Loneliness in Recovery and Emotional Healing

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Lonely in a crowdAs a child I was aware of a feeling of longing for something and of not being sure what I was longing for. It was as though something was missing but I didn’t know what. I naturally concluded that whatever was missing was in me and my fault.  As an eight year old child, I remember watching the musical movie “Oliver” and “knowing” deep in my soul that I understood that orphan boy, even though I was not an orphan myself. When Oliver sang the song “Where is Love” I thought that he was reading my mind. I didn’t even question why I felt such an affinity with the character in that movie who was a very young and unwanted orphan, kicked out of the orphanage because he admitted that he was hungry. I took that as a warning that I better not do or say anything in my own unhappy home least I also be banished.

 As an adult I could relate those same feelings and I labelled them the feeling of extreme loneliness. I felt guilty and ashamed that I felt that way. I thought that by feeling that way I was letting down my friends and family. I could feel alone in a crowd; I could feel alone with my best friends.  As I looked back on my life I realize that I had felt alone all my life. I felt different. I felt like something was missing in me. I felt like something was wrong with me.  I was alone.

 As I began to recover, I was acutely aware of those feelings.  At first I thought that it is because ultimately, we are all alone on the healing journey.  But as I got stronger and sorted out so much of my past and my pain, the loneliness began to feel different.  It began to dissipate.

 I talk about re-parenting myself, and what that really means is that I went back and looked at certain events that were mishandled by the adults in my life.  It wasn’t that I “changed the memory of the event”, but I looked at how I had been discounted through the event. I looked at how I had not been taken care of and how my emotional pain had been dismissed. First by them and then by me.

 This includes times when emotional pain was ignored and when any kind of abuse was ignored or invalidated.  This also includes psychological abuse such as neglect and or verbal abuse; physical abuse, sexual abuse, spiritual abuse or any other kind of devaluing treatment. And looking at the roots of all this stuff was not about what “they did” or what I was taught they had a “right” to do either.  This was not about blame, this was about MY FEELINGS. Realizing now I felt about certain events, validating and owning those feelings and emotions where they had not been validated in the past.

 From there, I looked at what I believed about myself because of those events.  For example, My father never paid attention to me, he barely noticed me, and I never once considered that HE was wrong or that it had to do with something missing in him.  I assumed that it had something to do with me and something wrong or missing in me.

 If I was blamed for my mother’s bad mood (if you were not so naughty, I would not be in this bad mood) or for her depression (because if she was really sad, it must be because I was so naughty) then over time I believed that I actually caused her bad mood or depression. I believed that I was a failure ~ that I had failed her and let her down and that I was a disappointment.  I believed that I was not good enough. I concluded and believed therefore that I was not lovable or valuable.

 The longing that I felt, which I thought was loneliness was the longing to have some sort of real relationship with another person. A relationship based on equal value instead of what I had become so accustomed to; that the other person in the relationship was much more valuable then I was. Deep down I believed that everyone else had more value than I did. Worse than that was that I didn’t even realize I believed it. I had a very false view of myself.  I noticed that I accepted treatment from many people that I would NEVER dish out to anyone else, and that showed me that I didn’t even regard myself as though I was just as valuable as everyone else.

 I wanted to be heard, understood and I wanted my opinion to be accepted as a valid opinion and not dismissed as “oh, what do you know? But I didn’t know how to stand up for ME with all those false beliefs in the way. No wonder my self esteem was in the gutter. Not only was my personhood invalidated, BUT I was going along with it.  No wonder I was so alone; I had no voice, I had no self love, I had no personal rights.  I had no self esteem which means that I didn’t even like myself. I didn’t even want to hang out with me! Not valid. Not worthy. No wonder I felt as though I was different and that I didn’t fit in.

 No wonder I was lonely.

 As I validated myself and re-parented myself by looking at the origins of my low self esteem, I began to grow in the ways that I had not grown as a child and teenager. I grew up.  Things got sorted out. Sometimes quickly and sometimes painfully slowly but I kept going forward.

 And those loneliness feelings began to dissipate. It wasn’t because I had more people in my life or because my family finally saw the truth. My family of origin has not changed their minds about how they feel about me. It was because I was finally heard. BY ME. I finally had to guts to say ~ like Oliver said “I am hungry” because I finally knew that the consequences would not kill me anymore like they could have killed me when I was a child. I heard myself. I embraced the statement; “I am worthy” I faced the roots of the problem, the roots of where I got broken in the first place and I realized that I AM VALID.  I rarely feel lonely anymore.

