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#69421 - 12/04/05 07:19 AM Hermit Phase
sonlite Offline

Registered: 12/11/01
Posts: 100
Loc: North Carolina

1. Has anyone gone through a "Hermit Phase"? By this I mean a time when you actually don't want to talk or engage w/ anyone.

2. I ran a 10k today and I had a really good race and although I am a bit sad that I have no one to share that experience with, I am just in an "Oh Well" shoulder-shrugging state of mind about it.

3. I could've gone to a gay bingo event last night or chosen to go to a straight dance event, but instead I just came home and went to bed early. I just didn't want to be out and about w/ people. Tonight I might go out for a steak dinner to celebrate my race, by myself. Or, I might just go to the grocery store and be even more to myself.

4. I'm trying to find an inner acceptance of this so long as I know it is only a phase. But I don't even have the 'desire' so much to be around people, much less engage and connect w/ anyone, or even think about sexuality.

5. God knows I've been working like a dog at healing and figuring out deep questions and facing deep fears and maybe I've just worn myself out.

#69422 - 12/04/05 10:05 AM Re: Hermit Phase
sonlite Offline

Registered: 12/11/01
Posts: 100
Loc: North Carolina
Me Again -

I've been pondering, and I am realizing that I have spent almost my whole life in trying to find reasons NOT to connect w/ others, all in the hopes that will keep me safe.

[Might Trigger]

Here are some of my barriers I have constructed to keep people away ...

1. I don't have enough money
2. I took on a lot of debt from my divorce.
3. I don't own my own home.
4. I might be gay.
5. I might not be gay.
6. Since I don't know if I am gay or not, I don't want to 'hurt' anyone, so I will avoid everyone.
7. My penis is too small.
8. My car isn't new enough.
9. I haven't done a lot of things in life and so I don't have a lot of "stories" to share w/ others.
10. Bc I was abused, my stories are too sad.
11. I don't fit in, bc I am too intellectual.
12. I never feel smart enough, or good enough.
13. Men are unsafe.
14. Women will leave me once they learn of my financial issues.
15. I don't fit in bc I am too "deep".
16. You have to have friends or else you can't start from scratch and make friends.
17. All I can offer is to be a good helper to others and people who don't need my help, won't see any value in me.
18. No one cares that I have survived enough life events to have my own episode on Oprah.
19. I am sometimes in a little-boy state.
20. Once my "secret(s)" come out and people see me for who I really am, they will abandon me or abuse me bc I make them uncomfortable.

WOW - just writing these out is powerful bc this exercise is allowing me to face my (misguided) "truths" ... I desire to create a better life for myself and I am trying to give myself the space to heal. That starts by taking the time to really examine my beliefs and motivations.

I decided to just "be at Peace" w/ being solitary for now. And I accept that I am in tune enough w/ myself that when it is time to get out and mingle, then I will know it. I'd much rather choose to be at peace w/ my solitude than to ruminate over how I am supposed to be anything other than what I feel right now.

Yep, I'm deep. I Love me anyway.
Thanks for Listening.

#69423 - 12/04/05 10:59 PM Re: Hermit Phase
chuck Offline

Registered: 04/30/03
Posts: 97
Loc: mid atlantic
I read both your posts and they make sense especially the second one where you list all the reasons not be social. However I feel it is tough for us who are survivors, because we can find reasons for isolation. Like you I can find reasons not to go out and just sit at home to read, to watch dvds, or to sleep. I know that feeling but when that happens I get on the phone and call people I know just to talk. Also I need to get out and socialize whether it is going to bingo, book clubs, gay friendly churches or whatever that gives us contact with other human beings. There might even be a gay jogging club whre you live, that you could socialize and go to races or get together after races.

Yes we need quite time, write in our journals, work with our therapists but we need time to be with people. I am discovering that it is helpful for me to let people get to know the present day person not the person of the past. That past part can be shared when it is necessary. Your list includes many things that many people feel, people who have not been abused. Yes we all need to take life slowly and safely but we do need to push ourselves once in awhile.
The most significant item that you write and that I am working on is trying to Love myself. Your message is helpful for me.

#69424 - 12/05/05 02:10 AM Re: Hermit Phase
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA

You are showing, here as in the past, a lot of courage and integrity in getting your issues out in the open where they can be discussed. It takes a lot of trust in others to do that - another quality. Do you see where I am going here? The very fact of drawing up that list shows us qualities that refute some of the things you say in your list!

