Inability to connect with Others/Chronic feelings of being misunderstood and inherently bad

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Hi, I was sexually assaulted by multiple men growing up. I don’t remember a time in my life when sexual abuse wasn’t a part of it. That being said, I also have always felt incredibly misunderstood and lonely despite having lots of friends growing up. I was just wondering if anyone else struggles with chronic loneliness and what they’ve done to help? i know my problem is not actually loneliness because like I said even during the season of my life when I had tons of friends I’ve always felt isolated and alone. I have figured out that like everyone i long to be understood however, i have been told on numerous occasions that i think weirdly and I do. Growing up this didn’t bother me and i honestly didn’t get why people said that however, now i do. I’ve thought maybe I’m on the spectrum though in my numerous psych evals that has never been mentioned but the best way to describe it is that i feel like I’m living under water. I do have a lot of dissociative states so this may be a key part of why i feel so disconnected from people but IDK. I just want to know why i feel this way to stop feeling this way because it really sucks to have people in my life that care for me when my mind is telling me otherwise.

Also, I have feelings of something being broken with me. which is kind of along the lines of above but in addition i just feel extremely bad; wicked almost. like i have all of this guilt and shame and i know its misplaced. I don ‘t know if it is exactly correlated to the abuse or not though. its almost separate from shame at times. just the feeling that inside of me is something horrible bad and it makes me hate myself sometimes.I can’t put into words why i feel that way its just there and i didn’t know if anyone else had experienced this?


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53 comments

  1. eagle206 Volunteer

    Hi Lizzie74,

    Thank you for coming here to share your story. It takes a lot of courage to share and we are all here to support you in any way that we can. Feeling lonely is quite hard. I definitely know how it feels to be in a room with lots of people and feel quite alone. I think one thing I try and remember is that in that large room of people there are generally many people who actually feel alone, though they might not look like it. One thing that helps me is getting 1-1 time with certain friends who I know will listen when I want to talk through things. Sometimes being around a lot of people can be quite overwhelming and makes it easier to feel invisible. One thing to remember is that everyone’s brain processes things differently and just because yours is a bit different than your friends doesn’t mean it’s worse. We all see the world in different ways and that affects how we interact with others! I think you may benefit from some of the resources we have here: https://www.avoicefortheinnocent.org/help/ some of them have definitely helped me!

    Stay strong,

    T

  2. pinksky92 Volunteer

    Hi there lizzie,

    I definitely relate to a lot of what you’ve described. I do want to say that I am very sorry that you were sexually assaulted by multiple men. This is a truly horrific thing and it is so upsetting to hear you say that you don’t remember a time in your life when sexual abuse wasn’t a part of it. All of your feelings are incredibly valid and I think quite a lot of people who are victims of sexual abuse describe feeling this way. Although, feeling lonely, like you don’t belong, or even experiencing dissociative states can be part of transitioning from different life phases. I think it is important to speak to someone about how you are specifically feeling and if this is something that is just external/situational. I do know that no one like feeling lonely, isolated, or like they’re living underwater. It can be incredibly difficult to cope with those types of feelings, so I am glad that you reached out to us. I do encourage you to open up to those closest in your life since it can be freeing to share how you are feeling with others. Thank you again for sharing your story with us.

  3. Northlane1991 Volunteer

    Hey Lizzie

    I am so sorry you have been through so much. You only deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. What you are feeling is so valid and know we are here for you. Just remember that there is nothing wrong with you and you are incredibly brave for sharing your story. You are not alone and please let us know how we can help.

  4. Thomas Volunteer

    Hi Lizzie74,

    I’m so sorry that you have been through so much. You only deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. You are definitely onto something when you mention feeling alone even when you’re around others. For me personally, I tend to feel lonely when I am around others. Not all the time, but if I am in a group where I don’t feel super comfortable or haven’t fit in, I often feel very lonely and out of place. Ironically, I tend to rarely feel lonely when I am actually alone. Ultimately, I think we as people want to feel like we belong and that we are cared for.

    You aren’t broken and there is nothing wicked within you. The bad things that happened to you weren’t your fault. You didn’t do anything wrong. With that said, it is not unusual to feel shame and guilt in response to those types of situations. Your feelings are valid, but it’s always helpful to have a reminder that you aren’t the one who did something wrong and that there is nothing wrong with you. You are an incredible (not to mention brave!) person deserving of being treated well. You are not alone. Please let us know how else we can help. Thank you for sharing your story.

  5. Starling Volunteer

    Hi Lizzie74,
    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I’m sorry that you’re struggling with these feelings of isolation. I can relate, because I also feel disconnected from people regardless of how close I am to them. I know you mentioned having evals done, but have you talked to a therapist? A therapist can be really helpful to unpack those thoughts and emotions, both about your past trauma and your current isolated feelings. Talking to a professional helped me a lot with realizing why I feel disconnected from people. If you ever need anything, let us know. We’re always here for you.

  6. mjy1999 Volunteer

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. AVFTI will be here whenever you need it I recommend going to the resources tab to find some help in your area. You are brave for sharing your story with us.

