The Experience of Loneliness
Loneliness seems to be a constantly companion in our survival journey. There are moments or seasons of our lives where it doesn’t seem so bad, then it surfaces like an additional punishment until we deal with it. Loneliness has feelings of being lost, afraid, sad, depression, desperation, defective, rejection, and other feelings. All of them need to felt, processed and learned from.
Tom said it this way:
“I can’t keep pretending! I can’t! I am lonely! Horribly lonely and there is no escape! I can’t escape me! I am the one that is bad and terrible because I don’t have any friends. Actually, if I am honest, I never really did. I knew I wasn’t okay and that is why I didn’t have any friends. There was a time when I was raising my children when it didn’t seem so bad. But since then it has come back to punish me. Now I’ve carried that awful pain into adulthood and I don’t let anyone close to me because they will know how awful I am and defective. I really don’t know how to be a friend. I have come to accept that I will be lonely the rest of my life.” (Tom came to accept his loneliness as permanent, until he did his healing work.)
I have wondered about loneliness, are the existentialist right? Are we destined to travel our lives alone with intense loneliness? With loneliness comes depression, anger, hurt and tangles around everything in our lives. We may blame others when we are lonely – Why aren’t they there for me? Where are they? They don’t care! Don’t they know I am hurting and so alone and lonely. If they would just…. But that never takes the pain away. We can be alone and be okay. We can be in a crowded room and be intensely lonely. It is a journey.
Here are the seven stages of loneliness I have come to understand. It will take a few blogs to get them all in. Like grief the stages are not rigid, it is a process.
Parts of Loneliness
- Feeling lonely. This stage demands we acknowledge it and then feel it. We can’t out run it, it is inside of us. Its pain can drive us to do things we would not otherwise do such as: alcohol/drugs; promiscuous; travel (run); become bitter/angry; divorce; isolate self; never be alone; abuse; and the list goes on. The ultimate running away is suicide. Suicidal thoughts are not unusual when feeling loneliness or on the healing journey. Please never act on them and get help immediately. There is hope!
Reminder: Breaking Free from Trauma Class. Every third Thursday in Muskegon. Also Live-Streamed.