I can’t call this blog post more than “loneliness”, but I’ve explored this topic and will continue. Pervasive loneliness is a hallmark trait of CPTSD, yet it felt to me that this is also more of an American condition too. I read some study that I probably should have bothered to remember so I could cite it, but it said 25% of Americans experience extreme loneliness.
I was trying to question why this is for me personally. I have built up a pretty incredible support system given my attachment problems. I’ve allowed people into my life at varying levels appropriate to our relationship. With being in the hospital and moving, I’ve been surrounded by people. Yesterday was the first day I spent alone and it felt more natural to me and less lonely.
How could I feel less lonely alone over with all these people whose actions clearly showed they cared about me? I think as a child going through extreme trauma, I wasn’t taught to trust anyone, not even myself. I was never told how to be a friend or a wife or anything that people are not only supposed to do, but get joy from (just to clarify, I say “wife” as just my term, but can be expanded into whatever you would call yourself in an intimate relationship of your choice).
Being around so many people showing me so much care made me want them to go away on some level as it just felt uncomfortable. The old me would have isolated as it feels “better” to be alone as I’m sure no one would understand me. The new me that strives for authenticity is going to force herself to be engaged socially as my having good people in my life is a rite I deserve no matter how uncomfortable it gets. I feel lucky in that some people are really willing to be patient as I learn about attaching to other adults in my life. Sometimes, they even gently show me how it’s done without even knowing that’s what they are doing.
I realize if I continue to keep showing up in my relationships, my counterparts do too. I also have to remember that I don’t expect perfection for myself, so I can’t hold others to that too, so if someone disappoints me, it’s not necessarily about me.
I know having friends, and now even a boyfriend, has been very new for me. By friends, I mean genuinely caring relationships, not toxic people who pretend to give me love. There are days I want to push them all away as it feels too much, but then there are those moments when I need friendship, because I have things to share or need to talk. That’s when having so many new relationships in my life feels good.
I also realized that I have the right to say no. If I’m feeling particularly awkward or need some space, I can say no to being social, and it’s ok to take care of me first.
Realizing that I actually get to make choices about everything in my life has probably been the most healing aspect of dealing with trauma.
I encourage you to reach out to a good person today, whether in person or virtually and if you were like me just a year and a half ago and feel you had no one, send me an email. I’ll respond.