In recent years there have been some social traumas I’ve been working through from years of being bullied. I have several groups of friends I hang out with but I’ve realized I struggle to connect with them at times. There are some practices I adopted to protect myself from past social traumas which have been causing me to isolate myself from others. During middle school and during my first episode of schizoaffective disorder I lost all my friends; I realized I had been doing things to keep people distanced from me to prevent this from happening again so as to avoid having the pain from these experiences recur.
The belief that I would lose all my friends again was backed by strong and dark emotions from having experienced this unfortunate occurrence twice in my life. It was really painful in middle school and I nearly committed suicide; it was really painful in college and it contributed to my first episode. I learned that I made a lot of assumptions that people automatically wouldn’t like me or that I would lose friends again or that my current friends were not great friends.
I many times talked myself out of making an effort to connect with people in order to keep them at distances from me. I was constantly worried about making friends that I would lose so when new people I met would invite me to do new things I usually declined. I didn’t want to make friends with people whom I was afraid would abandon me.
I eventually realized that if I didn’t at least make an effort to have friends and be susceptible to losing them again that I would just be alone, which was not what I wanted. I learned that if I didn’t allow myself to be vulnerable in social situations there would not be room for any relationships to be fostered. There also wouldn’t be room for me to grow as a person, because without risk growth does not happen.
I learned I had to take the risk of allowing people to be close to me again. Letting people get close to me has probably been one of the most difficult things about having gone through social traumas and schizoaffective disorder. Deep down I really want to have some close friendships and relationships but there are fears in the way which have caused me to not fully connect with others. I’ve been working to get rid of those chains so that I could be free to allow new people into my life.
I recently was hanging out with some friends and they were talking about their plans for the next day while I was there. I was too afraid to ask why they weren’t inviting me and I got angry. They were going hiking and I wanted to go too (or at least be invited along).
I assumed they just didn’t like me and they were being rude right in front of me. We had been watching sports games at my house because they didn’t have cable so I also assumed they had just been using me so they could see the games. I sent a text the next morning out of anger and I got a response I didn’t expect.
My friend informed me that she was searching for a condo two hours away and afterward she and her boyfriend were going hiking. She told me she didn’t ask me because she assumed I didn’t want to wake up early and wait for them to condo shop for two hours and then go hiking.
My fear of people using me had been so salient from past years that it had caused me to assume the wrong thing. They wound up inviting me out the next day with another group of friends and forgave me for making a wrongful assumption. The thing I learned was to ask questions before getting angry. Doing so has kept me out of some trouble recently.
I learned it’s okay to ask questions–people generally respond well to questions–but when I made bad assumptions and accused them of using me I of course was not creating good friendships. Accusations tend to cause arguments and distance between people which was not what I wanted.
RSVP for Mental Wellness Calls
Join the Mental Wellness FACEBOOK GROUP here.
If you believe in the work we are doing here at The Good Men Project and want to join our calls on a regular basis, please join us as a Premium Member, today.
All Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS.
A $50 annual membership gives you an all-access pass. You can be a part of every call, group, class, and community.
A $25 annual membership gives you access to one class, one Social Interest group, and our online communities.
A $12 annual membership gives you access to our Friday calls with the publisher, our online community.
Register New Account
Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.
Want to contribute to The Good Men Project? Submit here: