Loneliness – Part 1

I’m deviating from my book a bit – and doing some introspection/self-evaluation.  For me, loneliness is my greatest fear.  I’ve moved a lot.  I was isolated, from friends and family always having to start over.  Maybe that’s why I stayed in a toxic relationship for as long as I did. I hate to be alone, plain and simple.  I’ve never done sit and still well.  Now, as I sit here alone in my home, its hard.  So hard.  The silence is deafening. But I have lots of friends, thousands. All over the globe. I have thousands of Facebook friends. I support the U.S. postal service significantly during the holidays sending out hundreds of Christmas cards to those I care about. But I’m lonely – lost in a sea of people.

And now I find that I’m surrounding myself with new people, that don’t necessarily (for a lack of words) build me up.  I constantly try to fill that void.  Instead, I’m “pimping” myself out – metaphorically. Just because I hate to be alone.  I find friends who want to use me…..  essentially a door mat.  Or those who fill a need.  But don’t really care.  Why do I do this?  Why, after all that I’ve been through, fought for, do I allow this emptiness to permeate my reasoning? Fear plain and simple.  It’s powerful.

Then there’s those people who, I believe my guardian angel brought into my life for a reason — to help me when I needed it most. For those of you out there, you know who you are, thank you. You are a gift that I will be forever grateful for.

Loneliness can hit anyone at any time. Sometimes you might not even feel lonely for an obvious reason, and what you’re experiencing could always be connected to other things like depression or anxiety. But it’s true that a lot of people tend to feel lonely during big life events. Maybe you’re moving house. Maybe your parents are getting separated. Maybe you’re going from high school into college. Or maybe you suddenly find yourself single, and all your friends are married.

Loneliness is painful. Clearly the pain is one in which the lonely individual feels damaged, as though somewhere their spirit was crushed. It hurts to feel lonely and it hurts even more because we don’t have anyone to share it with.

Feeling lost, having no sense of direction

Very interestingly, in my reading individuals described lonely as a feeling of being lost, and not knowing where they are going. This is true in my case. Why do I feel so lost when I am lonely? I think it’s because other people help give us a sense of meaning and understanding of the world. When you have a problem that you can’t figure out for yourself, what do you do? You go and talk to someone else about it.  Especially us girls.  We talk it out.  People help us to figure out what talents we have, what our good points and our bad points are. In other words, people help us maintain a sense of identity.

When we are lonely, and no one is around to give us support, we can begin to lose our sense of identity, no one is there to point out our mistakes, to give us a different point of view, to praise us when we do a good job. Then we tend to fall down that rabbit hole that the narcissist made us believe.  We can become encircled in our own delusions and thinking without the benefit of others to break us out of the vicious cycle. It is no wonder then lonely individuals feel lost and confused, it’s because there is no one out there to maintain our sense of identity, our sense of self.

Feeling of Nothingness

Another frequent feeling is that of nothingness. It has also been described as a void, a black hole, an abyss, hollow, and empty space. Basically there is a feeling that something is missing. When we break up with someone, or we are missing someone we loved dearly, we often describe that feeling as a hole in our heart, an emptiness somewhere in the space of our chest. Even if that relationship was toxic.  What is this emptiness that we feel? This emptiness is a hunger for others, for others to be close to us, for others to love us. When we are hungry for food, our stomach growls, we get an empty feeling in the pits of our stomachs, we can’t stop thinking about food, and sometimes it even hurts.

Overwhelming Feeling

In some cases, loneliness can be overwhelming, so overwhelming in fact that lonely individuals may feel like they are about to burst! There is a feeling of despair, not knowing how much more of this painful loneliness one can take, feeling as if one is going to break apart at any minute. It’s like blowing up a balloon past its normal capacity. People who are lonely may feel this way because very often one is experiencing a wide variety of emotions and experiences, and yet there is no one to talk to, no one to share it with. Imagine having a problem with no one to discuss it with. Imagine making the greatest discovery of a lifetime, and yet there is no one there to share it with. These feelings may just be pushed down inside our minds, pushed into a bottle. But there is only so much the bottle can hold, there is only so much our minds can handle. If we don’t tell others, if we don’t share, if we don’t let it out somehow, we may indeed burst.

So I write.  I share.    I know I’m not alone in my loneliness.

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Now What?

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Photo by Nubia Navarro (nubikini) on Pexels.com

December 28th – (After my lightbulb moment) Happy Anniversary

Once I made the conscious to decision to leave Scott, letting the hotel screen door slam as I walked out, I wiped my tears and pulled myself together.

I was eerily calm riding in the back of the beat up old Uber van. The driver barely spoke English and couldn’t find the hotel I booked last minute. I had called my brother, who has a place in Marco Island. He said I could stay with him for a few days while I figure out next steps. So I picked a hotel midway between Sanibel Island and Marco, near the airport in Naples where my brother graciously offered to pick me up in the morning.

After Scott left me in full panic mode in that small hotel room to go have dinner with his mother and kids, his last words echoed over and over. “Suit yourself. You’re being selfish. You’re overreacting. You’re a horrible wife and mother. How dare you abandon your family. You’re a fucking psycho bitch.” Plus much, much more. Happy Anniversary.

Then the messages started rolling in from Scott. Most would think your partner of 30 years would be worried. Show concern. Ask if I was ok. Beg me to come back. Or, even give me space to breath. Nope. Instead I was inundated with hateful, spiteful, messages. Even lists. List of all the times he ‘claims’ I left the family. Lists of times he claimed I overreacted. Lists upon lists of mean, hurtful, hateful words.

It was abuse – verbal and mental abuse at its finest. I’d already come to recognize the signs having read Patricia Evans “The Verbally Abusive Relationship” that really started it all on my path to understanding and breaking free. (If you haven’t read it, you should.) More on that to follow.

Both Scott and the kids had the following week off for “winter break.” So, I knew I wouldn’t be putting a burden on anyone with my absence. I just couldn’t fathom getting on that plane tomorrow. It’s difficult to explain how strong the feeling was — like a lightening bolt hitting me with complete clarity. Call it sick sense, panic attack, divine intervention, who knows. I had no doubt whatsoever I was doing the right thing. I knew I had to make a change and now. My life depended on it.

It didn’t really hit me until the kids called after their dinner. They wanted to know where I went. All I could think to say was that I wasn’t feeling well and decided to stay with my brother and family in Florida for a few more days while they headed back to the arctic tundra where we now reside in Michigan.

Now in the airport hotel room, the tears began to flow. This time in great waves. I cried for my children. I had stayed in this marriage thinking that by keeping the family unit intact, I was helping them.  Instead, I was doing the opposite.  I had hoped this vacation would bring us all closer together.  But it only verified what I knew to be true but couldn’t accept; our family was dysfunctional.  That’s not the message I want our children growing up with any longer.

I cried that my marriage had come to an end. The very foundation of my marriage was broken and couldn’t be fixed.  That became abundantly clear when my knight in shining armor wouldn’t go to battle for me.  He didn’t want to put a mark on that glossy veneer.  Scott’s threats over the years haunted me. He said he would destroy me if I ever found the courage to leave. And I believed him.  I cried because I was scared as hell. Now what?