Friends and aloneness - insight appreciated

  • 12 Replies
  • 131 Views
*

Enya

  • Member
  • 28
    • View Profile
Friends and aloneness - insight appreciated
« on: May 17, 2018, 06:11:25 PM »
I've been dealing with some really bad depression this past week, and it feels like this whole friendship/aloneness thing keeps coming up inside it, over and over. It's been the source of a lot of fear, pain, and shame these days.

There was a time in my life when I thought I was pretty good at making friends. I've always been socially awkward, but I never used to let it stop me. I had friends from work, friends from the neighborhood where I raised my kid, etc. But I seem to be in one hell of a drought. Part of it has to do with recovering from extreme isolation with my second (now thankfully ex) husband, who was (and is) a pathological narcissist. Part of it has been a basic feeling of sheer aloneness I have had from childhood due to my my (not coincidentally) pathological narcissist mother and sick father.

I have a couple of long-time friends who live out of state. We correspond now and then, but they're both very busy with work and family. I've kinda sorta I'm not sure maybe started to make some friends where I live, but it all seems very inconsistent and I have a hard time know what the right expectations are, how much dependability I should ask for and want, etc. I have tried to make plans with people, only to see them fall through time and time again. I get really hopeful and then... people cancel or don't call back. I don't have enough basic faith and trust in anyone to even invite them for dinner and believe they'd show up. I have tried to make friends with people who were absolutely the wrong people -- including one guy who was a great friend until I wouldn't sleep with him and then ... oh well.

Sometimes I feel as though I am in a portable isolation chamber care of CPTSD. People are there, and they seem to like me, and I like them as well, but there is a feeling of just not being able to connect. It's like whatever is inside me that I want to share hits this invisible wall and bounces back to me and doesn't get to the other person. My therapist can see this in me, and we both know that it is a perceptual difficulty, but it's rare that I can shake it long enough to feel connected -- and even more rare that I can trust the feeling of connection when it's there, rather than feeling like it's an illusion that is going to come back to haunt me. And then there is also this feeling of this emptiness inside me -- the emptiness I used to fill with alcohol, with work, with so many things. I don't know what that emptiness is, but my sense is that it is the absence of love and kindness in childhood and in adulthood. But how do you describe the shape of an absence? And how do you know how much is enough to fill it? I find myself absolutely craving human contact, but I don't trust people enough to really open to it, and I don't trust the feeling of craving in general (let's just say craving stuff never goes well for me) so I'm kinda stuck in the gears. And my poor tenacious mind keeps trying to figure it out and can't and I just get tired.

I am so ashamed to admit that I really don't know quite how to make friends anymore, or what that whole friendship thing is really about. How this is such a mystery to me now when it wasn't before I do not know.

Argh. Anyone else struggling with this?

Blessings,
Enya

*

radical

  • Member
  • 758
    • View Profile
Re: Friends and aloneness - insight appreciated
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2018, 08:55:01 PM »
I don't know how either, yet I know I need to launch myself back.  I need to try.

There must be so many of us, when you think about it.  People who have been really hurt, afraid of being hurt again, afraid of being rejected,   (or of being accepted by those who would hurt us, again.)  I hope some of us in our own localities are able to find each other, but I know I have to leave my safety behind to do it.


You are not alone, Enya.



*

AncientSoul

  • Member
  • 213
    • View Profile
Re: Friends and aloneness - insight appreciated
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2018, 10:14:18 PM »
Hi Enya:

I feel much of your pain and do understand. Narcissist's can really destroy their victims and put such negative thoughts into our heads. It takes a lot to get through. Good thing is, recognizing it and over time, learning to deal with it and move forward. That is what I am doing.

What you said and comparing it to myself, it is so similar in things. I have a big beautiful place with acres of mowed lawns and its like a fairy tale living here. Yet, no one visits me. They say it is too far. I'm about a half an hour from a major city. I have put out invitations, planned events, and have been told to come visit my friends. I did that for many years, but didn't wish to be a bother to them. I alway thought friendship goes both ways. Friends stick up for one another and help. I think it is because there is a chance they will run into my Narcissist sister, who lives across the road, even though that is a great distance from my house.

I don't know the answer. I myself have always been welcome in whatever group of people I see. Everywhere I go, I talk to people and they talk to me. But for some reason, they never invite me or take up my invitations. And I understand the rejection. I actually am used to rejection, and I don't like that about myself.

