Recently, I’ve re-connected with some friends from high school and college. It’s been invigorating for me because I’m very much an introvert. Especially since I’ve been teaching from home, I’ve become deeply involved in my introverted activities. I confessed to one of my friends that I need to reach out to others more because, if I don’t, then I’ll just stay in my comfort zone of reading and writing in solitude. Although I should never forget what kinds of things keep me charged and sane, I do need to remember that connections between myself and others is highly valuable for my mental state.
As survivors, we tend to isolate ourselves for a variety of reasons. Most of them revolve around our physical and emotional safety, but there are others as well. I can easily keep people out of my emotional life because I don’t want them to discover those deep, dark places which I think would scare them off. I can also feel alone since I know so few people who have experienced the kind of abuse that I have. It’s not a light conversation to have with others, so being able to talk about the issues surrounding my abuse is difficult. I feel that I need time to formulate my words to express my feelings about my abuse to those who haven’t experienced it. That kind of relationship takes trust, and it can appear to be a lot of work to make that happen. Sometimes, I wonder if the amount of work that I need to put into that relationship outweighs the benefit of having the relationship at all.
Regardless of why we hide away from relationships, it is important that we as survivors take the time to invest in others. We can benefit so much from the comfort and companionship of others. But I hope that we don’t forget that we can also add a great deal of value to others. We have just as much to offer others as they have to offer us.