Orphan Survival Stories Index |
ALONE vs. LONELINESS
As a young boy living in an orphanage, I cannot actually recall ever feeling 'lonely.' However, I do recall feeling all 'alone.'
That ‘alone’ feeling was about the only true feeling I had from the age of 5 to 14. I guess that arose from me being physically and mentally abused, and isolated from the rest of the real outside world.
I think that there is a very big difference between feeling ‘lonely’ and feeling ‘alone.’ ‘Alone’ is a state of mind that a child goes into after having been lonely for long periods of time. I consider it to be a protective state of mind for a child.
A child can only be lonely for so long, before the hurt of loneliness finally fades away. Well, it doesn't actually fade away. The knowledge of the feeling is still there, but it changes into a feeling of emptiness. That empty feeling always leaves them feeling ‘all alone’ and it remains with them almost their entire life. After years and years of such abuse, that feeling of emptiness will stay with these individuals even into their adult years. Even when they are around large groups of people, they will still feel as if they are all alone and not truly part of the action. Even when married, they still feel they are living outside the family realm.
After 14 years of not being part of a normal family structure, the feeling of being ‘all alone’ sort of became a way of life for me, just as it did for the other kids at the home. Feeling ‘all alone’ became a natural, normal, everyday kind of a feeling for me.
Even after I grew up, that ‘alone’ feeling became who I was as an individual. You sort of go into a state of mind where you do not have to think for yourself and you become afraid to make decisions. You tend to go into a hazy state of mind under pressure and you tend to think only when you are forced to react, because of a physical action. That would explain why so many of the kids (now adults) from the orphanage always become physical when having a verbal argument with another individual.
I have been asked many times if I was unhappy as a child. Being as honest as I can, I have to tell them I was not an unhappy child. However, I was not a happy child either. I was sort of caught somewhere in between the two – in that hazy, non-thinking state of mind that allows one to float along and agree with whatever is happening around them. I suppose that would also apply to words like 'glad' and 'sad.' I was neither ‘sad’ nor ‘glad.’ I was just there. I was just in the orphanage - somewhere in my own time and space.