The stages of loneliness continue in this blog. Remember, like grief stages, these may occur in random order.
2. Bitterness – Painful Feelings channeled. When we do not deal with our painful feelings, they may fill up and spill over and come out in ways we never intended. One of those ways is becoming bitter. When this happens, we may feel helpless and not have any survival skills that are working. The painful feeling turn into anger and we lash out at others.
This is a big one because we become someone usually, we do not like. Bitterness can consume us. We may seek vengeance. Again, when we don’t do our feeling work by feeling our feelings fully, they build up affect all aspects of our lives.
When I have become bitter, there is nothing okay in my life, everything is wrong, horrible and I feel like I want to lash out at anyone and everyone. Everyone is fair game.
I may even rationalize that it is everyone else’s fault and blame everyone for everything. I am critical, angry and obnoxious. This drives people further away and create more loneliness, the more loneliness the more bitterness. Often loneliness is so intense, the person gives up trying to be around people and isolates, which leads to more depression, fears, anger and bitterness.
3. Abandonment. A deep-seated fear, terror and panic is abandonment. These feelings are powerful and the core of our survival. As we all know, when we are born, and for many years as children, we have to have others taking care of us. HAVE TO! Or we will not literally survive. We will die. This is genetically ingrained in us. So, when we are abused/ neglected the fear is triggered and we know we will not make it. This is a primal fear. I then combine with the sadness that no one is there for us. We then have loneliness and terror of the most profound kind, literally- survival. This is a deep, deep seated terror because life always strives to live.
Underneath the loneliness is the fear, terror. It is part of the trauma, yes, but it is also part of the abandonment. We usually learn early that we have to hide the fear or we would get hurt worse. So, our protection system works to keep us away from it so much so we are not aware of it at all. We couldn’t face it, deal with it and keep going. It would have stopped us because it holds devastating truths about our lives.
To deal with this fear, we have to allow ourselves to be in the loneliness. We have to put our protective system on a shelf so we can allow ourselves to feel the feelings and go deep inside of us. Then these powerful feeling of fear surface and we can heal.
They are intense and have worked to take care of us all of our lives. These feelings have worked to protect us from the world as well as from the pain inside of us so we could keep going. I wanted to use ALL my OLD protective survival skills, we never lose them, just don’t need them, usually. I choose to go after the healing and gifts it had for me. Here is some of getting to the core experience and its entanglement:
They will find out about the real me! Panic! No! Please no! They will then know for sure I am not okay, bad, awful, terrible and defective. They will know am the shame! Why would anyone be around me? I can’t survive! I decided because of what happened to me and how I was treated that I am the problem, actually many people in my family told me that I AM the problem. If I would just change then everything would be better and I would be accepted. What a lie, it is an illusion on their part, using me as a scapegoat and desperate hope on my part. Since I am not okay, it then follows that people don’t like me because I am not okay and they don’t want to be around me. That is why I am lonely. Its’ all my fault. Whew! What a complicated way to not be okay.
Invitation to Breaking Free from Trauma class every third Thursday in Muskegon , MI. It is Live-Streamed!