Isolation is the default healthy position for me. It’s taken me awhile to come to this realization, even though I’ve been practicing isolation for so long. I feel comfortable with it. Conversely, I feel uncomfortable with interacting with most others.
Some would say this is a symptom of something unhealthy in me, my preferring to be alone, being that this is the case for most people. Most people, it would seem, feel isolation as a forced situation, something that is an insult to their soul. This truly isn’t the case for me.
I felt refuge in being alone as the unwanted child of six in the family. Noise and confusion all around me was the insult to MY soul. As the scapegoat there wasn’t any effort to connect with me from any other individual around me, and my efforts were rebuffed. So I sequestered myself into any out-of-the-way corner of the house to do my art, craft, writing or hand-sewing. When no quiet corner of the house existed at the time, I would simply create one in my mind. I would just withdraw deep within myself to ignore what was around me in order to focus on the creative task at hand.
I am still this way, although now my whole house is my quiet corner. There isn’t anyone to ignore me when they should be looking at me, no one to glare or sneer at me when there should be a soft face for one’s own child. There’s no shouting angry voices that makes my inner self seize in terror. There isn’t a sharp loudness of others in their boisterous activities that I wasn’t invited to participate in. And most notable, there isn’t the constant thumping, thudding, slamming of a mother who’s anger is always seething just below the surface and defiantly held the whole house to herself with no respect to anyone else who was within it. It was in this that caused me to always be on edge with a lifetime of hunched shoulders, always trying to disappear, never wanting attention drawn to me and only wishing to escape the angry noise intrusion, if not not the rage itself that periodically erupted.
Living with a person who moves and breathes with a barely contained seething black angry energy would have any adult packing their bags and moving out, especially when the anger congeals into a ball and is thrown in rage at the person, being only an innocent available target. Myself, having been a child living in such an atmosphere, and I have to assume since birth, it is no wonder I find myself describing my childhood as living in a dark tube made of sandpaper. And it is no wonder that living alone in a quiet environment is life itself to me as an adult.
I received the excellent skills of going inward and and self-soothing my soul from rejection that was around me. And I do see it that way – I genuinely have good skills of being emotionally self-soothing, which is practiced in isolation. I did not, however, receive good skills in interacting with others, which take a certain sense of being open-faced and trusting that a commonality will be discovered with the person one is interacting with. This, of course, could not have been my approach. But I have learned some social skills on my own through my teen and adult years, finding what doesn’t work through hit-and-miss, further painful rejections, and through some good quality interactions. I would never deem them excellent skills, though, as my self-reliant ones are. But they are passably good for my purposes.
And my purposes is that I only need them to be good enough that I have a level of comfort when I do have to interact with others. For now I have decided to not have any friends but just a couple of acquaintances who, although it’s never spoken, feel the same need for only a casual surface level of relating. Anything more would cause me discomfort.
I’m okay with not needing to “out” there with others. I don’t feel a need to share my inner thoughts with others that I see often. This blog fulfills any need I have for that. I realize now that this is my way of being in the world right now and it would be unhealthy for me to force myself to interact with others in any other way. This is the healthy way for me.
Is it just my personality to want to be alone? Possibly that has a good part of it. I have an “artsy” personality where I like to occasionally go out and be friendly with others but then withdraw back into my own world to decorate, sew, write, little things that I can still do even with my physical limitations. I am also just now learning to see my chronic illness, which causes me to often be housebound, as a blessing in my life as it affords me the ability to do this without needing to apologize for the time I spend alone. I know others who are from good childhoods who also have a need to be alone a lot, and this is why I can be confident in my feelings that some of it really is a personality thing for me.
And for the part of my wish for isolation that stems from childhood trauma, so be it. That too is a healthy way for me to be, given my childhood experiences. It is part of who I am now, and I can make that a treasured part of my life. It is from my past that to be in a peaceful environment is such a beautiful, sweet, and appreciated thing.
I see now that my ability to quietly be all alone isn’t a maladjustment, it is a gift of perfect adjustment to a world that used to make itself ugly, commandeering, and dark. I have made it, through the skills I have developed, a cozy refuge custom-made for me.
Thank you, Lord, for bringing me thus far.