  7. Miguel_Sazon

    Hello Lizzie74,

    First and foremost, I think it is very courageous of you to share your story and experience and I’m sorry that you had to go through what you experienced and I hope all the replies including this one can help you.

    I think I’ve had a similar feeling of knowing a lot of people I know that will support me and have my back but still feel this isolation that I can’t comprehend nor explain. I’ve always felt like my friends were more ambitious or aspiring than me and as time went on they went to venture out and pursue their own ambitions, at this point was the most alone I have ever felt. It took me a while to not feel this way but I learned to cope through it by interacting more with people I can talk to the most and finding connections through the variety of interactions I’ve had with these people. It might be different for you but I guess what I am trying to say is that you are not alone and that none of these feelings of feeling horrible or emptiness are on you because none of this is your fault and because you did nothing wrong. I think people have a lot of coping mechanisms in trying to overcome these feelings and it may take some time to find the solution but it is fine to take time in finding this solution because I genuinely believe these feelings are temporary and you will find that something to overcome it. Sharing your story and feelings are already a great step towards this direction another might be what the others are suggesting which is talking to someone or a therapist/professional but only if you are ready and at your own pace. Stay strong and stay safe and we hope to get an update from you.

  8. meg Volunteer

    Hi Lizzie74,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story and thoughts with us. I hope you know that you can always come to us to share your experiences and feelings. AVFTI will always be here for you. In terms of the dissociative moments, it’s a normal response that your body learns after experiencing trauma. You are not alone in your feelings. That feeling of heavy heartedness is awful but please know it doesn’t last forever… You didn’t do anything wrong. If that feeling gets too hard, please text VOICE to 741-741 for immediate support. Come back and update us!
    -Meg

  9. cindy024 Volunteer

    Hi, lizzie74,
    First of all, I want to thank you for sharing with us your story. This takes a lot of encouragement to do so! You are a very brave individual! What had happened to you, is not right. therefore, you resulted in many mixed emotions as to why this had all happened in the beginning, No need to worry because we are always here to help you with your needs!! We are here to support and care for you! I suggest/recommend checking out our resources tab to check any helpful sources and more further assistance if you may need it. You expressing/sharing your feelings and emotions is good because that way we know how to help you! Please feel free to come back to share and update us. This experience is not what you had intended to expect but it happened in a way that was very under pressure and overwhelming. Don’t hesitate to ask for help! We are here if you need care/support!

  10. Ochoa Volunteer

    Hey Lizzie74,
    Thank you for sharing with us. I want to let you know how strong you are and that you are not alone. Things can get hard, life is hard. I’m sorry that you had to go through this. Please know that we are here for you and look forward on an update from you to see how you are doing. Please stay strong and come back.

  11. Solongago Volunteer

    Hello lizzie74. I have also been abused by several men/boys growing up and cannot remember a time before sexual abuse. What you are experiencing/feeling is normal for us. Much of what we experienced happened before our brains were fully developed and our brains did stuff to make living in our situations survivable, like blaming ourselves rather than caregivers whom we depend on. In the moment these things, distortions maybe, protected us and were helpful. They made it possible, for instance to walk home with our abuser and live with him for years. But they take on a life of their own and become unhelpful when they pursue us into adulthood and become ingrained in our perception of ourselves.

    We are all affected differently by being sexually abused, and the path to healing/wholeness may not be the same for all of us. But what you experienced is rarely going to be fixed in a vacuum, with self-help books, or even internet chat groups. They can make us understand better why we feel as we do, somewhat connected, etc. They have their place. There is a book by Gretchen Schmelzer, “Journey through Trauma,” that speaks of the challenges we have to face, gives us a kind of road map or blue print. In it she describes that we must deal with what happened (the abuse), what we did to survive the abuse (cognitive distortions, addictions, etc. — how it impacted our lives), and what didn’t happen (age-appropriate development of our brains, learning, building relationships). It’s a tall order to tackle on our own. And even the book says that it is not an alternative to therapy.

    You are not alone. There are millions of people walking around with histories like ours. They say 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 boys have experienced some form of sexual abuse prior to being 18, so as children. That, I hope, includes the whole spectrum of abuse — people who have had just one incident of creepiness to folks who have lived in a chronic abusive situation. And I hope the majority are on the left side of the spectrum. But the point is there are people who have lived a very similar situation as yours, and have found healing: learned to shed the shame of what happened, and reclaim the anger and other emotions about it, process them, and learn/grow from within listening to what their body and mind are telling them, experiencing pleasure and pain, connecting with others where before we only allowed the very surface of who we were to be seen. It is possible.

    I think that finding a good therapist and embarking on a therapeutic journey is one important step people who have been abused, particularly by multiple people or over a period of time are going to need. There are other things though that we may do that may help along with therapy. Reading up on the subject can help us feel that we are not singular and can help us justify our spending time and money to get better. Journaling or writing in safe places, like this, can help us put some order to what happened. Journaling is powerful in that we take thoughts and feelings from the spaghetti of our brain and put them down in black on white, whereas writing where others will read us is another step to that. There is massage and self defense courses that can help us become more connected with our own bodies, and make us feel stronger, safer, and more confident. There is art therapy and music therapy, that can touch us in different ways, the hurts that words can’t capture. Exercise, sleep, and nutrition has to be addressed because many of us have dissociated from what our body needs and have maybe denied our body, may even hate our bodies, feel betrayed by our bodies. Drug therapies may also be a part of what we need to heal, to manage the low points, or to even things out, chemical imbalances that cause depression and anxiety. And I think we have to build for ourselves a network of supportive people that we can trust.

    I am going to say it. For me, getting that first dog, the one that got me out of house, for walks, to pet stores, to training classes, to dog shows and club meetings — that helped immensely because I then had something in common with other folks and something that centered the attention on something other than who I am and who they are. It is like dipping your toe into a pool and finding that it really isn’t that cold or scary. Getting into bicycling: building strength and stamina and confidence, regular exercise, reading bike magazines, learning to repair and upgrade, reaching milestones, joining a group and doing a half-century with them, doing 100 miles on my own. There are many things that we can immerse ourselves in that can complement what we are learning in therapy and help us feel not so isolated and alone, but may have, probably have nothing to do with the problem. I think we need such outlets, because therapy can become all-consuming, and we are more than what happened to us — we need the break.

    Thank you for sharing your story. It is a brave first step to a much better place. You are not alone in this. You can come here whenever you like. I hope that you find a path to healing and wholeness that will help you to experience and enjoy the many good things that you deserve.

  12. Marissa Day Captain

    Hey lizzie74,

    Thanks for sharing with us. I’m so sorry you experienced sexual abuse as a child. You didn’t deserve that at all. I feel like how you’re feeling is a normal reaction to what you’ve gone through, though. I found this website that you might found helpful: https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/chronic-loneliness#treatment – The main takeaway is that talking to a therapist might help you work through your feelings. I think talking to a professional might also help with your bad feelings, as well. You’re right, they are probably misplaced, but a therapist might be able to help you figure out where these feelings are coming from and how to deal with them in a healthy way. Please only do that if you’re comfortable, though. Don’t push yourself to talk if you’re not ready!

    Please let us know if there’s anything we can do for you! Feel free to check out the Find Help tab for resources near you. Stay strong!
    Marissa

  13. jao1820 Volunteer

    Hey Lizzie74,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I am so sorry you were sexually assulted growing up. No one should experience such trauma growing up. These experiences can change a person and how they interact with individuals. Have you considered speaking to a therapist or another trained individual? Speaking to a therapist may help you feel more understood and help you work through the affect of the trauma you endured. If you need other resourse or services please look under the “Find Help” page.

    – J.A.O

  14. yailinrenteria Volunteer

    Hey lizzie74,
    First of all, thank you for sharing with us. I am extremely proud of you for opening up with us. We are here for you. I am sorry that you had to go through all of that growing up. Sexual abuse is not something that should be constant in someone’s life. Here in AVFTI, you may find a resource that may help you with chronic loneliness in the help tab at the top of the page. You already are making progress by acknowledging your feelings and asking for help. Have tried seeking professional help, like a therapist. A therapist might be able to help you discover what makes you feel that way. It might be a possible option that may help you. Please keep updating us. Hope to hear from you soon.
    Stay well,
    Yailin

  15. sarahj Volunteer

    Hey lizzie74,
    I am sorry you are feeling this way — I can relate to the feelings you are describing. It can be incredibly frustrating to know the feeling of loneliness despite understanding you are surrounded by people who care for you. I am hoping that by even sharing this post you have been able to gain a bit of clarity. However, I would also suggest speaking with someone who might be a little more qualified (i.e. a therapist/counselor) to offer advice. It seems as though you have reached out to find help before, and I am am wondering if you are still working with someone at present? You should be proud of yourself for recognizing that maybe these feelings aren’t “right” — that can be half the battle. Please feel free to come back and update any time — would love to hear more of your story and progress!
    Take care of yourself,
    Sarah

  16. Mary Ella Volunteer

    Hi lizzie74,

    Thank you for sharing with us. I recently have gone through something similar to chronic loneliness. I have a lot of friends and I have my family surrounding me during that time, but I still felt very alone. I understand how it feels to be isolated despite having everyone around. One thing that did help is talking to a therapist. It can be overwhelming, especially with everything you have gone through and everything you’re feeling right now so I suggest talking to someone, a therapist or a counselor, about it. It’s very helpful when someone can help you untangle these thoughts and feelings. You are not alone in this, and we are here for you! There are some resources available in our Find Help page if you do want to take that step. I wish you all the best, and you are always welcome to come back and share with us!