I think so many of us would identify with your list, regardless of our sexual orientation. What's really important is to recognize that the things on your list are not FACTS, they are FEELINGS. They aren't logical, but in many ways recovery isn't about thinking "logically" anyway. It's important to get the feelings out, because they are like flags announcing problems you need to work on, but they are not necessarily the real YOU; a lot of them are just mistaken ideas about yourself that have been loaded onto your back by abuse. SO many of them only need to be recognized in order to see how false they are.

You ask about gays in a hermit stage. I can't answer that from my personal experience as I am not gay. But in college I had a housemate and good friend who was going through hell as a result of coming out and losing the support of ALL his family and almost all his friends. He felt hated, rejected and shamed as a person because of a part of his life over which he had no control. He found it difficult even to go out of our house and attend classes, fearing that everyone was looking at him and gossiping about him (and yes, there was a lot of that). The few of us who stuck with him he really valued, but that didn't reduce his pain and feelings of rejection.

The solution for him was to do more or less what Chuck is talking about: we were near New York, and he went up to "the city" and found a gay synogogue, a gay book club, and a lot of other places where he could just be himself and not be judged. This was really important, and eventually it gave him the strength and confidence he needed to deal with the rest of the world.

I guess what this means is that all of us need to have safe people around us, a kind of "family" circle within which we feel safe and valued and able to try out new ideas and possibilities without getting trashed at every turn. If the people in that circle can't be blood family members - fine, their loss. We can look elsewhere. I think all of us can do this, because all of us have value and much to offer to others. We just have to value and love ourselves first, as you and Chuck both see so clearly.

Much love,

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

#69425 - 12/05/05 04:18 AM Re: Hermit Phase
wandering Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/04/05
Posts: 10
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally posted by sonlite:

Here are some of my barriers I have constructed to keep people away ...

[ 1 thru 20 ]
how can we all feel so alone and isolated and unique and freakish and be walking around with the exact same lists in our pockets?

how does it end? the hermit phase, i mean. the more i turtle up the harder it is to come out. i'm afraid to leave my apartment most of the time. i dawdle and putter around delaying leaving to go to work. i feel less and less able to talk to people. somehow none of this seems conducive to preparing to leave my hermitage....

#69426 - 12/05/05 06:59 AM Re: Hermit Phase
sonlite Offline

Registered: 12/11/01
Posts: 100
Loc: North Carolina

1. I don't know "Who I am" right at the moment.

2. Earlier today I went to meet some straight people to watch the football game, but there was a fight at other end of the bar (violence makes me VERY UNcomfortable)

3. So I left there and went to a GLBT friendly bar and ended up talking to some nice lesbian women bc I just didn't have the nerve to talk to any of the guys (honestly, none of the guys there really appealed to me).

4. Went back to the straight bar at the end of the game and sort of danced to the music while standing by some women I know from a hiking/sports club I belong to. But aside from the "That was a Great game" comments, I didn't really talk to them, either. Also walking back to the straight bar I passed a family; a husband, a wife, and their two little girls in their Panthers rain ponchos walking hand in hand. And part of my little heart almost cried, bc I want soooo much to be a husband and father someday.

5. Now, it is evening time and I could get in my car and go to a gay Christmas party I know about bc I am on some group's mailing list. But I feel so damn short-circuited in my head I don't know if I should even bother.

6. I am getting out there to be in the space of people but I am finding it hard to want to talk and make connections.

7. This all has less to do w/ sexual orientation as it does have to do w/ trusting God/Universe and myself that people are safe and that I can be safe no matter who I may be attracted to at any given moment.

8. This safety issue is EMMENSE bc I got humilated and called "faggot" and "sweetie" and even surrounded and beaten up a few times during much of middle school and high school. So in therapy the other day I was talking about how my brain learned that gay = being the target of verbal and physical violence. No wonder I would rather be alone than consider a relationship w/ a guy, even one I was attracted to and had good conversations with.

9. A Note to Wandering: in spite of my angst and uncertainty, I don't regret being out there and at least being in a crowd, even if I'm not talking much.

10. Who Am I?
If I had a definitve, concret answer to this question, my life would be a lot easier, but it is up to ME to CHOOSE to experience and explore and go where my heart is most pleased. Maybe I'll just flip a quarter to decide if go to the gay Christmas party or not (pretty pathetic).

Thanks for Listening.

#69427 - 12/05/05 09:42 AM Re: Hermit Phase
sonlite Offline

Registered: 12/11/01
Posts: 100
Loc: North Carolina
"Ask and you will Receive"

1. After writing what I did before, I went up to my room and watched ESPN's NFL Primetime for a bit and then in a mood of exasperation, I decided to head out to the gay Christmas party.

