Your defenses stem from your childhood. It takes a lot of effort to be vulnerable. Those who have issues with sharing their feelings/emotions, are those who early in their life was taught how to manage themselves on their own. There was noone there to take care of their needs, and they felt compelled to be strong to survive.

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This will continue on in adult life. This is something you do unconsciously. If you're lucky, you will meet a partner that have an understanding with this and can attract transparency/openness in you.

You need a partner that can make you feel safe enough to make you open up. For many people with this issue, the door to opening up can seem very shut. It takes a lot of work to slowly make the door open. And if your partner doesn't have the patience to or the understanding of your issues, it can backfire.

The partner can then become the person that wallows in their own emotions, believing that they can "show the way". If you are not used to big emotions displayed this way, it can become quite frightening. And the door becomes even more shut.

This is why it is so hard. It's like a war, that keeps going on and on, between big emotions, and no emotions. It's a war that noone wins. But more importantly: noone in this scenario is doing something wrong. We just act like we are taught.

So; if you are a parent. Show your emotions to your child. Sadness, happiness, love, anger, frustration. Don't bottle up. Your child learns to handle their emotions from you.

But we can't blame our parents. We need to work on our behaviour. We need to work on our defences, and not run away. We can't avoid the issue, because it will keep coming up in every relationship. Can you look your partner in your eyes for more than a minute and not feel afraid that you are showing "too much"?

We need to face our emotions. Open the door. Look at them. Talk to them. If we bottle up, they will keep coming back, over and over again until one day, you will burst.

So what can you do when your partner isn't talking? Ie 'stonewalling' (as an example). When it comes to stonewalling, you have to let your partner be, their emotions are probably running very high (inside of them), but they are unable to show it. If you give the both of you time and space to calm down, it will improve your ways to communicate. Sometimes a break isn't enough, and you need more breaks. And sometimes, you need time apart (a few days) to calm down. That's okay too.

The person in the relationship that are more open can become frustrated when they want to talk about emotions, only to face complete silence or shoulder shrugs. This can become an issue, because this is two people that don't understand their partners wants and needs. No matter what they do, they will not be satisfied. "You're not interested in my emotions, I could just as easily talk to a wall".

And the person who hasn't been taught to talk about emotions feels inadequate and misunderstood. Because it's not a lack of will for this person, they just lack the ability. It's like a vaccum for both these people. And it's very painful. One might feel that they're being left out, and the other doesn't understand how they are going to do to let the other person in.

The person who doesn't know how to might feel inclined to shut down completely because it is too painful to feel inadequate and bad. This person might become even more reclusive and and introverted. And the person that wants to talk feels like it's just nagging and talks louder and louder.

And now you start to feel hopeless. And maybe, if you're the person who wants to talk, you keep nagging until one day, you just decide to give up. And then it'll get even worse. So what do you do in this situation?
Just the insight of knowing your role in this, is a way forward.

When you talk about your relationship with your partner, promise eachother calm and safe communication, where you will listen to your partner, and not interrupt. First time, try only five minutes. Talk a walk, and talk. It's easier than sitting across from eachother. Taking a walk is the beginning, but the not the entire solution. Begin by saying "I'm sorry things are this way. I think both you and me want the same thing, but just have a hard time understanding each other".

"We need to talk, and I know you think it is hard. I need you, and that's because this relationship is so important to me, that I sometimes object to some things. I think that you can feel like it is criticism, but what I am really doing is that I am looking for a way to connect to you. I want us both to be close again, and I need your help with this, and I promise that I will be better at listening and try to understand your perspective. I think that we can do this together, if you want".

You need to do this without accusations, you need to help your partner to talk. The both of you need to let go of the old safe and familiar way of doing things to protect yourself.
And what do you feel when you're all alone? Can you look yourself in the eye in the mirror without looking away?

And remember - You can't be everything to your partner, and you need to accept your partners limitations. Example: If your partner is very interested in reading books and you are not, accept it, and find maybe a book club or something that can fulfill you instead.

And finally: when you open up about something, it doesn't have to be right. It's just an emotion, and emotions come and go. But you need to be able to feel safe to open up about that feeling.

@Linuxtjej Thank you. I do recall moments, where I needed to hear exactly this. And I still do, sometimes.

Domestic abuse (long ago) 

@Linuxtjej when I went stoney during an argument, first wife would either throw things at me to get a response or conclude I didn't actually care about the issue and do what she had wanted all along.

It was bad all around.

@Linuxtjej it might be our parents' fault but it's our responsibility, as adults. to re-educate ourselves in emotional skills we might not have developed earlier. of course it's sometimes hard to even know What you're missing. but there are therapists, there are books, there are resources with answers that can open up a happier, fuller, healthier life for us. it's sad how many people are too scared to reach for that

@Linuxtjej yap. And I Show my baby boy that I take his emotions seriously. That his emotions are allowed to be there, and that he may show them. And that he is loved and taken care of, no matter the emotion.

I don't say"it is not that bad". It is not up to me to judge his emotions.

@Linuxtjej Yep! <3
After a dispute the child also show that you can tolerate yourself again. Thus, it also learns that conflicts can also lead to solutions.

@Linuxtjej we're working on helping Dragonlet (not quite 5) work with his anger. Feel it without breaking things. I was decades older before I figured it out (always bottled it up)

@Linuxtjej This is my experience, too. Learning to be vulnerable is hard, but I’m making progress

@Linuxtjej that' s a very helpful thread. Thanks for writing this, i needed to hear some of the thing you wrote.

@rybson Glad to be of service! I wrote it so I would remember it. It takes courage to open up, but it is something I must continue to practice on.

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