But with me, I seldom drink and I don't do any drugs. Maybe that is the problem. I also don't appreciate narrow minded and unkind people. I believe in helping and accepting a person until they prove otherwise of accepting them. And that takes a lot.

Something I don't mention much is that I haven't made a move or been with a woman since 2012. But recently I made a move on a woman who has been my friend for years. Basically, I fell in love with her a few years ago and she gave me all the signals. But she shut me down pretty quick. Then she made plans with me later to do something, so I got ready and she didn't show up. It was a late birthday for her and I made her a special gift so she could remember that birthday of hers. It's hanging from a lamp on one of my pianos. Her loss. I'm told I'm a catch and a really nice guy. And as far as making a move, to me, no means no and I stop. The last thing I wish to do is something wrong. But all a person needs is one yes out of a hundred or even a thousand no's. 

Yes, I've been really hurt in my life. The reason I haven't been with anyone since 2012 is because my last girlfriend hurt me to the core. She broke up with me after finally getting on her feet with a promotion, and I helped her for years as well as her kids. I thought she and I would be together for the rest of our lives. The last thing she said to me before I left her place was, "I don't love you." No one ever said that to me before, but I don't wish to be with anyone who doesn't love me. So I left. I was just deep pockets for her and her kids. When I wasn't needed anymore, I was put out.

So whatever you are feeling, others have had similar feelings. But never give up. I can't give up, I must believe there is a good woman out there who I will make happy and she will make me happy. But the thing is, we must also be happy with ourselves before we can make someone else happy. A smile attracts far more than a frown.

I'm probably a bad example, but even those skilled with people have feelings and fears. I've performed and have spoke in front of thousands of people. And I've literally touched millions of people personally in my life. I'm very comfortable with people, yet, I have been and am alone. At least for now. I decided to get back out there. Being rejected by my friend woke me up. It is her loss, not mine. I'm totally loyal and have always done my best to see that the woman I'm with is taken care of and safe. And I have never forced anyone to do anything. At least not that I know of.

Enya, it may take time, but never give up hope. And Narcissist's enjoy their victims suffering. Don't give then that satisfaction.  It doesn't take much to say hello, and don't ever look down on anyone, unless you're helping them up.

I'm not going back into hiding because I finally made a move on the woman I fell in love with. I've had that hurt before, and I'm not going to let it keep me down like I did since 2012. I made up my mind. I'm of the mind that you don't know if you don't ask. And it is your friends loss if they don't talk or visit you. Then make better friends, that's what I'm going to do. It's a big world out there and you're worth it!

AncientSoul
AncientSoul

*

Boatsetsailrose

  • Member
  • 918
  • Hello welcome - so glad I am here and you are too
    • View Profile
Re: Friends and aloneness - insight appreciated
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2018, 01:38:29 AM »
Hi enya
Thank you for sharing. Honestly I could have written pretty much the same words, yes this is where I am at too.
I used to make friends ok and over these past years Iím finding it more barren. I can see for me Iím more aware of non healthy relating eg co dependence etc and so I am less willing to go there. Iím def in a transition of connecting more to me and so I just donít have the room for flimsy friendships. I donít know itís all a big question mark to me too really. I do know I want to get healthier and more connected to me and feeling my self worth and compassion and so I am changing.
I too have the deep ache and longing. Itís only human hey to want connection with others. I think people sense my hole and get scared and donít want to fill it and that seems healthy on their part. How do I fill my own hole whilst relating to others on a less intense level I think that is the key..
for me I go out on walking group, do art group and 12 step groups and get my social time that way ..

I do overall think the emptiness has to be filled by self love first
look to this day for it is life - the very life of life
🌲☀️

*

Jazzy

  • Member
  • 98
    • View Profile
Re: Friends and aloneness - insight appreciated
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2018, 05:26:55 AM »
I just made a similar post... this time of year is rough. As for me, I'm not really connected with myself, and it really hinders me connecting with anyone else. I wonder if its similar for you? At least I hope that idea will put you on a helpful train of thought.

