Living in Isolation and Fear

Hands-onpsychopathy-2 The need for MAKING HUMAN CONTACT surfaced strongly at the later stages of recovery. Now clients' focus moved away from trauma processing and their everyday life came into focus. They became painfully aware that they had been living their lives Behind Block Walls isolated and estranged from other people with no or only limited contact.  Clients were now challenged with the necessity to let down the wall to establish and maintain relationships with others, re-join the human race, and re-connect with the community. It was in this stage that being Behind Block Walls became a major therapeutic focus.

Early on in their lives they had erected block walls because they feared to get hurt again, because they felt different from others, and because they thought they were unpredictable. Clients protected themselves in the past was by living behind a metaphorical wall. That wall had kept them safe and protected, but on the other hand it had caused isolation and loneliness. These protective walls were effective to remain disconnected from people in the outside world. The conflict arose for DID clients to reconcile the innate need for human contact with the fear of re-traumatisation and abuse. They had to break down their protective walls.

…I always envisaged it as a block wall, like a very solid concrete thick wall with me in the middle of it. I had no tools or anything with me to break my way through it. But how the hell do I get out of here? I wanted to be connected to others. I wanted the relationships with others. I was scared of it, because I had been hurt. But it was like ‘this doesn’t feel good, surely it’s gotta be better than this’. And if it’s not gonna be better than this, then I am out of here for good!” (Carol 2/4).

“I don’t know. I just felt very hurting. I don’t know. I mean I wanted help. I wanted the support. There were just these block walls all around me. I was just pushing everyone and everything away from me.” (Carol)

Whereas in the past isolation had been a choice made out of fear and terror, the experiences of warmth and closeness, understanding and acceptance through the therapist had given clients a taste of a relationship based on mutual respect and caring. Unlike previous relationships that had been abusive, clients had now different reference experiences. They were able to draw on the therapeutic relationship and on their relationship with the inner parts of self.

Who wants to be a miserable lonely bitch for the rest of their life? Hey mate, it’s a hard life. If you are alone… I mean I do spend a lot of time alone and I feel like I am the only bastard out here sitting in this shit. And that’s demeaning to the rest of us. It’s when I feel like that; it puts a lesser emphasis on all the good things. There got to be a little bit more to life than this! (Krista)

Well I didn’t allow myself to get close to anybody. And when I think of the people now, I feel sad. You don’t realise you’ve done it and it’s not till you start feeling, start to have feelings, which I start to have now, you realise you haven’t had them before. You didn’t have the connections with family and friends. (Sue)

Sue did not get close to others because she felt so bad about herself. She had internalised the abuse experience and attributed responsibility for these acts to herself. She had been hiding her despair, self-blame, and shame Behind her Block Walls.

3 thoughts on “Living in Isolation and Fear

  1. me says:

    Me… I think I am my own worse enemy sometimes. I so want to have close relationships. Before all this started and from childhood I was told that if you don’t smile all the time nobody will like you… no one wants to be around a sad person. So I went through my teenage years and my twenties happy go lucky, outgoing and had alot of friends. But ya know what I never ever felt accepted for me. Maybe I didn’t really want anybody to get to know me… they might find out what or who I really am. I was still lonely inside. I do have one good friend and we can always pickup where we leave off. But thats been 30 years in the making. Even with that friendship I still wonder if she really knows me. I miss her – she lives overseas. My ex used to say to me “where are you…I wish I could climb inside your head and know exactly what you are thinking.” I used to think that was a weird thing for him to say as I always thought that I was pretty much an open book. Well thats what my parents used to tell me. Then when the depression came and I lost all the joy … yes even the pretend joy I found it was true – no one did wanna know me. Over a decade in isolation and my ex started to say “let me in…you have locked up the walls in your castle. (Ha!! how true that was) No one can get in and you can’t get out.” Now I have found a place where I feel accepted and loved. I think. The thing is people get too close… well, I dunno… but I think I sabotage it. I still think people don’t like me. I can’t be myself totally, like I don’t have to fake my joy and they accept me and care about me whether I show it or not. Joy is truly coming back into my life, still a bit inhibited as I want to be real with it. I don’t want to pretend anymore. I have people around me … but I still feel very isolated. Still got no one that I can call a good friend. One that I can share my innermost thoughts with or will share their innermost thoughts with me. Like a two way friendship. I do know that they do care about me. And I appreciate so much what they have done and do for me. Maybe my therapist is right…maybe I do give too much. Ya know I always lived by treat others the way you would like to be treated. Shouldn’t it be returned or are my expectations way to high. Am I kidding myself. I really hate the thought of spending the rest of my life like this. Alone. I do have a few people that I can share with and are very supportive and encouraging to me. But they are like mentors. I don’t think that I have even had that mutual thing with a therapist either…like what Gudrun says here “the experiences of warmth and closeness,(if that happens I think I tend to back of – I know for a fact it makes me feel very uncomfortable) understanding and acceptance through the therapist had given clients a taste of a relationship based on mutual respect and caring.” How the heck do ya get that. I guess I don’t feel worthy. I think that might be it. But then how do you get to feel worthy. Oh I better stop now. Probably far to long.

  2. Gudrun Frerichs says:

    Hi Jamie, I do wish you find someone you can talk to and who understands you. It is very hard to feel so isolated and unhappy. I don’t know where you live, but if you feel you can not talk to your parents or other family members, you might have a teacher that you could ask for advice or your school might have a school counsellor that you could talk to? Maybe there is a teenager help line in your town? It’s really important to make a start and reach out for help.
    I wish you all the strength needed to do so.
    Take care and go well!

  3. jamie says:

    I feel completely isolated at school. I dont talk to anyone people talk about me bacause they can’t understand me. When I do try and talk to people they tune me out. I feel like I’m not worthy of having friends. Just yesterday some girl said why doesn’t my family just kill me. I wonder that too. I’ll be less of a burden. I want to talk to my mom about it but she’ll just laugh at me and gossip about it to my aunties. I HATE BEING LAUGHED AT. I get laughed at everyday at school. People ask me why don’t I act like my younger sister – happy. I feel like nobody likes me. Nobody at school does. They say I dont talk to people because I STINK. i don’t but I WISH i had someone to talk to. Now my biggest fear is that when my youngest sister goes to high school with me she will find out people hate me and then she will hate me and if that happens my life is over.

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