For Those Who've Locked Their Hearts Up

Updated on December 6, 2016

I have a friend whose husband left her 21 years ago. She was devastated and it really took its toll on her. She ended up putting a chain around her heart after that and to this day she has yet to take that chain off to allow another partner in. She fears getting hurt again and knows that if she stays single she will never have to have her heart crushed that same way again.

This is sad because the inability to open one’s heart to love is like holding yourself in a prison and having the key right there to open it. So many people have been hurt by another person, so they guard their hearts and choose not to trust others.

Relationships are complex

Relationships are multi-faceted and intimate relationships are deemed the most complex kind of relationship. So much hurt is caused in one’s life due to relationships, but we do not have to allow our past to dictate our future.

For example, if a woman finds out her partner was unfaithful and they break up, that woman has several choices. She can put a lock on her heart and vow to never again trust another man or she can take some time to feel the hurt and eventually release it and move on. Just because one man was unfaithful does not mean all men are unfaithful.

Childhood can be a factor

Another reason people put chains on their hearts is because they are ashamed of their past. If a woman had a negative experience during childhood, such as verbally abusive parents, she may have learned to lock her heart up and become quite numb. She fears opening her heart to others because she fears that they will hurt her with their words or actions. She gets tired of her heart being stomped on and decides to not allow anyone to penetrate her heart again.

Building trust is a key to allowing your heart to break free from the chains that keep it locked up. It may be difficult to learn to trust again after someone has broken your heart, but it is possible. It will take a conscious decision to allow someone in. You don’t have to fully open your heart right away. When you are dating someone, it is all right to give them little pieces of your heart over time. This is how trust is built. When he/she can cherish a little piece, another piece can be given.

Communication is important

It is also important to discuss this issue with your partner. Explain to him that you have been hurt before and you are concerned about being hurt again. Tell him that your heart is fragile and he ought to hold your heart and cherish it. Be completely open and honest up front about the issue.

People will hurt you through life and breakups do happen. Though it can hurt, you don’t have to let it keep you down for long. Recognize the hurt, feel it, and then do your best to let it go. If you find yourself struggling in this area and cannot manage it on your own, there are plenty of good therapists out there who may be able to help you. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask.

You’re worth it!

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