9 comments on “Tunnel Vision

  1. “Compliments make me uncomfortable, because they are now synonymous with being manipulated into a trap.” I think every single person who has suffered abuse can relate so well to this statement. So well said!!

    • Sometimes I will just say thank you, but otherwise I have been known to ask what they want, tell them they didn’t need to butter me up and just ask for whatever they are looking for…. The expression on their face when this happens can be quite interesting. But once I realize what came out of my mouth and I explain to them about the four years of conditioning they are more understanding.

  2. I relate to so much of what you’ve shared in this post. Compliments? Not for me. Being the focus of someone’s attention? Makes me want to shrink. Preferring to be in the background, quiet, unnoticed – that’s me.

    Thank you for reassuring me that I’m not the only one to feel this way – and as Tela has already commented, I think we’re far from alone in this after all!

    • Sometimes with some things I go back and forth whether or not to post about them, but if I’m struggling with feeling like I’m the only one, generally that pushes me to…. just for that purpose. It’s enough having to struggle with this, but that feeling of isolation is the worst.

  3. I can relate to every thing you wrote. I basically hibernated for the first 2 years. If I was invited out any where I would find a last minute excuse not to go. I was afraid to have an opinion and found it all but impossible to make “small talk” I used to be able to chit chat with anyone and I found I couldn’t think of anything to say (which was totally unlike the old me) I just generally felt very uncomfortable in the company of others, having my dog along used to help a lot because it gave me something to talk about and something else to occupy myself with.
    Last summer I was making the attempt to be more social but still not really comfortable with it. Now it has been 3 years and I am much more comfortable with meeting people and talking with people I don’t know but I still find myself being reserved, cautious, hang back, leary. Hard to find the right words but I am still not the way I used to be, I doubt I ever will be but at least I am getting out now. I am much better at one on one than in crowds though. I have found I have lost my ability to flirt. I used to be a real flirt with men, nothing outrageous but I always had a quick wit and fast comeback and I have totally lost it. I miss that part of me. I don’t know if it is because relationship have lost their fun for me. I would like to get back that light heartedness. Good post

    • Well, when we are abused, we are trained and conditioned first through verbal and emotional abuse but many of us also then through physical punishment as reinforcement, to be unsocial. It’s like we are trained to live our lives as though we don’t exist. We can’t acknowledge anyone, we can’t talk to anyone… over time our ability to do so and do it comfortably and effortlessly vaporizes almost.

      Having to interact with men is the worst, because I still have this voice in my head that I shouldn’t be doing this because there will be trouble.

      I think to a certain point we can get it back, although it will take a bit of time. It takes more effort to overwrite the garbage than it did to put it there it seems…. However I believe that it will never be the same. I wonder if I am always going to be this reserved, if being social with others is always going to serve as a trigger. But I need to live my life, so even if I have to fight to do it, that’s what I am going to do…. because not really all that long ago I merely existed and I suffered and languished in that isolation.

      I wanted to share this as an acknowledgement to everyone out there still struggling with this that many of us understand.

  4. I relate to this so much. I miss myself sometimes – my cocky, fearless, argumentative self. Abuse has changed us, for better or for worse, but you said it best – we’ve just got to keep plugging forward and just focus on the light.

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