written by: Kosjenka Muk
It surprises me sometimes, how many people say that fear of being alone makes them stay in unpleasant, unhealthy, even violent relationships. Personally, I like being alone, even if I like a good relationship based on trust far more. Fear of being alone is actually quite an abstract expression, so let’s check what is under the surface of it.
Before going into that, check first if your relationship
is unhealthy partly because you act in a childish and irresponsible way?
If you are prone to self-criticism, you might take over too much responsibility. Such a pattern usually includes inner conflict and constant internal battle between anger, guilt and fear, so use those feelings as a road sign. On the other hand, maybe you prefer making the other person responsible for everything? Some indications might be: feeling of dominance or supremacy, feeling special, looking for other person’s faults and mistakes and mentally exaggerating them, spitefulness or anger which again might hide fear and insecurities.
It’s not always easy to distinguish one pattern from another, especially if you try to distinguish them on the basis of verbal, rational descriptions. To be certain what is going on inside you, you need to get to know yourself and the way your brain and body work, through introspection. One of the indications that you are in a healthy and mature emotional state, is feeling calm and, in a way, “pure”, without internal conflict. Your mind will never be completely free of internal turbulence. However, if you are in a healthy state, you will approach doubt as a friendly feeling, instead of as something dangerous you need to fight by all means.
If you are certain that you are in a relationship with somebody incompatible and whose immature behavior you do not encourage by acting irresponsibly yourself, it remains to be seen what is the background of your fear of being alone. As a rule, we’ll discover that what we call fear of being alone is actually some other kind of fear – fear of an emotion or a challenge. Recognizing this is the first step towards a solution.
Some of the patterns often hidden behind fear of being alone are:
Fear of being labeled as social failure
Perhaps you expect that, if you are single, other people will see you as not desirable enough or incapable of a stable relationship? Sounds like you are prone to excessive, black & white self-criticism and seeing yourself and your behavior from the worst perspective possible. Besides, you are quite dependent of others’ approval, which usually accompanies self-criticism. Probably at least one of your parents, if not both, often overreacted to unimportant details of your behavior. Focus on resolving those experiences from childhood, as well as developing supportive relationship to yourself.
Fear of life
Perhaps you generally don’t feel capable of facing people and challenges, so you seek help and protection in a partner? You will probably search for people who appear strong and confident, but often there is a risk that they would turn out to be dominant, controlling, arrogant, even violent. Perhaps your parents, mother in particular, were full of fear and anxiety that you “adopted”. Or maybe your childhood was “too perfect” – you were overly sheltered and didn’t have enough chances to learn to face challenges of the world around you. That means you need to go through a not always pleasant process of building confidence through practice, in situations many other people have already learnt to deal with – but better later than never.