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March 5, 2014

Loneliness

What is loneliness? Is it a nothingness, an absence, or something different for you?

 

“God, but life is loneliness, despite all the opiates, despite the shrill tinsel gaiety of “parties” with no purpose, despite the false grinning faces we all wear. And when at last you find someone to whom you feel you can pour out your soul, you stop in shock at the words you utter – they are so rusty, so ugly, so meaningless and feeble from being kept in the small cramped dark inside you so long. Yes, there is joy, fulfillment and companionship – but the loneliness of the soul in its appalling self-consciousness is horrible and overpowering.”
-Sylvia Plath

 

Everyone experiences loneliness. It is aching to be healed and it can be.

 

Loneliness can feel very destructive. For example, when someone loses a love they may feel lonely and have thoughts of life being useless without love. They may feel as if they are never going to be loved. That is the first bit of symbolism in loneliness. It says that the person learned loneliness at a time that they were feeling destroyed. Very true. Very young children do not know things exist beyond what they can see. So, when a child awakens, they cry for their mother or primary parent and magically he or she appears. If the parent does not show quickly, however, the cry changes to a wail. It is at this point that the child believes he or she has been abandoned and unable to survive. The child is learning loneliness (as well as abandonment).

 

Loneliness can be tied to shame. This too is learned in early life. Shame is that icky feeling inside that says you aren’t good enough. It is that feeling that has you question why people see you as not good enough when you feel so good on the inside. It makes you ask: why can’t others see my good self? As children, you learn shame from the judgment of your parents and family. Maybe you were told you are an embarrassment or maybe you were told not to tell anyone what happens inside the home. It could be, you were constantly made to feel like you, your dreams, and your actions weren’t good enough to earn love rather than judgments or maybe you just heard so many judgments that you could not assimilate the compliments. All or any can be precursors to the development of shame.

 

It doesn’t stop there. The shame makes you feel not good enough. It grows to make you feel not good enough to be wanted, loved, or kept. So, you fear you will be abandoned. If you are abandoned you are lonely and without. It is why loneliness is so connected to the absence of belonging. If you do not feel you belong, then you may think you prefer to be alone … Yet, you are looking for love and partnerships! More than likely the isolation in this situation is an effort to master the loneliness.

 

Isn’t it odd that we push everyone away and want to be left alone when we are lonely? If you understand the shame, fear of abandonment, and the need to master the loneliness, it makes sense. The loneliness may influence thoughts that it is safer to be left alone.Once alone, the feelings of loneliness may increase, This is how the loneliness spirals. It is at this point that destructive thoughts of suicide may appear. If those thoughts appear, understand they are showing you the destructive aspects of the experience. If those thoughts become scary to you please reach out to someone. Loneliness can be healed and more often than not is experienced in bursts but is not permanent. Everyone experiences loneliness in this life. Everyone is capable of transcending or getting to the other side of it. The very few that don’t see the other side of the loneliness gave into the pain and were engulfed in depression or committed suicide.

 

How do we heal loneliness? This question is not a “how to” that can be answered in this blog because healing loneliness is so individualized. Let me see what I can do to offer a general idea. If you or someone you know is feeling lonely, ask what it feels like. See if a metaphor can be created. Then objectify the metaphor. That allows you or the other to separate from the loneliness and not identify with it. If the loneliness is intense this will not work. It is a time for you to ask yourself or the other what YOU or THEY need at that time. This is not a time to think you know what someone else needs or feel you have to listen to what others tell you you need. It is a time to say, “Come over and sit with me because I do not want to go anywhere.” It is not a time to struggle with a friend who is trying to get you to go out. Be very aware that you do not want to buy into the loneliness you want to help it pass. If you or someone you know is seeming stuck in the loneliness and starting to get lost in depression, please contact a professional immediately. Depression can be healed and averted if dealt with early in the experience.

 

Please offer your comments on the blog and if you have any questions regarding loneliness, feel free to contact me at AskKristen@KristenBomas.com. I look forward to hearing from you all!

 

1 Comment »

  1. Very informative Kristen. 🙂

    Comment by Holly G — March 6, 2014 @ 11:43 am

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