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To have realised just how isolated I am(3 Posts)
In March I returned to the UK from my year abroad in Europe, which was part of my degree. I'm now back in my home town, where I live with my mum and teenage brother. My mum has been a single parent from pretty much day one.
Since returning, and obviously with lockdown, I have realised how isolated I am, and always have been. My mum is a single parent but has basically never had a support system. She doesn't have any friends, and claims she doesn't want or need any. She has a relationship with her parents but it's not particularly close. As a child obviously I went to school, and I always had at least one friend there, or at least someone to hang around with, but I definitely did really struggle socially at times and people really hurt me. I did well academically but I was always a very quiet child, maybe even shy. I'm not in contact with any friends I had from school, either primary or secondary. To be honest by the end of school I didn't have anyone I wanted to stay in touch with.
I don't think I ever really learnt good social skills. Nobody taught me. I had no idea boundaries even existed until just under two years ago, and I'm still learning to implement them. I've had some really lonely seasons, and this has been one of them at times. I always thought I was just unlucky and hadn't met the right people yet, and that I was a bit shy, but I think I just haven't learnt, and although my mum is fantastic, the isolation she brought me up in has been really damaging.
On my year abroad I met people who I felt did accept me as I was, even though I was quiet, and for the first time I felt like I had a support network. But we were all doing a shared activity, which is now over. I don't know how to maintain those friendships now. I find it really, really hard to stay in touch with people. I can manage with one or two, but I'm an introvert and I find it exhausting to try to keep up with everyone all the time. But if I don't, I don't have anyone.
I literally don't know anyone in my home town. I did go to a church here before my year abroad, but I don't think I had friends there, more acquaintances or older men/women who 'looked after' me. There's nobody around my age who I could call a friend. And obviously I can't see any of them right now anyway as it's all online.
I kind of resent my mum for bringing me up like this. She has no idea. She 'doesn't need' people and is happy enough without them. Even the physical location of our house is isolated, we don't live right next to people. Moving out isn't an option right now, not for another year at least. I don't know how to get out of this cycle.
Find a group near you that you can join aboout something that interests you. Make an effort to keep in touch with those friends you mafe when away...it doesn't have to be constant, everyday...just once a week. Are you going to work now you are home? It is another opportunity to meet & interact. How do you nean you didn't know boundaries existed til 2 years ago...? You went to school, there were boundaries there surely? Rules of interaction & engagement, expected behaviour, unaccepted behaviour? I am alot older than you OP..I didn't know the terms/labels boundaries & overstepped etc in terms of personal r'ships because I just didn't...ppl were just annoying, rude, in your space...whatever. Don't overthink this, your Mum did things her way...now it is time for you to do things yours...embrace the world & be comfortable with who you are..shy/introverted...don't label yourself, you are you .. put yourself where people are...try a little & you'll find your tribe...
Oh, what an awful time to have to come back. Do you still have a year left of university?
I've often thought that parents should be obliged to establish (even artificial) support networks when they have children. I read so often here of a parent needing someone to have a child overnight while they're in hospital or even just moral support, and they have no one. It seems so unfair on the child.
As regards your own feelings of isolation, use them as a springboard for thinking about how you want to shape your life. Your current situation need not be permanent - but you'll have to expend some energy in taking the paths that will surround you with empathetic people.
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