I am alone path


These past few weeks I have had more patients on my schedule for short term ‘lite therapy.’ It has been a few years since my schedule have back to back patients for behavioral health since I left full time therapy. God gave me what I asked for ‘to be a little more busy at work’ LOL maybe I should have been a little more specific in what I meant. So, the recurring theme with the patients is about them going their paths alone ie. withdrawal from others due to a desire to feel emotionally safe and lack of trust in others. I do understand and recognize how easy it is to push one’s self into the ‘I am alone’ path.

Here is why I understand that behavior:
1. When I was younger, I always asked my mother to go places with me because I was afraid of getting lost. A few times my mother would jokingly respond with “you were born alone” but she would still accompany me. When I was older and out on my own, I came to realize what that meant. I quickly learn that I had to do things by myself and not rely on others for everything.

2. The life of a single person is primarily alone no matter how many friends or family are in your life. As much as people say they will always be there for you, their lives/family always comes first and you are not their primary priority. This is especially true when those friends and family have intimate relationship/spouses/children.

3. When you truly need someone by your side for an extended time, your support system are only obligated to help you for a finite period of time. After that threshold has been breached, then you can be seen as a burden.

4. As a single, you can feel used. People rely on you to give them support whenever they need it. They assume that you can shoulder their stressors or be their entertainment guide. However, you have to take a number when you need their support, your issues are not as dire as theirs (because single people don’t have issues) and you are not on their speed dial for their entertainment plans (unless they happen to be alone and want your company).

Even though being single is not considered a good thing, I have come to realize that functioning and mostly contented singles need to be strong, resilient and self-sufficient or we can easily sink into perpetual feelings of loneliness, despair, desperation, depression, isolation etc. We can sink into and believe in the ‘I am alone path.’ It is so easy to be suckered into that false sense of emotional safety because you experience people come in and out of your lives, you experience your relationship with family and friends change, you experience the feeling and behavior of no longer being important to the people who were your greatest cheerleaders and confidant, and you are not sure where you stand with others anymore.

As I became a very guarded introvert over the years, I am a prime example of the erroneous belief of the I am alone path. I use every minor negative experiences with people to push myself back on that path. This further solidify why that belief and withdrawal behaviors are sound and just. However, it is a destructive lie in the long run.  I have added that to the short list of things I need to work on about myself.

I had a brief grief moment at work two weeks ago and instead of seeking support I went into rock mode. Interestingly a coworker, who has shown support to me in small ways did a quick check. As usual, in rock mode, I said I was fine and all was well (which I was not because grief has no timetable).  However, with amazing intuitiveness, I was given a surprise hug (I initially refused it due to being in rock mode) and was asked the question “you take care of everyone else but who takes care of you?” My rock mode response “I take care of me.” While that response is true, I make it true because I do not trust enough to allow others to take me off my I am alone path.

I would be lying if I said I do not have support and people who care about me. However, it is so easy to ignore that when something minor goes wrong. My patients who have had negative things in their lives retreated to the false safety of the I am lone path. We hide, we avoid, we pretend.

Of course there will be people who will walk away from you, hurt you, change in a close relationship, betray you or there will be a natural separation due to life. We change, they change, life change. The one truth that I can attest to in my life is when one support door closes I find a way to open another. People have come in and out of my life and I have done the same to others too. I make friends easily and for whatever reason, even with my straight forward personality, I have people who care about me. I really do have people I can call on for help if I choose to make the call. How do I find supports? I have come to realize it is all about how I treat them. I have been a rock and support for them at one moment or another.

Yes as a single I will have to walk the road alone for the most part but my road is not without supports along the sides. I can get so caught up in looking at the journey ahead or even what is directly in from of me and not see the people by my side who are there if I need them. I like being in rock mode, that’s my comfort zone; however, I just need to realize that I do not need to be there all the time and my path is not always alone. It is harder said than done but it is worth the try.

 

 

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2 thoughts on “I am alone path

  1. Some of us CHOOSE to be “single”, while others of us are FORCED to be “single” – AGAIN, whether it is due to death, separation or divorce. I have had all three. My first wife committed suicide in 1997, which FORCED me to be “single” – AGAIN. My second wife divorced me in 2007, which FORCED me to be “single” AGAIN. My third wife divorced me in 2007, which FORCED me to be “single” – AGAIN. My fourth wife LEFT me for another man in 2013 after less than six-weeks of marriage, which FORCED me to be “single” – AGAIN. I am “single” – AGAIN, but not by choice, and after having had my trust betrayed way too many times, I no longer trust ANYONE. I have no REAL “support-system”, so, like it or not, I HAVE to be in “rock-mode” far more often than I would really like to be.

    Some people may “miss” me when I am not at church on Sunday morning, but they don’t “miss” me enough to call me to see how I am doing. How many Sundays would I have to miss before someone REALLY noticed that I am not there? You see, I am just another “familiar-stranger” lost in a “sea of faces”. People come, and people go, but nobody really “matters”. I have deliberately kept a fairly-low “profile”, including refusing a request to nominate me to become an Elder. Yes, I am been “burned” by several churches through the years, so it isn’t just wives and lovers who betray our trust, some churches do too.

    I wish I did have a “support-system” I could trust, but I don’t.

    Blessings!

    Steve

    1. I do understand where you are coming from about being the familiar stranger. I felt that in the churches I used to attend and with others in my life. I can honestly say that except for my parents and one really good friend I would fall into the “we miss you but not enough to call you category.”

      I think most singles have that thought in their heads about if something happened, how long would it take before someone comes looking. For me, I have made a decision to reach out more to a specific few (baby steps because this is very hard to do) in order to get the same consideration.

      Just this past week after writing this blog entry, I reached out to someone at work to express my thanks and appreciation that was shown to me-this was actually very uncomfortable and hard to do but once I started speaking it was the right thing to do. I have to make myself get out of the ‘alone’ thought. If I want people to be there for me, then I have to extend myself as well.

      I am also working on accepting that not everyone will be there at every given moment for me because those select few are not my spouse and they do not have an obligation to behave as a spouse. This is just a fact of being single.

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