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Old 08-10-2011, 04:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Why we isolate ourselves

Most days, I feel pretty good. I have been advised by absolutely everyone outside of my immediate family circle, to stay away from them. I have done so, and have built a good life and social circle outside them. But today I'm feeling down. It might be partly exhaustion and a lot on my to-do list. I think it's partly because yesterday was my son's graduation party so I had to deal with them. I mostly just stayed away and talked to my own friends. But one of those friends also knows my mother quite well, has for many years since before I moved back. She told me my mother was quite surprised to find that she and I are friends, and gave her the third degree (her words) asking question after question.

I don't know what questions she asked. I don't really know if she was upset that this woman is friends with me. I didn't ask partly because I didn't want to be bad-mouthing my mother to someone who has know her for years and is sort of a friend, and partly because I don't want my family issues to be the center of conversation.

But I'm left for once not even knowing what I feel or what to do with the emotions dredged up by hearing this. I'm back to feeling that even my extended family will gradually cut me off because I'm the 'bad' daughter who's being so 'awful' to my parents and siblings. (Don't ask me how I got from A to B, it's just what I ended up feeling.)

I sometimes talk to friends about these things. I know that's what friends are for, and I would listen to them, too, but right now, I don't want to be the one who always has some problem and drama. Even though I didn't cause this. So I'm avoiding talking to anyone or contacting anyone. I'm trying to focus on the many good things in my life, but right now, I feel like it's just stuffing down something that maybe I really need to deal with. But I don't know how.
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Old 08-11-2011, 07:40 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't have much to add right now as I'm going through some difficult times with my own family. But I wanted to let you know that I understand the isolation part, the inability to talk to friends.

I handle this by trying to spread the **** out between my friends so no one person has to hear all of it. I'll talk to one friend about one part of it, another friend about another part of it. Eventually, I can get it all out of my system without over-burdening any single person. This way I don't have to "stuff down something."

I also try to lead into conversations by asking the friend how their life is going and trying to get a feel for whether or not they're in a good mental place to handle my own drama/negative emotions. If they're really struggling with something, I try my best to be sensitive to their situation in life, and go find another friend who isn't having a difficult time themselves if I need to.

And? You've always got us. We listen, and more importantly, we understand.
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Old 08-11-2011, 09:17 AM   #3 (permalink)
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But one of those friends also knows my mother quite well, has for many years since before I moved back. She told me my mother was quite surprised to find that she and I are friends, and gave her the third degree (her words) asking question after question.

I don't know what questions she asked. I don't really know if she was upset that this woman is friends with me.... But I'm left for once not even knowing what I feel or what to do with the emotions dredged up by hearing this.
Look at it this way: You're trying to avoid contact with your immediate family as it is. So if they get all into a state of high dudgeon because of something your friend (who shouldn't be blabbing on you, but that's not under your control), and they end up not wanting to contact you, well, so what? You want them out of your life anyway, so it's a win-win!

(Substitute "extended family" for "immediate family," and you've got my situation. I really don't give a you-know-what what they think of me -- and if they don't call, that's fine -- I don't want to hear from them anyway.)

T
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:44 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thank you, Ginger. Today, I just feel I've talked to all my IRL friends enough. And right now, I'm thinking maybe there's a good side of this. Maybe it means *I* don't want to have this as the center of my life, and am getting strong enough that I can live up to that.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:47 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Look at it this way: You're trying to avoid contact with your immediate family as it is. So if they get all into a state of high dudgeon because of something your friend (who shouldn't be blabbing on you, but that's not under your control), and they end up not wanting to contact you, well, so what? You want them out of your life anyway, so it's a win-win!

(Substitute "extended family" for "immediate family," and you've got my situation. I really don't give a you-know-what what they think of me -- and if they don't call, that's fine -- I don't want to hear from them anyway.)

T
The friend wasn't blabbing, I don't think. She showed up at my son's graduation party which clued my mother in that she and I were friends, and my mother started asking the woman question after question.

I didn't want the exteded family out of my life. There's nothing wrong with them. Although of course, I'm slowly changing my view to think that if they believe all they hear about me from my mother and siblings, then I have no use for people who blindly believe gossip. Of course, another part of me is still saying, Can I really blame them for believing it? I lived here only briefly before going to college and then moved away again for many years (because of my father) before moving back, so they never really had a chance to know me very personally, whereas they have spent 30-40 years listening to my mother's (strange twists on and untrue) stories about me.
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Old 08-12-2011, 07:46 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Maybe it means *I* don't want to have this as the center of my life, and am getting strong enough that I can live up to that.
Wouldn't that be fantastic? Imagine a world where you live your life only rarely thinking about your family and their dysfunctions? Spending most of your time thinking about your life and what you plan on doing with it?

