October 19, 2021

In my short life experience, I have come to understand there are three types of loneliness.

Loneliness – the effects of isolation.

This type of loneliness is a choice and can often bring about joy in the solidarity. Isolation from people, is a stamina booster for introverts. They are able to recharge their ability to focus, physical stamina as well as mental. Often being able to be alone, even if you aren’t an introvert, can provide a sense of independence and maturity in rational decision making. However, too much of a good thing can be just as bad. Isolation when in a permanent state can create social anxiety, social awkwardness or influence a negative ego. Often you find this negative side of isolation in Hollywood depictions of “hermits”; the grumpy old man with his shot gun, or the strange old hag with her cats. Yet you never see the positive side; the minimalistic nature of friendships (having just a few to spoil and focus on), the long baths with candles and incense and the serenity of a cabin in the woods away from the day to day stress.

I cherish this type of loneliness, serenity, in my daily life. I aim to give myself 1-2 hours each day away from the world (including cell-phone and TV) to center myself and be able to give my best to the people in my direct contact. I have learned the art of having very few friends, so that I can give my 100% to them rather than just 10%. In fact, my friendships are strong and they understand this side of me! They know that if I disappear for a few days or a few hours that I’m not mad at them but just recharging to be able to love them at full boost.

Loneliness – the effects of rejection or abandonment.

This type of loneliness can be felt even when one is not alone at all. Within a marriage this is sadly most common. When one partner feels “lonely in their relationship”, its not the absence of a relationship but the abandonment of their partner emotionally or feeling rejection caused by something becoming more important then their romance. The raising of children, work environments, friendships with peers or even influential hobbies, all play a part in causing this kind of loneliness. When there is not balance in a person’s life, one can abandon what is important for the sake of, or the lack of time. One can also sense this type of loneliness from a different side. Friendships as time passes are meant to grow and change, but when these friendships altogether pass away, the feeling of abandonment and then co-dependency on other friendships can make one feel this loneliness. You ever have that friend who demands so much of your time and attention only to find out you are their only friend? More than likely this person is experiencing loneliness because they feel abandonment or rejection from others and thus are desperate to not loose you too.

I experienced this type of loneliness in my late teens when I realized all my friends were 5-10 years older than myself. Most of them were getting married and having kids, or going to college when I was still in high school. At the time, I didn’t stop to realize that our lives were changing but instead felt irrational anger and hurt by their abandonment. Even today, I harmed my ability of connections with others who are at different walks of life because I still struggle with this thought that everyone eventually leaves. I can truthfully say I am older and wiser, knowing now that not all of these friendships failed because of my abandonment issues (some were just fake friends to begin with) but I still struggle and learn every day.

And finally…

Loneliness – seclusion.

Unlike the first two, this type of loneliness has no true probable cause and thus no true solution. A recent study on the progression of depression in the United States has attributed to the cause of most individuals depression to be this sense of seclusion—but not in the way you might think. They are secluding themselves from emotional bonds, emotional stimulation and yes, any positive emotion. This type of loneliness is the person standing apart from the crowd, not because they want to but because they feel they have to. They are the individual hosting the party but not taking part in it. They are overly stimulated by social interaction and easily provoked but they give great advice and often have a lot of friends. It’s an ideal they have created in their mind to not allow others to understand them because they do not understand themselves. They may long to be apart of the action, but as soon as something begins to affect them they withdraw. Being around this type of person, you may sense an emotional disconnect and in turn begin to feel your own sense of loneliness and when they realize they are contagious they will often irrationally do everything in their power to cut off the relationship. They desire to feel cherished and safe, but never do. They long for true deep connections, but never stay around long enough to find out.

This is my constant state of life. Mainly driven out of fear, I put myself in harmful situations knowing the outcome because its safer to know then to face the unknown. I’m the supportive, kind and perfect girlfriend that doesn’t talk about her personal feelings or open up about the hurt she feels inside. I’m the best friend full of advice and wisdom, generous and helpful at all times, who refuses to ask or accept help herself all the while wondering why she feels so stuck.

Presently, it’s a struggle to even cope with this normal lifestyle. I wake up wondering if my coworkers will even notice if I’m working today. I go through the day and text or call a few people but run out of things to say when they begin to ask me questions like “how are you”. I’m supportive of things I don’t agree with, because I have to be in order to keep those I love happy, but then get angry at things, behaviors and results out of my control. How am I supposed to allow things to happen that I know won’t end well? I go to bed at night alone, feeling the comfort of my bed but wishing my dreams would bring me some sort of clarity as to why I’ve let my isolation go this far. Yet my dreams are always nightmares gradually building up to the emptiness I feel inside.

I have no solution, else this would be a “tip” and not a journal. But I want to know, what experience do you have with these three types of loneliness? If there’s away out, I’d love to know, but probably won’t take it because I’m to comfortable feeling utterly alone.

7 thoughts on “October 19, 2021

  1. This was actually very insightful and well said in multiple parts and in too many ways also hit home in my own day to day life for most if not all the reasons you explained in your personal life. Personally going through the same struggle of wanting relationships, friendships and other but also feeling that the people are happier without me anyway and not worth the effort just to get rejected or pushed away eventually. Like you said it takes a few great friends to truly understand and get this conundrum inside of you and be ok and still want to be your friend because they know even through everything you care deeply. Anyway in short this was very eye opening and really hit home some issues that I need to work on in my own life and appreciate you sharing your personal experience and in a way that was so clear, almost like glass shattering clarity. You are a amazing person and I know compliments are probably hard to take or accept but I’m sure your cherished by your friends and appreciated even if they can’t find the words and I’m sure you leave a lasting impact in people’s lives for years, so give yourself more credit when you can, as easy as that is to say of course.

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  2. I wonder if the isolation of anxiety and vulnerability fits into these categories or is in it’s own? Your post is really interesting and related to it a lot. I wish I could appreciate isolation more but, as you say, too much of a good thing can be harmful and mine, borne a lot out of anxiety and, I suppose, our society’s culture, is quite painful.

    I wondered if I could re-post this piece on my blog, with a link and credit to you? I write and also share stories about anxiety and sensitivity.

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  3. Just to add, it does sound difficult for you to feel that isolation of seclusion and, perhaps, insecurity, However, I hope you can find the right people who can start to bond with and slowly the barriers may dissolve somewhat. But, it’s good to hear that you can appreciate aspects of isolation too.

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  4. Cool points about longing and loneliness, the one where self feels alone even in marriage is a tough one, surrounded by people even loved ones, but still emptiness grow inside. And the other kind where self tends to run away at the sight of any real connections, seclusion, which overtime can lead to self made isolation. I think I am somewhere between seclusion and isolation lol. But more and more I am realizing its something about self that leads to loneliness. As if, there is exist some barrier, a wall within self, a self made wall that is, that creates the seclusion, isolation and eventually a life of loneliness/disconnection. This wall is some kind of a formation over a lifetime, that builds up slowly but surely, memory by memory, then becomes a force of its own, then words like authenticity and connection, vulnerability become so alien, fear becomes the ruling word. I have embarked on a process of self-forgiveness to undo some formations, still not much I can say about ending loneliness, so its still a work in progress. End of the day, other people, no matter who, can’t really fullfil my needs, they cannot forever and ever remove my own loneliness, its mathematically impossible, so it comes down, how I can I end my own loneliness as self being the authority and directive will. Thanks.

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