I asked Gary Roe to write several posts. He also shares his story in my book When a Man You Love Was Abused.
Even though I had wonderful, safe people in my life, I went off to college and distanced myself from them. Contact grew less frequent. I thought I wasn’t worthy of such wonderful people. They couldn’t possibly want to stay in contact with me. I slowly isolated myself.
That became my pattern. I did the self-distancing with almost every safe person in my life. At first, I was thrilled to be with them, but then, the old form of behavior reasserted itself. I didn't know how to cope with safe relationships. I began backing off.
Now I understand.
If I want to feel safe, I need to stop obeying the old patterns. I must take action. I have to find and initiate relationships with safe people. Initiate and keep initiating: That's my goal.
And guilt enters into this as well. I ask myself, "If I feel so safe just hearing their voices, why wouldn't I not call, sometimes daily?"
And yet, I tell myself that I don’t want to bother them. That's a lie. Life is busy and I forget to reach out to them. That's another lie.
How long will I keep doing that to myself?
The abuse programmed me to self-isolate. I had no control over what happened to me back then; now I can choose a different path. I can reach out to the safe people God has placed in my life. I can choose to believe what they say about me and to me rather than accept messages my abusers gave me.
I promise myself: I'll resist the temptation to withdraw. I’ll reach out.