Being on the outside, looking in. Feeling this way is maybe the most basic and most continuous feeling that I have. Feeling disconnected. Like I am standing outside a house, looking through the window, seeing the people inside, seeing them interact and be meaningful for one another, yet never feeling part of it. Never feeling like I could possibly be a part of it. Feeling like I’m forever only on the outside looking in.
Sometimes people turn my way, see me and interact with me, maybe smile or talk with me, but it’s always through the glass, and after a while they will turn to other people again. Real people who are inside with them. Not me outside the house.
Coming to live with my family hasn’t changed that. Having gotten better hasn’t changed it either. My most basic feeling is one of disconnectedness. The only person I feel connected to is my mom, but not in the way that I feel like I can be inside the house with her. Whatever I do or whatever she does, I never make it inside the house. Instead it feels like she’s forever coming outside to be with me, even when it’s cold out here and it would be way nicer inside. But since I can’t go inside, she comes out, no matter the weather out here. Sunshine, rain, snow, heat, wind… she’s coming. She even comes to sit in the doghouse with me, if that’s where I have retreated to.
It makes me feel loved and connected to her. She’s my safe person and I love her more than I can say. But it makes no difference to feeling like I am forever outside the house, looking in.
My oldest sister, she’s similar to me in that way, also someone who hangs out on the outside of social relations a lot. I just noticed it again on Thanksgiving. And since she’s also outside anyway, we kept each other company a little. But that, too, didn’t get me inside anywhere.
I don’t know what’s with that, that I seem to be unable of ever being inside. Inside where other people are, where it’s warm and comfortable, where people are caring and connect to each other and are meaningful to one another. Sometimes I reach out to people, feeling like maybe I could make it through the door, try to be kind, try to show them I care, but then something happens . . . for example they ignore my attempt, which feels like they turn their back and close the door, or many other people are already there, who are already caring, and I feel dispensable and like what I can offer is too insignificant compared to what other people can, or like I would only bother them, forcing them to have to react to me somehow, and then I retreat by myself. Discouraged, I just step away from the door. Go back in front of a window from where I can at least watch and imagine how it would be to be inside. Or, if that’s too painful, retreat into the doghouse, telling myself I don’t need anyone anyway.
What the heck is wrong with me, that I can’t get into any house, ever? I really don’t know. From out here it looks like most people – normal or disordered, it doesn’t matter – can get inside houses. Maybe not all the time, or maybe they don’t want or can’t stay inside all the time, but at least they *can* go inside. Even my sister. Only me, whatever I do, I always only get to the window, on the outside, looking in.