    Mary

  17. almax Volunteer

    Hi lizzie74,
    It’s so great you found this and are putting your words in writing. Thank you for sharing this with us, I can definitely say I have experienced this as well, which hopefully makes you feel less alone. With your experiences, it can be hard to find people who will truly understand you because your experiences are yours to be felt, and only you know what you truly feel. Luckily there are so many resources and people who are more than happy to listen and try and empathize with your situation which has been helpful to myself. When I tell my friends my experiences I know they may not truly understand me because they have not, “walked in my shoes” per say, but they can give advice, they can distract, and create moments that put your mind at rest from the negative experiences and more to the good. Feeling alone can make you feel like something may be wrong, so you look towards answers like assessing yourself, but know what you feel is normal. It’s great to assess your situations, thoughts and feelings. Know you are not alone in the feelings and questions you have, and not always having an answer for your feeling is okay too.

  18. Ruby98 Volunteer

    Hey Lizzie74,
    Thank you for sharing with us, we appreciate it and will always be here to hear you out whenever you need to. I can guarantee you that you are not the only one who may feel like this so don’t feel alone in your feelings. I sometimes can beat my self up for things that have happened years ago and we shouldn’t do that to ourselves. We need to care and love our selfs. It can be difficult to do that sometimes with so much going on but sometimes it’s good to look back and see how far one has come along. I am so sorry you were assaulted by those men while you were growing up, you deserve happiness and not the emotions and pain they have caused. Have you even been to any forms of therapy? You can go on the “Find Help” tab there are plenty of resources there. I know everyone deals with pain and frustration differently, maybe you can find something fitting for you there. When I start to feel a certain type of way I read poetry and it helps put into words what sometimes my mind is thinking. Stay strong and resilient, come back and share with us some more we are here for you and will always be with open ears. I hope you feel better sharing this with us and realize that you have some form of support system with us! I hope you have a safe and great week!

  19. Ash Volunteer

    Hi there
    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I’m sorry you had to go through all of that. Hopefully you find comfort in our responses. Also maybe a good therapist would help you through how you’re feeling. Please feel free to come back and write anytime.
    Ashe

  20. aegardiner Volunteer

    Hi lizzie74,

    We appreciate you sharing your story with us. I’m very sorry that you have experienced abuse for so long in your life and hope that you are safe now. Have you taken some time to speak with a therapist or counselor about everything you’ve been feeling? You mentioned you’ve had psych evals so have you been referred for counseling? I think it would be very helpful to talk through a lot of your concerns with someone who is experienced at understanding dissociative states. I think it would also be helpful for you to tease through how the abuse has impacted you and what may not be related. A skilled therapist will be able to work through this with you. It’s also not uncommon for people to be surrounded by friends but to still feel alone. Do you feel like you have a close connection with a couple of those friends and that you could talk about your feelings? We are always here for you when you need to talk through how you are feeling as well. Please take care of yourself and remember that you matter. You deserve to have a life in which you are happy and do not experience shame for feelings of guilt.

  21. Amysue43 Volunteer

    Thanking you for sharing with us your thoughts and feelings. I’m sorry you’re going through this inner turmoil. It can be really exhausting to ponder these feelings. I can see why your frustrated in these feelings of loneliness because you do see people around you who are supporting you but these feelings are still around.
    To answer your question, I believe that you are not alone. There are people who are going through something similar to yourself and if you’re interested in finding a group to talk with about this and bounce thoughts/feelings off of each other, perhaps our “Find Help” tab could be useful.
    Stay strong <3

  22. lizzi

    Hi lizzie74,
    Thank you for sharing this part of your story with us. I’m so sorry for all the abuse you’ve been through in your life, and I hope you know that none of it was your fault. It sounds like you’ve been feeling lonely for a long time, whether or not you have had friends around. I understand that feeling, and it can be really confusing to feel alone when you aren’t actually alone. I’m sure there’s quite a few reasons for feeling that way, but I’ve found for me that a lot of the time it’s my own anxiety, depression, or insecurities. If I’m with a group of people but I’m depressed, I still feel really alone. Guilt and shame could definitely be contributing to all of this, and I would recommend talking to a therapist about everything you’ve been through and how you’re feeling in general. Like others have already said, talking to someone about this could really help you work through these feelings and make sense of it all. I hope things get better for you, and know that we’re always here to support you if you ever want to post more.

  23. delvecchis1 Volunteer

    Dear Lizzie74

    I am so sorry you went through that horrible abuse in your past. I hope it has stopped. If it hasn’t, please reach out for help – on the find help tab there are some resources you can try.

    Finding the *right* therapist could be really helpful for you. Some people need to have consults with several before you find someone that fits. I hope you can find the resources to start that process if you have not already done so.

    Chronic loneliness is a scary thing to go through, as is disassociating. Not understanding it all is really normal. Its very hard to understand, especially when you have people telling you you’re weird. I wouldn’t say its weird, but it is probably *different* than how they live their lives, and that is often perceived as weird. Navigating these things is hard, scary, confusing, the list goes on. But putting your thoughts down, talking them out, writing them here, exploring them even when what is coming out doesn’t immediately make sense… wow!! That is an amazing step to take!!!!

