One of the things that I found during this pandemic is that people cannot stand to be isolated very long. As humans, we seek the company of others. Even in our isolation, most of us drew together as families even closer than we had before. I found that with my family and it has been a wonderful side effect of this pandemic. However, as a survivor, I have battled with feelings of isolation for years.
Whether it’s because I truly believe that I’m not worthy of others or because it’s difficult to relate to others who haven’t experienced sexual abuse, isolation drives much of the life of a survivor. I always felt awkward and out of place when in the presence of others who hadn’t experienced sex like I had. Since I couldn’t relate to many of peers, I had a difficult time believing that I deserved to have friends or intimate relationships whatsoever. I just thought my issues were to weird and out of the ordinary for anyone to want to get through. As much as I didn’t want to put up walls against others, it was the only way that I could keep myself safe. I wasn’t choosing isolation, but I was choosing safety above it.
As difficult as it may be to understand in a survivor, our instinct of preservation will trump all other behaviors and actions. I believe it’s really important for others who haven’t experienced sexual abuse to be patient and forgiving when it comes to a relationship with a survivor. Our struggles and issues can be complex and seemingly insurmountable, yet with some patience, perseverance, and grace, healing and understanding can be felt on both sides of a relationship.