The person who is afraid of being alone (self-phobia) feels insecure and unable to take care of himself / herself.
Being alone, with oneself can be a pleasure for many or a storm for others, as it causes them a great panic. This leads them to do a whole series of things to avoid at all costs being left alone.
Fear of Being Alone
To overcome any fear you have, the most important thing is to know yourself. I invite you to write a journal of “my fear” to help you in this process of how to overcome it. It is a tool that you can always have at hand and turn to it when you need it.
Here’s how to overcome the fear of staying alone in 12 steps. I hope it helps.
12 Steps to overcome the fear of being alone
Steps 1 to 3. Assessing Fear
- Recognize your fear of loneliness
The first step to overcome the fear of being alone is to acknowledge and accept that you are afraid to be alone and that you want to overcome it.
Recognizing the fear of loneliness is the first step that can lead you to change. So explore within yourself in a sincere way, recognizing at all times your emotions however unpleasant they may be.
Once you recognize your fear is when you can begin to face it. There are different degrees in the fear of being alone that goes from more to less on a continuum.
There are those people who cannot be left alone for a moment because they are invaded by a feeling of panic that results in an anxiety crisis.
And those people who do not panic, but do feel very insecure when they are alone.
- Analyze your fear
As I said at the beginning of the article, the most important thing when facing your fears is that you know yourself, and therefore, that you know your fear well.
When you know your fear well, then stop being so afraid, because it goes from being unknown to something you know.
To know more about your fear of being alone, you have to ask yourself questions.
Analyze and write in your journal the characteristics of your fear: at what times I feel more afraid, what anxiety score I feel from 0 to 10, how long it has had, what I was thinking at the time.
After this analysis, there is a fundamental question that you must ask yourself:
What are you scared the most about being alone?
Record the answer to this question in your journal.
In this way you try to realize your fear.
- Bring your fear to the extreme
You have recognized your fear, you have analyzed it and you have realized what it is that you fear most of being alone. Well, now be in the worst of situations:
What is the worst that could happen to me?
Record the answer to this question in your journal.
Then ask yourself the following questions:
And is that really so awful? Could you beat it if it happened to me?
Record the answers in your journal again.
Read everything you’ve written aloud. Now that you have written about paper in a more definite and concrete way, do you see it in a different way?
This process will help you to relativize and ridicule the consequences of your fear of being alone.
Steps 4 to 5. Your fear and relationship with others
- Analyze how you behave with your friends
The fear that you have to stay alone marks the way you relate to others.
If you are afraid to stay alone, you will act in a certain way to avoid at all costs being alone. So it is likely that your way of relating to others is delivering to your friends in body and soul.
You may try to give them everything they need, take care of them, feel well cared for by you so they do not leave your side.
If you feel identified with this way of relating to others, you must remedy it.
Before this situation I recommend that you do the following analysis:
- That friendship, to which you try to offer everything and take care of it, does not really need it as much as it knows how to take care of itself.
- Based on the above, you actually give that person a lot, not because she needs it, but because you are afraid that she will leave your side.
- The fear that it leaves your side makes that every time you want to do more and more for that person. If for the reason that person is gone, it is when you start to enter a vicious circle absurd and painful for you: “maybe I have not given enough, if I had given more of me would not have gone.”
- With that, in the next friendship, you will try to give more of yourself because your fear of leaving and staying alone will be even greater because of your previous experience.
As you can see it is a vicious circle since you are afraid to stay alone is feeding progressively.
After this analysis, it is when you should make the following statement:
The solution is not to do things to avoid being alone. The solution is to learn to be alone.
- Fear of staying alone vs. couple relationship
Now analyze what your relationships are like or how you have been. Surely your fear of loneliness has also left a dent in your most intimate relationships.
If with your friends you have delivered to 100%, most probably with your partner you have surrendered to the 200%. You have given much more than you actually had.
Maybe you have given so much that you have left without self-esteem and without security. It may also be that your fear of staying alone will cause you to chain relationships.
And they are usually weak relationships, with which they have expiration date; and when they are finished, you are afraid of being alone once more. Entering the vicious circle again.
