Ladies: Does Having “The Wall” Up Help or Hurt You?

BY: - 5 Feb '09 | Relationships

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Earlier this week I was video taping a discussion at Howard University’s Drew Hall for the follow-up to the award winning film, “What Black Men Think”. As a result of the film several side discussions were started. During one of these discussions a young lady explained why it was necessary for women in general and black women specifically to have a wall up to protect themselves from men. She further went on to explain how a woman needs to have multiple layers that will protect and shield her, thus saving her from the hurt and pain that I assume can be caused by men.

My thought on this… that this way of thinking is total garbage. Since I was taping I couldn’t jump into the conversation but I was burning up inside to get right in. I think what some women don’t realize is that “The Wall” is what could drive some good brothers away. Does this wall stop you from ever being hurt in relationships…. no. Then what good is it? Back in my dating days I really looked at the wall as a bunch of stuff that I had to break through because of the actions of some previous dude. Sometimes I felt like breaking through and sometimes I didn’t. You have no idea how high some of these walls can be.

Instead of building up a wall like an impenetrable fortress why not just learn from life’s lessons and choose not to go down that path again. This doesn’t mean holding past pain against the next person and making them prove to you that they’re not the guy or girl that ran all over you in the past. Why not give them the benefit of the doubt and don’t assume that they will mess up until they do. Just because your last two boyfriends cheated on you don’t assume that all men cheat because that third guy could be the husband you’ve been waiting for. After your last two girlfriends ditched you don’t run around claiming all women are gold-diggers because the next one you meet could be your wife.

Take “The Wall” down or else you might block the blessing instead of blocking the pain.

BMWK family, what is your experience with “The Wall”? Is it good or bad? Am   I totally off with thinking this way? If you say yes I’ll delete your comments… nah just kidding, let me know. lol

About the author

Lamar Tyler wrote 2227 articles on this blog.

Lamar Tyler is co-creator He also is the co-producer of the films Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage, You Saved Me, Men Ain't Boys and Still Standing.


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13 WordPress comments on “Ladies: Does Having “The Wall” Up Help or Hurt You?

  1. Harriet

    My experience with the wall were all negative. Walls are for cowards who think they’re couragous. Their pain causes them to inadvertently (or purposely for some) hurt others, and it becomes a vicious cycle. They become the very people they swore would never have the power to hurt them again. Been there, done that, got the tshirt.

    The full armor of God is reserved for those who are both wise and courageous. Wise enough not to get into foolish situations, and courageous enough to be willing to take the risk to develop a meaningful relationship.

    Walls I put up to keep from getting hurt proved to be prisons in disguise. I walk around with armor to ward off any kind of attack, which by far has been the more practical lifestyle for me.

    Armor forces you to think through your decisions that cause you to get in situations that make you want to put walls up, especially in relationships. My problem is, sometimes when I get home, I forget to take the armor off with my husband. Yet armor is much easier to remove than cinder blocks and iron bars.

  2. LaKeysha

    Women were not built to handle multiple heart-and body-investing relationships. We want these three things; love, security, and stability and seek them with our whole hearts. So when we are on a rollercoaster of upsetting relationships where those things are given and then taken away we began to feel the need to protect our minds, bodies, and hearts from the vulnerability and disappointment. Our hearts are tender…but multiple bruises make them tough. Hence, the wall.

    Some of us even build the wall before we start dating. Learning from an absent and/or capricious father how not to trust men. Why do we have so many women striving for independance? because most of us do not feel that we can depend on men. Only because I had a God-father who was stable, caring, and involved in my life did I not fall prey to those negative feelings toward men early on.

  3. Anonymous

    The wall keeps you from really enjoying life and those around you.

    My wall came from past heartbreaks but feelings of abandoment left by my parents.

    It can help you in the beginning by not allowing you to fall to quickly; however the damage it does to a relationship in the long run of things is…………the wall never really allows you to have a real relationship.

  4. MissJay

    I don’t know if I’ve ever built up a wall. I may have and didn’t know it. But I think that walls do what they are supposed to keep things out and also keep things in. If you’re trying to block heartache you’ll also end up blocking blessings. Sometimes the problem is within and not without. The person building the wall may be the cause of the relationship problems and that wall keeps that person hurting themselves. Does that make sense?

  5. LT

    Good post. “The Wall is real!” lol! Especially in this area I have noticed. It used to not be so bad but it has really gotten rough in recent years.

    D.C. used to be much warmer in spirit. It’s gotten rather cold lately. But a good brotha keeps on tryin! “We keeps on tryin!” lol!

    When I read the reports that there are now almost 27 women to every 1 man out here (I can remember when it was 12 to 1) and I hear the single ladies frustrations, the main question I always ask is “have you seen the lack of social etiquettes and common courtesies most men do not get in return just for saying hello?” lol!

    I am not only speaking in a downtown business envionment, I also mean right on the job! People you work with everyday! No one speaks!

    I have noticed though that is much better further south from my experiences where at least some warmth still exists!


    “Can a brotha get a simple hello, good morning, good evening, have a nice day, see you tomorrow, or take care in return?” lol!


    LTs last blog post..New Book & TV Special: ‘Lincoln On Race and Slavery’ & ‘Looking for Lincoln with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’ on PBS

  6. Anna

    I agree with the comments. Ppl put up walls because they don’t want to get hurt or be judged by their past. Put yourself in the other persons shoes and remember that walls are built because we are afraid, afraid to share, afraid to love again, afraid of failure. I have found that the most independent woman is the most afraid and scared to break down that wall and they are the ones who end up alone. There is a difference between builing a wall and being cautious. Ppl do tend to run into their own brick wall that they chose to build.

  7. MarriedDespitetheWall

    I would have to say that I had a wall up initially when I met my husband. It was high enough for him to peek over and I see the goodness, but he had to do some major high jumping to cross it and thank God he was the one who decided to break it down. No other man ever did that.

  8. Pingback: Anonymous

  9. Daisy

    Well I am going to keep it all the way real. I do have walls up and I have worked on tearing them down but its not that easy. I have been single for years (not because of walls well not and over the last few yrs I have tried to step out of my box and not be so closed off but its really hard. I do not want to make somebody pay for somebody elses past mistakes mentally I know this but my heart is on another page.

  10. c.n. edaw

    Interesting read. There’s some relationship book that in the early chapters points out that you don’t have to know too much about the brain to know that men and women handle intimacy differently…just look at our bodies.

    A man’s sex organ is exposed and on the outside of his body. A woman’s sex organs are internal, you literally have to get inside of her to procreate. That, the author believes, says everything about how men and women are different in relationships and how intimacy (or lack thereof) affects us.

    I tend to agree. Any men with daughters out there? How often did you tell your daughter she had to protect herself from boys and what they want, especially physically? I point this out because I think it’s both hypocritical and somewhat naive for any man to tell a woman she needs to not have a wall of protection. Even more important for women who don’t have the protection of a man (father or husband, brother, etc) in their lives.

    Afterall, we(women) are the ones who usually must deal with results of lowering said wall… uintended pregnancy comes readily to mind. What generally speaking, do men really have to protect themselves from that will have such lasting consequences?

    But, I guess this is really more about emotional walls. Do a lot of black women have up walls? Sure. Do a lot of them have good reason to ? Absolutely. Frankly, I don’t think the world is a safe place for black women to be too open.

    I don’t think the issue is whether or not to build up a wall but learning to better discern who to lower the wall for. That’s a risk and we have to make calculated risks.

    I used to be a very open loving person. With that came a small amount of joy but a tremendous amount of heartbreak.

    My newly formed wall keeps it much more balanced in my opinion. The wall has helped me avoid a lot of potentially devestating heartbreak and at the same time some good people filter in here and there.

    Only if I believed there were more good people than bad…in the sense of there being more people, (esp. men) having my best interests at heart or no ill intent..would I think of tearing down
    the wall permanently.

  11. Patra

    I think “walls” are appropriate. You don’t let your walls down with every man, because every man is not worthy of that. The most emotionally wounded, angry, bitter sistas I know are the ones who kept/keep letting down their walls down with the wrong men. When I met the man who became my husband and showed me that his intentions towards me were stellar, it was a relief to let down my walls.

    Bottom line is this…upon meeting men, smart women won’t allow these men access to their homes, bank accounts, or hand over the keys to her car…and most important, will not allow him access to her child/children…why should she be any less cautious with her heart and emotions?

  12. Tesha

    I am very much in favor of having emotional walls up as a means of protection to your heart, mind, and spirit. When people find out that you have a wall up, a lot of times they underestimate the intense-emotional pain you had to go through in order for you to feel the need to have one up in the first place. Then they proceed make efforts to take down the wall, not because they think you are worthy of being loved, but because it becomes a challenge to get in, where others have failed. So what happens? Little by little, brick by brick, you try to heal, love, and trust, because deep down you want to be free to show genuine emotion again. It may take a while, but you convince yourself that you can love again and learn to trust. In the meantime, the other party.with the hidden agenda is struttin around like a peacock, because they won the challenge of getting this strong sista to take down their wall, and counting the extra notch on their belt. Now you have to pick up your face, along with the pieces of your heart. Thus starting the process of building a fortress now, cause your wall wasn’t strong enough. If it had have been strong enough, another asshole wouldn’t have been able to worm his way in after 3+ years of solitude. Ask me how I know these things? Because I am now the owner of a mile high fortress. And since Iobviously have a problem discerning the good brothas from the assholes, I’d rather play it safe by taking myself out of the game completley. If I pass up the perfect partner for me in the meantime, then that’s the chance I’m willing to take. If he is truly for me, he will “sincerely” put in all the work it takes to make me his queen.

