Support Systems

For a large portion of my life, I have felt that I have not had a very strong support system. Growing up, I was not taught how to talk about my feelings, I was encouraged to shut them down. It was not until I was living in “the real world” that I noticed the way I expressed myself was not normal, but it was the only way I knew. I did not have the kind of parents you could talk to about anything and everything.

I first experienced death when I just turned 10 years old and I did not know how to deal with such a thing. I was not talked through loss. I was given the news and then left to my own devices. I even remember some cruel kids mocking how this person died. I was lost at that point and from here is where I started building up my wall. Being mocked for having feelings did not feel good and so I thought it best to keep them to myself.

After this time I chose not to speak to anyone about anything. I slowly became closed into my own mind and nobody was allowed in. From what I remember, my childhood lacked the warmth and comfort that I saw from other families. Being part of four siblings, I often ended up not being heard. I was the weakest of the voices, including those of my parents. I believe this is what further made me subconsciously close myself off to others. Whenever I tried to talk about how I really felt, I would get a negative response or be mocked and so the wall was built from an early age.

As I experienced opening up and discussing my feelings, I simply did not. When it came to actually doing so, I did not know how. I simply felt awkward or stupid and so I chose silence. The counter part to this was that I screamed or cried, trying to push my thoughts out into the open. To others around me, this was not normal, but at the time I was not aware. I thought it was standard behaviour. It is what I was taught.

Fast forward quite a lot of years: It was not until I was in my late twenties that I began learning to talk about what is on my mind and how I felt in an open and understandable way. I realised the ‘be silent until you explode’ method was unhealthy and not only hurt me, but others around me. I wanted to learn how to function the way “normal people” did. And so, I slowly began to open up.

I found that being honest towards other people helped them understand me and also I started to feel human. I started to learn it was okay to feel the way I felt, but if I did not talk about it constructively to those around me, it would only cause hurt and confusion.

Support systems: I have had a lot of people in my life try and be there for me, but I pushed them all away. I never wanted to rely on others. I thought, even in my more open state, that it was a mistake to fully trust anybody. I had been burned so much in the past, that I did not want to feel like a fool. With that mindset, I decided to leave the wall, but install a door so the outsiders could have a little and I would appear open.

It was not until last night, in fact,that I truly opened up about my concerns. I spoke to my wonderful support system about the issue that plagues my thoughts and keeps me awake at night. They did not interrupt, they did not offer input, they simply listened, held my hand and allowed me to find the words in my own time. They are the first person I have ever shared these fears with and being able to share it with another made me feel different. I realised I was not alone and I did not need to be. Before last night, I was still closed off. I still feared sharing my feelings because I never knew what the outcome would be, but it was a relief that I finally shared my burden.

Having a support system never seemed important to me for the longest time. I merely believed that you can only trust yourself, but it is not healthy and I realise that now. Having someone there for me to listen and offer comfort means more than I ever thought possible.

It took me an extremely long time to realise that being open was healing. I was that closed off that I did not even tell my closest friends that I got married, to avoid possible judgement and with that I lost them. I have lost a lot of friends because people can only go so far before they see that they are better off without me and this I do not blame them for. I should have trusted them, but my guard would not let me. I suspected them all.

Now, at the point of writing this, I feel different. I have pangs of regret. Maybe if I allowed the people around me to support me like they tried, then how different my life might be. I might even have friends. I will never wish away what I have now though and I will just have to chalk the past up as a learning curve.

I am irrevocably grateful for those I have in my life and I will continue to do everything I can to make them feel as supported as they make me. Without them, one person in particular, hand on my heart I would probably not be here today. They saved my life and I feel very guilty for pushing them away when all they have done is support and be there. They truly care and this is something I have not felt in a genuine way before. If you are reading this, thank you and I am sorry. I do not how many times I have had to say sorry and for that I am also sorry! I want to make you feel like sticking by me was worth it and I will do better.

Having a support system is a huge deal and it is literally the reason I am here today, writing this. I know that some of you may not feel like you have support in your life and I understand that feeling, I felt it for most of my life. Please trust me when I say that there are people out there who care and they want to help, listen and simply be there for you. You just have to slowly bring down that wall and let them in. Your life will change in ways you never knew if you learn to do so. Do not be afraid, there are good people out there.
I started by cutting out all of the things in my life that brought negativity. It may cause hurt at first, but once you start letting in more positivity, the less it will hurt, until the pain slowly becomes a distant memory.

To those reading this, thank you for allowing me to be open and for always being supportive and understanding.

If you truly feel that you have nobody, know that myself and I know a lot of people in this community are happy and willing to be there for you. Be brave, speak up. You are not alone.

