Vulnerability and isolation

I finally got moved into my new apartment with some good and some…well, not so good.  I feel safer here than I did when I was living in my parents house, which is out in the country.  But the noise of living in close proximity to other people (both beside and above me) will take some time getting used to.

I have been going back to the house to pack up things, going through old pictures, sorting through things, etc.  For the first time in the nine months since my mother died, I broke down in tears.  I think I have not really mourned her lost.  Part of it may be due to the fact that right after this, my father’s health declined.  He was in the hospital for weeks, then needed 24 hour care in a long term care facility.  On top of all that, I have been taking care of his affairs, his property, and getting ready to sell his assets, etc.

Another part of it is I created this false self at an early age (due to long term sexual abuse) and in doing so, I didn’t really recognize what I was feeling, so I discounted them.  At some point I learned along the way “keep your chin up”, “put on a happy face”, “don’t let them see you come apart”, “expressing emotions is a sign of weakness”, etc.  I have engaged in this type of self talk for so long, it seems like I’ve always done it.  But the problem with having a false self is you don’t know your true self which only adds to the confusion.

As I was speaking with my counselor about these matters last week, I said “I think I am still that little girl who’s hiding”.  She responded with “I think you are right.  You avoid anything that you think might make you vulnerable”.

It was easy to isolate myself from the rest of the world.  What’s hard is forming and maintaining relationships with others.   I don’t even know when I began to shut myself off from the world but I know it has happened slowly over years.  I slowly became a loner with no friends…and now my family is fading away…or the family that mattered.  As the days turned into weeks and weeks into years, it became harder and harder to communicate with others or to even be social with strangers.  It has gotten to the point where I no longer want to go grocery shopping, simply because I don’t want to be around people.  (Although, I still go at this point.)  I even moved closer to a synagogue (about 15 minutes away) but it terrifies me to think of going there to be around people.  Something I wanted to do from the beginning and when I have the opportunity, I do nothing.  In order to stop this madness though, I must be okay with being vulnerable.  Hmmm…I am not there yet.

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