Vulnerability derives from the Latin word vulnerare (to be wounded) and describes the potential to be harmed.
Human vulnerability is the threat to which human beings are exposed. They may be harmed physically or psychologically or both.
II. Vulnerability - Human nature:
1. Physical vulnerability:
The ordinary use of the word ‘vulnerability’ refers to the capacity to be wounded. The scientific use of ‘vulnerability’ has its roots in geography and natural hazards research but this term is now a central concept in a variety of research contexts such as natural hazards and disaster management, ecology, public health, poverty, secure livelihoods, famine, climate impacts and adaptation.
Although human race is at the top of food chain and they are considered to be powerful than other species, they are also vulnerable to the harmful effects of environment, climate, society,… which lead to acute distress experiences such as hunger, thirst, cold, fatigue, the pain of disease or accident or attack, and sexual tension.
For instance, people are affected by a lot of natural disasters every year. In Dominican Republic, the death toll at the 2010 Haiti earthquake was estimated from 220,000 to 316,000 (according to Haiti government).
Besides, there are lots of examples in other fields. In food production, although there have been many breakthroughs in agriculture, people are still likely to fall into hungers because of floods, droughts,… caused by climate change.
2. Psychological vulnerability:
Human beings are conscious about what happens to them. In the whole life, they must be aware and experience all forms of feeling.
For example, love needs can be frustrated by parting, separation, loss that is the result of human decision and intervention; by psychological neglect and rejection.
The influence of psychological vulnerability on children and the elderly is more serious than that on others.
To children, needs for understanding can be frustrated by failure of adults to respond to enquiry, to give needed and relevant information, to communicate freely and appropriately.
To the elderly, a major area of their psychological vulnerability is intellectual functioning. Although current research findings indicate that the extent of intellectual decline associated with aging has been greatly exaggerated, the prevalence of cognitive impairment does increase with age.
III. The power of vulnerability:
- The vulnerability strengthens our relationships.
• For Couples — Showing Vulnerability gives us the Power to Build Trust.
In the traditional thinking about vulnerability, we only show it when we feel safe, when we can really trust the other person. Ideally, intimate relationships are built on such trust.
• For parents:
The parents often hide their vulnerability from their children, because they want to be strong and keep their children feeling safe. On the other hand, when the parents do show their vulnerable feelings, they often do so to try to manipulate the...