The Isolation “Method”

The Isolation Method
Drawing by Adrian Serghie

   Did you ever care about something or someone and then sh*t happened and you got hurt? What was the first thought that came through your mind in that moment? Was it something similar to “I’m not doing this ever again”?

   It seems that whenever we get hurt physically or mentally by something or someone, we tend to drift towards this “never again” area. This is an adaptive response we developed over the years to keep us from getting hurt and it’s normal. It’s an evolutionary thing. We’ve learned it both by doing stuff and by seeing others doing stuff because our survival depended on it. If a caveman tried to pet a sabretooth tiger for the first time and the tiger ate that person, other cavemen noticed and they didn’t try to pet sabretooth tigers ever again. They avoided it.

   When it comes to mental, things are not that easy because whatever hurts one person, it might not hurt another so we cannot learn to avoid things as easily as we did it with physical danger. This is also a big blocker in our path towards showing empathy because if we cannot understand the reason behind someone’s pain, we cannot be empathic with that person. So we need to experience things ourselves.

   We tend to avoid whatever gets us hurt because we don’t want to feel that pain again. It is a defence mechanism we have for keeping us safe. The problem with this is that we live in a world where anything can hurt us. A word can do more damage than a knife so if we got hurt by that word once, we’ll tend to avoid anything associated to that word. This is how some phobias are created. We avoid that pain and we get anxious whenever we encounter that word/situation/person/sabretooth tiger. The more things that hurt us there are, the more anxious we become and because of it, we tend to isolate ourselves so we don’t get hurt anymore.

   Since the physical isolation is not quite that possible, we tend to apply the psychological one. We hide behind sarcasm and bad jokes. We get shy. We tend to keep a distance between us and the people around us. Basically, we’re trying to raise some big mental walls so no one can get to us and this way we think we’re going to be safe.

   Although this isolation thing might seem to be a great strategy, there are some risks here. We ask for isolation and we’re getting isolation. Once we try to open up, there might not be anyone there to help us because we just pushed everyone away with our walls. When it comes the time for us to receive some help, no one will be there to offer that help just because they don’t care anymore. They raised some walls too when it comes to us. If we start and hold a long term isolation, we’ll receive long term isolation and it all started from some pain.

   Do you isolate yourself after you get hurt? How do people around you tend to behave when you do it?

46 thoughts on “The Isolation “Method”

  1. Yeah I do isolate myself. Like a kitty licking her wounds. But it’s not a long time. Just need to process the thing. It really depends on who and how and why and stuff of the situational context. Listen to some music and do something physical to keep myself busy. Not busy distracted off topic, but distracted enough that I don’t OVER ANALYSE the pain. To keep my mind distracted from perceiving bullshit perceived hurt, and separate it from the intention.

  2. I absolutely isolate myself — I have a horribly skewed fight or flight mechanism due to a lesser known form of OCD I have. It is compulsory for me to withdraw at the slightest, and I mean slightest, form of rejection, hurt or implied inadequacy; even if my loved one or the person in question has done nothing in particular to harm me, but merely changed their tone of voice, While I do agree with you that it is a double-edged sword, when I look at my high school peers that were polar opposite to me, many of them have stayed somewhat stationary in their life and their views, whereas I think my isolation has permitted a self-discovery and creativity and realization of my own individuality they may not have gotten to experience.

  3. I can relate with this post on so many levels, it’s quite scary.
    After being in a toxic relationship for over a year, I’ve learned to be wary of people who showed similar characteristics as my previous partner. Even if a person seems nice and genuine, the moment they show a similar act or say something my ex would say, warning signs are triggered in my head. I don’t know how to trust fully anymore. It broke my faith in people, and I don’t know how to get pass the solid wall I built to replace it.

    1. I guess that the wall is up because of the potential pain. Maybe if you give yourself permission to get hurt again, the wall will get down (I know it sounds strange, but that’s how I see it).

      1. Maybe that’s true. But pain is the last thing I want to feel again. I think I can’t trust others because I also don’t trust myself. My judgement can be skewed sometimes. It’s especially hard to make good decisions when my anxiety level is sky high. 😐

  4. I rather confront those who hurt me instead of isolating myself! I assume that we often hurt other people emotionally and don’t recognize that our words hit their hearts. Therefore I am sure that others sometimes are not aware too, how they can hurt me. If they do this with bad intention-// then it’s totally different. But we are all pretty imperfect and can hurt others very easily

    1. Yes, people don’t realize what their words can do. If we manage to transmit it without attacking that person, maybe people will be more aware of the strength words have.

  5. My daughter did that . She killed herself. It took us two weeks to realize it. We found her 2 days ago. I am beyond devastated. I am the only one who cared something. I’m her mother.

