A year ago when my husband informed me he wanted a divorce I realized just how isolated I had become. I really only had one person in my local area I would consider a friend. Sure I, like most people in today’s modern society I have “friends” on social media. But I really realized just how alone I was. Fighting this battle alone, left to raise kids alone, with no support system. Nobody to be there to hold me while I cried as I mourned the end of my marriage. Or to cheer for me as I started to gain my feet again. I had my kids and that was it. While I love my kids there is so much that they shouldn’t have to see or feel and their mothers deep mourning is one of them.
I started looking at why I isolated myself, and deciding what I should do about it. Evaluating what kind of people I want in my life and then I slowly started adding people who are kind, generous, funny, lighthearted individuals. People who like me enjoy helping each other, laughing and sharing a good meal. People who aren’t afraid to do dirty work, or cheer me on as I do my work. Finding like minded individuals who like to go out and play at the park or on the beach. Friends who want to hike or fish, dance, listen to music.
The more curious question I find myself pondering is how did I allow myself to become so isolated? How did it become acceptable for me to have no friends who come over and enjoy a BBQ or help bust out projects? How did I make excuses for this behavior that prevented me from having friends? His jealousy and constant accusations made it so uncomfortable after friends would leave that I slowly stopped inviting anyone to be a part of my life. If I went anywhere without him I was accused of having an affair, ironic since he’s the one that wound up cheating. I stopped looking people I met in the eye, I stopped laughing with people, I quit inviting friends over because he would constantly tell me how I was doing something wrong. The manipulation was so intense that I learned to put distance between me and anyone else I may have come in contact with.
About 6 months ago as I was doing therapy I realized just how isolated I had become. I missed the physical connection of friends, family, people you laugh with who enrich your life in a million little ways. I slowly started feeling my way into this space where I am finding friends again. Where I am meeting people who make me laugh. I am enjoying hanging out with people and making friends who are supportive, kind and who can joke without there being fear of belittlement coming at me.
As a friend I am someone who wants to help and support my friends too. It makes me happy to just be able to be there in whatever way possible for my friends. If I can I will. I have learned new healthy boundaries for myself too, and if it’s not possible for me to do something I’m ok with saying no. But for a friend I will go the extra mile.
So if you are a new friend, thanks for being a part of the journey to finding a healthier me. Thanks for helping me step back out of the shadows and for helping me make healthy choices. If you are one of the few who has been there through it and watched from the sidelines thank you for still loving me, and even more for being excited for the changes for the better happening in my life.