Vulnerability Hangover: What Is It And How to Cope With Its Effects

Last Update on March 8, 2024 : Published on March 10, 2024
Vulnerability Hangover

Whenever I open up about my feelings, I feel this innate sense of discomfort in my bones. Being vulnerable makes me uncomfortable because I feel that the person I’m baring my emotions to is not going to understand where these emotions come from and how they are affecting me. For me, baring my soul comes with a rollercoaster of emotions. I mean, who likes to take off their emotional armor and expose their true self to others for scrutiny?

While vulnerability is praised as a sign of strength and being true to oneself, there’s another side of it that many of us overlook; the vulnerability hangover.

It’s that feeling of discomfort you get when you lay your emotions to others. The after-effects of being vulnerable, so to speak. Being vulnerable is a good thing as it boosts connections, strengthens your relationships, and promotes growth. It also allows you to be your true self – emotions and thoughts. But, vulnerability also comes with a side of potential rejection, anxiety, and disappointment.

When you’re vulnerable with your feelings, you expose yourself to the possibility of rejection, judgment, and misunderstanding. This anticipation can trigger feelings of anxiety, self-doubt, or shame, especially if your vulnerability isn’t met with the response you were hoping for.

Keep reading this article to learn more about what is a vulnerability hangover, what it looks like, and how to cope with it.

What is a Vulnerability Hangover?

A vulnerability hangover is the emotional aftermath of being vulnerable. It’s that feeling of discomfort, regret, or emotional exhaustion you feel right after the moments of vulnerability. You might even find yourself replaying the situation or the conversation in your mind, questioning whether what you said was “too much” or revealed too many of the insecurities you’ve hidden deep inside.

Why Do We Feel the Effects of Vulnerability?

Vulnerability hangovers happen for various reasons. First, exposing your true self can leave you feeling emotionally exposed and vulnerable to judgment and rejection. Moreover, if your vulnerable side isn’t met with the response you expected or hoped for, it can lead to feelings of disappointment and even regret.

Other than that, a vulnerability hangover can also stem from a fear of being perceived as a weak-minded person or inadequate.

So, are you struggling with a vulnerability hangover? Let’s take a look at the signs of a vulnerability hangover.

Do You Have a Vulnerability Hangover?

If you’re struggling with a vulnerability hangover, then watch out for these signs;

  • You feel regret over what you said or did during moments of vulnerability
  • You question whether you were too open or honest with others when there was no need to be
  • You feel anxious or worried about how others perceive you after being vulnerable with them
  • You feel a deep sense of emotional exhaustion after you bare your emotions to others
  • You avoid all future opportunities for vulnerability to protect yourself from experiencing discomfort or a vulnerability hangover once more

Coping With a Vulnerability Hangover

So now that you know what is a vulnerability hangover and its signs, let’s take a look at the ways you can cope with one;

1. Be Kind to Yourself

To cope with a vulnerability hangover, you need to learn to be kind to yourself, first and foremost. Be kind to yourself and know that vulnerability is a strength, regardless of the outcome.

2. Think About the Experience

Take the time to reflect on what you’ve learned from the experience of being vulnerable to others, and how you can grow from there, now. Think about how your experience has made you think about being vulnerable.

3. Reach Out For Support

Another way to cope with a vulnerability hangover is to talk to a trusted friend, family member, or counselor about your feelings and experiences. Talking to a trusted one can help you feel validated and help you work through your feelings.

4. Take Care of Yourself

Emotional health is important to care for. Take care of yourself – emotional, mental, and physical by engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Taking care of yourself can help you calm down and feel at ease from the discomfort.

5. Find a Safe Space

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, find a safe place to explore and cope with your emotions. This could be your bedroom or a mental space wherein you can decompress safely. Just having a safe space to calm down can help you feel safe and comfortable with yourself and your emotions.

6. Practice Mindfulness

To cope with a vulnerability hangover, you can practice mindfulness techniques to ground yourself in the present moment and alleviate feelings of anxiety and stress. Other relaxation techniques can also help you feel calm and understand your emotions.

7. Challenge Your Inner Critic

Challenge your inner critic and the negative beliefs you have about your vulnerability, and remind yourself of being vulnerable. Try to focus on the positive aspects of being vulnerable, such as the connections you can create and the insights it can bring.

8. Distract Yourself

Whenever you feel frustrated with your emotions, distract yourself with the thoughts of something pleasant. You can go for a walk, play with your pet, or engage in any activity that takes your mind away from your discomfort.

9. Change Your Perspective

It’s a common thought that vulnerability is a weakness. To cope with a vulnerability hangover, you can change your perspective and instead of taking vulnerability as a weakness, take it as a strength. Changing your mindset can help you cope with the feelings of discomfort.

10. Give Yourself Time

Remember that healing takes time, and it’s OK to allow yourself to heal at your own place. Just make sure you are not too hard on yourself and be patient as you’re healing from your vulnerability hangover.

Also Read: What is “me time” And 8 Ways to Enjoy your “me time”

11. Seek Professional Help

If you’re struggling to cope with a vulnerability hangover, then consider seeking outside support and help from a professional counselor or therapist. It’s OK to ask for help when you can’t cope with your emotions on your own.

Things to Consider…

Before you decide to be vulnerable with someone, here are some things you need to consider;

1. Choose the time and place. Consider the context and environment before you open up with your emotions to others. This can help you feel in control, safe, and comfortable.

2. Assess all the risks. Consider any risks and benefits of being vulnerable with someone in any situation. See if it aligns with your values and goals before you go baring your emotions.

3. Trust your gut. Most of all, trust your gut and intuition when it comes to being vulnerable with someone. Listen to your instincts and follow what they say. Your instincts are rarely wrong.

4. Start with small confessions. Before you go on baring every deep secret and emotion you’ve been hiding inside, consider confessing small emotions first. If you feel OK with that, then you can consider baring your deepest emotions.

5. Be selective. Especially with whom you choose to be vulnerable with. Ensure first that they are trustworthy and won’t go around betraying your trust. If you feel comfortable with them, only then talk about your vulnerability with them.

If you’re struggling to cope with a vulnerability hangover or are experiencing persistent feelings of anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem, then it may help if you can seek a professional for support. A therapist or a counselor can help you guide and offer coping strategies to understand your emotions and build mental walls to protect your emotional health.

Wrap Up…

While vulnerability can be uncomfortable for many, it’s also a powerful tool for creating connections with others. Knowing what a vulnerability hangover is and its signs, you can learn to cope with it effectively. Remember that vulnerability is not a weakness, but a strength and sign of your courage and authenticity.

Embrace your vulnerability, learn from it, and allow the experience to enhance your life and relationships in more ways than one.

I hope this article helped you understand what a vulnerability hangover is and how to cope with it. Let us know your thoughts about vulnerability as a strength in the comments below.

Take Care!

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