Lately I’ve been feeling disconnected from the people around me. I’ve been feeling alone and isolated. This is how I’ve spent most of my life. Even when there are people around me, I feel like there’s a barrier between myself and others. I can laugh and smile and engage in small talk but I never show who I really am. When I was younger and has less social experience, I found social interactions to be very confusing. I would watch what other people did and mimic them. I think the only place I was ever myself as a child was when it was just myself and my siblings. I would play with them and felt comfortable but otherwise I was always on guard, watching to make sure I didn’t say the wrong thing.
As a teenager, it was even worse. For most people, these are awkward years but they are years that most people figure out their values, how they think and what type of person they want to be. I’m not saying it’s done for people by the time their teenage years are over but there’s definitely a start to the process. I felt stunted during this time. It’s one of the few times in my life where I had friends but I never showed who I really was. I changed constantly from one friend to another. I was a chameleon, every changing to fit the situation. My personality was fluid for fear of rejection so that even if I didn’t agree with what my friends did/said, I would still do it. I don’t think this was because of peer pressure, I think I missed an important step in the developmental process that most people go through because of the years my abuse happened. I had no idea who I was or what I liked or didn’t. I had no idea how to disagree with someone and be confident in what I was saying.
I’ve been realizing lately how truly stunted I am. I’m an adult and I have little capacity to make and keep friendships. I am blessed to have an amazing husband. He is my best friend and with him, I can be almost who I truly am and have to worry less about rejection. I am lucky to not be totally alone but there is no one else. There is no family member that I feel comfortable enough to tell them I’m having a hard time and why. Even with my husband, there’s a disconnect, I don’t quite click with him 100%. It’s always as if there’s a glass wall between myself and other people. I think that glass wall is made up of shame and secrets and insecurity. It prevents me from fully touching others and being embraced by them. I am weird, separate, alone. To me, this is one of the worst things about trauma, the eternally feeling of loneliness. To never have anyone understand what I am going through and the level of depression and despair that I frequently fall to. I don’t think the English language has the right words to describe the agony of abuse and how it changes someone forever. Trauma is a life sentence of walking alone with your experiences, the rage, the humiliation, the shame, the fear, the depression. That is the gift that trauma gives us. I am alone and accepted that this is way my life will be. I accept that I am stunted, that I will never be in sync with people. I know I can adapt but it’s not the same as someone who has not had trauma. Sometimes I think that’s why I write this blog because I hope that someone will read it and feel less alone. I think loneliness is so corroding to our souls and minds. It’s like rust on a car, it breaks us down and we fall apart. So I hope, that even if just one person reads this and realizes that there’s someone out there like them, that me saying this is worth it.
14 thoughts on “One Is The Loneliest Number”
Thank you for this post. I feel exactly the same. You expressed what I’ve been feeling for so long in words. ❤️. I’m reading more now.
I don’t even know where to begin in leaving a reply. I have lost all my friends due to my symptoms of PTSD, they all ultimately at some point suffered from compassion fatigue and basically left. In 3 days it will be 6 mos. since my service dog died. I miss him like hell. He was all that I had. I am disconnected to my family, the abusers, and I’m isolated, alienated, alone and suffering from so many of my PTSD sx. None of the therapies, medications etc. have helped. I’m so desperate for help. And I’m so financially suffering. I can’t afford to buy food. I can just cover my expenses with my disability check–but I make too much for food stamps. I want to work but every time I try and do anything my symptoms get in the way. PTSD has hijacked my life and I want to get my life back but I don’t even know how to begin. Your post on loneliness really resonated with me.
A couple of things that I found helpful are reading Pete Walker’s book on Complex PTSD and watching Richard Grannon on YouTube regarding CPTSD. Also, EFT can take the “charge” out of trauma memories. You can learn to do it on yourself and it’s free. I learned it at http://www.emofree.com
See the instructions for gold standard EFT, not the invisible therapist. This is something you can do for yourself!
