When we speak of feeling tired of being alone, what are we describing?
How do you think about and understand your aloneness?
- Is it something you have started to feel because of a change in circumstances?
- Is it an old feeling that you have known throughout all your life?
We are naturally drawn to relate to other people, relationships are a fundamental part of our experience. When we don’t have them for prolonged periods of time, the feeling of aloneness can be very difficult.
Assessing what we mean by ‘tired of being alone’
- Is your aloneness based on chance circumstances – such as the kind of aloneness that comes from a difficult life change, a bereavement, a divorce, a redundancy?
- Is your feeling of aloneness linked to a feeling that comes from being forced to move town or country?
Being a stranger in a strange land is very disorienting. You have to work out your bearings from scratch. It may get easier as you start to orient yourself and learn where things are, but in the early days it may be a lonely experience. In these cases, the anxiety and difficulty experienced as part of this kind of aloneness should improve over time.
- Is it the kind of aloneness that comes from the end of school, or university, or a long period in a good job?
- Is it the kind of loneliness that comes with ageing?
- For elderly and older people this can come with the loss of friends and routines of work?
There are more ordinary experiences of feeling alone. Someone who has moved countries, who has had to relocate to a different place, how do they find a way out of aloneness? It may be that there are relatively simple solutions, you find work, you join clubs that you are interested in, these things bring with them a sense of community that punctures the isolation and aloneness.
There is the sense of aloneness that goes with not having a partner
There is the sense of aloneness that comes with not having a relationship, the lack of intimate connection with another person. Or the kind of aloneness that comes from a relationship ending, the loneliness of heartbreak.
It can involve many kinds of experiences and feelings, and amongst these is the feeling of loss and loneliness. We may feel a profound sense of losing our whole world. This cannot be fixed quickly, it has to be lived through.
As we live through it we gradually loosen the ties that bind us to the person we have lost. As this starts to happen we start to recover and the feeling of aloneness lessens. It takes time. How long cannot be predicted.
There are other experiences of being alone that relate to our emotional lives that can be harder to work on.
There are experiences of aloneness that we may have felt our whole lives.
There are people who grew up feeling alone.
People who grew up with a sense of aloneness, of loneliness, of too much aloneness in early childhood, which can develop into a feeling of being permanently separate from other people.
If you had no siblings in your early years (under 5 years old), if your parents were mainly working, or if they were separated and you grew up with a single parent, then you may have internalised a strong sense of aloneness.
Coming to terms with loneliness
If you grow up in this situation then part of your life’s work is to come to terms with the sense of aloneness that sits within you. People who have come from these type of families and backgrounds may feel alone all their lives, in spite of the fact that they go on to have close families of their own.
It is important to come to terms with the sense of aloneness so that you can understand it as yours, and learn how to live with it well. If not then you may be prone to feel you are being ignored and left out by people when possibly you are not.
You may retain a particular sensitivity to feeling you are being left out or ignored. This may be experienced as a profoundly disturbing thing despite the fact that it really relates to your much earlier (in terms of your development and attachment history) experience and does not accurately reflect what is happening to you in your life in the present.
There are also people who grew up with a single parent who themselves had been an only child. This kind of parent can be difficult to live with. Driven by their own aloneness, and often without really recognising this for what it is, they may demand an unreasonable level of attention and never appear satisfied by your love and care.
- If you grew up with a parent who was themselves disturbed in this kind of way, that can place a complicated burden on you. Again, it may be necessary to come to terms with your experience, to go over what has happened to you.
As you do this you may take some of the pressure off the aloneness you feel. It will always be with you, it is part of your identity, but something of the difficult, toxic intensity may loosen. By loosening its hold over you, you may start to find it easier for you to develop relationships and so find a way out of your unhappy aloneness and into a more tolerable sense of being alone.
How can Counselling Buckinghamshire help?
Feelings of loneliness and aloneness can have a profound impact on your everyday life. You may find yourself trapped in a narrowing spiral of feelings that affect you and the people around you.
At Counselling Buckinghamshire we have a depth of experience of working with people who are trying to come to terms with feelings such as loneliness.
Contact now for a free telephone consultation to discuss how our approach may be relevant to you.