    My sister and I like to call it bleeding onto paper (well, these days it’s typing LOL). Let the thoughts come out. Write them down no matter how out of control, how disjointed, how random the thoughts seem. Just let it out. We are here for you if you choose to share that process with us, or keep it private. We are here for you.

    Thank you for sharing this! I hope to hear from you again !

  24. brookeallnutt Volunteer

    Hi lizzie74,

    Thank you for being so open with us. I’m so sorry that you had to experience that when you were growing up. I hope you were able to find comfort in the responses you received to your story. Please feel free to come back any time; we are here to support you and listen to you!

  25. haesol Volunteer

    hi lizzie74,

    thank you for trusting us with this. I’m so sorry you’ve experienced abuse in your life, no one deserves that and certainly you didn’t deserve to go through those experiences. your feelings and emotions right now are normal, and if other people don’t understand it that doesn’t mean those feelings are any less valid.
    have you talked to a therapist about how you’ve been feeling? they might be the best at telling you what it must be and how you can deal with it in a healthy way.
    take things slowly and patiently, sometimes it takes time but you’re already doing so much by telling us how you feel.
    I hope things get better soon. Stay safe.

  26. Elvia29 Volunteer

    Hi lizzie74,
    I am so sorry for what you had to go through when growing up. No one should have to go through this growing up. What you are going through is normal due to everything that has happened to you. You might feel different type of emotions and feel like no one understand you. Just take everything one step at a time. You are going to get through this. You are not alone we are here for you. Here in AVFTI, we have any resources that can be helpful to you. Be free to come back and update us on how you are doing. Thank you for sharing your story with us.
    Stay positive
    Elvia

  27. ajklessig Volunteer

    Hello lizzie74,
    Thank you for sharing. First off, your emotions are totally valid. I am glad that you have the courage to share how you are feeling with us, but I am sorry you feel this way. It is totally normal to feel alone and isolated, especially after having dealt with sexual abuse before. That is a lot to process, and sometimes we can feel like others don’t understand, or just would never get it if we tried to explain it. I know I feel that way sometimes with my friends. They are great, but there are just some things I can’t share with them, and that makes me feel really isolated. Guilt and shame are very common feelings to experience (as you can see by the other replies), but it does not mean that any of the abuse was your fault.

    As others have recommended, visiting a therapist might help you to unpack some of these emotions more and hopefully offer you some clarity. If therapy is not your thing, that is totally okay too. There are a ton of other resources available under the Find Help tab that could be beneficial. Also, please feel free to come back and share at any time.

  28. jcas120 Volunteer

    Hello lizzie74,

    First off, I see this is the first time you’ve posted. Welcome to AVFTI, we are really glad you found out about us and came here to share.

    I’m so sorry to hear about all the abuse you endured growing up. That sounds so difficult to deal with. I hope you know that nothing that happened was your fault. I know that the feeling of loneliness and isolation you are feeling can happen with these traumatic events in our past. Sometimes living in the past can make us feel disconnected in the present. This is common with those who have gone through what you have gone through. I hope that shows you that you are not alone, and that healing is possible! If you ever feel that way you can always come here and we will validate you and be here to support you any way we can. We also have a great resource page if you are interested in speaking with a counselor and exploring this further. We are here for you!

  29. candyappleb Volunteer

    Hi Lizzie74,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I am so sorry that you have endured abuse in your life, and that you now struggle with these feelings of loneliness and disconnection. I understand how painful it is to feel lonely while also surrounded by people. Have you considered speaking to a counselor? In our resource section there are many wonderful organizations that may be local and often provide counseling services for free or on a sliding scale. They may be better equipped to help answer your questions about feeling disconnected. Please feel free to continue to post here and share with us anytime. We are here for you and always willing to listen and support you to the best of our abilities. Your feelings are valid, and you matter.

    All the best,
    Becca

  30. adrian Volunteer

    Hey, lizzie74-

    It was strong of you to reach out and share your experiences with us on this platform! You did the right thing reaching out because a lot of people do experience the same issues you are describing- reading some of the other stories on this platform may help you feel less alone and more understood. I hope the comments on this thread will help you feel supported and also not alone.

    I do want to say that you did not deserve your sexual assaults and abuse throughout your life. You deserve safety and solid ground. You deserve joy and light. It is normal to feel hatred toward yourself or guilt and shame when you have bee sexually assaulted or abused, but it is not something that you have to feel toward or within yourself. It sounds like you are taking some big steps toward healing- recognizing how you feel toward yourself is one of them. Healing is a process, though, and it can take some time, but you are resilient and brave!

    You are not alone here, lizzie74- you found yourself with a great support team on AVFTI and we look forward to hearing updates through your journey if you feel comfortable sharing again with us. Your post also will help others who may feel this same way and also feel alone- now neither you nor they are alone!

    It is positive to see that you are willing to reach out and talk about what happened to you previously and how it is affecting you. Keep fighting the good fight!

