The fear of spending time alone

It can often be observed that some adults have the fear of spending time alone. They can even be terrified of it. And now I don’t mean that they are afraid of retreating for weeks, with no human contact, being isolated from the outside world. But I mean completely everyday things, like spending half a day at home alone, maybe to live alone for a while, go shopping alone and such.

It might sound strange, that there are people who are not able to spend even a little time alone – which for others would be insignificant. Unfortunately though, there are many of such people out there. In this article, you can read about what behavior is triggered by this fear, where the roots are of this issue, what kind of relationships and friendships these people will have and what parental behavior will be the result of it when it comes to their own children.

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How do those people behave who are afraid of spending time alone?

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They are the ones who, on the one hand, always do something. On the other hand, they always do it with one or more people. Over the years, they have developed a sufficiently wide circle of friends, of whom there is always someone to join them for an activity.

They are the ones who prefer to be in the company of someone from dusk until dawn – let it be a friend, their parents or their partner. They do everything they can to ensure that – in extreme cases – they do not have to spend even an hour alone.

They are the ones who move out of the parental home either to live together with their partner right away, or to such an “own” place, where they can surely have at least one roommate. So that they can reach their goal of never being alone.

Even if they are able to spend some time alone, they still need some noise around them – this can be the switched-on TV as a background noise or loud music. Silence is one of their greatest enemies, making them feel the misery of being alone.

They are the ones who are so preoccupied with not being left alone that they forget about themselves in the meantime. As for the sake of always having someone around they are more likely to adapt to others in extreme measures – and in the meantime they lose the connection to their own selves.

They simply do not know who they are, without others, without their image being reflected back by others. They are often not aware of their own feelings, fears, needs, desires.

After all, when would they have time to think about these when they never spend time alone?

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Where does this fear come from?

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I am not revealing a big secret: now as well – as many times before – the answer is to be found in the childhood. There are people who grew up with parents who are too dependent, full of their own fears, who mainly focus on fulfilling their own psychological needs. These people will learn as a child, that they are safe and protected only if there is someone around them all the time. For such children the alone time is used for punishment only. So, it is nicely conditioned in the child, that things are all right only if they are not alone and there is a problem when they are alone.

But what is this conditioning really about? The parent injects their own fears and not healthy behavior mechanisms into their child – mainly in a completely subconscious way.

These parents themselves are afraid to be alone, so they chain their kid to themselves, they are always together. Thus, the psychological need of the parent is met, but to the detriment of the child. As this child – when they grow up – will run this very same pattern in their own life. Or at least until the point when they realize how harmful it is for them and they start to work on changing this pattern.

Those children who were raised this way, as adults are full of insecurities, fears and distrust against the world. And it is because in their childhood they didn’t learn that they themselves can solve the situations they get into (at least partially). Instead, they learned that Mum/Dad is always – but really, literally always – there and help them and solve anything instead of them.

These are the so-called ‘helicopter parents’. They are constantly circling over their child (around them), not leaving them alone even for a moment. Not even when the child is already at an age when they would be completely fine alone.

They are the parents who say about an even already 10-12 year-old child that “he is still so small”. And they treat this child exactly that way. They treat them as a small child, as a baby, as a helpless one, who always needs company and help. And this child will believe that this is who they really are. This child will believe that this is the normal way – to always be helped and that they cannot be safe alone. And what is injected into them as a child, that they will take with them to their adulthood as well.

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What behaviors can be observed within a relationship?

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First and foremost, they don’t want to be alone, as we already know that. When they are in a relationship, they always want to do everything with their partner. If the partner happens to be busy and not being able to have breakfast with them in the morning for example, they will rather skip the breakfast. “Eating alone…?! No, thank you…” The best for them is to be together with their partner during the day as well, so the best solution is to work at the same place. But if this is not an option, then the minimum they need is to be constantly in touch with their partner through texts or calls all day long.

They build a complete symbiosis with their partner. Or at least try to. Due to their fear of being alone, they even do things that otherwise would not be interesting for them, would not be their own things.

They can take over their partner’s hobbies, views, behaviors, daily routine, anything, really. All for the sake of being able to spend even more time together in this symbiosis – and not because they would enjoy these things. But of course, if we ask them, they are the most enthusiastic ones to talk about the new hobbies of their partners that they are also involved in now, and they are convinced that this whole thing is good for them and normal. But somewhere deep, even they themselves do not believe it. And the real reason of these actions is that they want to avoid spending time alone – so they create this symbiosis.

When these people are in a relationship, they can completely give themselves up. It can also happen, that their whole life is going to be about their partner. They will do everything for the partner, help them in everything and in the meantime, they forget about themselves. They can give up their own individual goals (if they ever had them at all) and with all their focus they live for their partner. I guess that you can all feel by now, that this is a rock-solid addiction for them and also a psychological game.

Since we are actually talking about an addiction, such people can go from one relationship to another even immediately. One after another, non-stop. If they are very extremely afraid of spending time alone, it can become a practice for them to start looking for a new partner already when they feel that the expiration date of their current relationship is approaching. And they will only initiate the break-up if they know that the next partner already awaits. This is how they ‘achieve’ that at whatever age they may not have lived alone for a day, they may not have spent a full day alone ever…

And if such a person finds him- or herself without a partner (for example for their ex breaking up with them), a difficult period begins for them. During such times they can realize at what a low level their self-confidence is, how much they cannot function alone in life, how high their level of anxiety and fear is in such a situation. They are not able to eat alone, sleep alone, plan their life goals. Suddenly they feel empty, aimless and lost.

But why? The answer is simple. Because their life so far has been about their ex-partner, who is no longer with them. Now, everyday life should be about themselves, but they have no practice in it, they don’t know how to do it. And at this point in life either they realize it and start to change, start to work out this very harmful behavioral pattern from their soul or… they immediately start to look for another partner at the speed of light.

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In the continuation of this article – coming soon 😉 – you can read more thoughts on this topic from the relationship, friendship and parenthood point of view and also about the possibilities of the resolution of this behavioral pattern.

Related articles: 

Holidays with an extreme narcissist – 2nd part, the solution options

Holidays with an extreme narcissist – 1st part

Toxic parents – Their typical sentences and the damage they cause

Toxic women: how to recognize them & what to do about it

The pleaser syndrome: signs, disadvantages and the healing process

The trap of “…but what will others think?”

The danger of the ’love-chocolates’

Growing up un-loved

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What is a Man-child & how to tell if you are one!

Toxic women: how to recognize them & what to do about it

Are you living with a narcissist? Signs & solutions of this toxic relationship

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If you liked this list, you can find my other article compilations here.

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