I wish you the best 😊
I agree – there’s obviously been an explosion of activity on the web – such incredibly good hearted people who are helping one another through all sorts of issues our society hasn’t wanted to address, much less solve. And there are more people than ever addressing trauma – but it’s very very slow. I’ve seen some wonderful Ted talks recently and have found some wonderful websites – blogs and short videos – after googling every iteration of trauma and self-help – YOURS INCLUDED!!! The very fact that you share the depth of your pain is incredibly helpful to me – so I don’t feel alone, and I feel I can at least contribute this reply! Do check out the web – I just google stuff like: childhood trauma and motivation, childhood trauma and ambition, healing from an abusive childhood…The awareness and info and help is increasing, I promise!
Just stumbled across this and all I can say is OMG thank you! Finally someone that makes sense! After struggling my whole life as a survivor of multiple types of abuse and abusers but managing to keep my nose just above the water line all those years (I think because I was a single Mom) in other words, I could summon the strength to keep treading water for my kids because that’s what parents do. But now that they are both grown it’s like I just slipped under the water and have been drowning every since. Then a series of unfortunate events and extremely unhelpful people have left me homeless, jobless, friendless, and now Doctor less. My PTSD, anxiety, depression, social anxiety are all raging out of control. My children have compassion fatigue with me now because I’m always in crisis and I’m always in crisis because I can’t get any traction and I can’t get any traction because I can’t get any help which just compounds everything. It’s a vicious cycle. The Mental Health Professionals that I have been dealing with this last year have been less than helpful and some have been down right hostile and abusive! In the last 9 months I’ve been told everything from I have Relational PTSD, in other words I’ve been on the receiving end of so much trauma from other people my whole life that people literally ARE my trauma! To being told “No! you don’t have PTSD Your just fine! you just need to toughen up and get a a few coping skills!.” I’ve been told I have psychosis and put on all kinds of medicications including anti psychotic meds to “Your just being manipulative and trying to get attention!” What I’m diagnosed with depends entirely on who the Doctor/Social Worker/Psychiatrist is, what day of the week it is and what the weather is. In other words, it’s all very subjective!. The last social worker I spoke to said “Your so articulate! You don’t need me, you can do this on your own.” So because I can string together a sentence that means I don’t suffer from mental health problems???? I had one professional tell me that even soldiers returning from combat don’t all get PTSD! I’m now right back with my family of origin. Origin of trauma in the 1st place. It’s either that or the street. Too scared to ask for “help” from anymore ‘Mental Healthcare Professionals” scared to leave the house, scared to look for work. Scared of people!!!! I don’t relate to people anymore! I don’t trust people anymore! I feel like I’m out in the desert being bit by one rattlesnake after the the other, and everywhere I run to try to get to safety I just run into another rattle snake and get bit again which triggers me to the point where I’m just running around screaming in pain covered in snake bites and everyone is mad at me because I’m all triggered and I can’t calm down! My only hope of surviving at this point is to try to find a job where I can work from home. At least I have a bedroom with a door and a computer. I’m probably going to become a recluse now and I’m not even being sarcastic at all when I say that. I just can’t “PEOPLE” anymore! Thank you and good luck to anyone else who feels this way.
Sorry about all the struggles you are going through. I have a nice job and a nice child. But I still struggle tremendously. Since I ended my last abusive relationship, I have not been able to function well enough to take care of both my career and my child. I get so depressed on certain days that I fear I would totally lose what is holding me together – my job and my child.
There are absolutely some ignorant counselors out there. If a counselor makes you feel worse and wouldn’t change the treatment when you bring it up, fire him or her! There is a portion of this profession that are downright narcissists.
Since the most recent trauma, I have started to get more severe depression symptoms before my period. PMDD I think. But my OB doctor wouldn’t do anything about it. Perhaps she never heard of it.
Running helps a ton. Every time after I run 10-15 min, I feel less depressed and my mind gets clearer. But it only lasts up to three hours. Then I have to do it again. Antidepressants made me suicidal so I stopped taking them.
Good social relationships help too. But I can only function well for a few days. I gradually lost my support system as I could not finish what I promised to do and my friends and colleagues slowly give up on me. It’s very unfortunate as I need them so much. But they don’t understand my illness. Nobody does so far.