 Sharing another benefit of the process of emotional healing;

Darlene Ouimet

The Emerging from Broken bookThe Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing is ready for download! If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, get this book today! This 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to healing.  Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing

 

88 response to "Loneliness in Recovery and Emotional Healing"

  1. By: Mo Posted: 26th July 2016

    For me it was Eponine in Les Miserables and her song “On my own”. It is only now that I look back and see that isn’t exactly the song most teenagers obsess over but I would play it over and over and sing along. Often in tears, it connected me to my real feelings that I wasn’t supposed to have. It doesn’t have the same effect on me anymore. I am starting to believe that maybe I’m not all on my own anymore.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 28th July 2016

      Hi Mo
      Yay for believing that you are not alone anymore! This issue is an epidemic in our societies.
      Thanks for sharing!
      hugs, Darlene

      • By: Londiwe Posted: 29th November 2016

        Thank you Darlene for showing me that it is possible to recover.It is a lonely road because for all intents and purposes I appear to be a ‘normal’ grown woman but inside I feel like a child full of fear and uncertainty.
        I am in therapy and I have been in and out of therapy for years.I feel that this time I have gained a lot of understanding and context into my behaviour.I do behave like a child so I hide how I feel.I don’t even know how I feel.I am working hard to identifying what I feel at any given moment.

        Please wish me luck and give me courage.I believe that I am codependent and in recovery from it all.Childhood was pretty horrible with an adult child mother.

        Thank you and sorry for hijacking this reply.Londi

  2. By: elf Posted: 8th March 2015

    i found recovety very lonely at times. rehab was difficult and felt so alone.

    I have been abaondened by the catty women from the rehab center.
    i was dumped becaus i choose methods other than 12 step goups.
    Meetings are the wort place for me. i keep to my self and i am shy, and the women just want to prey on me.

    i wonder how many others have suffered because of the promise of fellowship in 12 step groups.

    i am still alone in recovery. i go back the rehab center once a yr. i try to encourage the clients there. It is very lonely.

    i ave never fit any where. i feel he recovery commnity igonores thos who
    are introverted and don’t fit in recovery groups.

  3. By: D Posted: 7th March 2015

    Ahhh.. Your wisdom is very refreshing. I feel you. I would like to ask you how you connected to yourself when the resistance was stronger? There are so many times I want to bring in kindness for myself, but there’s a lack of space with all of the fear and negativity. How did you do it? Great writing, great practice.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 8th March 2015

      Hi D.
      Welcome to EFB
      I have written all the “how” answers here in this site and much of it is also in my book (upper right side bar here) which is a collection of my work about the foundation of my healing.
      Glad you are here and seeking the answers. Hugs, Darlene

  4. By: DarleneOuimet Posted: 3rd December 2014

    Hi Elf
    The home button is at the top of the page on the left right under the header graphic (picture) ~ it is the button with the little house on it. (or you can go to http://www.emergingfrombroken.com at any time and the current blog post will be there.) I have published a new post today called “Positional Power; When your therapist doesn’t get it”.
    hugs, Darlene

  5. By: elf Posted: 3rd December 2014

    thanks for the reply. wjere the home botton to join the currrent conversation?

    elf

  6. By: elf Posted: 29th November 2014

    i can relate to loneliness in recovery. i wnt to a tradtional rehab, and was not accepted by the women.
    i came hone i was alone with out a driver’s license. That high end rehab had little follow up.

    even anniversary night at rehab is very lonely for me. because i don’t want to be part of clicque
    i am not accepted. i do what works for my recovery. i was rejeted and bammed in 12 steps groups
    because i neded space not to be part of clicque. i have always struggled socially.
    my family never listened to me. i was taught to keep quiet.

    i feel the reason many relapse i that they ar not helped with functioning skills.

    what about thosr of us who are unable to manage in groups. many of us struggle to pick people and get used by 12 preditors

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 3rd December 2014

      Hi Elf
      Welcome to EFB ~ sorry for the late reply, I have been out of the country on my first big EFB biz trip! ~ sounds like you have found the right place to share. (please join us on the current conversations through the home button ~ there is always a conversation going on.)
      Glad you are here, thanks for sharing,
      hugs, Darlene

  7. By: sahitha Posted: 29th July 2013

    This explains my feelings of intense loneliness I faced around 2005. I had just become single and had a few friends but suddenly had these overwhelming feelings of loneliness that I could not share with anyone. The few people who I shared with could not handle it and cut short communication.

  8. By: Tess Taylor Posted: 21st February 2013

    Well, Darlene, Unfortunately it didnt go quite according to plan. When I contacted them a week down the line, my mother was sketchy about the whole thing (but she is having problems with her memory so I understand that).
    Then I spoke to my father & referred back to the conversation & started talking about how it affected my self-esteem. He cut me dead saying “we will never know the truth of it”. Then he said “its best left in the past”. So that was it. Brick wall treatment again.
    They seem unable to accept any responsibility for the situation & this feels like confirmation they dont have my interests at heart. I feel rejected & abandoned. I had hoped it wouldnt come to this but now I guess its up to me to move on & try to rid myself of the anger of the past. Leaving all this behind isnt proving very easy though. But I feel having made the point to them, they cant deny it now as I brought it out in the open. That much at least I have acheieved.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 21st February 2013

      Tess
      It was a bit of a shock to me that my parents didn’t want to work towards healing, but today when I look back I am really glad that I was able to say the things that I said. I said them for me. None of this is easy, but there is so much life on the other side of it! Good for you Tess
      Hugs, Darlene