2. As I was driving, something in me shifted and I felt different. And I sort of "knew" that I was not going to the party after all. But that I was out driving to be in this space of feeling different.

3. ... "And what was so different?" you might ask ... I Felt Like an Adult.

4. If you don't have to deal w/ dissociated parts, this might not make any sense at all. But this is being written by someone who had shut off emotion, and passion, and experiencing-the-present moment, all shut down for years and years of my life. So I have spent the last few months alternating between the personality states of a terrified little boy, an angry/rageful-as-hell adolescent and a hot and horny young-adult.

5. If you don't have to deal w/ dissociated parts, this might not make any sense at all. But feeling like an adult, was like a light-filled miracle, right there in my car. I haven't really had much experience in "FEELING LIKE" an adult.

6. I have done some adult things like get married, get a masters degree, build a career, get divorced, rebound, buy things, rebuild, workout, run races, ect.

7. But the actual going through the day and FEELING like an adult is unfamiliar vs. my usual feeling like I am frantically working my ass off to fake my way through, hoping no one finds out the "truth" about my immaturity.

8. In my "adult" moment I was indeed a husband and a father. And I sort of understand that this glimpse of feelng like an adult will likely be temporary. I understand I may wake up tomorrow as an agitated adolescent as I still have some healing to do of the years and years of humiliation and trying to be invisible. And as I try to "create" myself, just as teens and young adults have to go out and experience and explore to become secure.

9. It is past my bedtime and I don't even understand what this all means even as I am writing it. I guess I got a glimpse of a me I am comfortable w/ creating. And if I go ahead and explore the sex w/ a guy thing or even if I just go dancing and learn simply to be more open and present w/ all of the gifts that are inside me - it will all work out ok.

Once Again, and Sincerely ...
Thank You for Listening,

#69428 - 12/07/05 01:22 PM Re: Hermit Phase
Galapogos Offline

Registered: 04/15/05
Posts: 110
Loc: usa
Yeah, I can relate.
I've been through phases where I'd have little or no contact with people, outside of going to work. I tend to keep co-workers at a distance because if we get too chummy then the usual questions come up, and I don't really want to explain why I'm single, never married, and never date at 39.
One time I realized I'd gone almost a month and no one had called me (except telemarketers..). All my days off were spent alone, no one thought to call me on a weekend. That was kind of strange, sad, whatever. I realized I do need contact, interaction, some kind of shared experience with people, with friends.

"3 ... "And what was so different?" you might ask ... I Felt Like an Adult"

That's interesting to me. I've had the feeling sometimes- when I'm in a group of co-workers, or at a gathering at a friends house with people I don't know that well- the feeling that they're all adults, and I'm somehow not, somehow lacking, not up to speed. On some level I'm aware that I don't have the same life experiences most people have by 40, I've never been in a relationship, never trusted anyone that much, and so on. Part of me fears being found out, fears someone asking personal questions. Part of me still reacts like a 12 year old...maybe thats part of the reason for hermit phases?

Digging in the dirt
Stay with me I need support
I'm digging in the dirt
To find the places I got hurt
Open up the places I got hurt
--Peter Gabriel

#69429 - 12/08/05 09:07 AM Re: Hermit Phase
sonlite Offline

Registered: 12/11/01
Posts: 100
Loc: North Carolina
1. I go to a sort of "New Age" church where they talk about accepting everyone and all religions and all people unconditionally. And I got out of my Hermit routine and went to a sort of meditation/affirmation like thing at the home of a woman I know from my New-Agie church.

2. And as soon as I got there I knew I had made the right choice to go. The people there were really easy to get along with and not the least bit judgmental or competitive.

3. So I am wondering if maybe choosing a niche-group of people vs. trying to fit into the more traditional social groups, might be best for those of us who have survived non-traditional life experiences.

#69430 - 12/08/05 06:59 PM Re: Hermit Phase
hanginon Offline

Registered: 01/25/03
Posts: 89
Loc: sarasota, fl
dear group,
i am very much in the midst of my "hermit stage" and have been here for at least 2 years.

i have a job that permits me to work from home, alone. I live with a roommate but he is not emotionally available at all, so i am "safe" here.

i have not always been so isolated - i have carefully constructed a world that avoids a lot of contact with the gay community, my family, and my friends.

how do you get back to a mindset that allows you to feel "safe" in a world full of people who will never understand the abuse?

I appreciate all the responses.

walker, there is no path, you make a path as you go...

(caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar...)

Antonio Machado

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