    Take care,
    Adrian

  31. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi lizzie74,
    I’m so sorry that this happened. You are not alone. We are here for you. I know I have felt alone even though I was with people or had a big group of friends around. I know for me it correlates from my depression which stems from my sexual abuse, but everyone is different. I don’t want to diagnose you because I’m not a doctor. If you want there are resources in the resource tab on the top right of this page.
    What I try to do when I feel alone is I know it is cliché but I find someone to talk to, whether is it on the phone or text or in person. Talking to someone helps me know that there is someone there for me. I also write to myself just how I’m feeling or just thoughts that come to mind. I also write poetry. Something else that can help you feel less lonely is going out for walks to clear your head.
    There is no reason to feel shame or guilt. You are not the only one who has these feelings. Continue to stay strong. We are here for you. If you need anything else you can always write back. Thank you for trusting and sharing your story with AVFTI.
    -Alyssa

  32. colton95 Volunteer

    I have experiences feelings extremely similar to yours. I, too, have felt guilt and shame that was definitely misplaced. I hope that one day you’ll learn that you have nothing to feel guilty or shameful about and that you deserve to be happy. I hope that you will stay safe, strong, and positive.

  33. KatherineL Volunteer

    Hi lizzie74,

    I am glad you found us and felt comfortable sharing your story with us. We’re here for you anytime you want to share what you’re going through and feeling. It sounds like a lot of what you’re experiencing are common responses to experiencing multiple traumas in your life. Trauma hits you deep and it’s effects linger for a long time in various ways. That being said, your feelings are totally valid and you’re not alone in feeling that way.

    It sounds like you’ve spent a lot of time thinking about your feelings and have a good self-awareness. However, getting professional help can also be beneficial to understanding these things and developing strategies for minimizing these negative feelings. Have you been to counseling or therapy? It may be something to consider if you haven’t.

    Wishing you the best!
    KatherineL

  34. musicislove

    Hi Lizzie74,

    I’m so sorry you’ve experienced so much sexual assault in the past, you deserved to feel safe growing up, that feeling should have never been taken from you. Feeling misunderstood and alone is understandable and I know a lot of people feel that way, including myself at times. Your definitely not the only one with these feelings which I hope will give you at least a little bit of comfort. When I’m feeling alone and off something that really helps me is writing. It’s a really great way to get all of your feelings out. Another great outlet that I use is walking, there’s a hill by my house that I take my dog on and it’s a great way to escape my head sometimes, so that could be helpful as well. Have you ever considered therapy? Talking to a therapist could be a huge step towards healing and working through your feelings and thoughts, I don’t know where I would be without it. Thank you for trusting us and please know we’re always here for you.

    Delaney

  35. AlisonDKaufman

    Lizzie74:

    Thank you for sharing with us and being so open. I am truly sorry for what happened to you during your life, no one deserves to abused. I do understand how you feel and I personally believe when we have trauma like this the long-term impact can result in feeling misunderstood and (sadly) dislike of ourselves. I can completely relate to what you are saying and I honestly don’t believe you are alone. However, I do truly believe in the power of therapy and support. AVFTI has plenty of resources available to you, when you are ready, to find someone for help in overcoming these feelings. Also, perhaps a gratitude journal focusing on what is good about yourself and your world daily could be helpful – I know journalling isn’t for everyone but may be helpful. Also, please remember we are here for you and will be your support as well.

    Sincerely,
    Alison

  36. Ashley Day Captain

    lizzie74,

    Thank you for taking the time to confide in our community.

    I wish that you wouldn’t have experienced sexual assault on more than one occassion.
    I have struggled with chronic loneliness and learning to be comfortable with being by myself has helped. I’m thinking it’s difficult to feel alone and isolated even though you have friends to lean on. I have dealt with dissociation and I believe that it can affect our ability to feel connected with others. It sounds like there’s a part of you that knows people care for you, but there’s another part that wants you to think otherwise.
    Although I don’t have experience with feeling like something is broken inside of me, I’m thinking that carrying those feelings of guilt and shame is mentally and physically exhausting. After reading through the comments, it looks like other volunteers can relate to feeling guilt/shame; I hope that makes you feel less alone in your journey of healing.

    We have your back. Please feel free to come back and update us.

    Ashley

  37. ZJC9753 Volunteer

    Hi lizzie74,

    I am sorry for what happened to you. You are not alone with your feelings, I also have had struggles connecting to people and being misunderstood frequently and have most of my life too, I also carry a lot of self hate. I think that is how our brains respond to trauma sometimes. I started seeing a therapist and discussing those issue and it helped me tremendously. If you look at the “find help” tab on the website, there are a lot of resources that could be helpful, https://www.avoicefortheinnocent.org/help/

    I also want to tell you, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. I promise you this. You are not alone with your feelings of badness, guilt, and shame, you do not deserve that. Abuse can impact people in a lot of ways including having these negative feelings out of context but I promise there is nothing bad about you and you are not alone. We are always here for you whenever you want to share with us.

  38. alexiswilliams

    Lizzie74,

    Thank you for sharing your story. You are not alone. All of your emotions are valid, and we are always here to listen.

