Being Alone in Loneliness

I was in the shower having a conversation…a one-way conversation. I was going through a difficult time emotionally. It was during the worst part of my recovery from childhood sexual abuse. At times‚ I truly felt I was slipping into some form of insanity. The conversation didn’t last long and didn’t really help me. Yet‚ I just needed to talk with someone‚ anyone‚ as I was in the pit of utter loneliness. So‚ I talked a while with a baby spider. I was lonely.

One of the greatest human fears is being alone. Some people can deal with loneliness better than others based on our family background and personality type‚ whether by nature we are an introvert or extravert. I am an introvert, so this added to the loneliness I struggled with. An irony about very lonely and isolated people is that the thing we want and need the most—intimacy with another person(s)—is the very thing we may consciously and/or unconsciously avoid. We can become so used to being alone and isolated that doing social things becomes so awkward and hard it is easier to just stay alone. This then adds to our lonely dilemma…we need people‚ yet being around people can be hard‚ almost impossible sometimes‚ especially for those who after years of loneliness have become “institutionalized” by the loneliness. It can start so slowly. Perhaps years and decades before we were more of a people person‚ but one choice way back then led to another choice. The years pass by and somehow we have become extremely lonely‚ highly isolated from contact with the human race.

Chronic loneliness and isolation can become unhealthy, even dangerous. Our minds can begin to play tricks on us. If we have slipped into extreme loneliness and isolation, we can lose touch with society and forget how to be ourselves and interact with other people. One reason many of us stay lonely and isolated is that it is a “safe” place to stay because no one can hurt us there. We were hurt by someone in the past and we are no longer willing to take the risk to know and be known by others. It is very common for children from abusive‚ broken home backgrounds to drift into deep loneliness and isolation. The twist is that even though we play it safe and stay in our loneliness, we are miserable‚ even more miserable than being around people. This misery exists because on some level there is a hidden‚ dead part of us that is craving and crying out for intimacy with another human‚ whether it be for a friend and/or spouse. God made us to be with other people, so extreme isolation and loneliness will lead to frustration and depression. And being frustrated and depressed can be symptoms of deeper, untapped issues. So, loneliness can start and/or be a part of an unhealthy, damaging downward spiral. Are you lonely and isolated?

The following are some things I have done, and still try to do, to deal with loneliness and isolation: