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This area is reserved for the tidbits I know hope will be of interest to my readers. Check back often for regular updates. 

 

Check out this article about the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomena, including a list of organizations which strongly oppose this sick trend, and have implemented various means of helping women who have been sexually victimized.

 

Were you raised by a narcissist? Chances are you were if you suffered any form of childhood abuse. The Little Red Survivor website is filled with excellent articles examining the many faces of narcissism.

 

It's been a long time coming---7 years to be exact---but finally email notifications for new BD posts is available. Sign up today and never again miss another post. You know you want to!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Kate Is Rising has an excellent Survivors Resources page which directs you to numerous websites dealing with issues of abuse, healing and recovery. Please bear in mind that the information on these pages may be triggering.

 

 

There's lots of good stuff at the Dissociation Blog Showcase, including a list of 180 blogs dealing with some aspect of this disorder. 

 

 

On the Overcoming Sexual Abuse site there's an article entitled, "It's Not About You Mom" which I could have written myself. I bet many of my readers could say the same!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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« Seeking the Old Paths (Still) | Main | The Deconstruction of Beauty »
Wednesday
May042016

Loneliness and Needs

I'm lonely.

Because this is so the subject of loneliness has been on my mind recently. Before I explore the nuances of loneliness, I want to figure out something that's bothered me for quite some time.

For years my son who has brain injuries has been visiting me on the weekends. Sometimes I take him to Subway because that's what he's craving for lunch. He sells one of his video games, and then uses the money to buy lunch for himself, and one of his brothers.

I've watched as time after time he's come out of Subway carrying two sandwiches, one for him and one for his brother. There have been times I would have loved a sandwich too, though Subway isn't my favorite place to eat. But I've been hungry enough to where even one of their sandwiches sounds good.

One day, as I watched T and his brother wolfing down their sandwiches, I couldn't hold back.

"Why do you always get your brother a sandwich?" I asked.

T said, "Because he's my brother and I don't want him to go hungry."

He went back to eating while I mulled that over.

"Okay, that makes sense, but what about me?"

"What about you?"

"What if I'm hungry too!"

This came out of me in a rush of hot words, indignant on my own behalf. How could he ignore my needs time after time, and see only his brother's?

"Oh," he said, "I didn't think of that. Do you want half of mine?"

Instantly I felt guilty for making him feel bad, for that wasn't my intention. I wasn't even sure what I meant to say to him, but surely something beyond the simple assertion that I might be hungry too.

I've given all of this a lot of thought because it's created a lot of confusion mentally, and emotionally. On one hand I know that T loves me dearly. He wouldn't deliberately do something that would make me feel bad. And yet . . . how do I reconcile his love for me with the way in which he consistently overlooks my needs?

As I ponder the subject of needs I am instantly focused on my childhood, for surely in that land of trauma and sorrow I was taught that my needs--if they existed at all--were selfish and insignificant. It wasn't made clear to me what to do with the needs that I couldn't help feeling, except that I was not to burden others with them. I wasn't to speak of them or assert them in any manner. I was to demur, always, to my stepfather, then my mother, and then my younger siblings. I was low man on the totem pole, and if any of my needs that went beyond a roof over my head and food on the table were met, it was always a fluke.

Light dawned on me as I considered all of this. As a child I became an expert at erasing myself. I existed to serve others, and it's clear to me that this extended years later to my years spent raising 5 sons. I didn't spoil them, but I also didn't make clear to them that even their mother has needs that should be considered. How could I? I'd forgotten myself that this was so.

T never offered to buy me lunch because I've come across all his life as being self-sufficient. He's not selfish, he simply didn't have any way of knowing that I wanted to be included in his generosity.

So what has my loneliness got to do with any of this? Suddenly it is so very clear to me that it's a sign that a huge need isn't being met. Because I'm such an expert at hiding my needs that even one of my sons doesn't recognize that I too might like a sandwich, my need for human companionship has simmered on the back burner, as ignored as a redheaded stepchild.

I feel a lack of emotional connection most when I experience something--the reading of an emotionally stimulating novel, or watching an uplifting movie--and there is no one to discuss it with afterwards. The necessity of stifling my needs has created a degree of solitude I believe to be unhealthy. I've always enjoyed my own company, but when taken to an excess being solitary begins to wither the affections and heart.

