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#463031 - 03/23/14 02:01 PM Retreating to Isolation
mmafan66 Offline


Registered: 08/05/13
Posts: 6
Loc: Manitoulin Island, ON
To say my life is a little screwed up would be an understatement. As a sexual abuse survivor my pattern is to try and exert my will on others, lock out people who don't fill my needs, and isolate myself when I feel threatened.

I am missing approx. 2 years of my childhood. When I was in therapy over my mother's death, I casually mentioned to my Psychiatrist about the abuse. She was shocked and asked why I had not mentioned it before. I don't remember it. I only found out about the abuse at my mother's funeral. Family members told me then because they did not have my mother to carry their guilt anymore. It sent the therapy sessions in a whole direction as my Psych. drew up my personality traits and those of a survivor.

I've lost my son over my issues, lost many friendships, potential partners and it permeates every aspect of my life. I was at a funeral recently and met many old friends that I had not seen in a longtime. Some knew my ex, and most know about her actions before, during and after our split. When the questions came about my son, most understood what I was up against. I do acknowledge ownership of the damage I did as well, I am not innocent. After repeatedly telling the story and receiving affirmation that I am a good person, I began to crack. I had to leave my friends and abandoned my friends family in their time of need.

I am scared to go to the grocery store, scared to go for walks, and scared to live life. I live in fear of seeing any of my ex's family. I worry that I may bump into them, and they can then sneer at the piece of shit who was once in their lives.
To complicate matters I work in an industry where your competence level is measured by your ability to exert your will over others and educate them as to the correct way of doing things by following company policy. I excel in this to the point where I am sent out to the field to help 'problem staff' or problem areas.
Even stranger is when I away from my home environment I don't dwell over my past life, go to the mall with friends, eat in restaurants without my back facing the wall. I'm friendly, happy, cheery, and feel pretty normal. Work has rewarded me with a supervisory position. I begin the transition from an administrative role to a managerial role shortly

It's Sunday afternoon now and I stand on my deck trying to work up the nerve up to go the grocery store which is 200 yards away. I'm scanning the parking lot to see if I recognize any of their cars......I'm looking through my binoculars to see if recognize any of 'them'. I've missed church for about the 3rd month in a row. My house is a mess and I still have packed luggage sitting on my living from floor from a work trip 3 weeks ago...

Does this make sense to anyone ? Any suggestions ? Can anyone relate ? I have a hard time completing my thoughts when I am not work.
_________________________

___________________________________
ANCORA IMPARO - I AM STILL LEARNING
HAUD PATIAR ME VINCERE - THEY WILL NOT BE VICTORIOUS OVER ME

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#463050 - 03/23/14 09:58 PM Re: Retreating to Isolation [Re: mmafan66]
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 323
Loc: NY
Hey, mmafan66.

Yes, this makes a lot of sense. I can relate to the disconnections within one's own life.

First of all, please do whatever you can to be kinder to yourself. You are slowly heading down the healing road as far as I can tell and you will need a lot of compassion for you to go further down it, I believe.

I also woke up from the deep sleep once my new family life started to come apart. It took pain and neglect that seemed to be directed to others for me to see my own for what it truly was. I think this is the traumatic hurricane finally getting to show its true colors.

In particular, finding kindness for oneself can help ease the transitions from work to home and back again. What seems like it should be so easy can be very tricky for me. I think it is because those places where life was supposed to feel secure were slowly coming undone over many years without any true recognition of it happening. It's a kind of conditioning to loss that when we get used to it enough becomes habit. The underlying habit is of avoidance I believe. That is why being kind to oneself is so important. We can't simply face what we were avoiding right away. It takes time and healing to develop the strength that left us when we needed it.

Just so you know, I wrote the first half of this post in the car in my driveway. It's hard to say exactly why sometimes I don't want to be in my own house. It probably has something to do with my early upbringing which I have finally accepted did not give me enough of a feeling of safety. I like smaller places where I can control what's around me, I guess.

So taking care of my house can be a battle of sorts. When I do, it reveals a kind of panic. I suppose it's confronting the fact that I never felt as relaxed as I imagined I did. It's confronting the fact that I have more work to do on those difficulties and fears. Often the work is just giving myself the space to bring them into my true awareness.

Overall, I think it is not really isolation that is The Problem. For years I combated a fear of isolation by keeping busy socially. This meant that I never truly experienced what it was like to be alone. Sometimes I think the best test of the ability to be alone is being able to talk to yourself and know that you are not crazy!

Rather than isolation, I think what's difficult is confronting the feelings wherever you are, of what happened and how it is still effecting the present. And in doing so, giving oneself much kindness and permission to grieve and forgive.

Those are my thoughts. Hope you will continue to share your challenges. Reaching out is the best antidote to the unwanted feelings of isolation. It takes bravery to make the journey, but I feel when we understand how much people need each other, many more things make sense.

FB
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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#463078 - 03/24/14 12:38 PM Re: Retreating to Isolation [Re: focusedbody]
mmafan66 Offline


Registered: 08/05/13
Posts: 6
Loc: Manitoulin Island, ON
" It's a kind of conditioning to loss that when we get used to it enough becomes habit."

You described it perfectly. Thank you for your response.
Besides therapy, what does one do to stop this insane behavior ?
_________________________

___________________________________
ANCORA IMPARO - I AM STILL LEARNING
HAUD PATIAR ME VINCERE - THEY WILL NOT BE VICTORIOUS OVER ME

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#463129 - 03/25/14 01:21 PM Re: Retreating to Isolation [Re: mmafan66]
jas4159 Offline


Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 278
it does become a way of life for victims. I think the isolation is one of the major results of conditioning from abuse. It is a fear based response to protecting ourselves and fools us into believing we are at fault or simply cannot deal with the shame or guilt. As much as i understand where you are coming from, feeding the isolation is a defense mechanism.

good luck
_________________________
Thanks

rich

justanothersurvivror.wordpress.com

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#463226 - 03/26/14 05:58 PM Re: Retreating to Isolation [Re: mmafan66]
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 323
Loc: NY
mmafan66:

I often wish I could stop the behavior.

I have imagined myself as someone else, left one part of the house as the unconstructed zone, and tried just going away for a while.

It's funny because the issue of habit is not the easiest to discuss in therapy. The kind of conditioning that created it can be difficult to undo.

The more I have gotten in touch with my genuine self, the one that endured a lot of confusion and uncertainty, the one who was never taught to relax, then the more I realize that the behavior is making sense as a way of coping.

But the behavior is also protecting something, usually something a little different every time I look, a kind of restless pain. If the pain is of something lost, then feeling it for what it is, is usually the best idea.

There are wrinkles in the safety, security and consistency that I imagined for myself growing up. I can't iron them out. They will have to spread out on their own.

Hope you will continue to let some kindness in....

FB
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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