It is natural to want to be with other people and want to feel loved. But people who struggle with phobia of being alone feel like they have no choice but to do whatever it takes to be with other people. Even if it means that they are with abusive people, it is better than being alone..wait a second..! You heard me..being with abusive people is better than being alone..
The level of fear these people feel gets so bad that anything is better than being alone..it is similar to addiction because addicts seek next high in a desperate attempt to avoid feeling whatever feelings and sensations that they don’t want to feel. But that means that they have to keep getting high even though drugs are bad for us. It’s the same with people with phobia of being alone. I use the word “phobia” here because I think a lot of people experience fear of being alone but the major difference between fear and phobia is the intensity of anxiety. We may be able to manage “fear” but we develop phobias when our fears become out of control and become unmanageable. That’s when we have to turn to medications and professional help to develop coping skills so we can better manage our anxiety without resorting to destructive or unhealthy coping mechanisms.
So what’s wrong with avoiding being alone? First of all, I think it is important to understand that it is normal for humans to want to be with other people, especially in a stable relationship. A lot of people with phobia of being alone (including myself) become so desperate that they sell themselves short because of the fear. We may stay with abusive partners in unhealthy relationships just so we don’t have to be alone. Even if you have an excellent partner, you still want to feel comfortable and safe in our own skin..otherwise you might be too needy for your partner and also you still want to be able to take care of yourself and be in a relationship with another human being because you want to..that makes your relationship so much more fulfilling.
One crucial fact we tend to forget is that we are the only consistent friend who will be with us no matter what. For whatever the reasons, if you do not like yourself, you are less likely to enjoy your own company and in extreme cases such as borderline personality disorder, people often describe the feeling as “cease to exist” when nobody is around. It is very sad but that’s how scary some people feel when they are alone..