“I have never let anyone into my life.”
The echo of isolation is one way too many survivors understand. Read about Mary’s experience breaking isolation below.
After coming to support group only five times, Mary made a comment that I will never forget. We were discussing friendships. The question I had asked was really simple, “Who are the friends you trust the most, and why do you trust them?” Mary’s response was, “My closest friendships are in this group. I have never let anyone into my life, so you all are the ones that I look forward to seeing every week.”
Survivors desire to be connected.
It isn’t that Mary did not want friends; it is that she did not know how to trust friends. Her “friends” had hurt her, not believed her, and made her feel different because she had been abused. They didn’t know how to respond when she talked. So, she withdrew; and she lived her life, alone. It seemed easier to avoid people than to face rejection again.
The label “abused” defined her life. Abuse had stolen her self-worth, her friends, and her hope. She didn’t come to support group hoping to make friends. She came to support group out of curiosity. Was there really a way to destroy the power of abuse in her life? At support group, Mary found more than she expected. She found hope. She discovered that the isolation in her life was a survival mechanism. As she learned that her abuse experience did not have to define her life, her self-confidence increased.
Isolation was Mary’s survival mechanism.
As she established relationships within her support group. She learned that she was capable of being a good friend. She discovered that true friends would stick by her. She realized that she had value to offer in relationships and that her friends did not view her differently because of her experience with abuse.
For Mary, support group was vital to her healing. She met people who understood her. They too had been abused, and they once believed that isolation was the way to prevent pain. But they now know that we are designed to live our lives in community. Isolation is not out friend, and it cannot keep us safe. It only keeps us lonely, wanting more.
We want to help you if you feel isolated.
If you are struggling with isolation, we invite you to join our online support group. Our desire is to encourage you and celebrate with you as you heal for the impact abuse has had on your life. Fine out more information here.