I saw your response yesterday and knew it was chocked with riches, and since I didn’t have the time to enjoy it, I saved it until this morning.

I’m glad I did.

I’m speechless. So many wonderful insights! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your incredible, spot-on observations.

Yes, utter isolation is terrifying. This pandemic has made it worse. I agree there’s a core fear of “am I enough,” but there’s also a hunger for human contact. For some type of interpersonal comfort. To have connection with another. We are made for relationship.

From conception we are in relationship with another. To have a “connection” or “holding space.” It begins with the mother’s womb, then after birth it’s her arms. As we grow the contact shifts to her gaze, to finally as we leave home it becomes a mental connection as she thinks and worries about us. It moves from the physical to the psychological realm. From the literal world to symbolic mental space- but we still maintain some type of connection.

What’s terrifying is losing all such ties. I hated the movie, Cast Away (2000), for this very reason. Chuck, the Tom Hanks character, survives a plane crash on a deserted island. He tries for years to rescue himself so that he can return to his loved ones, particularly his wife. He finally succeeds only to discover not only are the tangible connections severed but he no longer even holds mental space in his ex-wife’s mind. He has essentially ceased to exist as far as she’s concerned. He may have left the physical island but he never succeeded in breaking free of the island’s isolation.

Facing such lack of connectedness is terrifying. Yes, I can and do exist. In myself I am complete and can be enough. But is living an isolated life satisfying enough? Will it feed my soul? Or am I now surviving on an equivalent of a relational diet of bread and water? I don’t have the answer to these questions.

One a separate note:

In the course of my husband’s illness and death I lost two close friendships. I’d known these women for years. They were the kind of friends I babysat for, dropped in on, and called. Both disappeared from my life without a word. One ghosted me, even failing to make an appearance at my husband’s funeral and the other did come but rebuffed me. I was devastated. I could have made sense of the loss if we had had a falling out, but over the presence of tragedy in my life? It made no sense to me.

However, now I know, because you explained it so eloquently. They rejected the suffering and tragedy in my life because it scared them. To know such pain was possible? Impossible to bear. The easiest solution was to reject me instead.

You given me so much to think about. Thank you very much!!

Written by

Psychologist/Author. Quora & Medium Top Writer. Mom of three, Autistic woman, Relationship expert kerry@kerrymcavoyphd.com

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