Young Widow Forum > General Discussion

I need to be more vulnerable - update

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This board has been way too quiet.  Perhaps that is because other people are like me – they have trouble showing their vulnerable sides.  I know that people think I am “strong”.  I, like many of us, hear this all the time, right?  We sometimes want to be strong, hold ourselves together, persevere, be resilient.  It helps us manage day-to-day challenges without that partner or spouse that we relied on in the past.  But what happens when the façade we put on really isn’t matching what is going on inside us?  I imagine that a whole host of things happen.

For me?  Anxiety.  Racing, repetitive thoughts.  Heart palpitations.  Chest pain.  Paralysis.  Irritability.  Impatience.  Sometimes, despair.

How do I cope?  Being strong for others.  Listening so that I can swallow down my own uncomfortable feelings.  Spending time out on a lakeside beach or walking with my dog.  Retail therapy.  Travel.   Anything, perhaps, except showing my vulnerability.  What will happen if I crack a little and let it out? 

I wish I was as brave as some of my friends are, because I wish I could let people be there for me.  I have good (no, great) widow friends that do offer an ear and a shoulder.  But I still hold a lot in.

I have never been particularly close to my family.  My siblings and I left the nest as soon as we were able and established our own lives in different geographic locations.  I don’t think any of us ever felt appreciated for who we were in our nuclear family, which was, at least in our views, oppressive and controlling.  We all “get along” well and see each other a couple times a year, but we have never been particularly close.  Our parents are aging (91 and 81) and my father is slipping slowly.  My 2 sisters have offered distant support for the last few years, but I lived too far away to be of any assistance.  I have relocated to my parents’ home temporarily as I trudge through the job search process, trying to jump-start a second career. (Let’s just say that isn’t moving very quickly – one of my big stressors.)

For the last few months, I have been staying with my parents and offering some assistance.  My mother is appreciative and I know that it is perhaps the right thing to be doing right now, but it is very difficult staying here.  My parents are much older versions of who they were when we were growing up.  We are on different ideological planets.  My thoughts and views are unwelcome.  I walk a bit of a tightrope trying to be cordial and helpful and conversational while holding in every thought that crosses my mind.  I don’t want to be here.

Yet, without a job, what are my options?  I rented out my house in Kansas when I realized I couldn’t even get a job interview back east with a Kansas address.  I consider renting a place of my own, but every time I think that might be a good idea, I get a call for an interview and I realize that it makes little sense to get my own place because a job might be right around the corner.  And then I get another rejection.  I started applying for jobs last February and moved east in July.  It really has only been a few months, but this is miserable.

The empath in me starts thinking of other wids and widowers out there who have it worse than me…less financial stability, kids to raise, etc. and then I feel badly about complaining.  I have a roof over my head, some money in the bank, food on the table and the opportunity to get in my car and go away for a long weekend.  But underneath it all, I have great sadness and I really miss my guys and I just wish I could have the life I had with my polarbear back. I have zero motivation and confidence (and perhaps that shows in interviews?)

I want to be able to dive into life again – a job, a home, a community where I can be myself, and to eventually find another person to love and cherish and share my soul.  I don’t think that is too much to ask.

Thanks for listening.



You're pretty darned strong, Maureen.  More than I think you know.

I think cracking a bit from time to time is needed.  One of my grief counselor told me to try to pick a quiet, alone time and then let it go. Helps cut down on the crying while driving incidents. 

I think you're at the "Why am I not over this?  Shouldn't I have a normal Life by now?" stage.  I think the only answer is that there is no such thing as a normal life.  Not really joking there.  But we can hope for islands of safety, security and love.  That thought keeps me paddling, anyway.

Crossing my fingers for you in the job search. 

Yeah, I think you're right about the quietness on here. I'm very happy this place exists, but it just seems kinda...I really don't know how to word it exactly: a bit reserved, a hesitancy to truly share- or something like that? I tried to put my finger on it in the other thread about this, but couldn't.

Yes, the ywbb was very much like the Wild West, but it was raw and rowdy and painfully honest and, well, it had all those years of people sharing their very different experiences. I really miss being able to access all those words. I've tried on here to delve into some of the painful complicated stuff I'm still dealing with in case others might be able to relate, but it just usually ends up feeling kinda flat and unhelpful and pointless.

Here's hoping this thread cracks some things open a bit more...

Maureen I am also someone who holds things in and shows the world my “strong” persona. I then resent people for calling me strong because I feel it minimizes all I have had to cope with.  I have lost most of my close friends because I put walls up and didn’t let myself be vulnerable.

You are undergoing some major stressors right now, moving, job hunting, living under your parents’ roof and doing all of this without your partner by your side. You definitely need to let some of that out or it’s going to find it’s way out in a messy way.

I don’t know why things have gotten so quiet here, I’m pretty sure it’s not because widows are no longer struggling.  I hope people find this to be a safe place to express themselves.

Yes, the recent topics here get very little discussion and those that do seem to revolve around
Widdow/ers with new partners
Widdow/ers partnered with new folks with kids
Widdow/ers partnered with new folks who have crazy ex partners

more power to you, but I cant really relate, and am not going to comment- some of it seems better suited to relationship blogs.
So, like Mark Cuban, for those reasons I'm out


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