It sounds like a dream come true to me.
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Old 08-12-2011, 03:42 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Wouldn't that be fantastic? Imagine a world where you live your life only rarely thinking about your family and their dysfunctions? Spending most of your time thinking about your life and what you plan on doing with it?

It sounds like a dream come true to me.
Oh for that day! Unfortunately, they are on my mind frequently, daily. Even a lying, cheating husband and a divorce are rarely on my mind, but my dysfunctional family is. I'm not sure what that says.
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Old 08-12-2011, 04:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
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why we isolate ourselves

Hello EveningRose,
Thats a good question am on the same boat. This is a question i can not answer.
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Old 08-12-2011, 07:17 PM   #9 (permalink)
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My ability to isolate myself started when I was a child. Basically, I had no choice, I had to resolve my problems on my own. I could not share with my friends, they had a good family enviorment, they did not have the turmoil, the disappointments I suffered and therefor could not relate.

Today, when I have a big hurdle to jump over, I isolate myself, and take the time to figure out how to accomplish what I need to overcome, and I do not seek out anyone to help me.

I should. However, I have been conditioned to figure everything out on my own and although I have come a long way, that is one lingering trait that I have been unable to overcome...or possibily unwilling to overcome.

We ACOA's are a work in progress, and everyday presents us with new opportunity to work through our past, our childhood.
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Old 08-22-2011, 07:33 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I relate to this thread and am grateful for the conversation. Thanks to the op for sharing your thoughts.
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Old 03-31-2012, 06:31 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I figured I'd resurrect this thread, as it's on the same subject, on my mind again many months later as I slide back into wanting to isolate myself.

The last few months have been rough. I've posted about it here, but to recap, coming on the heels of divorce due to infidelity was a health situation with a child that turned into a month-long ordeal, a 'friend' trashing me on a review site while my child was in the hospital, and the realization that my alcoholic family--parents and siblings--would totally ignore both the divorce and the child in the hospital. They live less than 2 miles away, btw, and are in quite good health. A sibling turned up where I work (in a very public place) right in this time and pretended not to see me.

In addition, someone I've long worked with let me know he was very interested in seeing me now that I'm single, and I'm completely torn betweeen the good aspects of this person and how much I enjoy time with him, and the qualms I'm having about other aspects of the situation.

Lately, I'm overwhelmed by all these things. I find myself avoiding him because, although he'll sympathize, I don't want to become that person who always has a drama. (Oops, too late, I think I am, which is frustrating because none of this was my doing or my decisions.)

I avoid him because I don't feel like pretending everything is great when I have these qualms or these other things going on. But I still have the voice from the past telling me that no one will like me unless I'm good enough, happy enough, pleasant to be around, etc. (Funny that those words came from my mother who had a Ph.D. in Negativity and Complaining.)

I avoid people when I don't feel up to Being Cheerful because I don't want to be my mother.

I avoid him because there are some issues between us and I don't want to confront those or talk about them because I don't believe, deep down, that other people are really open to working things out, hearing how I really feel, or dealing with the less than Cheerful, Happy parts of me.

I avoid other people because deep down, I believe that no one will really accept me unless I'm the one smoothing the waters, making the peace, making the concessions, and being sure everything is okay. I don't believe I'm valuable enough that if I say, "I don't like the way you just treated me," he (or anyone) will find me important enough to do anything about that. I suppose I told my family in the kindest possible way I didn't like how they were treating me, and I see it has led to complete and utter abandonment.

Can anyone relate?
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Old 03-31-2012, 06:39 PM   #12 (permalink)
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A side thought.

My AF let it be known many months ago that I'm 'burning my bridges' with them. I guess snubbing me even in the wake of divorce and a lengthy hospital stay for a child showed me, huh? My mother has warned me all my life that I better not 'burn my bridges' with anybody.

A couple years ago, I started wondering if I ever have the right to finally say someone burned their bridges with me.

I started to feel that I did indeed burn these bridges with my family--because this time I finally refused to scramble for water when they doused the bridge with oil and lit a match. So, uh, yeah...I'm guilty because I let it burn this time.
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Old 03-31-2012, 06:48 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Me...Me...Choose Me! I practice avoidance because it serves me, my mindset....it is my wall that I have built to protect me from suffering more pain...have I lost many a good person and or experience because of my wall? Possibly...I will never know...as, I believe that part of me will never change...too much water over the dam.
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Old 03-31-2012, 08:57 PM   #14 (permalink)
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My foo has given up on me decades ago. But lately I've been reconnecting with some second generation adults and being with their kids. My siblings have gone on without me , save for an occasional wedding or funeral. Hang in there and do what's best for you.
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:06 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I put a posting and a link on my facebook- hoping my two brothers might join in a conversation with me.

Fact is my distant relations and friends wished me a happy birthday- but not my FOO.

My cousin and niece responded... true to form... lucky old me- going out to my wider family, whanau for support.
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Old 03-31-2012, 10:44 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Rose,

A big reason this place is so popular with so many people is that we can share here in safety, I can truly say, very very few people I know can even begin to understand my life and what I have been through.

The thing that I like about this site is that we have all walked in the same shoes, shoes that hurt, that have glass in them, how can those who have not been through it even begin to understand. I don't have to burden people who do not have a clue how to respond.

Even my wife, as wonderful as she is, gets tired of listening, because she cannot help, she has no answers, she has empathy, but she is so glad that I can talk to people who "get it".

So when it gets tough this is the place to come, to rant, to rage, to ask for hugs and prayers.

Kialua and David, I have learned that you take love and support where you can get it, I reached outside my family long ago when people saw what was happening to me and turned a blind eye.

I created my own family, I chose my aunts and uncles and cousins, and today as a 50 year old man I make sure when I see someone who needs a family or a friend that they are welcome in my life, in my families life.

We adopt strays, animals and people, it does not matter, we offer food, water, shelter, comfort, and love. I tell people, stop by for a meal or a hug.

My wife was the school nurse in our area for 5 years, all these kids are her kids, she went to bat for them when no one else would, she loves them all, we are truly blessed to have hundreds of children who feel they can come to us if they need help.

Take love from where it comes, ignore it from where it does not. You cannot change them, you can only find another path.

Always remember, this is your home and your family, people understand you here.

Hope it all works out for you,

You need yo talk, I will be here to listen,

Big hugs,

Bill
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Old 04-01-2012, 06:47 AM   #17 (permalink)
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"Take love from where it comes, ignore it from where it does not. You cannot change them, you can only find another path."

How true!
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:05 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Rose,

The thing that I like about this site is that we have all walked in the same shoes, shoes that hurt, that have glass in them, how can those who have not been through it even begin to understand. I don't have to burden people who do not have a clue how to respond.
Is it just as well in some cases, then, to isolate ourselves a little? To not burden others? Not that I've ever thought I should go out of my way to dump it all, but in a sense, it would be a relief to feel that it's really 'okay' to withdraw a little at times.

Quote:
So when it gets tough this is the place to come, to rant, to rage, to ask for hugs and prayers.
Please do pray for all of this. I'm struggling with my faith, among other things...not doubting, but feeling that there's little point in anything if the 'good Christians' treated me like this while those who profess very different beliefs actually behaved in a more Christian manner. I'm considering turning to this very different group of people, where I will be tempted even more to stray from my deep beliefs, because I see them as welcoming and supportive in his life, and want that in mine.

Quote:
Kialua and David, I have learned that you take love and support where you can get it, I reached outside my family long ago when people saw what was happening to me and turned a blind eye.

I created my own family, I chose my aunts and uncles and cousins, and today as a 50 year old man I make sure when I see someone who needs a family or a friend that they are welcome in my life, in my families life.

We adopt strays, animals and people, it does not matter, we offer food, water, shelter, comfort, and love. I tell people, stop by for a meal or a hug.
This is another part of my frustration. One of my qualms about this new relationship is that he has a wide social network, while I have few friends. I feel I now have to go out and meet new people to avoid becoming dependent or clingy or needy.

I know the easy answer is to simply go get involved in things and meet new people. The problem is time. Between work, kids, home, and the one hobby/social event I already do each week (which is a relatively small group and where I know him from), there's almost no time left to go out and meet new people. Although after a good night's sleep, my mind is already working around that problem.

Or maybe the answer is to remember that I've always been perfectly content being at home with my kids doing my own thing here anyway, so why do I have to change that and suddenly be out with friends just because he is?
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Old 04-01-2012, 05:17 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Rose,

You are absolutely right, you should only change because you want to, changing for someone else is a bad deal, compromising for the sake of your relationship is different than changing.

I am by nature a shy person, if you would see me out glad handing it is because I feel I must, (like for something at my childrens school), and in that case I am acting (acting like a normal, socialble people loving person), I would much rather be dancing with the plants in the corner if forced into a social situation.

Please don't avoid your guy, it will work or it wont, my wife and I came together with tons of baggage, we discussed it, dealt with it, and put it in space bags and dumped it in the basement (where it stays most of the time), it can be done, people do it every day.

If he does not recognize that you are a wonderful person, with a good heart, then he needs a new RX for his glasses and his thinking.

You deserve the best!

Big hugs,

Bill



My point was that if it is important to you to have love and to have family, you may have to create them rather than depend on your FOO.
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Old 04-01-2012, 05:35 PM   #20 (permalink)
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"Go where you are celebrated, not tolerated." That is my favorite quote to live by. (Joyce meyer)
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