Did I Say Too Much? When You Get a Vulnerability Hangover

“Vulnerability asks you to soften your ego so we can see your soul.”
– Sasha Tozzi

To Post or Not to Post?

I wake up at home in my bed in the early hours Monday morning. Jeff is still asleep beside me.

The questions begin popping up in my mind: should I delete Monday’s blog post about our fight before it hits the air?

  • Am I saying too much in it?
  • Am I being too vulnerable?
  • Will it look like our marriage is in trouble when it’s not?

This anxious feeling we may get after taking an emotional risk has been coined a “Vulnerability Hangover” by Dr. Brené Brown. I get one after I’ve divulged something quite personal.

I start worrying I overshared in the blog post. At the least, I don’t want to be misunderstood if I didn’t communicate clearly enough, and at the most, I don’t want to be hurt in a backlash caused from my own words.

Vulnerability Is Courageous

In our culture, vulnerability can be equated with weakness. It can leave us feeling exposed and unprotected.

But in reality, Brené Brown says that,

“Vulnerability is having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerabiilty is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”

It just doesn’t always feel that way in the middle of a vulnerability hangover.

Yet emotional vulnerability is like a magnet; it draws us together. When we share more of ourselves with each other, the closer we become.

I know I feel closer to people when they let their guard down and open up to me. Instead of thinking less of them for mistakes they share or embarrassing moments they relay, I feel honored that they trust me with their stories.

Their vulnerability reminds me they’re human, too.

Yet I sometimes hold myself to a higher standard than other people. That’s silly. I’m just as human as everybody else. Of course I am. I don’t have to be a Superhuman or a Superchristian or a Superwife. I can just be me. I can try my best, but my best doesn’t have to be (and never is) far and above everybody else.

We all have good days. And we all have bad days. Sometimes we’re kind to people we meet; sometimes we’re a bear. Sometimes we can’t get enough of our spouse. Other times we argue.

It’s not just me who gets in “disagreements” with people I love.

We’re all the same.

Exercise Your Vulnerability Muscle

The clock now shines 5 a.m. Monday morning. Instead of pulling out my computer, I stay in bed. I don’t revoke the post I’ve been questioning. I let it roll on into the world.

I ask Jeff later to read the post to make sure he’s okay with it. He is. I tell him again how much I love him. He really is the right man for me.

Granted, we have to learn who we can be vulnerable with and who we can’t. Some people aren’t equipped or desirous enough to appropriately handle our truths. Thankfully I have a safe spouse. He’s earned my vulnerability by proving he can be trusted.

In this year with my One Word: Human, I’m grateful for this human I get to live with. And that he still prefers to live with me above anyone else.

Yet even with him, I can still get a vulnerability hangover if I feel I’ve shared too much of myself.

Dr. Emma Seppala says that living with the aftereffects of vulnerability “requires courage initially, but then it’s like this muscle you build.”

Being vulnerable—i.e., allowing myself to show up as fully human—is a muscle I want to keep exercising. And maybe one day I’ll outgrow it’s hangover.

If that’s humanly possible.


Do you ever get a vulnerability hangover, too? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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20 thoughts on “Did I Say Too Much? When You Get a Vulnerability Hangover

  1. Barbara Harper

    Vulnerability hangover is such a perfect name for it. Maybe it comes from navigating the emotional risk inherent in sharing? But it’s often in those moments we see ourselves in what the other has shared and feel it’s ok to be vulnerable in return, because they’ll understand and not take our vulnerable moments the wrong way.

  2. Lynn D. Morrissey

    I think to be vulnerable is often to be courageous in some ways. I look for my motive: Am I just airing dirty laundry for personal catharsis or grievances, or am I opening up my heart–my foibles, sins, vulnerabilities–because I sense God directing me to do so in order to help others. When it’s the latter, it’s made a difference (and sometimes a profound one–over 5 years ago my abortion testimony to our congregation–which I had never done before–to help save a baby’s life). So, it depends. And you point out that you ck’d w/ your husband first. That’s essential to get approval. There are times when you can color facts enough to tell your story (as in memoir) even sans permission, b/c it is your story, though it involves others. But you have to be so careful. And yes, even if all of the above have been met, you do 2nd-guess yourself. Perhaps it will help to know in how I have seen you help others, what you do is significant and you are impacting so many people, Lisa, for good!
    Love
    Lynn
    NTTP

  3. Donna B Reidland

    Being vulnerable isn’t something that has ever come easy for me but I have learned through the years how important it is to have people in our lives whom we can do that with. Like yours, my husband is one of those people and I’m so thankful. But God has also blessed me with good friends who are trustworthy in that area.

