Need reassurance

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periwinkle

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Need reassurance
« on: May 29, 2020, 10:41:58 AM »
Is my ability to bond with people permanently damaged because of trauma? Am I always going to be alone? I really wonder. I've always been more or less isolated because of social anxiety and avoidance interfering with my ability to socialize. I tend to be needy and overshare in some contexts, because of craving intimacy, too, even if it's kind of contradictory with being avoidant. I've been trying to improve on my social skills for years, and telling myself it's worth it to keep trying to connect with people, even though it's hard, and it hurts when it doesn't work, and it feels like it's something that's permanently not for me sometimes. I'm 26 and I still barely have any friends. I'm scared that as I get older, my ability to meet and connect with people is really not going to improve at all, because who's ever going to appreciate and respect someone like me -- with trouble holding a job and not much hobbies or excitement about anything because of depression? I don't think I'm alone because I'm hurtful. I take a lot of pride in not replicating the toxic behavior I was surrounded in through my family, like being manipulative or making hurtful jokes and things like that, but my way to relate to people is still not quite right. Like, I have a few friends but I feel like all my relations are asymmetrical, like others matter more to me than I do to them, always, and it scares me. I don't know if I'm unable to appreciate the proximity in the friendships I do have, or I'm genuinely a side character in the life of everyone who matters to me, it's hard to tell. I feel like I'm one step removed from being abandoned by everyone who matters to me, pretty much all the time.
I'm not in contact with my biological family. I feel like I haven't really had a family at all; any kind of parent figure to really show me safe and caring love, and give me guidance and reassurance. I wish I could have someone like that in my life. I really want a chosen family. I wish there was some kind of dating website analogue for that; messed up person looking for parent figure or sibling-like friend, anyone interested? But there isn't.
Can someone reassure me that it's not just me with these issues? That it can get better, that people like us get to bond with people and love and feel loved, too? That isolation and abandonment are things we can escape if we keep trying and believing it's worth it to reach out?

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buddy9832

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Re: Need reassurance
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2020, 10:58:52 AM »
Hey Periwinkle,

I can assure you that you are not alone in having these issues and feelings. Iíve been having trouble coming to terms that Iíve been more or less abandoned by my family, especially during a time I needed them most. This feeling of abandonment has left me especially vulnerable to abandonment issues. Not too long ago, I did something to violate my wifeís trust. She is really the only person I can rely on now. She openly discussed leaving, not knowing where the relationship would go and divorce. This pushed me to a really dark place.

I donít know if I can offer you much advice right now as I am still very much in the depths of trying to resolve my abandonment issues. But again I can tell you that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. 

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periwinkle

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Re: Need reassurance
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2020, 12:10:26 PM »
@buddy9832 Thank you for the support! I'm sorry you're struggling with similar issues and I wish you good luck, working through things with your wife and also, importantly, with yourself.

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owl25

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Re: Need reassurance
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2020, 09:01:45 PM »
I can relate to a lot of what you wrote, periwinkle. I have wondered the same things. I think with our kinds of wounds it's really hard to form close connections with others, for fear of being hurt in the same ways again. It's really hard. For myself, I really struggled for decades with barely having any friends. I recently realized that there has been a part of me that has resisted and doesn't want people in my life. It was a bit of shocking insight, to be honest! It took me a really long time to figure out, but for me, I think I need to do more work on myself before I'll be able to successfully start to build up connections with others and hopefully form close friendships. I used to think it was the other way around - if only I could make friends somehow, then I would be able to heal and be okay. But, I think once I have healed enough, I will have enough internal resources to put towards working on letting more people into my life. It's going to take some time and effort, because I am ambivalent about people - on my good days when I feel okay, I love to spend time by myself, I'm a big introvert. On my bad days I am desperate for someone to be there for me - that's not a good basis to try and start a friendship or relationship with other people on. So, I need to get to a place where I have mostly good days, and then I have to actively work on the part of me that, truth be told, can't be bothered to go out and socialize.

I've come a long way with the help of therapy, it certainly has made me more relaxed around other people than I used to be. I do show more of myself and am less invisible, but I still tend to hide myself around others.

It isn't just you with these issues. I think the social isolation is part and parcel of relational trauma. I also know it can get better, as I can see my path forward in this area now, which I didn't used to be able to. One thing that is making a huge difference for me, is the IFS therapy I am doing. I only just started that, and it's a game changer for me. It is absolutely worth it to keep at this.  :)

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periwinkle

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Re: Need reassurance
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2020, 06:27:57 PM »
@owl25 Thanks for sharing all this! It helps to know other people struggle with this too, toxic shame tends to make it feel like every issue is uniquely my own & my fault but when stepping back & with some reassurance, it becomes clear that they aren't. Good luck with therapy & great to hear you have been able to notice some progress!

(I was really in distress when I started this thread but I'm back to feeling stable fwiw.)

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owl25

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Re: Need reassurance
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2020, 12:06:53 AM »
Glad you're doing better now :) If the same distress pops up again, coming back to this thread may help. All of what you are feeling is totally normal given your past experiences. You're not alone with this.  :hug: