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Old 10-17-2013, 03:17 AM
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Isolating

What exactly is Isolating....?

That may sound like a curious question (I find it curious that I'm asking), as up until this morning, I'd say it is something that I do. I now find that actually, I do something that may or may not be isolating.

This thought occurred to me as I was reading through the Big Red Book of ACoA... it suddenly dawned on me that really, deep down, I'm not sure that I know.

This is my understanding, I'd welcome any better definitions or greater insights, or clarity. Alternatively, feel free to tell me I have the best definition ever written by man - I won't believe you, but I'll take the compliment anyway :-)

Isolating is and can be both physical and psychological. Isolating in a physical sense is fairly obvious it means being alone, without others and leans heavily towards avoidance as opposed to choosing to be by oneself for positive action say... to meditate, read the paper, do some 'work'.

In a psychological sense isolating does not necessarily mean physical separation. It means being disconnected from those that are present; Retreating into ones own mind; Pretending all is not as it really is e.g. I feel sad, but when asked I'll say I feel good. It is an attempt to escape from oneself and others.

Isolating can include not discussing with others experiences you're encountering, usually (but not necessarily) experiences which are uncertain, or unpleasant to a certain degree. It (isolating) can include for example NOT sharing in a 12 step meeting.

Isolating is therefore an attempt to hide the manifestation of fear and shame or other painful feelings from other people. It is a pretense and lie; a mental trick similar to denial, it is/can be an attempt to ignore, by self deception a negative emotion or state of mind and being.

I've no idea if my understanding is close to, or way off the mark. It 'feels' right... What's your understanding and definition?

M
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Old 10-18-2013, 11:26 AM
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HI. I'm not familiar with isolating. But I do practice emotional detachment. As I grew up I realized that my parents were nuts and I couldn't depend on them for anything. After I grew up I continued. Its just a safe way to not get wrapped up or involved in their lives and have your feelings hurt constantly.

I would think isolating is far more encompassing than just dealing with alcoholic parents and trying to survive with emotional detachment. I would think it is not relating to anyone and being alone emotionally if not physically.
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Old 10-18-2013, 12:18 PM
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I do not know AcoA literature, I do not know how the understand this.

I think some people tend to retract from the world when under pressure, it is a tendency I am aware of when it comes to my self.

I am not sure it is always motivated by trying to hide something. Some people will gain energy by interacting with others and become frustrated when alone, others will become exhausted by interacting with others and need to recharge alone.

But if you are always seeking isolation something is wrong and you need to addresses that but I would see it as wrong to pressure introvert persons to share if they find that difficult.

People are different that is a reality we just need to accept.
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Old 02-14-2014, 05:33 AM
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I've guess I've been isolated a lot.

I was an only child and my parents used to move house frequently, to different parts of the country (every 3 or 4 years, because of work). Each time we moved to a new area I'd be friendless and tend to get picked on at school, which made things worse. Maybe I had inherited a nervous temperament, or maybe that came from the Alcoholic parent home environment, but combined with not having friends or siblings it marked me as a victim. This made me avoid my classmates and could have set up a vicious circle in causing under developed social skills. But after a year or two i'd start to settle in and be accepted, aquire friends, then we'd move again. I always vowed that if i ever had kids we were living in one place till they left home.

The extended family was close knit, but only for brief periods did we live near them. And gradually, i think the drinker's "divide and conquer" game took its toll.

When I was young, Mother was always telling me how strict and uptight my Dad's side of the family was, so I was uneasy around them. When older, i realised they were actually perfectly normal.

My Dad left, she remarried. She used to tell her 2nd husband that her first husband's demeaning and controlling and uncaring attitude caused her drinking. His biological father left his mother for a younger woman, so he strongly felt i should cut off my own father for treating my mother like that. That caused a rift beftween me and my step dad, but my mother never told me to my face to stop seeing my father. Later , she used to tell him that worrying about me and my lifestyle (not doing well enough at school, not having girlfriend, being in crappy job etc) was to blame for her drinking, so he used to take me to one side for frequent stern talking-to's over that. Later though, she would criticise me directly in that way, so passive agressive at least got swapped for upfront-agressive.

She used to tell her own family that her second husband was bullying towards me causing them to be suspicious of him. And then she started falling out with her siblings and telling me and her husband that we no longer speak to relative X over Y disagreement. But i'd come home from school early one day and hear them chatting merrily on the phone like they're best mates ever. At a later point in my life, i met another girl who behaved the exact same way, so i guess it's a substance abuser thing. What they fear most is the people around them working together to stage an intervention or stop them drinking, so they try to keep them suspicious of each other.

When i moved out and went to University, i got better for a long while. Compared to my isolated childhood, i was almost hypersociable, living in shared houses for a decade, being an early adopter of mobile phone and email tech etc.

Then five years ago I went involuntary no contact with my mum. It wasn't a rational, healthy decision, though in retrospect i should have taken steps to limit exposure to her drama much sooner, while i was still sane. I just basically got to the point where i couldn't handle her phone calls any more , and stopped answering to anyone. She had my email and cellphone too, so i had to abandon these, and basically fell out of contact with all my friends.

Perhaps i could have set up new contact numbers, but by this point i was so stressed i just couldn't handle the thought of answering the phone at all. Plus, my friends who i'd known since going to University 15 years ago, weren't willing to accept me going no contact with my mother.

I now live alone and don't see anyone outside work. I don't have email, facebook, cellphone and keep my landline unplugged. I've never given the number out anyway. I've got a pile of unopened mail for the past six months. I pay my bills by direct debit but i do need to sort through them again. This happens twice a year and sends my heart pounding with anxiety, but i guess i cant put it off much longer.

I'm kind of ticking over, working in a non-customer facing job i quite enjoy, going to the gym a lot, binge eating and sleeping. This isolated state is a fallback mode i've had since early childhood, i can live that way indefinitely.

But i've no idea how to recover and properly rebuild my life.
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Old 02-14-2014, 10:39 AM
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I think your definitions of isolating are spot on. I know I tend towards isolating. It is how I protect myself from people or places for which I havent set up good boundaries yet. Though I have learned to recoginize it and try not to do it too often but with my introverted personality it is easy to isolate as a default position
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Old 03-10-2014, 07:59 AM
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Thanks Happynow2beme

Its nice to have seen you here.

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Old 03-10-2014, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Liberator4EVA View Post
I've guess I've been isolated a lot.

This isolated state is a fallback mode i've had since early childhood, i can live that way indefinitely.

But i've no idea how to recover and properly rebuild my life.
I think I mostly isolate in a non physical sense, I withdraw into myself. I recognise this as something I did in childhood to avoid the feelings of guilt for either my parents drunken arguments or my mothers drink fuelled depression and sundry insanity.

Whilst I do could do that indefinitely it is not living as I understand it, or not living happily as I wish to.

I have little doubt that my childhood affected me in my past and influences my present, it is for this reason that I believe the 12 step group Adult Children of Alcoholics can help me recover.

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Old 03-10-2014, 08:17 AM
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Isolation????

Isolation is my enemy who thinks is my friend. It is a form of protection but in my case "a form of NOT dealing". I'm a person who needs people and even thirst for them at times, but I find myself isolating out of habit. Right now I'm desperately trying to break this habit along with the others that go along with it. Isolating is painful if one hasn't chose it. There also is "solitude'. Now I believe we all need solitude and solitude is a friend and reprieve. Its just deciphering between the two and applying which one fits better.
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Old 03-10-2014, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by SineadOConnor View Post
Isolation????

Isolation is my enemy who thinks is my friend. It is a form of protection but in my case "a form of NOT dealing". I'm a person who needs people and even thirst for them at times, but I find myself isolating out of habit. Right now I'm desperately trying to break this habit along with the others that go along with it. Isolating is painful if one hasn't chose it. There also is "solitude'. Now I believe we all need solitude and solitude is a friend and reprieve. Its just deciphering between the two and applying which one fits better.
So true. This is one of the survival skills that served us well as children but now is just hampering. Very keen to spot it.
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Old 03-11-2014, 06:16 PM
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First post in this part of the forum...and this has been on my mind.

Isolating is a real theme for me and a real enemy especially if it's difficult to spot.

What I relate to from other posts is that I learnt Emotional Detachment early in life and godamn it I thought it was healthy for a long time. Born out of confusion, I decided at some stage that saying "hey, it doesn't matter" was a healthy, and perhaps the only sane response to the things that were going on around me. Allowing myself to react emotionally was difficult, so I learned not to react. In my pre-teen years I discovered buddhism and meditation and that started another unhealthy development...non-attachment was the goal, the answer - and it made so much sense! When things bothered me I would sit and meditate until I felt good and unaffected, and I felt pretty "spiritual" in the process

Take that one step further and I discovered that being around others was often difficult, and the simplest answer was to not be around them. I became self-sufficient. I told myself I didn't need you to make me feel better or worse. I detached physically and emotionally and that worked for me until it stopped working.

So today, when things are not great, often when I feel troubled, I isolate. I isolate by physically taking myself away until I can 'work things out' or until I have the energy to cope with it all. Or I isolate in the company of others by withdrawing...if you ask me how I am, I'll say "I'm fine" and hope you don't press me any further. I get real quiet. I find it hard to be involved and I find myself judging others or judging me - creating differences in my mind that sure as eggs mean the only answer is to sit quietly on my own and work things out for myself.

Like I heard someone say once, if I'm disturbed I will sit with it for days and then come tell you I was disturbed but im ok now

Isolation for me has nothing to do with the physical act of being alone. I can be isolated in a crowded room or feel connected with no one around. As you say, I think it has more to do with my iNTENTIONS and mental/emotional state.

I like your definitions Mako, thanks for posting.

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Old 03-12-2014, 03:45 AM
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Emotional detachment is a something I did for many years too, not only did I think it was healthy I thought it was an art, a skill even. I don't believe that today)!

I guess in some way that this learned behaviour stems from the family moto of don't trust, don't feel. The only way I found to not feel was to detach emotionally when things when I needed to protect myself. It was a trait learned and practiced for years - I just hope it is not too ingrained!

I find that during conflict this detachment, or isolating becomes almost physical in the sense that however hard I try to open up I get stuck. Like some physical manifestation of fear that acts like a clamp on my ability to speak or reattach to the situation i.e. It onsets by habit and is difficult for me to overcome.

That said, I'd say it is easier to deal with now because of my recovery in AA - it happens less. my drinking has ceased and as a person I am less intolerant, less badly behaved and as a result less conflict arises.

Mark

Last edited by makomago; 03-12-2014 at 03:48 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 03-12-2014, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by makomago View Post
Emotional detachment is a something I did for many years too, not only did I think it was healthy I thought it was an art, a skill even. I don't believe that today)!

I guess in some way that this learned behaviour stems from the family moto of don't trust, don't feel. The only way I found to not feel was to detach emotionally when things when I needed to protect myself. It was a trait learned and practiced for years - I just hope it is not too ingrained!

I find that during conflict this detachment, or isolating becomes almost physical in the sense that however hard I try to open up I get stuck. Like some physical manifestation of fear that acts like a clamp on my ability to speak or reattach to the situation i.e. It onsets by habit and is difficult for me to overcome.

That said, I'd say it is easier to deal with now because of my recovery in AA - it happens less. my drinking has ceased and as a person I am less intolerant, less badly behaved and as a result less conflict arises.

Mark
I went to a seminar the other day, and how your words echos what was said at this "Fear" seminar. It was mentioned that thoughts and insecurities from our up bringing CAN and WILL manifest into dis-ease. Isolation and fear within can cause a definite bondage keeping us from evolving. Its my understanding we must allow for learning, make the time, have the energy, and diligence, and routine to DO THE WORK NECESSARY to overcome our fears and isolation. Finally, REMEMBER we are the luckiest people who need people.
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