I really connect with how you said you were good at making friends, but it never really seems work out. People who don't know my dark secrets have called me things like "charismatic", "natural leader". I think people like us are very sociable, we've just been broken, and our perception is skewed. Anyway, I hope things improve for you, and if you figure something out to help, please do share! :)

Jazzy
You are the main character in the story of your life. Write a masterpiece!

*

Deep Blue

  • Member
  • 279
    • View Profile
Re: Friends and aloneness - insight appreciated
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2018, 05:39:14 AM »
I have a 4 year old son.  Yesterday when we dropped him off at daycare 2 kids were fighting over who could sit next to him.  They were arguing over who was my sons ďbetter friend.Ē 

Making friends was so easy as children.  Something my child doesnít even think about is something as adults we can really struggle with.  We have been burned by friends and family many times.  Having cptsd puts up our radar for toxicity in people.  Iíve come to accept me being picky about friends/people is a protection against being hurt again.  Sometimes it feels lonely, but to me... lonely is better than retraumatized.
For those who understand,
no explanation is needed.
For those who do not understand,
no explanation is possible.

*

woodsgnome

  • Member
  • 1097
  • I did not wish to live what was not life
    • View Profile
Re: Friends and aloneness - insight appreciated
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2018, 08:14:34 AM »
Emerging from a miserable youth, I wasn't keen on anyone, let alone friends. I came in contact with many people in my career, but wanting to be closer than arm's length was something that slipped away from me. I'd seen the worst of people early on and was scared everyone was like that and/or would reject me.

Then I became friends with 4 special people who met me in a creative vocation we shared. Really it was just so natural and it felt somewhat blissful, a  :cloud9: experience, I guess. Then they all died in short order  and I returned to my self-imposed iceberg. As was pointed out here, everyone is 'out there' and I'm stuck 'in here'. My tries to get out are few and very awkward as well.

I too am considered affable, interesting, creative, and appear as pretty self-satisfied, it seems. It's like I have this friendly mask that I can put on when others seem to get close. Except not even that happens anymore. For whatever reason, I can't make those connections anymore. In the example of my 4 friends mentioned before, we came together in a situation that isn't the case anymore; or something like that.

At any rate, the iceberg around me could use some warming, but no idea how that'll come about. I could say I'll keep plugging along, but it's more like being just lost again, in a fog. Unfortunately, I realize only too well when that fog started--back in childhood and it seems like the doors to friendships have blown shut on me, and have locked in place.

While those childhood patterns can be used as an excuse, it isn't that simple. I consciously try and tell myself I needn't hide behind that anymore but it's as if something else kicks in and I sabotage myself repeatedly. It's a whirling mess  :stars: .

So yes, Enya, I share that same struggle, as I fear the friends I crave are out of reach, and I revert to being a friendly iceberg or something.
"...we make our descent into the darkness then wait for some new kind of wisdom to take root." --Valerie Andrews

*

Enya

  • Member
  • 28
    • View Profile
Re: Friends and aloneness - insight appreciated
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2018, 03:47:34 PM »
Thank you all for sharing your thoughts. It seems what we all have in common is a fear of being hurt by people, so we end up in a contradiction -- on the one hand, we can be very friendly and talk well with people, and on the other hand, we pull back when we get into that zone of vulnerability where there is the potential to be hurt. And of course, carrying a lot of fear and having flashbacks makes it very hard to stay open.

I find that I almost instinctively flinch from people as a default; then, when people show that they're trustworthy, I flinch less and open a little more. But that zone where I have to decide whether to trust someone or not is a really fraught place for me. I'm not sure what it means to trust, really. When I'm doing well, I can see that there are different people I can trust on different levels, but that kind of nuance can be hard to come by for me. I often see it as an all or nothing proposition.

So much of the problem is that my head gets in the way with lots of future tripping -- I think I'll never have a friend, no one will like me, I'll always be all alone, etc. As my therapist points out, that's not a really helpful line of thinking. And when I'm thinking it, I'm convinced that it's all absolutely true, when of course, I can't possibly know the future. So I have to be careful that I watch where my thoughts are going.

--Enya

*

Rainagain

  • Member
  • 721
  • New member 27/9/17 cptsd diagnosed 20/9/17 oh well
    • View Profile
Re: Friends and aloneness - insight appreciated
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2018, 03:53:19 PM »
I relate to this thread very much.

Something I do which is possibly bad for me and limits my opportunity in life is I tend to stick to routine safe stuff.

