often dictate the way we live; it’s these feelings that led me to building some exceedingly high emotional walls around me.

In a period of a few years, I experienced loss and heartbreak on a few different levels – it changed me – it turned me into a stone castle encased by large emotional walls. I didn’t even realise that I’d changed – I’d mastered the art of shutting people out, especially when I felt like someone or something was violating my comfort zone.

There have been some situations that have made me incredibly guarded. Obviously a failed marriage was a massive one. Others were losing people, who were simply irreplaceable. And then there’s the more recent failed dates when opportunist guys, who’re more interested in your familiar background and assets, feign interest to get closer…

Yes, I’m incredibly prideful, but I’m also incredibly intuitive. I can read situations well and I’m more often than not right. However, those few heartbreaks have also made me incredibly stubborn; I can see how they’ve had a negative impact on my existing relationships thanks to that metaphorical emotional barricade around me.

Writing on this particular topic is quite testing. I’ve already deleted and rewritten the first bit a few times.

Why is it so hard?

Well, building emotional walls around you is a negative. It’s one of those things that I have difficulty accepting about myself – it’s a constant battle, but finally, I’m learning to deal with a few things. Stupid pride, it’s always getting in the way…

Over the last couple of months, after a lot of soul searching and reflection, I’ve discovered that my inner struggles of trying to keep people out has actually prevented me from growing closer to the people around me, i.e. the people that matter.

My emotional blocks I’ve been holding up were grounded on one key emotion – fear.

“You are confined only by the walls you build yourself” – Andrew Murphy

Like Murphy said, you’re only confined by the emotional walls you build. To really understand it though I had to do something rather difficult for me – I had to make myself vulnerable. It was an ongoing battle, but as I became more expressive (writing has helped a lot), I felt more relieved, I felt like a weight was being lifted off my shoulders. Previously, I had no idea how much of an extra burden I was putting on myself through being so guarded.

I’ve finally realised that the emotional walls I’ve built aren’t really worth it, which is why I’m working on bringing them down, brick by brick.

Why should I destroy current relationships and potential relationships on a few past negative experiences?

Emotional walls can do more harm than good. Trust me, I’ve learnt and I’m still learning the hard way. My first step in knocking down those so-called emotional walls that are blocking me from moving forwards is understanding why I, and many others, build them in the first place.

The Control Factor

In my mind, my emotional walls helped me gain more control over the situation. In a way I thought they’d help me determine and manage what was about to happen next (yeah, I know, I can be a bit of a control freak).

This is a complete myth!

My emotional walls aren’t magic. Deep down I know that things won’t always play out in a certain way. It would be nice to to have that special power over others and situations, however, this is not the case, it’s not reality.

The grammar freak within me also relied on conditional sentences too much to try and gain some control over the situation. You know those infamous if starting sentences. If I…., he’ll…. Conditional sentences in regards to emotional walls are also myths. I can neither predict nor can I control another person’s behaviour.

Moral of the story? Building high emotional walls around me will not allow me to gain more control over my kingdom!

Emotional Walls Defend

Ahhh, another misconception about those infamous emotional barriers I’ve built up around me – they’re an easy defence mechanism. I often used another old favourite conditional sentence to protect myself – if I cut you out of my life, there’s no way you can hurt me. 

That attitude has led me to miss out some potentially great experiences of being wild and vulnerable without a care in the world.

Blocking relationships or not giving them a chance affects other relationships, which is another reason why I need to knock down those emotional barriers of mine and just get on with life.

A Legitimate Place

One thing I do believe is that my emotional walls have grown from a legitimate place. They are my reaction to physical, emotional and mental hurt.

They’re easy to build, but once they become an entrenched habit, it’s more challenging to undo and bring them down. Then of course once these emotional blocks have been knocked down, there are more uncomfortable steps that require action.

I think the key is to recognise them first. No other person can break down my emotional blockades, only I can.

I continue to learn more as I flip the pieces of my puzzle over one at a time – I’ve learnt a lot of home truths, and one of the biggest ones that I’ve uncovered was that I’m not ever going to break from heartache. Other life lessons from recognising emotional walls and breaking them down include:

  • Not every single relationship is a keeper
  • The first point is OK
  • It is impossible to know how things will turn out
  • Relationships change
  • The above points aren’t a negative reflection of myself
  • The risk involved is a low-factor

I’m also working on not beating myself up over the emotional walls I’ve built. I could easily sit here and berate myself for being so stupid in the first place and using those emotional barriers as my go-to.

Having emotional walls is an imperfection, yes. But these are things that also make me. I can’t guarantee I’m going to tear down all those emotional hurdles immediately, but I will take a step back and look at the situation or person and make a decision on whether they’re wall-worthy or not, which I’m guessing most of them won’t be.

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