Feeling disconnected for me was one of the worst things of my childhood and going into adult life. It wasn’t until I went to Al-Anon that I found myself understood.
I remember being at home thinking why doesn’t my Mum understand where I’m coming from. She doesn’t seem to be able to understand my point of view or at least be able to empathise with me. I was at a loss, what was I doing wrong. Was I some really odd kid that was just difficult?
Throughout my childhood I didn’t seem to click with friends at my secondary school, I had different opinions to others. I wanted to do different things to them, I wasn’t interested in taking photos of myself and posing, I wasn’t interested in learning that much, I didn’t have the same sense of humour as others. What was it, I was odd. That was it, I was just different and weird. I must have been because I kept getting the same sort of responses from people.
Not being the popular child or one that the kids would pick at school to be part of their team or project. Later in life I didn’t seem to easily connect with new friends. I was friendly enough but sometimes it didn’t last, people soon tired of me. This caused me to feel so lonely and mis-understood. Often I didn’t understand others either, I would often ask questions and make tactless comments.
Feeling disconnected as an adult
Later into adult life this feeling of disconnection continued, I would strive for this understanding specifically from my Mum as my Dad died from alcoholism by the time I was 21 years old. I wanted something from my Mum she just wasn’t able to offer me. We were on different pages, very different characters. When you connect with someone, you feel it instantly.
Being Understood, Finally
In my 30’s after far too long I decided to walk into the rooms of an Al-Anon meeting. For those that are unaware it is a support group for people affected by someone’s drinking. I walked through the doors, even though I felt like a fraud as my Dad had died years before. I sat through the group for 2 hours and asked people some questions at the end and that was the start. That was my journey into the Al-Anon rooms, I made some lovely friends.
When I sat there are listened to others, just like me I felt understood. For maybe the first time in my life, I felt like they totally got that side of me. The side that had been seeking this connection for so long, for someone to ‘get me’. I went to Al-Anon for a year and really cherished my time there and learnt a lot about myself and others. They were often saying the things I’d said to myself, or feeling the same way.
How to get connected
It’s no secret that in order for us to feel connected, we need to be with others like us. I’ve demonstrated that in my experience above, it really does work. In this digital world we live in this is far easier than it ever was. You can find online support groups for pretty much everything. There is no reason for us to feel disconnected anymore, a lot of groups are confidential too. It allows you to build relationships with other like-minded people. You can have relationships with other children of alcoholics.
On the positive side I have managed to turn this around and not only do I feel understood by others, I understand myself more. Do you truly understand yourself? Know yourself inside out? We often don’t pay as much attention to ourselves as we do others, that isn’t applicable to everyone but I think a lot of people don’t.
Top Tips For Connection
- Find an online group of like-minded people and interact – You can join my Change Your Mind closed Facebook group here.
- Find a local face to face activity, group, social situation of like minded people and interact
- Understand exactly how people don’t understand you? Is it your opinion? Make a list of ways you don’t feel understood, is it in certain situations, with certain people?
- Stop and listen to yourself, trust in your gut instinct
- Understand more things about yourself, what you like and don’t like
- You may like to read my post on the inner child which is all about connecting with yourself