    1. I’m so sorry for your loss. This is something words can’t describe. Isolation creates loneliness and loneliness creates pain until it pushes people to do things like this…

    2. My most sincerest and deepest and darkest and most tender of condolences to you and yours. I am so very sorry you have to experience such tragic and personal loss. It is the most tragic of things for a person to ever experience… And my heart goes out to you.
      Thank you for sharing your specific pain here on the internet. It is my hope that by doing so, you receive the assistance you require to help yourself heal. Xoxox

  6. The Isolation “method”
    Coincidentally my friend and I had a conversation about this just 20 mins ago and I’ll say the same exact thing I said to her, yes I am guilty for using this method, I still do and quite frankly I prefer it because it doesn’t pose any danger. Over the past few years of my life, I have perfected the art of building up mental walls which cannot be broken down because if someone tries too, they’ll be met by another set of walls. It has become a natural instinct to protect myself from harm because I fall under those type of people who at the sight of feeling vulnerable, run in the other direction,I’ll be honest enough to say that it has affected many of my relationships with people because I feel like the more someone knows about me, the more I’m prone to being hurt by them, so what I do is that I bottle up things, I isolate myself because I can’t get myself to talk about the things that hurt me especially to those around me. So this blog has become my form of escape, I feel like whenever I’m here, writing, commenting, reading everyone’s post, in a way it’s like breaking down my walls and trying to start all over again because I’ve started to feel a sense of closure in comparison to the times where I used to see my psychologist and she would try to persuade me to open up but at the end of the day, the sessions weren’t fruitful. With me, my isolation “method” comes from if I feel as though you know me or can see through me, I’ll stay away from you and make sure my walls are as high as ever because the state of being vulnerable is an unwelcome feeling and experience to me.

    1. Thank you for this thoughtful comment! How did your psychologist try to make you open up? Also, how come you went to see a psychologist? What was the motivation behind it?

      1. I generally have a lot of social problems, they got worse once I got to high school. The reason why they got worse is that I never had someone to talk to, I tried once and I got judged for it and that was the last time I tried opening up to anyone, my parents never really believed me, they always thought I was the problem. So here is a scared 15 year old girl, no one to talk to because no one believed her – my grades at school started suffering, I had fits whenever I felt threatened and I didn’t know how to handle them until one day I just couldn’t do it anymore and I tried to commit suicide, I failed at the attempt and that was the day that my parents had a wake up call and they saw that its time they listened to me, so they are the ones who actually took me to the psychologist and she was the one who told me that I have anxiety and it comes from all the years of keeping quiet about the things that hurt me. I refused to talk to her for the first few months so she made me write down a long list of things and people that hurt me. The last session I went to, she told me that the only way to get past the hurt is to accept that I have been hurt then after accepting it, I need to forgive

      2. I see… that must have been very tough. How would you self-evaluate now compared to those times? Do you feel better?

      3. “Do I feel better?” would be a question I would need to ask myself every time because the stupidest thing would set a flashback and those flashbacks would bring back the pain I felt during those times and on such occasions, no, I do not feel better, I actually feel worse, I think maybe if I did things differently, things wouldn’t have turned out the way they did and I go through a really depressive state where I blame everyone for everything I’ve been through, especially those that left me that said they never would. Every feeling that I experience now are effects of what I’ve been through, and slowly I start accepting that yes, I did go through that even though sometimes its hard to accept, and the more I accept that I have been through those situations the painful it becomes but also the better it becomes because I can speak about those experiences like what I am doing right now. Self – evaluation? I’ve actually become a better person, all those situations have made me a really conscious person, now instead of just living in the world I do, I try understand more about this foreign place and why is this foreign so harsh, and by doing that I reflect and educate where I can and that’s what makes me feel better than anything else: helping others understanding the why and how.

  7. No… “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” Alexander Graham Bell … the heart moves on looking for the door that has opened… 🙂

    “Holding on to bitterness is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die”…

  8. Going through this right now but I’m a sucker for pain. I think I’m a masochist because I seemed to gravitate towards these situations. Thank you for this post!

    1. Thank you for taking your time to read! Masochism is related to finding some sort of pleasure in that pain, so if you don’t find that, you’re not a masochist. It’s probably more related of choices and people.

  9. The last time I went through a major breakup, I completely lost my balance in life. I didn’t do anything but what absolutely needed to be done, then lied on my bed and watched the food network. My family was extremely concerned as I also stopped eating. Bad breakup.

      1. About 2 months, then I got sick – fluid build-up down my spine, was incredibly painful. After that I haven’t let anyone into my life for almost 5 years. Now, I’m a lot better. ☺

  10. I’m, unfortunately, the one who is usually pushed away be someone who has been hurt before and is too scared to get close to someone else. There is a common theory of ‘always be in control, ditch them first before they hurt you’

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