The goal of all these steps is not that you resign yourself to being alone. It is that you learn to be independent and you can then relate to others because you want to share your life with them, and not because of the fear of being alone.
Steps 6 to 8. Take action
Keep in mind that if you want this to work you must be convinced that you want to overcome it and you must take it very seriously.
It is a challenge and you must be persistent and fight for it.
Well, fighting a fear is hard, but it is harder to live with fear.
- Stand up to your fear
After trying to convince yourself that you should and want to learn to be alone, make a list in your journal of the advantages and disadvantages of learning to be alone.
Keep in mind the advantages and disadvantages of your relationship with your friends, your relationship with your partner and your relationship with yourself:
- Think about how you think you would act with your friends if you stop having this fear.
- How do you think you would act with your partner if you stop having this fear.
- How you would feel with yourself if you did not have this fear. What do you think you would gain and what do you think you would lose?
- Specifies objectives
For example, you can aim to spend every day 30 minutes alone. You with yourself.
Define what you are going to use these 30 minutes alone. You can spend 30 minutes reflecting on your person: your tastes, your beliefs, your way of looking at life, your desires, etc. in order to get to know you more.
Or you can use it to do some fun activity on your own. For example, playing sports, playing games, reading, writing, drawing, etc.
Write down these goals in your diary and be sure to cross out them as you get them.
They must be clear, concrete and achievable goals. If you write very difficult goals it is easy for you to throw the towel. You must start with something easy and increase the difficulty progressively.
- Expose your fear
Once you have defined and specified your goals in your journal, you must expose each one of them. (Not all in one day but in a progressive way).
- Start by scoring on a scale of 0 to 10 the anxiety that you think you will have at the time of, for example, spending 30 minutes just without contacting anyone, or by whatsapp. Record the score in your journal.
- After performing the marked goal, score the anxiety you felt on a scale of 0 to 10. Write it down in your journal.
- If the anxiety level is 0, go to the next goal. If the anxiety is greater than 0 repeat the objective until your anxiety equals 0.
You can also write down the resources you have used to not feel fear. These resources can help you in your next goal.
Steps from 9 to 10. Build and develop as a person
- Develop your own interests
One of the steps you must take to learn to be alone is to learn to be independent, and as an independent person, to have your own interests, desires and beliefs.
Maybe now you think you have no hobbies or interests, but that is because until now you have not stopped to explore them.
Ready to climb the wonderful train to explore your skills?
Take your diary again and write down those things you’ve ever wanted to try, those things that you’ve ever thought you could get along with and start to prove yourself.
They can be hundreds of things: dancing , writing, photography, drawing, painting, playing the piano, guitar, horseback riding, golfing, climbing, learning history, symbology, theater.
Try and discover something exciting about you that you did not know. That will help you gain self-esteem and confidence in yourself.
- Get feedback from other people
Talk to people you trust about this personal development you’ve started. Ask them to help you with this change. They help you to have more initiative, to be more assertive and to express to others your requests.
Practice with them to learn to say things in a more direct way, to express your needs, that is, to learn to ask instead of just focusing on offering.
People who know you can help you get back on track if they see you get back on the run.
This time it is you who should ask them for help and let you help.
Steps 11 through 12. Tools to help you
- Make positive views
To increase your confidence when confronting being alone, it may be useful to make visualizations of the scenes that cause you anxiety.
Use your imagination to visualize what you want to get from you. The display must always be positive. You must see yourself emerging victorious from the situation.
For example, if you have to go only to a party, close your eyes and try to visualize yourself going to that party with a great confidence in yourself. Visualize yourself arriving at the place, greeting the people with firmness, smiling and with confidence.
Showing you will make it easier to be the person you want to be.
- Get professional help
If after trying to overcome your fear to stay alone with these steps, you feel that your fear persists, it is time to consider psychological therapy.
This fear of staying alone has deep causes.
Sometimes you do not have to go to deep causes because with these steps you can overcome fear. However, there are times when it is necessary to go to the heart of the problem to cut it off at the root.
Of course, it is not necessary to wait until the last moment to go to psychological help. You can also choose to perform this process with a professional from the beginning to give you more confidence in the process and have a greater point of support.