I've felt something was off for quite some time; it feels rather silly to say it's simply that I'm lonely! I wonder how bad loneliness must get before it turns into a kind of soul rot?

I think a first step for me is to be more vocal with my needs when they arise, and when appropriate. There is nothing wrong with letting my son know that I'd like to be in the loop too. I don't really have to wait until indignation compels an angry outburst. I can speak the truth calmly in a non-confrontational manner.

What a delicious realization! I not only have the freedom (if only I'll take it) to express my needs, but I can do so without making others somehow to blame for those needs not being met sooner. I can speak up on my own behalf--and it doesn't have to be in the abusive manner of my childhood abuser.

 

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Reader Comments (2)

I'm so sorry that even your sons have learned to not "see" you. However as I read your post, I wanted to double check to see if I HAD WRITTEN IT! I have always been a wallflower, the invisible one, the one who doesn't matter, who doesn't count. I wish I knew how to change it...

June 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterIvory

Thanks for the comment, Ivory.

I want to be sure I haven't given the wrong impression. It's not that no one ever sees me or recognizes any of my needs. In fact as I write this, I realize all over again that a lot of this probably has to do with false expectations. I think we all have a tendency to think that if we tend to the needs of others, they'll do the same when we are in need. But what if others see our helping fill a need as being invasive? What if they'd rather do things for themselves, figure out a solution to a problem rather than have someone burst into their lives singing, "Here I come to save the day....."?

I could go on and on about all the times my sons have been there for me, everything from fixing one of my cars to paying my internet for a year when I couldn't, to repairing my computer--all things I desperately needed and couldn't afford to pay for. So I guess it's the smaller things I'm talking about here. The smaller gestures, like T buying me a sandwich too. And I think (speaking for myself) that it's the little things ignored that cause me to feel so . . . neglected and abandoned.

Is it because in the wake of losing my father as a child I no longer had anyone in my life to add much needed touches of humor and kindness to my days? My dad would hold me on his lap when I came to him crying from hurt feelings, or a banged up knee, and grab a sketch pad and sketch goofy characters to make me laugh. He had silly and affectionate pet names for me. When I lost him I lost not just his presence, but all the nurturing that I'd been accustomed to. Nurturing--and this is worth noting--that was specifically geared towards my unique little self. It was the personal touch that I lost, and I believe I've been yearning for it ever since.

I've been a nurturer all my life and now can't help but wonder if it's because whenever I see someone in need, or hurting, it strikes such a deep answering chord within me. I reach out because I know what's it's like to have no one reach out to me. But could all that helpfulness be a source of annoyance for others? At least some of the time? My kids come through when it counts (and is it even fair to use my brain-injured son as an example of being overlooked?)

As to what you said about being a wallflower and not counting, and not knowing how to change that. I think the way we change this is by beginning to matter to ourselves. If we don't care about ourselves it will come through in everything we do; even the self-sacrificing we do for others will begin to seem less like kindness and generosity, and more like a compulsion we are driven to in order to be loved.

Establishing boundaries helps. I've made some progress in this area but, as in most things, I'm a late bloomer. (I highly recommend the book Boundaries if you haven't read it.) We both need to decide what is important to us, and how to go about getting what we need without the manipulation we've probably been using without even realizing it. Or I should speak for myself! Start doing what we have a passion for, that's one thing that will help tremendously in moving away from the wallflower status. Get up and dance even if you don't have a partner! Just to celebrate who you are, dance when the mood takes you. Don't look to others to supply you with a sense of worth. If it's not within you then it's not something others can give you.

Well, I seem to have turned this into another blog post. I hope something I've said makes a difference for you. It isn't easy walking away from old mindsets and the ways in which we've always interacted with others. I've been slowly pulling away from some people in my life in little ways: not being so available all the time, turning things down so that I can stay home and rest when I'm in a Chronic Fatigue flare up. In the past I would have about killed myself to do what was asked of me regardless of my health--and of course I paid for it later. Why should I do such a thing? One day it occurred to me that I didn't know anyone else--family or friends--who would put their health on the line in order to please someone else. I had to take a good hard look at that, and it was embarrassing to realize that what I thought of as normal interaction wasn't!

Goodness, I'd better end this now.

July 18, 2016 | Registered Commenterbeautifuldreamer

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