I hated spending time on my own and I never liked being alone when I was a child, it was the lesser of two evils for me. I discovered that my room (when I had one) was a good place to be, I couldn’t upset anyone or be upset.
Living in an alcoholic home was chaotic at best and I hated the environment most of the time. I had some experiences that were good but so much of my childhood was lived in fear.
To keep myself occupied I would sit in my room and listen to the Top 40 charts and record my favourites. Sometimes I would do something creative and draw or make things. Anything to pass the time and escape from the drama at home.
Often I just wanted to connect with others and feel understood but it was always a struggle, I didn’t feel that my family got me and could empathise.
Dad was far too busy with his relationships with alcohol and Mum was busy trying to keep the house and family together and coping with day to day life.
My sister and I didn’t always see eye to eye as we are quite different so I didn’t feel I could go to her, or if I did, she couldn’t empathise with where I was coming from.
In turn this had an impact on me of feeling different, I just felt odd and that I wasn’t accepted in the family. Whether I was or not is irrelevant because I just didn’t feel it. Often Dad would ask when I was going to change and I regularly felt that Mum didn’t get me. Both of my parents wanted me to be someone I wasn’t.
The feeling of disconnection and loneliness was something I began to get used to but I didn’t like it. I felt so sad and upset, I couldn’t work out what I did wrong or what was wrong with me.
Friends weren’t exactly flowing to me in handfuls, I struggled to connect with people even though I desperately needed it. I did have friends that lived near me that I’d play with and escape to when I could, school was OK but when I got to secondary school it changed.
School up to when I was 11 years was OK, I really loved the ones I went to and have great memories of both but it did all seem to change when I went to secondary. It was an all-girls school and whilst my sister was there at the same time as me, albeit only for 1 year I was still bullied.
I spent a lot of time trying to fit in and build friendships but I found it quite bitchy and tended to go from one friend to another most of the time. I was often the last to be picked for netball and other group activities, which I found hurtful.
The isolation I felt was horrible and I was crying out for love and attention but I think I did it in the wrong way. Often, I would get angry and frustrated, share my opinion without tact and generally upset people.
I felt lost and deep down I was hurt, I would ask myself “why didn’t people like me?”, I had no idea what was going on. I just couldn’t seem to get it right, no matter how hard I tried, often it didn’t feel comfortable to act in a different way but I did it.
At times, I really didn’t know what to do, I would call friends and ask to play with little response or sometimes they couldn’t meet. I feel such disappointment and would ring a couple of others to see if anyone else was free.
Thankfully there were the neighbour’s kids so I would be able to go to their houses and I must say they were probably my saviour. I spent a lot of time in their houses and it was interesting to see how other people lived.
Coping with the void
Even though I had a lot of time on my own I did manage to cope, I managed to survive the environment I was and get through. I learnt to make my own fun and entertain myself which I think is a valuable skill. My creativity really had no limits and I would try lots of things, I loved using my computer and doing sewing and things like that as I got older.
Now I’m older and loneliness and disconnection isn’t so much an issue for me now, I think we can all have moments of it. I don’t think that’s a bad thing because it can make us realise how important the connections we have are.
With social media and the internet sites there are so many ways to connect with people that I didn’t have as a child. There are lots of groups on Facebook that cover a variety of interests, it’s about finding out what you love and meeting like-minded people.
Not everyone will like and accept us, that’s OK, it’s more about them than us. We are OK as we are and if some people don’t like us we can find people that do.
I’d love to hear any experiences you’d had with feeling lonely or disconnected. Please comment or email me.
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If you’d like to chat then do get in touch, I’m happy to gift you some time. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (07732) 403305.
Remember you aren’t alone and you can always join my Daughters of Alcoholics Facebook group, where other daughters of alcoholics support each other with challenges they experience from the past or present. You may have lived with an alcoholic in your past, but it’s still impacting you in the present.
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