Put Doors and Windows in Your (Emotional) Wall.

Throughout the years of work with clients I have heard clients talk about ‘walls’.  These are not real walls but metaphorical ‘walls’.  Sometimes clients talk about their own ‘walls’.   Often they talk about other people’s ‘walls’.

People do not start off in life with these ‘walls’.  They come into existence because they got hurt in relationships.  Some people grow up in families which are not safe, so they develop ‘walls’ in childhood.  In adolescence they enter relationships already defending themselves against hurt.  The first time we fall in love we usually have no ‘walls’.  If we get hurt, then we create an invisible ‘wall’ in this relationship or in the next relationship, to protect ourselves from getting hurt again.

Emotional ‘walls’ DO PROTECT against hurt. They are often valid and necessary.  However, they can also imprison the person who has constructed the ‘wall’.  It is difficult, sometimes impossible to connect with others through the ‘walls’.

In therapy, I do not believe in knocking down emotional ‘walls’ that clients have built.  I respect that they have built them for a reason.  Nor I do ask clients to get rid of their ‘walls’.  What I do is work with them to ‘put doors and windows in their walls’.  That way they can experiment with taking risks connecting emotionally with others.   If it’s safe, they can take more risks and make more connections.  If some situations are not safe, they can close/lock the doors and windows and retreat.  In other words, they are in charge of whether or not they connect, with whom they connect, how they connect and when they connect.  They have more options.  They can take risks and still keep themselves safe.   They learn from experience that with some people they need protection and with others they don’t.  Then they can make their doors and windows larger and open them more often.  Then, they are no longer a prisoner of their own ‘wall’.

Do you have an emotional ‘wall’?  If so, check it out.  Maybe you can renovate it in a way that fits for you.

With care and concern,

Dr. Bea

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