When someone experiences stress, they could soon feel the need to get away from everyone and everything. As a result of this, they end up pulling themselves away from life.
This could mean that they will spend a lot of time at home and only go out when they need to. They might rarely answer their phone or reply to messages during this time, preferring to keep as much distance as possible from others.
As to why they feel stressed, it could be because something dramatic has taken place. They may have experienced a loss, so a loved one may have passed on or a relationship may have come to an end.
Due to this, they will feel overwhelmed and unable to cope with what is going on, which is why they will have retracted. After a number of months have passed, they might end up going back to how they were before.
Alternatively, this could be something that takes place once they get into a relationship. In the beginning, they might be fine but as they get closer to the other, they soon experience a lot of pressure and feel the need to retract.
After this has taken place, their partner could wonder what is going on and end up coming on stronger. This could push them even further away and before long, the relationship could come to an end.
Coming Back Out
If it does come to an end, they could find that they start to settle down and are able to go back to how they were after a little while. This could be a time when it is as though a heavyweight has been lifted from them.
The same thing could take place after a while if they have experienced a loss. Then again, if they have experienced a loss, it could take them a little while until they no longer spend so much time by themselves and are more available when they are around others.
At the same time, they could end up staying this way for years, if not longer. Being in this withdrawn state will limit the amount of time that they are around others and so they are likely to be very lonely at times, but they might not have a strong need to change their behaviour.
Still, if they are in this withdrawn state, where they have disconnected from their feelings, they are not going to be able to truly connect with others anyway. Being around others will then take the edge off the loneliness that they experience but it won’t do much else.
From the outside, it could be said that it would be far better for them to reach out to others and for the right support. This way, they would be able to do something about what is going on for them.
There would then be no reason for them to isolate themselves from others and to suffer in the process. Even so, there is a strong chance that they are not consciously choosing to behave in this way; it’s something that just happens.
If they were able to step back and reflect, they might wonder why they are behaving in this way. What they could also find is that they don’t feel as though they have another option.
Going against this way of behaving and no longer withdrawing could be seen as being too much for them to handle. Therefore, as what is going on externally will be too much for them to handle, it is going to be normal for them to behave in this way.
A surface-level way of looking at this would be to say that this is a defence that their ego is utilising to allow them to avoid pain. The problem is then their ego and in order for them to change, they will need to stop using this defence.
A deeper way of looking at this would be to say that there is a strong chance that this is a defence that they first started using during the beginning of their life and that this was a time when they were deeply traumatised. Thanks to this, their nervous system would have been overloaded.
When they were an infant and then a toddler, they may have often been neglected and when they were given attention, it may have been missatuned care. Consequently, this would have been a stage of their life when they often felt overwhelmed.
Their underdeveloped brain and nervous system simply wouldn’t have been able to handle all this arousal and pain. Repressing how they felt and disconnecting from themselves would have been one part; the other part would have involved them withdrawing deep inside themselves.
With this in mind, with so much pain and arousal inside them, it is not going to take a lot for them to feel stressed. To use an analogy; they will be the equivalent of someone who has already run a half marathon just before they run a full marathon.
And, as withdrawing deep inside themselves was what kept them alive all these years ago, this will be a defence that is so ingrained. They are then not going to consciously choose to utilise this defence, this will just be what automatically takes place when they experience stress.
Now that they are an adult and have a choice, they no longer need to behave in this way. Yet, this is not something that a big part of them understands, so under stress, they continue to resort to the only defence that was available when they were an infant.
To use an analogy: it’s as if one only had one food choice at one point in their life and now they have numerous choices but as they don’t realise it, they eat the same thing day in, day out. For that reason, they are heavily restricted and deprived of the nutrients that would transform their life.
If someone can relate to this and they are ready to change their life, they may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided with the assistance of a therapist or healer.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.