This is the specific phobia of isolation--an abnormal & persistent fear of loneliness or being alone. It's the fear of solitude, People who suffer from this, may experience anxiety, depression, & may worry about being ignored & unloved.
When I was going through my last break up, my best friend asked me something that stuck with me. It wasn't too deep of a question, but it was enough to make me step back & take a look at myself.
"When was the last time you were alone?"
I paused for a second. I really didn't think about something like this on a day to day basis. I mean, unless I'm at work, with my friends, or going out, I'm alone. Right?
"No," She said, "I mean alone. Like you weren't talking to or dating anyone. When was the last time you went without having a man in your life? When is the last time you were alone?"
& it hit me.
I hadn't been alone for almost three years. I've always had someone there--a guy I was dating or in a relationship with. I've always had someone text me good morning, someone I could run to. I've always had a man there.
For the past few years, my life has revolved around relationships & not just romantic ones. My relationships with my friends, family, and men have been my primary focus. I've strove to make sure every single person in my life was happy when it came to me. I've lived my life trying to please everyone, but lost myself in the process. Honestly, it's gotten me no where.
When you live your life tap-dancing for other people, you tend to forget the essence of you. You focus so much on trying to make everyone else happy, you're happiness gets shelved. Once that happens, you're pretty much a shell. Whoever you're trying to please at that time, makes a home in you. They set up shop & turn you into someone you don't even know. So how can you be happy if you don't even know who you are?
I've learned when you become unhappy, you become unsettled. Any ounce of peace you have left becomes chaos. You overthink which leads to questions & assumptions, which leads to fears & misjudgments, which ultimately leads to depression. Next thing you know, you're depending on other people to quiet the storm, to give you your peace. Your looking to them to set up shop so you can find some kind of purpose. Anything so you're not alone.
I used to be afraid of silence. I hated the fact that I lived alone because when I turned my TV off, I would hear nothing. Silence made me think, which scared me because my thoughts would usually turn to things I didn't want to think about. Silence was never truly quiet. It was loud & full of static. There would be times I would leave my TV on just so I could hide from it.
I kept asking myself when did I become this way? When did I become so dependent on others to make me happy? Have I always needed someone there? Am I too weak to be alone? Hell, do I suffer from monophobia? Do I need to see a psychiatrist?
Luckily the answer is no. I just needed to face my fears.
The first few weeks after a break up are hard. Especially when you realize that you are the reason you keep picking shitty people. Let's be honest, if you're noticing a negative trend in the people you choose to date, they are not the problem. You are.
& yes, I was the problem.
I've read that you need to be okay with being by yourself before you can be with someone else. But I don't think that in today's world this is something that people believe in anymore. We live in a generation where people believe that the quickest way to get over someone is to get under another. Rather than taking the time to heal and reflect, we jump into another situation to avoid dealing with that hurt. We hide from the silence because we're afraid of what we might hear.
But although those first weeks after a break u are hard, they are crucial. Typically, this is when your ex tries to come back… or hell, when you try to come back. I've been through it & I've seen it. You get into a huge argument. You end it. Either you or your ex reaches out, says let's just be friends while we figure this out. You have a semi-deep conversation about how things are going to change & what you two are going to do to get better. You say sorry. They say sorry. Two days later you two are back together. Nothing has been resolved, no one has grown. Everything is swept under the rug. Until the next blow up. Rinse & repeat.
I don't want to speak too soon & say this used to be me because I think it's too early for me to say I've changed. However, I will say that I'm learning from my mistakes. In the past, I didn't want to let go of my toxic relationships because I didn't want to be alone. It wasn't that I was so in love with this person that I would die without them. It was the fact I was so accustomed to having someone around & being a placeholder that I didn't want to let them go. It didn't matter how much shit our relationship turned into, I wanted to try & make it work. I was a shell, after all.
I will say, it has now been a little over a month since I've cut off all ties to the dating world. Over the past couple of weeks, I've noticed I would rather stay in the house, alone, than go out. I actually look forward to being alone. I can recharge & reflect. I enjoy being in solitude and I'm finding what makes me happy. I'm at peace, finally, & I don't look to my friends or family to quiet my storm, because there isn't one.
I'm no longer afraid of silence. I welcome it.