Until next time, I’ve got your back

-Sara

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65 Comments

  1. Personally, I feel comfortable talking to people whom I am really, really close to. Still, I haven’t attained that frame of mind, where I felt like I’ve really taken down a wall. It never worked that way for me. Not until I started writing.

    And who was I writing for? Who am I writing for? These are the questions I still have to answer.

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    1. I found that I could talk to people, but I would be purposely vague as a way to protect myself. It wasn’t until I started to trust that I really was truthful with them and myself as well, that is when I started to see the walls fall. Of course it is different for everybody and all we can do is try different things until we find what is right for us.

      Never give up and I hope you find your way.

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  2. Once burnt,twice shy!
    If you are hurt once, you go into regressive mode.
    But I am glad that you found peace and happiness.
    And don’t blame yourself for the walls. Sometimes conditions are such that walls come up on their own.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It means a lot that you truly read into the things I say and you always seem to be spot on with understanding the meaning behind my words. I appreciate your support and encouragement. Thank you.

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  3. Wounds must be allowed to breathe in order to heal. Covering them and keeping them hidden will only ever make it worse.
    Like you, and many others, I learned the hard way. I lost friends because instead of opening up to them, I allowed a distance to open between us. Every time I buried a feeling, the walls I’d built around myself grew taller.
    And now, like you, I write openly and honestly about everything. Not just to help myself, but to let others see that it is okay to talk about problems.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The only way is up. It’ll happen, slowly but surely. I am just grateful that the wheels are in motion. I want to thank you for always being so kind and encouraging towards me. You are a genuinely awesome person. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m totally with you, Sara. Thank you for your honesty. Your heart shines through this post! I’m so glad that you have learned / are still learning the healthy ways to express your thoughts and feelings. I’m still learning, too. Bravo!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think as long as we are learning, that is the most important thing. You are such a kind hearted person and I want to thank you again for supporting my blog for as long as you have. It means everything to me and if you ever need anything, just let me know.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree about the learning part. I appreciate the compliments, thank you. You’re so welcome – Your writing deserves to be supported. I’m so glad that I’ve been able to offer you support. Thank you for supporting me, as well!

        Liked by 2 people

  5. You are so blessed. I mean that. It is a wonderful, healthy thing to have a support system you feel you can trust and rely on. And advice I would wholeheartedly share with my teens, or with anyone else.
    That said, I have no support system of any kind, and have not had one in years. Your childhood experiences sound like mine, in which there was no family warmth or encouragement for openness. Sharing your actual feelings or thoughts could result in stern judgment, lectures about why I shouldn’t think/feel a certain way, or indifference. I experienced the same responses from my ex-husband for many years. I had a social network and close friends when we were very involved in church, but since those days, none at all. I felt shunned or forgotten during the hardest years of my life. Doors were figuratively closed in my face when I attempted to knock on several. It seems to me as though people only want to be a part of my life if I am always happy, stable, positive, sunny me. But should I dare to become vulnerable, trusting, or in any way attached to other people, then they will inevitably leave or distance themselves. That is what has always happened. No exceptions. So no, I have no support system. I have no one to call and vent to, or share in my joys or sorrows, except maybe strangers on Twitter, and people on Facebook with whom I don’t communicate in real life. I have my kids, though, so they are, in a sense, my support system, especially my daughter. But that is a limited system, and they have their own lives and friends.
    So you see, it is not as simple a thing as trusting people. It is not as easy a thing as reaching out, or letting people in. In my experience, that has only led to loss and suffering. Better to rely on myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I promise you, I know exactly what you are saying, because it was not long ago that I was saying the same exact thing. It is difficult to trust anybody after you have been left out in the cold. I remember one time I drove to my home town, because I was feeling lonely and depressed. I was hoping a sense of familiarity would help me feel better. I contacted all of my closest friends and even some family members and not one of them was interested in making time for me, even if I were to go to them. I remember I sat in my car in a desolate car park and I cried, because I needed someone, anyone and there was nobody.
      I know it is a tremendous help to physically have that much yearned for support, but those of us who offer a hand online are still real people who care and it is a start. It is never easy to open up and it won’t happen over night. All I want to suggest is that you don’t give up entirely, because you never know who or what is around the corner. I mean my support system now, which started as an online friendship has completely changed my life. I know that everybody’s circumstances differ and what works for me doesn’t mean it will work for you, but I hope that if you ever needed somebody to talk to that you know there is always somebody to listen. The kindness of a stranger could become something greater. With that being said, I wish you all of the best in connecting with somebody, or a group of people who can help you to feel safe and secure, because I know how important that feeling is. I have only recently started to feel this way, it has taken nearly 30 years and I intend to hold onto it for dear life. I’m rooting for you.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. We love you, Sara. Keep us in mind as part of that support system, always.