  4. Lynn

    Like the other Lynn, I know I have to examine my heart first before being vulnerable. Am I sharing to get attention, affirmation, or even to manipulate (see me! feel sorry for me!) ? Or am I sharing to connect, with the hope that my story helps the other to feel okay about themselves and that they are not alone in their struggles? I enjoy reading Brené’s research on vulnerability. I think her research has helped many be more open to connect in a very positive way!

  5. Deborah Rutherford

    Lisa, what an interesting and important subject. This is how I often feel after sharing. Not only in writing but in conversations too. I pray before offering a vulnerable story and ask God how much I should share. And I also ask my husband too. And as you write each time I do it I feel less of an vulnerability hang over.

  6. Kristi Ann

    Amen in JESUS-YESHUA CHRIST-MESSIAH!!

    May OUR ONE TRUE GOD the HEAEVNLY FATHER Bless All Your Family members and Friends in JESUS-YESHUA CHRIST-MESSIAH!!

    Love Always and Shalom ( Peace ), YSIC \o/

    Kristi Ann

  7. Tea With Jennifer

    Thankyou Lisa, this is a timely post. I think we all suffer from this from time to time.
    Especially those of us who are Faith bloggers, we share our souls (with His wisdom) with the world for His glory.

    It’s through other’s experiences we relate to our own lives. And reading how they have navigated life through His strength gives us the hope that we need in our lives.
    Blessings sweet friend, Jennifer

  8. Tea With Jennifer

    Thankyou Lisa, this is a timely post. I think we all suffer from this from time to time.

    Especially those of us who are Faith bloggers, we share our souls (with His wisdom) with the world for His glory.

    As it’s through another’s experience that we can relate to in our own lives in similar circumstances. Reading how they have navigated their circumstances through His strength, love & wisdom gives us the hope we need in our lives.
    Blessings sweet friend, Jennifer

  9. Michele Morin

    I just wrestled with this exact question as I proofread my upcoming post on humility. As an Enneagram 3, the issue of image is SO embarrassingly important to me! I’ve
    decided to go ahead with the awkward story in that post. Glad it worked out well for you!

  10. Jennifer

    The struggle that comes with being vulnerable is huge for me. How many times have I thought I would just delete the whole blog?? I’m glad there is a name for it:) and for the encouragement of knowing so many other (bloggers and more) that I really enjoy and admire share some of the same struggle!!

  11. Richella J Parham

    Brené Brown has become a favorite of mine–I appreciate how she shares wisdom backed by research in such an approachable way. And you’ve become a favorite of mine, too–I love the way you illustrate wisdom.

    Thanks so much for joining the Grace at Home party at Imparting Grace. I’m featuring you this week!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Richella! Brené Brown is someone I’d love to sit with for hours and pick her brain about all the emotional things. I love how approachable and practical her work is.

  12. Paula Short

    You know you are spot on here. I’ve felt the same way with some of my posts. Sometimes they sit in my docs while I wrestle with it sometimes for weeks. But then I think that it’s God nudging me to be raw and transparent and yes vulnerable too. Sometimes I think that someone else who may be facing any kind of hardship may need to hear my message. Then my coined phrase for myself says that we may never know who we touch. And that’s okay, because God does.
    You know this was such a great message for me to have read today.
    Thank you bunches for sharing this with Sweet Tea & Friends this month dear friend.

  13. Jodee

    Vulnerability hangover-what a great term for a not-so-great feeling. I often second-guess my posts. Good to know I’m not alone. When I post anything about my husband, I always have him read it before I post.

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