Added: Jemario Mccullen - Date: 28.09.2021 07:19 - Views: 19119 - Clicks: 2332
Photo by Andre Benz on Unsplash. Americans are currently facing an epidemic of loneliness. In New York City, this epidemic appears to be nearly universal despite it being one of the most densely packed and busiest cities in the nation. A recent study published in Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology sheds some light what makes a person feel lonely.
In other words, many people are feeling terribly alone despite not being alone. How can someone feel lonely even when in the company of friends and family? And how can another, who only has a few close relationships, be fulfilled and happy while appearing to some to be alone? The answer basically lies in how well a person is able to connect on a deep emotional level with others in an intimate and vulnerable way.
Another major findings of the ly mentioned study was that individuals with histories of trauma were also those with the highest rates of subjective loneliness. For each additional childhood traumatic event, the odds of experiencing emotional loneliness increased by 28 per cent. This emotional loneliness was experienced even when the person ranked high on of relationships. At the same time, those who were both alone and subjectively lonely fared the worst. They were also those to have adult traumatic experiences in addition to a higher level of childhood trauma.
Childhood trauma impacts an individual during their most vulnerable times of growth and development. However, one does not have to have experienced overt trauma in their life to struggle with feeling lonely in the present. Attachment theory posits that the attachment relationship we had with our parents tends to be repeated in other important relationships.
If you felt dismissed, invalidated, or like your needs would not be met, then you likely expect this from others and treat U alone and need company similarly. Worse, if you were scared of a parent or saw them as threatening somehow, yet also depended on them for survival, you might find that you have an intense distrust of others or even find yourself in repeated abusive relationships.
When the parental bond resulted in an insecure attachment of sorts, there tends to be a chronic feeling that something is missing. Our teenage years are often filled with experiences of trying on different masks until we find one that fits. Commonly, we also learn in this process that it is not ok to just be you. An armor starts to form to protect against any possible future instances of pain.
And, in so doing, a gap begins to grow between you and others.
Shielding yourself from pain makes sense. But, what protects against pain also prevents love from getting through. We also live in a society that values toughness, stoicism, and fierce independence. We spend time with friends and loved ones, yet everyone is wearing masks of superficiality.
Deeper discussion, intimate connection, and authenticity are avoided at all costs. A history of trauma, pain and rejection can lead to a distorted and painful narrative about oneself that then shapes each new experience one has. The biggest problem in this is a concept called confirmation bias. We all love to be right — about everything.
This is the case even when what we believe to be true is extremely harmful to the self.
If you believe deep down that you will be rejected, that parts of yourself are bad, or that you are somehow defective, you will prove yourself right at all costs. Every judgment about yourself becomes manifest fold with others. This makes it nearly impossible to connect, be vulnerable, or feel an emotional closeness with others.
In addition, there are many other societal factors that contribute to incredible difficulties emotionally connecting to an other. We hear a lot about technology and social media as major factors in the current loneliness epidemic. Research, however, is mixed on this. On the one hand, yes, people are more immersed in games, phones, pictures that are cloaked in rose-colored lenses, and capturing the perfect selfie.
At the same time, technology also allows for more ways to stay connected with family and friends and can actually decrease feelings of loneliness. The catch? It seems that technology is kind of good for older adults. Yet, younger adults fair best when they stay off their phones and computers.
This makes sense if one considers that the problems with technology U alone and need company symptoms of a greater issue, rather than the cause. Our society has become hyper-polarized and increasingly individualistic. People have become less empathetic, more concerned about self — love, care, improvement, image, help — at the expense of compassion, more controlled and regimented, more standardized, less adventurous, less open to creativity, and less tolerant of ambiguity.
Children are indoctrinated into this mentality from the moment they enter the education system. School is deed for conformity and standardization — much of the exploration, fun, and creativity disappeared when there became less room for PE, music, art, language, and free time as part of a standard curriculum.
Community and play are seen as almost frivolous. Isolation becomes part of the norm from a very early age. This phenomenon might be particularly true for New Yorkers in that many relationships are built on what someone can do for you, rather than how much you just genuinely enjoy being around and feel close to someone. Relationships, then, become commodities to be acquired in the same way as a new car or the latest gadget.
This does not bode well for emotional closeness. As such, one is never fulfilled and just needs more, more, and more. We live in an interesting time wherein there is an expert for literally everything. We are told what to eat, how to bathe, what our bodies should do and look like, how to breathe, how to poop, and how to make love. And, so, people tend to question everything. Emotional connection requires being touch with, well, your emotions. And, being able to trust those emotions without anyone else telling you what you should or should not do.
No one is an expert on you besides you. People can change. We are a social species. The ability to connect is inherent in all of us, even if it might look very different for any given individual. So what is going on? So what might prevent a person from being able to do that? History of Trauma Another major findings of the ly mentioned study was that individuals with histories of trauma were also those with the highest rates of subjective loneliness. Photo by Hugo L. Casanova on Unsplash. Related Posts. October 16th, Bullying: When the bully lives on inside you.
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