    Sending hope and love,
    Lex

  39. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi lizzie74,
    You didn’t deserve what happened to you, and it wasn’t your fault. I think it’s common for survivors to feel lonely. With that being said, I hear that it’s exhausting to feel this way. You’re not alone in these feelings.
    I truly empathize with you when it comes to feeling broken. I felt similar to you after I was assaulted. Someone would say I was a good person, and my first thought would be, “No, I’m not.” I didn’t realize it was linked to the assault until later, and I genuinely believed that I wasn’t a good person. It was helpful for me to talk about what I was going through with my friends, AVFTI, and a counselor. I believe the shame surrounding the assault went away the more I talked about it. After a while, I realized that I don’t want to feel shameful about what someone else did. Whenever I have those moments of shame, I remember that, and it helps me.
    I say all this to let you know that you’re not alone. If you don’t feel ready to talk about it yet, that’s okay. You can take your time and share your story with anyone you want. You can decide who knows about it.
    Thank you for sharing your story. You can always talk about how you feel on here. We’re not here to judge you, and you’re not alone. We’re in your corner, and we’re rooting for you.

  40. Neesha Volunteer

    Lizzie74,

    i also don’t have memories of ‘before’ sexual abuse started, I have felt lonely, and know that I think differently than most of my friends. I feel for you believing you are extremely bad or wicked. I’ve thought, sometimes still do, think along those lines. Therapy and support groups has been helpful in working through my negative thought patterns and correcting my beliefs to be more aligned with reality. It is hard road to travel, but healing is so so worth it. Please keep reaching out, in my experience, it is the best way to find connection and alleviate loneliness.

  41. mikaylaanne11 Volunteer

    Hey there lizzie74,

    I think that what you’re experiencing is totally understandable for survivors of abuse, especially in your case of experiencing abuse for prolonged periods of time. In my experience, feeling lonely with friends sometimes means that you haven’t been vulnerable enough with them or that they haven’t been vulnerable enough with you. Opening up to those who you feel safe with can really open up a new world of connection. I think it’s also good to remember that your needs won’t be fulfilled by every single friend. Some of them will fill your soul in one way while others fill your soul in another!

    Sharing my story with friends has helped me in healing from my brokenness in recent years. I used to live with so much shame about my own assault that I could count on one hand how many people I had told about it. Recently, I started opening up to my friends about it, and they then felt comfortable sharing their stories with me. Being vulnerable takes a lot of strength, and you can use that power to find the people who love you unconditionally.

    You aren’t alone! We’re here for you any time you want to share, also.

  42. ryannlashea Volunteer

    Hi, I am so sorry that happened to you. You are so strong and brave. Your feelings are valid however you have no reason to feel shame, you did nothing wrong. Have you considered speaking with a counselor? It could be a great way to help process your thoughts and emotions.

  43. Breanna Volunteer

    Hey there lizzie74,

    Thank you for coming here to share your experiences and thoughts with us. I’m so sorry to hear that sexual abuse has been a constant factor in your upbringing. I have also dealt with intense, chronic feelings of loneliness and isolation. You’re not alone in those feelings. A lot of the time, unfortunately, abuse results in many feelings of fear, anger, guilt, shame, and loneliness. Dissociation is also common. I’ve had some success with feeling better by finding what I really care and am passionate about, and absorbing myself in those ways and finding meaningful connections through there (e.g., if you really like reading, joining a virtual book club). You may be feeling broken, but you are not broken. You’re very strong for making it through your abuse and coming here to open up about what you’re dealing with. You can explore our Find Resources tab for things that may help you feel less alone. We are here for you, come back any time you’d like to share more. Keep your chin up and stay strong.

    Sending you love and support,
    Bre

  44. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear lizzie74,
    Thank you for sharing your story with us; being so open about how you feel took a lot of courage. You may be onto something with recognizing your dissociative states and the fact that they keep you from connecting with others. From what I have learned about trauma and healing that search for connection is most hindered by our protective measures we had to put in place to keep ourselves safe at the time of the trauma. Our inner child keeps putting us back into that state anytime we sense danger in order to protect us. There is some great information out there about hearing and reparenting our inner child that you may find useful. Also, Brene Brown’s work has helped me understand shame, guilt, courage, vulerablility, and healing more than anything else. You may find some answers in it as well (The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly are my faves). You aren’t alone in wanting to be understood and to feel connected. We all have parts of ourselves that we don’t want to admit are there, but you are not your thoughts and having them doesn’t make you horrible, just normal. Please feel free to write to us as often as you would like. We are here for you.
    Sending you love and strength,
    Roxie

  45. e.almaguer Volunteer

    Hello, thank you for coming on here and sharing with us. This is very brave of you. I am so sorry for what happened to you, it was unfair.
    It makes sense why you feel the way you do it is only normal. From personal experience I can relate “feeling that way” you’re not alone that feeling is sadly normal…Please head over to our resource page if you ever need anything. Please come back to share with us soon!

