Ask the Counselor: How Can I Break this Isolation?

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Reader Question:

I suffer from Complex-Post Traumatic Stress.  I have lots of abuse in the past from childhood to my adult years.  I have had extreme trust issues for the last several years, but I want to be healed.  I’ve gotten professional help off and on for years, but I know I will need more support because of additional emotional problems.

I’m too isolated, and I know it. I have no female friends. I do have a few female relatives, but not much intimate support. I’ve been out of church for a couple of years because of many problems with some members. In addition to that I’ve had a second abusive marriage (not physical abuse, though). I’ve always been isolated, used to be agoraphobic. I  was forced to attend my own graduation because I was afraid to go–but I’m glad I went to make my parents happy. I had a hard time in school because I didn’t have many friends.

I pray one day to have at least one female friend I can trust. It is good to see when some people have healthier relationships in their families.  I didn’t have much of that, and pray I can heal from my past one day.

I appreciate the Internet because it helps me not be too isolated until I seek some godly support again.  I have a good Christian single male friend (a co-worker) who has been a lot of support because he’s also dealt with past trauma.

How can I break this isolation? How can I get help? How can I heal?

 

Counselor Answer:

I am so sorry for your pain. You have obviously gone through a great deal of trauma and it has hindered your ability to trust others. That is totally normal. But in order to heal you need to not be so isolated. That’s hard when you find it so hard to trust.  The safe place seems to be alone, but what I’m hearing you say is you are still miserable.

So, the safe place isn’t really so great. You may believe you won’t get hurt there, but you are — you’re lonely and feel alone. Ask yourself what small risk you could take to let someone in who you do trust. You need to find someone to help you through this. I believe we are wounded in relationship and healed in relationship. I would recommend you see a therapist and do some trauma work. That would be a good start. You can’t go this alone.  Follow this link for a couple good books on trauma.

To break the isolation, be intentional about setting up a date to meet with someone for coffee. Keep it light to start with–just make an intentional effort to connect, to get out.

Also, connecting with God is critical. Practicing the spiritual disciplines connects us to the heart of God and rewires neural pathways in our brains. You can read Anatomy of the Soul by Dr. Curt Thompson. He has some great exercises in there to practice as a way to get started.

Praying for you.

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