Thursday, August 6, 2009
Solitude or isolation?
GG wrote a great post on her blog G-Log about solitude versus isolation. She writes:
"To me, there’s a fine line between Isolation and Solitude. The isolation-part was and is very painful, where I'm expected to feel shame, resentment, of no-value as a part that doesn’t fit, nor wants to..... The solitude-part has always been wonderful and constantly grows in value and importance. The isolation part has to do with abandonment, betrayal, rejection, much fear, verbal self-abuse, self-loathing and bitter resentment."
I never thought about it as she described: the difference between solitude and isolation. I remember liking solitude when I was a kid. I could play, read, paint, and do any number of things for hours without feeling sad or lonely. I believe the solace of solitude left me as I matured and became more aware.
Somewhere along the way I began to feel that I didn't want to be alone--that there had to be someone there to share things with. This is probably when the co-dependency took root. I crossed the line from being happy with who I was to being melancholic and not in sync with myself. I believe that is when I began to isolate.
I don't know what brought about the transition from being at home with solitude to isolating. I have heard many alcoholics speak about how different they always felt, like they never fit in. Well, this Al-Anon felt that way early on in life. I learned to mask it well. I could be happy go lucky on the outside but inwardly I felt insecure around others, ashamed for friends to come over on the weekends, and wanted to hide what went on between me and my alcoholic wife. I truly isolated during those times.
I also know that I felt unhappy many times after I first met C. I began to attach far too much significance to her and much less to myself. And ultimately when I forgot who I was, I began to feel despair, self-pity, and isolation.
This joyless isolation was the behavior that I adopted as a result of the affect that alcoholism had on me. My life was dominated by the alcoholic drama. I couldn't count on myself or anyone else. I lost the idea that I had anything to offer because I was so caught up in what others were doing. There was no energy left over for me after the emotional drain of trying to fix the alcoholic or clean up their mess.
I think that my feeling "apart from" was an adaptation that I developed to distance myself from the crazy alcoholic relationships in my life. It was easier to beat up on myself and to build walls than to deal with the pain of living with alcoholism. I think that this is how I shut myself off from the "sunlight of the spirit".
I am grateful that I've learned to not shut myself off from God and being with people. Today I do those things that I enjoy. I don't want to isolate anymore. Instead, I can appreciate once again the solitude in which I write, meditate, play, and have a free spirit as I once did. And I can appreciate my own uniqueness. I have found who I am.