  46. Sailboat22

    Hello Lizzie74 –

    I am glad that you reached out to AVFTI and shared, but am sorry about what happened to you and the feelings you have been having. I have definitely felt what you are describing every once in a while and it is really tough. I hope that you realize you are not alone in these feelings and there is nothing weird or wrong about you for having these thoughts. I am glad that you have people around you that care about you even if it is hard to truly feel that care. It can be hard to uncover what is causing us to feel a certain way, but recognizing these feelings, communicating them, and working on prioritizing feeling better is a great way to start! Always feel free to come back and share – we are always here!

    1. zelda Volunteer

      Welcome, Lizzie! We’re happy to have you here. Thank you for opening up to us. It’s not easy to talk about our feelings or what’s happened to us. That takes a lot of bravery, inner strength and vulnerability.

      You’re not alone in your feelings of loneliness; it’s not abnormal to have a ton of friends, yet feel totally isolated and alienated from everyone. As far as feeling inherently bad or evil, I understand where you’re coming from. After an unfortunate incident that happened when I was 6, I developed severe OCD. I would have panic attacks b/c I thought I was going to Hell, and I had to always be perfect. And that was b/c I knew I was a horrible human being. It was a lot to carry, emotionally, as a young child. I’m almost 24, and I still have those moments of intense guilt and shame.

      It’s difficult to believe that we are good people, even when people tell us this. I don’t know you, but that fact that you feel so deeply, and the fact that you’re concerned about your own goodness, tells me that you are a decent person.

      Bad people don’t care whether they’re good or not. They don’t think about whether they’ve hurt people or not. I’m sorry there were bad people in your life who chose to hurt you, but that’s on them and them alone.

      You’re a warrior. Look back on how much you’ve survived and how far you’ve come in your life. How could you be anything but?

  47. Rustin Day Captain

    Hi lizzie74,

    I get what you mean about feeling lonely despite having a lot of friends. It’s difficult to manage and I’m sorry that I don’t have an answer on how to deal with that specifically because I’ve truly never found a solution for myself. I will preface this by saying that this could be incredibly inaccurate but part of you may be reacting because of the experiences that you’ve had growing up. If you would want to look more into this, you could find a therapist that specializes in trauma. If you need help you could look at the link at the top of our page or psychology today to find these therapists in your area. I would also recommend checking out the book “How the Body Keep the Score” by Bessel Van der Kolk. It shares some really great information on how experiences impact how people process and react to new experiences. Speaking for myself, I’m more content knowing how my brain processes things and this makes me feel less lonely because I know that there are others out there that struggle with the same issues. I hope some of this information helps! We’re here if you need us!

    -Rustin

  48. jlanderos16 Volunteer

    Hey Lizzie74,
    Thank you for sharing your story with us (AVFTI)! Im sorry you had to experienced sexually assault multiple times when growing up with men, no one deserves this overall. You’re a string human being for sharing this with us and if you need help looking for resources please let us know, we are here to help and support you. And I understand how you feel misunderstood and feeling lonely when you have a lots of friends growing up, but maybe you could try to talk to them and you feel less money and misunderstood! But thank you for sharing with us and hopefully you come back and giving us an update!

    1. jlanderos16 Volunteer

      Lonely*

  49. rachelb098 Volunteer

    Hi there,

    First of all, thank you for speaking up about what happened to you, that takes a lot of strength. What happened to you was not your fault and I’m sorry for what you’ve been through. You’ve done a great job of describing how you feel and I’m impressed by your level of insight and self-awareness, that’s a powerful skill. I’m hearing that you’ve been struggling with feelings of loneliness for some time now and that must be incredibly painful. You deserve to feel understood and connected with other people and you have true perseverance for dealing with this as long as you have. You shouldn’t have to go through this alone. Text VOICE to 741-741 to speak with a trained counselor, or reach out here anytime. Thank you for all you’ve shared with us and I hope you have a peaceful week.

    All the best,
    -Rachel

  50. CarmenR Volunteer

    Hi there lizzie74,

    I want to start by saying that I am sorry for what you have been through. You did not deserve it, and you are not at fault.

    I’m sorry you’re experiencing this loneliness as well. I think sometimes survivors tend to feel alone, especially because what we went have gone through can feel isolating. I have shared the same feelings. Please know that you are not alone though. We are here for you. We understand you, and we support you. Have you considered meeting with a therapist? Sometimes just having someone you can talk things out with can really help in feeling understood and heard. Stay strong. We are here for you, and let us know if there is anything we can do for you.

    Carmen

  51. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    Hi there,

    First, I am so sorry for all the pain and trauma you have experienced. You didn’t deserve this, and this wasn’t your fault. As a survivor myself, I have definitely felt some of the feelings you have felt, and felt disconnected from people because of what I have experienced. Honestly, the biggest thing that has helped is talking through those feelings with a therapist. Trauma impacts you, sometimes in ways you aren’t even always aware of. Talking through that with a therapist helps. If you click on our Find Help tab, you may be able to find some resources in your area. You can also text VOICE to 741 741.

    Erin