  9. By: Tess Taylor Posted: 14th February 2013

    Well Darlene, alot has happened since I posted in October last year. I have continued to work on grieving for the loss of my mother’s love after I realised it wasnt going to come, ever. It was reading articles on your website that helped me make this realisation.
    Recently I managed to confront my parents about emotional abuse I suffered at the hands of my brothers. To keep things on an even keel, I didnt mention anything to do with the lack of support I refeived from my parents.
    Well they both deny any knowledge of it happening but instead of further rejecting me, they have said I can talk to them any time about it if I want. They did react in such a way that it suggests they might (just might) not have been aware. I know one brother was particularly devious in the way he did things to me.
    They say they would have put a stop to it if they’d known. Its hard not to continue fighting them as this has become the habit of a lifetime but I need to move on and it may be that now they have seemingly acknowledged there was a problem, I can keep the lines of communication open with them in the hope we might heal further. For me this is the last stage in dealing with all this. I know it doesnt mean my mother is suddenly going to run to me with open arms but at least we are able to talk about the past. That is a first because any previous attempts to start this dialogue have been met with a brick wall.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 14th February 2013

      Hi Tess
      That is awesome that they are willing to listen to you!! This site isn’t about going no contact, it is about equal value and if they are willing to listen to you, the is a turn in the right direction!
      Thanks for sharing!
      Hugs Darlene

  10. By: Rosie Posted: 3rd November 2012

    Dear Darlene,
    I have just come across your site and it is amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It resonates so much with my own childhood. This post about loneliness is so helpful. I was and am feeling very isolated and this has helped as it articulates many of the feeling I currently feel. These feelings stem from childhood but almost feel more painful now.

    I have been having therapy for year and recently I started having theta healing. Prior to this I had worked on a lot of the abuse but some aspects were too painful to address. However, having the theta healing has brought everything to the surface and now I am facing the emormity of my experience as a child,. It is extremely painful. On a rational level, I knew I was not to blame for the abuse I suffered but there was still a large part of me that blamed myself. I felt like there was something intrinsically bad about as I had endured so much abuse a the hands of so many and I had not been protected. I had no value for myself and hated parts of myself for being “vulnerable” and needy so I wore a mask to cover up these aspects of myself and the unhappiness. The mask that I have been wearing for years no longer “work” and I feel exposed and lonely. I have recognised how I have not looked after myself and instead have prioritised the needs of others at my own expense. This has been incredibly painful and I now feel that I don’t know the first thing about taking care of myself. I have felt so lonely, unloveable and bad that I have always acted to please others but now I feel as if I don’t know who I am or what I like.

    I feel very lost and tearful at the moment and have taken some time off work and hope to use the opportunity to discover, nurture and delop more love for myself but I have little motivation and feel as if I don’t know how to. I feel as if I have reverted to a child and have even got myself a teddy!

    Reading your post today had been really helpful and I if you or anyone else has any further insights please feel free to share

    Rosie

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 3rd November 2012

      Hi Rosie
      Welcome to emerging from broken!
      I can relate to what you are sharing too. I had to relearn all this stuff. Self care, self love etc. all grew out of self validation which started by finding out how I got broken in the first place. That is what this site is about!
      Yay for getting a teddy! I think that is awesome!
      Hugs, Darlene

  11. By: Tess Taylor Posted: 25th October 2012

    Darlene, I’ve spent a lifetime longing for a meaningful and loving relationship with my mother. I’ve wasted years seeking out alternative mother figures in the hope they could provide something to replace the missing connection, only to be repeatedly disappointed.
    A couple of days ago, I read your mother/daughter articles. Finally I believe I have enlightenment to the source my unhappiness: My life’s biggest fear – that my mother does not love me; that my parents do not love me. It felt almost too difficult to think the words let alone say them but despite overwhelming sadness and fear, I shared my realisation with my counsellor yesterday. It’s like being laid bare to the world, all my protective layers removed. I had become completely transparent.
    I share the extreme loneliness; guilt; shame, feeling alone in a crowd and yes that something is missing inside. Longing for a real relationship with another person. I see now that I never really valued my side of any relationship, that I see other people as more important and valuable.
    My hope is that having made this realisation, I can move forward and work on my self-defeating behaviours and learn to love myself. Instead of fearing and avoiding love, perhaps I can learn to express my feelings of love to others and begin to feel my worth in relationships. I do have a long-term, loving partner and many very good friends (friends whom I am told love me even though I find that hard to accept).
    People have told me I am a survivor, well I dont feel like I am surviving. Right now I am filled with fear, anxiety and at my lowest ebb. But I do thank you for the insight, Darlene, because whilst it’s been a very painful realisation – it is very likely a huge turning point for me.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 25th October 2012

      Hi Tess
      Welcome to e.f.b.
      Your comments are so insightful, and so much what so many go through and are going through. The fear was so deep for me that I thought it might kill me to realize the truth about so many of the people in my life. And finding out about MY value made all the difference. Considering that I deserved to be treated with respect was huge. I learned to love myself and that is the key as we work on all this other stuff. It all comes together!
      Hugs, Darlene

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