Posted by: Judy | June 24, 2015

Schema rethink 5

5. SOCIAL ISOLATION / ALIENATION – The feeling that one is isolated from the rest of the world, different from other people, and/or not part of any group or community. Yes. This is changing. I’m starting to find people with whom I fit. God bless the internet.

Most of my life I felt out of place, out of step. I felt immature and far too old at the same time. I knew I’d failed to properly learn some things that were age appropriate. I also couldn’t deny that I knew things someone my age shouldn’t know. Feeling like I was more adult than most adults sometimes made me arrogant and other times made me feel like an idiot; I knew I was missing huge chunks of necessary life knowledge.

How did I fit in with other 20 and 30-year-olds when I felt like I was closer to 100 years old? A guy I chatted with a few times (potential date material) accused me of being an old woman despite being in my 20s. I was momentarily hurt but decided he was a jerk. I was right. 🙂 Actually, he didn’t know how to act his age. He was incredibly irresponsible.

I struggle to interact with my high school friends, who I’m reconnecting with now, as they talk about all the things they did that I didn’t. Playing hooky, after-school jobs, trips with friends, getting together at hangouts to share memories. I never played hooky; my parents would have killed me. I never had an after-school job; my job was to do well in school. I think I would have been much happier if I’d had an after-school job, but that would have taught me independence. No job; no money, so I couldn’t go on the ski trips, camping trips, movie outings (did do those for a while in elementary school but not for long), no ice skating, roller skating, pool trips. No hanging out, except after football/basketball games and only if someone else was willing to see me home. I went to dances because my boyfriend took me. Sadly, the only thing he and I had in common was a love for dancing. Not something to base a relationship on, I took far too long to learn.

How does one socialize with people I struggle to remember? It isn’t their fault. It’s only in the last few years I’ve begun to realize how deeply in survival mode I existed for most of my life.

Many social situations are based on shared memories. Mine are few and far between, though it’s improved over the last few years. Actually, I think part of it is because I’m no longer juggling the lies.

Socializing is difficult when most of your life is lies, especially when you’re morally opposed to lying. Quite the conundrum.

Perhaps the biggest problem in the socializing sphere is that I spent most of my life not really knowing who I am. Out of necessity, I was a chameleon. I reflected whoever I was with in order to maintain peace, at all cost.

Socializing is filled with land mines when you can’t remember what likes you told who because you don’t know yourself what’s the lie and what’s the truth.

For this one, the first change must be Stop Lying, especially to yourself.

As long as you are lying, it’s difficult to have healthy relationships.

Socializing improves enormously once you have healthy boundaries because you attract other people with healthy boundaries and you actually repel those with unhealthy boundaries. That isn’t to say that the unhealthy boundary types don’t show up in your life; however, because you have healthy boundaries and know how to defend them, the unhealthy types aren’t comfortable around you.

Practice. Yep, there it is, again. I’m not finding it as unsettling as when I started this exercise. I AM feeling like I’m not only capable, but I actually am making the improvements I want in my life. I need to be patient with myself. Not something I’ve been taught how to do, but I am learning.

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Responses

  1. There was a lot in this post I related to. I’m never going to be a social butterfly. I’ve come to terms (mostly) with the idea that it’s partly because of who I am compounded by who I was forced to be. I’m much more comfortable alone than in the company of others, which sometimes makes me feel like a freak, but it’s who I am, for better or worse.

    I feel puzzled looking back at my high school and college years too. It’s almost like I was only halfway there, some sort of shadow watching everyone else live.

    • I’m not a social butterfly either. At the conference, recently, it was uncomfortable, at first, but I gradually accepted it. It was wearing, but I’m glad I participated, stepping outside my comfort zone. It isn’t something I’d do every day, but I’m proud of myself for making the effort. I’ll do it again, but I’m glad it won’t be for a while. 🙂

      Yes, I think I learned to be invisible too well. I’m not invisible any more.

      • Draining is definitely how socializing feels. It’s the introvert in me. And also that I’m constantly trying to read others to gauge the needs of others.

        • Exactly!

  2. I feel very similar to what you and Judith write. I’ve had to go outside of my comfort zone to practice. And I think you are correct in when you have the boundaries in social boundaries we tend, then, to attract ones with healthy boundaries as well. I talked to my therapist about the draining and she said usually with healthy people, you feel positive, you get energy after an interaction (like you want to do more), I’m trying to see what happens after each ‘new’ social interaction. And I can see that there is a relation b/w those that don’t have healthy boundaries and my drain.

    • I’m going to try that, see how I feel after new interactions. It’s going to mean concentrating on something other than being on guard. Wonder how much of a difference that alone will make.

      • I know what you mean. I feel on guard too and I have to remind myself to focus more on words that the other person is saying, rather than figuring it out. It feels weird, like I am listening very literally. It has helped slow down my brain in conversations. Which sometimes isn’t a good thing! 😉


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