The fear of being alone is a very powerful thing. I am not sure how many people have this fear because it’s one of those things no one talks about but locks away inside to eat at them each day. I am an honest person, probably too forthcoming, which constantly gets me into messes that I’m not equipped to get myself out of. So, as part of being truthful, I am open about my fears of dying alone. My close friends who are aware of my anxiety think that I am crazy and claim that I’m 25 and beautiful and this is an irrational and unnecessary stress. Regardless, it plagues me everyday. Maybe it was because of how I grew up, with parents who hated each other and resented me. Perhaps the dissolution of my relationship with my father and 5+ year estrangement has affected me more than I care to admit. Possibly it is the fact that my mother is an emotionally disturbed woman who likely has undiagnosed BPD and 18 years of growing up with her did a number on my self-worth and ability to handle my emotions because in addition to being a very honest person, I am also a deeply sensitive girl.
For as long as I can remember I have been overly emotional. When my parents would have one of their frequent yet epic fights and we would have an all out brawl I would cry myself to sleep for hours and wake up to resume crying. Somehow as a child though, I had the fortitude to tough through it. Despite my parents being cruel to me and never really loving me, I managed to succeed. I graduated in the top of my class and got into a number of good schools. Every job I’ve ever had I’ve been promoted at and served as an asset to the organization. I also have always made friends easily and would consider myself a likable person. But somehow, my emotional response is still stuck in my childhood and when things get tough or something happens that I don’t like I overreact and cry. I have managed to do well for myself as an adult, being at the top of a large organization, owning a home, and having amazing friends but when it comes to dating and relationships, despite all my knowledge of how to play the game, I am my own worst enemy. I know what I am supposed to do but my emotionality takes over and I am far too impetuous.
I hate the early part of dating. The dinner, drinks, and getting to know each other. I like the actual relationship part. The cuddling on the couch watching a movie, the cooking meals for each other, and the deep friendship and companionship of it. So, I sometimes want to rush the beginning part to get to the good stuff and then things don’t work out. Now, as I get older my fear of dying alone grows stronger everyday. I’m not getting any younger or prettier, there will be less single age-appropriate men available as the years go by, and I worry that I will never find someone. It’s not so much like a ticking clock because I’m on the fence about ever having children but I just feel as though everyone is moving on with their lives and getting married and I’m still single. When I do manage to date someone though, I probably have an underlying desperation because of this fear which doesn’t really help the cause. When I get dumped or am dating someone and it doesn’t work out I don’t shrug it off like I should, I obsess over it. I wonder what I did, what is wrong with me that, and believe that it must be my fault. These thoughts evolve into assuming no one will ever love me. Then, the fact that I grew up with parents who didn’t really love me never helps the situation because it creeps into my mind and I am never able to forget that the two people in the world who are supposed to love you unconditionally never cared for me at all. And I can’t help but wonder, if the people who brought me into the world wish I weren’t here, how are the people who have no biological connection to me supposed to care or love me?
The fear of loneliness is one of the toughest anxieties to overcome because it would seem that the only way to overcome it would be to find someone to be with to combat the fear. Yet, this is hard to do when the fear is what stands in the way of you meeting someone and sustaining a relationship. What we have to understand about this dread is that just like everything else in life, we have very little control over it. Certainly in the present we have choices but in much of our current moments in which important decisions are to be made we are clouded by our own emotionality and make bad judgments. We all speak without thinking or get drunk and make an ass out of ourselves from time to time and messing up is part of being human as is picking ourselves back up when we fall.
What we have to understand is that the past is over and we can’t change it. We can apologize relentlessly. We can wallow in our misery and upset. We can regret, cry, and blame ourselves all we want but nothing in the world can change the fact that what is done is done. Doc Brown can’t take us back in the Delorean and HG Wells wrote science fiction, not science. All that we can do is accept what has happened, move on, and use the experience as a lesson. We can’t change the past but we can improve ourselves to ensure that the same mistake doesn’t happen in the future. We may be alone and unhappy about it but there is nothing we can do to salvage past relationships or take back things we have said and done that may have caused them to end.
What I try to do now is not focus so much on what I don’t have but rather appreciate what I do possess. Rather than be depressed about all my relationship failures, dating disasters, and epic drunken meltdowns, I will see them as lessons in life and hopefully someday as funny stories. This is of course easier said than done given my aforementioned sensitivity and dwelling behaviors but I have to believe that if I try hard enough, it will work. If I had the strength to get through my childhood and millions of people struggling with problems astronomically worse than mine get through their days and still manage to smile then I must have the strength to overcome this fear too. I don’t see it ever going away entirely and I think everyone is afraid of being alone on some level and it’s just part of being human to crave companionship. Yet, it is not normal to allow it to rule your life and keep you from happiness. While the fear of loneliness is powerful, human resiliency and hope will always be stronger. As long as we have those we can work through our fears and move on with our lives.