Three Things That Cause Hurting Parents to Isolate

praying2As I have journeyed down the road of being the mom of a child with addictions, self-injury, mental health issues, sexual trauma and suicide attempts most of the tine I traveled alone, in isolation. It’s a horrible time to withdraw, but that’s what we tend to do. Three things that cause us to stay to ourselves are embarrassment, shame and guilt. We can’t bear for anyone to know the truth. What would they think of us? Of our parenting? What would they think of our son or daughter? We want to protect ourselves. We want to protect them. We want to run and hide. We want to keep it all a secret. Shhhhh!!!!!! Don’t let it slip out!

Keep pretending your fine. But the truth is you’re dying inside. “Secrets keep us sick”. And alone.

I had to become desperate before I would open up to anyone. I had to be thoroughly convinced I couldn’t cope without community around me. Continuing to suffer alone had to be worse than the possible repercussions of facing the people in my world with the ugly truth. It felt risky. Unsafe.

I felt vulnerable and unprotected. Like a bad dream where you find yourself stark naked in public with nowhere to take cover.  Eeeeek!! What if I was judged or reprimanded for my parental errors? What if others reject me, or think badly of me? What if my reputation is ruined? How would I handle it? Would I have answers to questions like, “What did you did wrong?” “Why didn’t you do this, or that?”

My husband and I are blessed to have each other. He’s a wonderful listener and comforter, but after a while this put a strain our relationship. We realized we needed others to support us, too. Sometimes we were so depleted we didn’t have much to offer one another. We came to the conclusion that we had to take the risk and reach out. When we finally began to open up, we were only met with words of understanding, comfort and compassion. Some are not so blessed. They’ve been deeply wounded. I’m so sorry if that happened to you. I hope you’ll try again. There really are safe people out there you can be honest with, who will accept you and support you.

Isolating due to embarrassment, shame, and guilt only increased our pain, because it allows it to fester in our hearts. Our hurts need to be released, drained, so they can’t keep hurting us.

I encourage you to find a few safe people and be honest. Maybe for you it will also mean seeing a counselor or a spiritual adviser. Be honest. Tell them what’s going on with your child. Bring your secrets out of the closet into the light. You might be surprised to discover how many other parents are suffering just like you.

You are NOT alone! And when you are authentic and risk being vulnerable, you will inspire others to do the same. It’s contagious.

A book that helped me, is When I Lay My Isaac Down by Carol Kent.  It’s a true story and very impacting. Click here to order it through our Hope for Hurting Parents website and we will receive a small fee.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2 thoughts on “Three Things That Cause Hurting Parents to Isolate

  1. Dear Dena, My daughter is entering inpatient mental health facility today after taking a large quantity of xanax. She is 19, and sustained a TBI from a drunk driver 5 years ago. I appreciate your candor…and I love the Lord Jesus. These times are bitter, and more painful than I can express. The worst part, our daughter doesn’t believe we love her. Just putting one foot in front of the other for today. Helps to know you’re out there:)

    • Loriann, I’m so so sorry to hear about what happened to your daughter and how it’s affected her. I know it breaks your heart more than you can say. I pray that somehow, with God’s help, she will come to believe your love for her. Maybe a professional counselor can give you some guidance and direction. Father, God of Love, comfort Loriann and her husband. Empower them to keep putting one foot in front of the other one day at a time. Please convince their daughter that she is more loved than she could ever imagine. And thank you that we are NOT alone on this painful journey.