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Marital APGAR Part 6

BY: - 6 Feb '09 | Relationships

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Every marriage is different and contains its own nuances.   If  your marriage were a newborn baby, what would its APGAR score be?    For those of you who don’t know, the APGAR score is what a doctor looks at one minute and five minutes after a baby is born.    They check for five things:    activity, pulse, grimace, appearance and respiration. I have adjusted the five categories tested in the APGAR chart to reflect what we do and how we respond to one another in our individual marriages.

The final topic of this series is RESPIRATION:   How well do you as a couple and as a family retain the positive and push out the negative in your lifestyle?   In my estimation, marriage has been a practice of perpetual forgiveness.   I really thought I was grown, but getting married showed me just how much I had to learn!   Humility is a medication that must be taken daily, otherwise the flow of love can either erode or get clogged and blocked by pride and refusal to listen to one another.   The chart below outlines what this topic entails: (Click image to enlarge)

Along with humility comes a willingness to forgive one another.   I have written in the past about the balance between not going to bed angry and yet being willing to table an area of contention for another time with no hard feelings.   My husband and I ebb and flow in this area.   We scored ourselves a 1.5, simply because when we get really angry, we occasionally regress to raising our voices at one another.

In fact, just today we experienced a regression.   I did something my husband disagreed with, but instead of discussing it, he decided he wanted to yell at me.   I calmly asked him to lower his voice, especially given the fact that our son was in the back seat of the truck, witnessing all this take place.   He kept yelling.   Eventually, he realized I was ignoring him, which made him even more upset.   He then told me that what I did was stupid.   Whether it was or wasn’t, I wasn’t about to allow him to talk to me like that, especially not in front of our child.   But instead of that sentiment coming out in a mature manner, I began yelling myself.   Then I threatened, in the middle of a busy interstate, to put him out of the truck if he didn’t learn how to speak to me like he had some sense!

Boy, what a regression!   What a change from the morning, when we had made love and laughed with one another!   By the time I dropped him off to his destination, he was apologizing, and I was driving off before he got his second foot out of the truck.   Talk about flower girls and ring bearers!   I couldn’t get away from him fast enough.   His apology meant absolutely nothing to me, and I couldn’t hold back the tears that stubbornly escaped from eyes that were wearily searching for the reason why we took such a huge step back to behavior we both agreed we would never return to.   What in the world must our son think?   Could he possibly think that it was all right for men to speak to women in such a rugged manner?   Could he think that it was a natural inclination for a woman to cry tears of utter frustration instead of enjoying a laugh or an intimate moment with a loved one?
Fast forward to a few hours later.   We all sat down as a family and did what we should have done earlier; we talked about what transpired during that terrible episode.   We hugged and loved on one another over a meal, and agreed to respond differently in the future to upsetting actions.   I acknowledged I was wrong for doing what upset my husband to begin with, and he acknowledged how wrong he was to react to me by yelling.   Then I had to forgive him, and discuss how immature my actions were in yelling back” was humbling, yet liberating.   We relaxed, related and released all that negativity and we will go to bed with a renewed love for one another.   Our son is not forever altered as a result of us holding that stuff in.   He is relieved that Mommy and Daddy are back to their disgustingly lovey-dovey selves.

All in all, we agree that our marriage still needs a lot of work.   There are rough edges that need to be smoothed out, and there are also attitudes and viewpoints that we both need to seek to understand in one another.   We are committed to ensuring that our marriage stands the test of time, and also to maintaining our vow to stay together as long as we both shall live”...till death do us part.

I think we can do that without killing one another. What about you?

God bless!

~ Harriet

Harriet is a hilariously joyful married woman who resides in northeast Louisiana with her husband who is a restaurant manager. She works for a local University and along with her husband is the proud parent of a 3 year old son and a 10 year old stepson (who lives in NC).

About the author

Lamar Tyler wrote 2227 articles on this blog.

Lamar Tyler is co-creator He also is the co-producer of the films Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage, You Saved Me, Men Ain't Boys and Still Standing.


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