Isolation removes us from outside perspectives on our situation. Since so much of abuse is perpetuated with secrets and silence, isolating a person can make it all the more difficult for someone who's being abused to recognize the abuse and get away from it.
So often, people stay in abusive situations because we are unsure or where we could go to get away from it, or we're unsure if we're being abused. Over time, that isolation almost becomes programmed into our minds: we separate ourselves off from others either because we feel we can't talk about our abuse, or we feel that others don't want us around.
Long after the abuse has stopped, survivors often isolate themselves either because of a lack of trust in people, or because they feel they are somehow tainted by the abuse they've survived. Many survivors often feel that they need to wear a "happy mask" with friends and family, which causes them to feel even more isolated - that they will not or cannot be accepted as who they are as a whole.
So this week's questions will focus on how you were isolated in your abuse, how you continue to be isolated, and to find constructive ways to overcome some aspect of your isolation.
- How were you isolated by your abuser? How did that isolation prevent you from getting help and support?
- Do you feel isolated in parts of your life now? How so? Are you being isolated by others, or are you more driven to isolate yourself?
- What ways do you think you could feel less isolated and more connected?