(This post comes from a reader named Roger and is used with his permission.)
Isolation is where I've lived most of my life. That's why I felt alone and sad much of the time. Even when I was in a crowd or with a group of friends I felt out of step with everyone, just not quite connecting on the level everyone else seemed to.
Abuse immediately isolated me. At first, the need for secrecy and knowing I was sharing in something no one else could know about gave me a sense of superiority. I felt special, privileged (for a while anyway). Later I felt used and eventually worthless.
At first we can feel pretty special, but later we realize we've taken on a burden we can't seem to throw off. I ended up feeling different and weird, and thinking no one else could possibly have those kinds of thoughts, feelings, or desires. After that came the longing to be normal—whatever that was supposed to mean. I was left outside, stealing glances at other families who seemed happy and normal.
That led to a lot of overcompensating and arrogance and not a little amount of anger, which I tried to repress unsuccessfully. I felt trapped, alone, and unable to break free to interact with my closest friends. There was always a wall there that I couldn't tear down.
With God's help and those who love me and understand, I'm learning new ways to break through the barriers. I appreciate their patience because the trust thing is difficult for me to navigate after all these years.
That turmoil began when I was very young. When young, we're like clean slates; everything that happens to us is written on those slates in capital letters and indelible ink. We don't have the experiences and maturity of adults to dilute the impact. I suspect that's why things can become more deeply ingrained and why, as adults, we have such a difficult time recovering from them.
It's also why I wish I could have received help when I was younger—before the cement dried.