I can function so well on some days being so pretty, smart, productive, social, athletic, fun, kind, helpful, etc. Then my friends thought I was cured and raised the bar until … I flopped again. I would withdraw, won’t answer phone or email, skip appointments, not show up for yoga or Zumba lessons, not even shower, …., my house becomes a mess. My work is way behind. I can’t plan for events or travel. I feel so useless and so bad.
On top of that, some narcissistic men or women always sense it at my vulnerable crisis like moments. And they pursue me like wild dogs. Often very charming and helpful at first. Then manipulation and abuse follow.
I have gained the courage to cut most of them out. But there is no good friend near by. I get so lonely and hopeless. Perhaps that’s why I could not break free from bad relationships before.
I pray for myself, my son, and all of you. If God let all these happen to us, He would have done it with a purpose right? I won’t give up even when everyone gives up on my recovery. I have a deep scar. It’s flaring up right now. But I will be ok. I hope we will all be ok.
Thank you Susan, I appreciate that and I genuinely relate and empathize with you and what you are going through. And I did fire those “Mental Health Care Professionals” I’m starting to rethink our societies current model of what passes for Mental Health “Care” altogether. If something doesn’t make sense to me even if everyone else is going along with it then I’m just not going to buy into it. I’m empathic, highly sensitive, I have a higher than average IQ, did well in college, (when I was able to attend) I read non fiction, mostly science, history, Geo political stuff. I listen to podcast lectures by climatologists, geologists, anthropologists etc. Meaning that I much prefer dealing with things that are fact based and real!! Truth. I’ve literally been told that I’m too intelligent and too articulate to need help. As if being intelligent somehow immunizes me from suffering from trauma at the hands of a very toxic abusive society filled with very toxic and abusive people! I would argue that in fact just the opposite is true! If anything, it’s precisely because I am intelligent, empathic, highly sensitive and intuitive that I suffer so deeply in the first place!! And as you mentioned (the narcissists) like sharks that can smell blood in the water which then sets off a virtual feeding frenzy!! Often I too am the target of bullies. Which again compounds the whole problem and retraumatizes me even more leaving me no where to turn now except inwards to my own devices and to sites like this one where I can luckily, hopefully connect with others like yourself who I can relate to. I need to make sense of what is going on and I need to connect to other people who want to deal with the truth too, otherwise it’s not therapeutic at all and I just end up right back where I started. I’ve spent the last 2 weeks gardening and researching for jobs I can do from home. Feeling at least like I’m starting to make sense to myself again. I’m looking at degrees online in subjects that interest me. I love doing research, I love science especially earth science. All I know is letting a bunch of subjectively opinionated “Professionals” each with their own personal prejudices and agendas play God with my life doesn’t make any sense for me!! The trauma and depression and anxiety are all still here but at least I’m not opening myself up to more nonsense from yet more unhelpful people anymore! Enough of that already! I agree with you that there’s gotta be a purpose, a reason for going through all of this madness and struggle to hopefully get to something better. I’m going to hold on to that! Thanks again and I hope you have a peaceful summer 🏵️
Twhank you for shalt int. I to have had s long journey and the lest year has changed from married. For 38 years . A owner operated of s gourde and cattle ranch to abanded in Calif. Divorced. Homeless. No friends and lest Nov I recked my truck because of flashbacks. Have no help and am holding on by a thread. The only thing that I have ostoll because people stood my belongings is my audtralin cattle dog my best friend. Np phasility will take me and my dog so I live in the woods. My whole life and the way I used to deal with issues are gone I’m a shell of who I was and at 51 I’m realty trying to stay alive. The emotional toll is to much. Thank you again it shows me I’m not alone. Thank you. Tanya george
I completely understand what you’re going through, you are not alone! Thanks so much for sharing this. 🙂
Thank you… I needed this.
I am shocked at how well you knew my life but don’t know me. As an adult people noticed my skills of mimicking or fluidity and called me camellian.
All I can say right now is thank you. It has been a particularly rough day for me and I struggle in so many ways still. I am working hard to heal from c-ptsd and a few other related to trauma disorders. I felt completely alone most of today until I read this. Thanks so very much and I am sending you the highest energy I can so that you may fully heal and be well.
Omg this made me cried I feel the same way I’m disconnected from others family, my kids just everyone and feel alone