    I personally identity very strongly with all of these sentiments. Eerily so. My father died when I was 10 in a very horrible way, and I never processed it and became very introverted. Spent most of my life that way. I have slowly been working towards openness, and recent conversations with a friend have been immensely helpful. This community has also been key.

    We are kindred spirits. I will always be an ally if you need it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I well and truly see how much support I get from this community and it has helped me immensely in being able to be open and honest about a lot of strains that I have been closed off about for the longest time.

      I am sorry that you lost your father at such an early age. I know losing someone that soon in life, it carries with you forever.

      You are a wonderful human being and I will always be grateful for every ounce of kindness that you have shown me. You are a guardian angel in this digital world and I feel very fortunate to have your support. A thousand times, thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This is such an important post, thank you for being brave enough to share it. It’s so scary to open up when you can’t predict what the reaction will be nor know how to, it’s a terrifying feeling. But once you do it, it’s a glorious release. All that burden on your shoulders drops one by one until there are no more left. Keep on opening up, and if you do find it difficult, tell them straight that you do find it difficult. They’ll get to know you better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is exactly what I was going through last night. It took me a long time to even be able to start a sentence, then I had to get through the tears. As soon as I started to communicate, the burden freed me from it’s wicked clasp. Thank you for being understanding. It means a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “How can you laugh whole-heartedly if you can’t cry whole-heartedly?” Tears cleanse the soul. And completely agree, you communicated and it loses its power over you. And you’re welcome and once again, thanks for sharing. ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you. I just know how it feels to crave that sense of security and comfort. Having it out of reach and the feeling it leaves is not something I would wish on anyone. I would rather help build someone up and let them realise that good things can happen as long as they do their best to stay open to possibilities. Everybody deserves these things that should easily accessible, unfortunately it isn’t always the case. I just want my small corner of the world to show a glimmer of hope where possible. For how much support I am shown, I only hope I can offer at least the same in return. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. A most moving blog Sara. I am so glad you have finally found a person to truly rely on. My husband of 48 years and soulmate for 54 years is my rock. Keep believing, it is lovely to read that you are finally finding a true inner peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a loving and thoughtful post! Praying God gives you the support team you need, as well as the strength to be a strong support for yourself! God loves you so much and believes in you more than anyone ever will! He finds such joy in you, Sara! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  10. It is difficult for me to associate to those with walls. I also witnessed death at 10, as my older sister, 12 at the time, shot and killed a man trying to rape our mother.
    At 11 I was in a juvenile hall, and 12 a foster home. Psychiatric evaluation is mandatory in the state of CA, and I had to open up with him. Our foster parents had daily discussions with each of us daily, and we all participated in round table reading sessions every night. Therefore I have no secrets and no fears. I know what’s going to happen, and embrace that which I cannot affect, along with that which I can.
    I’m glad you are having better days. Analogies and rhetoric say that people are like onions. We need to peel the layers back before we get to the core. I’m not a fan of that concept. I’d like us to be flowers, which open daily for the world to smell, see, and enjoy our existence. Even though I can eat an onion right from the refrigerator, just like an apple. Certainly the support you receive here is worth more than any bad memories. Get rid of the lint, and keep the change.
    Best to you kiddo. We’re here for you.

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    1. Sorry it took so long to reply to this. I didn’t have the time it deserved to ponder and respond. It sounds like you have been there and back again, but got the right kind of support to get you through those tough years. I am sorry you had to go through what you did when you were so young, but I am glad that you can still remain open as a person. Thank you so much for sharing your story with me and thank you for always supporting me.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. We are all such varied people, yet we stand with you here Dear Sara. We sit beside you and listen. My childhood and life experiences have been blessed compared to many. I could actually share everything with my parents and grew up without a care….. support through school and always good food on the table.
    Of course this doesn’t mean my adult life hasn’t been without glitches … but they just make me more empathic I think. Be well my dear ❤

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  12. Reblogged this on Hot Shot Headlines and commented:
    I’ve been following Sara’s blog for quite a while. Her poetry is beautiful. She also makes the time to reply to every comment that is posted. She’s so sweet, and supportive!

    I wanted to share this post of hers about support systems. She’s an awesome person!

    Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Excellent post, Sara! I’m so sorry you went through all of that in your younger years, but I’m so glad you you are learning how to overcome it now! You now do have a support system! I’m so glad Laura Beth shared your post and I was able to learn about you. I’m now a follower of your blog! 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much for reading my post in the first place, it means the world and I truly appreciate the follow. I shall be sure to thank Laura Beth too, she is a wonderful person. Welcome to LaLa Land, I hope you enjoy your stay!

      Liked by 1 person

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