What I mean is I do the same things, I buy the same stuff, I eat the same thing for lunch most days etc.

If I tried new things, went new places etc. I would probably become more comfortable with new things and new people.

Mostly I am lonely but don't want to have friends, not sure how to reconcile those two!

I can socialise effectively but it wears me out quickly, It is an effort and the reward doesn't really seem worth it.

I'd be interested if you guys recognise what I'm trying to say.
Everything will be alright in the end.

If things aren't alright then it isn't the end.

*

radical

  • Member
  • 758
    • View Profile
Re: Friends and aloneness - insight appreciated
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2018, 05:35:39 PM »
Very much relate.
Routines, safe zones, feeling ambivalent about making friends - lonely but very wary.
As I was driving home from my routine grocery shop just now I could feel myself feel safe as I got to my own neighbourhood.  There was a lift with the familiarity.

At the moment I'm physically injured, in pain and finding it hard to walk.  That extra degree of vulnerablity makes me aware of how much of this is about feeling hurt.  Trying new things, meeting new people?  No spark inside. Yet I know the world is open and the future is unwritten.  I can't carry on living like a refugee (as the song goes).

*

Enya

  • Member
  • 28
    • View Profile
Re: Friends and aloneness - insight appreciated
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2018, 09:49:45 PM »
Rainagain,

I very much recognize what you're saying and I also relate to staying in safe routines. One thing that has become very challenging lately is that I'm starting to get out of those routines. I'm realizing, as you do, that a lot of the things I do to feel safe are limiting me. So, with a huge push from my AA sponsor and my therapist, I have been trying to get out of my comfort zone. It is really scary and disorienting because it's such a huge change to not live so small. I had so many routines, rituals, habits of thought that I thought would keep me safe and happy, but they didn't. So I'm trying to get out there and be with the discomfort of it all.

One thing I've realized lately is that making friends involves going through rejection -- not everyone is going to like me -- and I have to remember to not take it personally. I can be very overly sensitive and see rejection as a commentary on me when it really isn't. Changing my perspective on this is enormously difficult for me, but I think that Boatsetsailrose is right -- the emptiness needs to be filled with self love. I look so much to others for reassurance that I'm doing okay in social situations, but that also makes every interaction stressful, because I don't know whether I'll get that reassurance. If I can give myself the reassurance that I'm really okay just as I am, and that it really doesn't matter what others think, then I can be more present. Which is really scary, too. Yikes. So many levels of discomfort to get through.

Hope this is helpful,
Enya

*

Libby183

  • Member
  • 97
    • View Profile
Re: Friends and aloneness - insight appreciated
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2018, 12:43:19 AM »
This is such a helpful thread.

I think you are all  so right to say that the emptiness cannot be filled by other people. I live with my husband and two of my three grown up children.  I still feel utterly alone, and not sure if being alone is not the best thing for me. After a weekend with them around,  I feel utterly destroyed,  when,  in fact,  I have had little to do with them. Every interaction, however small, becomes so fraught in my head. I just don't know how "to be" with them, although this applies much more to my husband than my sons.

Inspired by my relatively unsuccessful therapy,  I am working on dealing with myself without reaching out to my husband,  because he can not give me what I need. Partly his problem,  but mostly my own.  I have been unwell,  physically during the night.  He will have been aware despite our separate rooms, but said nothing.  Neither did I.  For the first time,  I didn't demand he try to make me feel better,  because he can't.  This is a new approach for me - perhaps it will help.

Thank you for starting this post,  Enya. I think we probably all feel a bit less lonely for talking about it.

Take care,

Libby.

*

Slim

  • Member
  • 184
  • "No dramas"
    • View Profile
    • Meditation and Healing
Re: Friends and aloneness - insight appreciated
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2018, 02:48:07 AM »
Sometimes I feel as though I am in a portable isolation chamber care of CPTSD. People are there, and they seem to like me, and I like them as well, but there is a feeling of just not being able to connect.

That is exactly it. Disconnected...I wonder whether it is an emotional flashback to times in childhood when you didnt have any connection? Or is it a dissociative symptom? Or maybe you have yet to learn what connectedness feels like.
These are the sorts of things I wrestle with, with my own sense of disconnectedness.
Slim
ďThe best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.Ē óLinus Pauling