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July 20, 2013


So many of us, even as grownups, still harbor child-like fears of loneliness, despite knowing that this very real fear may hold us back from reaching true contentment and happiness in our most personal relationships. Okay, so if we establish this as truth, then it begs the next question…WHY?

What is it about our fear of loneliness that overpowers us so? Many men and women stay in unloving or abusive relationships, despite having already achieved financial independence and needing their mate to help them sustain their independence.

As with so many of our basic fears, this one stems all the way back to when we were young. One of the most terrifying things imaginable to a young child is the fear of being left alone, unable to provide or care for themselves. In fact, being left alone long enough, can actually end in death for a young child.

While this is not something that grown men or women need to fear, many of us transfer our physical or emotional well-being over to our partners when we enter into an intimate relationship with them. This also makes us extremely vulnerable to abandonment.

We have come full cycle here because abandonment is at the root for people’s fear of being alone. When we are in relationships in which we have someone else (in this case our partner) assume the responsibility of our physical and emotional well-being. So walking away from this relationship, even if it is not a healthy one, brings up the fear of being an abandoned child.

In order for this to no longer be the case, we would need to be willing to take full responsibility for ourselves by valuing ourselves; listening to ourselves, and taking care of our physical, emotional, financial and spiritual needs. By meeting our own needs, we substantially, if not entirely diminish our fear of being abandoned.

Take an honest, sincere look at your current relationships to see if this applies to you. Is there anything you do out of fear of being alone? Do you use tears or anger to control your partner? Do you feel as if you put up with behavior that may be abusive or intolerable because you fear being abandoned and justify letting yourself be treated that way because your fear outweighs your self-respect?

Lonley 2

Lonley 2

Feeling lonely is not the same as the fear of being alone. Feeling lonely comes from wanting to share love with another and is a fact of life because there isn’t always someone there. We can feel lonely even when we are actively involved in a relationship because the other person may be closed to connecting with us. Unfortunately, many of us are willing to tolerate deep disappointment and loneliness in order to not feel alone.

We are never truly alone unless we abandon ourselves and fail to take responsibility for our own feelings and how to manage our loneliness. By learning to bond with ourselves on a deep, inner level, we will never feel alone. We learn to trust ourselves with our deepest feelings and know we will never lack the guidance and direction we need. It is always there within ourselves, any time, for the asking.

It is not easy to develop a solid, caring relationship with ourselves, but in order for us to heal our fear of being alone, we need to know we can count on ourselves to meet our needs. It is something that can be learned and practiced, and one of the most tremendous gifts we can provide for ourselves, whether we are involved with a partner in an intimate relationship or on our own.


I’m a licensed clinical social worker and have worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. I combine professional experience in the mental health field along with my love of writing to provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. I hope my down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life is easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

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