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Image of dog looking at an old stone building built into a cliff.Raleigh Psychotherapy, Katherine Broadway, counseling, loneliness

She enjoyed basking in her own good company.

Barbara prefers to travel alone. She finds it freeing and restful. She can do what she wants, when she wants, and for as long as she wants. She does not have to put energy into the politics of a relationship. She can be completely relaxed and calm.

Betty believes that only losers travel alone. She is self-conscious when she is out alone, unless it is to do errands and work.

Tom loves to go to a party alone. It gives him a feeling of freedom. He can come and go as he pleases.

John feels like a sore thumb if he has to go to a party alone. He feels like nobody likes him.

Sue lives for the weekend when she can spend hours at home alone. She loves being able to take a nap, read a book, work in her yard or do what ever she pleases.

David feels lonely, sad, forgotten on the weekends. He believes that without a partner he is nothing.


A common definition of loneliness includes the perception of social isolation. Researchers define it as the perceived discrepancy between desired and actual social relationships. This is one type of loneliness.

There is another type of loneliness that goes deep within and down into the unconscious mind. This is a loneliness that feels so painful that most people will do anything to avoid it. It is a loneliness that nothing external will fill. This kind of loneliness is judged as bad and for some makes them a bad person.

Judgment as a Cause of Loneliness

When we make a negative judgment concerning time alone and what it means, it creates feelings of loneliness. The problem usually occurs because of what we do to avoid these feelings.

This judgment extends to how we value the relationships we have. We judge ourselves by the relationships we think we should have and don’t. We tell ourselves our relationships are not meaningful enough, or plentiful enough, and that if we are alone it is because we are forgotten or not any good. Loneliness is fostered and perpetuated by the Harsh Inner Critic.

It does not matter what the cause, loneliness is painful and stressful and carries with it shame. Therefore, it is something that people hide from others. Its hidden nature makes it difficult to find help.

Feeling Lonely as a Warning

There are times when we feel lonely and the feeling is there to tell us we need to make some changes in our life. Perhaps you have lost contact with friends and activities you enjoy. In these cases, it is a matter of paying attention and making different choices about what you do with your time. This is not the kind of loneliness I am talking about. I am talking about chronic loneliness.

Chronic loneliness is the kind that is felt regardless of what you do where you go and with whom you are.

Loneliness is different from being alone. Being alone is a physical state that brings many people rest, peace and joy. For others it brings about feelings of being lonely, sad, depressed and afraid. It can cause some to feel unloved and uncared about, forgotten.

Is loneliness caused by being forgotten, unloved and friendless? I do not think so. That can be a cause of loneliness, but it is not the real cause.

In my opinion, chronic loneliness is caused by not having a relationship with yourself. It is from not knowing, loving and enjoying yourself. It is from living out of a false self instead of your true self.


The true self is that part of you that feels at home in your body and your life. Everyone comes into the world with an intellectual and psychological self. Unfortunately, not everyone is allow to develop into their own selves. In many families, the child is expected to be who the family expects them to be.

In abusive families, the best that can be done is to survive. There is no nurture and safety in which to thrive and learn about who you are. A false self develops, a defensive facade to help you to fit in or survive. It is who you are expected to be in order to be accepted.

For a true self to develop, the basic needs of a child must be met. Caretakers must provide safety, nurture, mirroring, and protecting. When your parents can see you for who you are, not who they need you to be, the person you are can grow and mature. In this type of environment you will be able to experiment with the many experiences of life, and the true self develops. It blossoms with spontaneous, authentic experiences of feeling alive.

When children do not receive validation and praise for who they are, it leaves a sense that something is missing inside, creating a feeling of loneliness. They often seek someone or something from the outside to feel complete. Yet, it is never enough. The emptiness inside is only filled when the true self is known and developed.

Struggling with feeling lonely and like no one cares? Call me at; (919)881-2001.

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