In Isolation

During my marriage, I lived in isolation. I knew people outside of my home and sometimes shared specific experiences concerning my ex-husband with them. But somehow, I managed to keep most of the pain and embarrassment concerning my family’s truths buried deep inside. So deeply were they buried that I was able to keep them secret even from myself.

I could acknowledge and even vent about single incident, say an argument or behavior that annoyed or hurt me. I spread my venting comments around throughout the people I knew so none of them knew the entire truth at one time. No one, in my opinion, had enough information to put two and two together; no one could have said, “Hey, Kellie, his behavior sounds abusive!”

That is, until I began writing this blog. At that point, you readers were able to put two and two together for me. You anonymous readers knew more about my life than the people who saw me every day or week or month.

end isolation abuse

When you began validating my experience, chiming in and calling abuse “ABUSE”, only then did I begin to completely confide in some of the people I knew in my “real life” here in North Carolina. For your anonymous support, I am eternally grateful. Before this blog, I lived in isolation.

From that experience, I’ve learned what it feels to be alone, separate from reality. I am feeling isolated again – secretive, hurting, and ashamed.

The difference is that I feel I cannot share all of my emotions and thoughts with you, my anonymous friends, because of the new and very “real” people now in my life. Before, during my marriage, there was no one who could hurt any more or less by the personal experiences I described. I now am connected with people who care about me, wonder about me, and for themselves in my posts. Maybe they wonder if I am going to mention them directly or indirectly, wonder if the pseudonym they see is their name in disguise.

I’ve been silent, for the most part, since realizing this. I don’t want to hurt anyone by sharing what I’ve experienced the past few months with them, and because they’re now a part of my life, the bits and pieces of my old marriage/current separation have merged into this life I now share with the new people I know.

It’s quite the conundrum…how can I be honest and open with all of you readers while allowing the friends I see every day to retain their anonymity, their privacy? How do I respect, openly and honestly, my own experience without polluting theirs?

I am going to try to update you on what’s going on in my life while respecting the ALL of you and my own emotional integrity. Wish me luck. I do not wish to isolate myself anymore.

(Visited 393 times, 1 visits today)
About Kellie Jo Holly

Kellie Jo Holly passionately advocates against domestic violence through her writing and mentoring service. She loves helping women cope with abuse while in the relationship and supporting them as they leave the relationship and begin to heal. You can also find Kellie on Google+, Facebook and Twitter. You can buy her books from Amazon.


  1. Rebecca Smith says:

    Hi Kellie,

    I can SO relate to everything you’re saying! There are minor differences in our stories (my ex and I do not have children together – he is my daughter’s stepfather and my daughter is now an adult; he had already left the Army when we met) but for the most part are very similar.

    I don’t know if you will ever be successful in separating the old from the new. A very wise person once told me that disengaging from people such as our exes is like “removing yourself from a very large piece of flypaper.” you get unstuck in one place only to get stuck in another. Naturally the people around you are going to be affected to some degree by whatever the drama-of-the-day is that your ex is causing. In my particular situation, I’ve been separated for almost a year now, and the divorce has been final since May. You would think I’d have my peace and quiet at this point, right? Not quite… His girlfriend of two years is also a narcissist and chose to begin harassing me at 2am about a month ago. I had a Cease and Desist issued against her. Just this past week he started texting just like nothing happened asking for my help with his personal business (I’m ignoring the texts). HUGE piece of flypaper…

    Your blogs and posts help a lot. Any techniques I find that work I’ll be happy to share.

  2. Thank you, Rebecca. The more we know the better off we’ll be.

  3. Hello Kellie,

    Like you I am discovering and exploring what it means to be in an emotionally destructive and abusive relationship. I am 50 and for 16 years I have been married, with 2 daughters 12 and 14. My spouse’s continuing denial of my feelings and needs, the blaming of me for everything that is wrong in the marriage, the need to dominate and control every decision in the household, the refusal to participate in counseling to help change, the expectation that it is me who is defective and must change, they are fine. It also took me years of feeling depressed and empty to begin to recognize that maybe my marriage was destructive to my emotional health. My daughters observe this dynamic and have lost respect for my authority n the house over the years. At times, I feel like an outsider in my own home and I think my spouse likes it that way. The difference between your story and mine is that I am the husband, but I can so much relate to what you describe and what you are going through. At times her temper is so severe I think she is on the verge of stepping toward me to hit me. Lately, through counseling I have begum to push back and to try to force her to see that she refuses to take any responsibility for our crumbling union, she always says its all my fault. Quick to anger and capable of leveling awful, cruel and personal attacks, often based on things she found out while searching my briefcase, my cell phone, our phone records, spying and snooping through my personal things, I have had to tell her to “calm down.” I am not having an affair, have not hidden money or done nothing wrong, but I have copied articles on abusive marriages and keep a journal of my thoughts. I have to keep these papers at the office because I now know she regularly searches through my things and springs her discovery on me in a heated argument. I am heartbroken and afraid of leaving and what will happen with my daughters as she says intimates that they will not want to see me after I leave. I admire the courage you exercised to improve your life and leave an abusive marriage. I am trying to get to the root of why I made the choices and I did and own the experience hopefully to grow on the future and find a partner who can love and respect me and to honestly feel deserving of the same.

    Thank you for sharing you fears, hopes, dreams and “isolation.”

  4. Happy to know that you’re okay, Kellie. It’s hard to share the feelings–mine were humiliation mostly–and that does keep you from being open and honest in new relationships with people. Hang in there, girl. This new life is going to be a good one!

  5. I guess real people who you can touch and hold and share all the delicious (and confusing) eye-contact and non-verbal stuff with have to be a priority don’t they?

  6. I understand the feelings of isolation. I rarely share(d) my feelings with others either. I have one girlfriend that I open up to, but I am usually just mute about my abuse. Mainly because I feel people just do not want to hear it, they think “if its so bad why don’t you just leave !” and you tend to get labeled a whiner. Well we all know it is not that easy, or I would have, long ago.
    My husband is now ver ill, later today we may be told he has terminal kidney cancer. I don’t know how to deal with thsi emotionally, for so many years I suffered under his caustic tongue ( my abuse story is documented under ” Carolyn’s story” on this site. Now, to think he may die and I will be alone- is kind of terrifying. When I look back I really can’t remember any really good or super times we had together-because there was always arguing or his abusive comments at every turn, yet I still fear being without him. How will I ever heal and be normal once he is gone ? I have never been on my own…

  7. Thank you Kellie for sharing this again now. I needed it. I was isolated all the time I was with him, for over 18 years. I learned and got used not to share my emotions or my private life with anyone, not even my parents. I was OK. I was alone and lonely but that loneliness was accepted as part of the deal. Then I started opening up online, to virtual friends, in a blog, on your blog on healthyplace. I startede feeling validated and believed and I realized that what doctors said was true: one more brain injury and you’re dead. I left and ran away with my 3 children all the way to Canada. I am free now, but I feel more isolated and more alone than I ever was in my whole life. He’s not here to stop me communicating with others, but the truth hurts much more. The truth is that it seems I never learned what it means to be in contact with people, to open up, to share and I’m feeling ignored, abandoned and that is killing me. Yes, I know it’s crazy but just by beating me, he made me feel I exist. I existed for him as a target but I was there. Now I don’t feel I exist for anyone?

    • I’m so sorry you feel this way, Nikky. I was so afraid of “losing my boys” to him because I thought if I couldn’t be Mom, then I was nothing. That isn’t true – I see it now. However, by the same token, you do exist for your children. They need you. They see you. No, you can’t treat them like a confidant, but you can accept their love. Let them love you as you move forward.

      I also understand the inability to “connect” with others. I feel it too, at times. I simply shut down and cannot take in one more feeling for what another person thinks. I mean, I sometimes don’t have it in me to care about them as much as I need them to care about me. This isn’t a friendship. It’s unfair to the others when I cannot be there for them as much as I need them to be here for me.

      I think the way out is to take care of my emotions like I wish someone else could. I have to be my own best friend – take care of myself – before I can give the way I want to give to others.

      It makes no sense to look to everyone else for healing, just as it made no sense to look to my abuser for love.

      Do you feel this way? Is this similar to what you expressed?

  8. Hi I just found this site. I am in the middle of trying to get out of a relationship and away from a textbook abuser. I feel ashamed isolated and half crazy from four years of him. I just got him out of my home (again) for the 7th time. I vow not to let him back,Thank God I did not have to file another restraining order,he never followed the other one. My question is how do I fight the slander that he is spreading that I am “unstable and bi polar”????? He pretends to be a sweet quite man until he is alone with me then the abuse starts. I don’t know how I even got here, I can not remember WHO I USED TO BE. He took over everything including my mind. People at work are starting to talk and I look like the “crazy”one!!!!!

What do you think? Tell us!