One evening I stayed up in bed, wondering about my life. Fear of the unknown knocked on my door with memories of being left alone by friends and family. At the root of it was loneliness and childhood trauma that I thought was laid to rest. But no, childhood trauma reared it’s head towards me again prompting me to take another look.
I am sure you have been where I am too. Feeling lonely and isolated from your children, spouse, and friends but not able to pinpoint why. I can tell you right now that loneliness is usually a signal to the areas of your life that need a little more TLC.
Signs of loneliness in Childhood
Here are several signs that you grew up lonely in childhood:
Feeling isolated in the presence of others
You might have felt isolated when others were near you as a child. Even in a room of 10 people, you may have felt like you were left out of a group or experienced deep rejection by others not noticing you.
Left alone for extended periods of time
Did your parents leave you in the home alone for extended periods of time? When you called your mother to come home, she probably never came when she said that she would so you probably waited every hour for her to walk through the front door.
Your feelings or thoughts were dismissed
Your parents often told you that your feelings or thoughts did not matter. This can cause a child to feel alone in their thoughts fearing that if they share their feelings that it will immediately be judged, scrutinized, and cast aside.
Felt scared to do anything independently
As a child you probably struggled with being able to do anything without your parent’s approval. You looked to your parents for validation and affirmation but these emotional needs were never met.
Difficulty with self regulation
When you were a child, you probably had difficulty with self-regulation. As an adult you probably deal with retreating back to behaviors in childhood, like sucking your thumb, sleeping with a teddy bear, crying in a fetal position, getting easily triggered by stressful events, engage in excessive self-stimulation, or self-medicate with drugs or sex.
How childhood Trauma leads to loneliness
Fear of Abandonment & Rejection
When I was younger, I often feared my mother leaving me if I did something that she did not approve. So I did my very best to please my mother and to avoid stepping on her toes. This is what happens with many children that grow up to become adults. They may drive others away by clinging to them with people pleasing, always saying yes, always seeking attention, and molding themselves to be like others they admire( because eventually genuine people will ONLY want to be around someone that displays authentic individuality). Something your earthly parent did not teach you.
Related post: Heal Soul Wounds
I remember the times when I was silenced from sharing my concerns, hurts, or pain to my mother. I tried standing up for myself, but I was faced with rejection and the old saying – “you don’t know anything, you’re just a child.”
My only outlet was my prayer journal but that too was secretly taken away by my mother. She read my journal without my consent to use what I said about her against me. Once again, she attempted to silence my voice. All of my emotional needs went unmet by her. She dismissed my feelings, shamed me for having them, and gave me the silence treatment to punish me emotionally.
Fast forward to now, loneliness grips me when I feel that my emotional needs and wants are not being met as an adult. It becomes difficult to believe in Father God to take care of me emotionally because of childhood emotional neglect.
How to Heal Traumatic Childhood loneliness
Related post: Childhood Trauma in Adulthood: How to Heal
Healing is a process not a destination
Loneliness is not something that you push through to move pass the discomfort. Loneliness gives you the opportunity to work on yourself. It may take months or even years. The take-away point is accepting the healing process with it’s ebbs and flows.
Self- Love is just as important as loving God
The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for others].’Matthew 23:38 AMP
The same way that you love others ( emotionally) it is also important to love yourself. It is important to practice self-love by taking care of your emotional needs and wants. What makes you happy or brings you joy? You see happiness is something that you want as an emotion but joy is a state of being that you need to sustain you in this life.
Take the time to write down the things that you want in life. These will be the things that you can do for yourself like going to the spa, eating your favorite ice-cream, etc. Then write down all of the things that you need emotionally. Is it daily hugs, affirmation, validation, or love? These will be the areas that you will need to take a deep dive with God so that He can fill up the empty spaces in your heart.
Scream and let it out
There were times in my healing journey that I could feel the need to scream. It crept up inside of me like a volcano ready to erupt. But I would just stuff it down because I didn’t have an outlet. But one day while driving on the highway, I screamed from the top of my lungs. I said out loud to the abusive version of my mother, that she wasn’t there for me emotionally and how upset I was about it.
I didn’t have her in front of me to silence me anymore. I could yell at her without any repercussions. You can also write in a personal journal your frustrations. Just pour out your heart and your anger on those blank white pages. Healing is in the writing and in the pouring out.
Look at King David, he was the epitome of pouring out his emotions to God. He went after God’s heart in prayers and declarations. The Lord met him in His weakness and King David was able to rise up victoriously.
God wants to meet your emotional needs and wants
God wants to satisfy your soul with living water. He understands the places in your heart that is thirsty for an encounter with Him. The woman at the well did not know that she needed a savior that would satisfy her thirst with living water that would never run dry.
We need God’s living water so that we will be sustained and regulated in our emotions by His fresh flowing water.
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