The Fear of Being Alone

The fear of being alone is normal, but it can become a big problem if it takes over your life. Learn how to deal with this fear here.
The Fear of Being Alone
Gema Sánchez Cuevas

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Gema Sánchez Cuevas.

Written by María Hoyos

Last update: 21 December, 2022

The fear of being alone is inherent to human beings. As social beings, we need to have other people around us to feel fulfilled. In fact, many of our abilities are linked to other people. The bonds you develop with others nourish you, enrich your life, and are necessary for your well-being.

This, however, can become a problem if you can’t lead a normal life without having people around you. It doesn’t matter if this fear arises due to the fact that your partner left you or you had to move to a different country. It can reach the point where it begins to suffocate you. Let’s talk more about this issue.

What does it mean to fear being alone?

The fear of being alone is based on the belief that you can’t do things that require you to be alone. It can be so intense that you might reach the point where you can’t even take care of yourself. Alternatively, you might desperately seek the company of others as soon as you’re alone. Some experts also call this autophobia, or “fear of oneself.”

A woman looking at her reflection in a mirror.

The fear of being alone is usually associated with external agents. In children, some experts have linked this to separation. This can manifest when a child is unable to understand that their caretakers aren’t going to just get up and leave them permanently, but are just leaving for a short period of time.

In adults, the fear of being alone goes hand in hand with the loss of a loved one. It also manifests in cases of sentimental separation. A profound feeling of abandonment and low self-esteem lead to this fear.

How to overcome the fear of being alone

1. Understand your fear

The first step to overcoming this fear is simple introspection. It’s essential that you understand what you’re going through in order to be able to take action. This is often the hardest and most important step because you have a multitude of defense mechanisms, starting with simple denial.

You can resort to denial to try and ignore your fears or during stressful periods. However, in the long term, you can’t close that part of you away. As such, understanding what’s happening to you is the start of the healing process.

2. Accept your fear

You have to do more than just recognize your fear if you really want to deal with it. You also have to accept that it’s a part of you. This process isn’t as easy as it sounds and it goes hand in hand with forgiveness.

You can’t allow guilt to take over your mind because fear, among other things, makes you grow. If you’re able to find value in fear, you’ll also experience self-development. Remember that Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung once said: “We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.”

3. Analyze the reasons for the fear

All fears have a source. It’s important for you to discover what the origin of your fear is. This will allow you to weigh your options in terms of possible solutions. Additionally, it’ll help you to figure out what that fear is trying to tell you.

The fear of being alone tends to be caused by, as we said before, separation, distance, and loss. In fact, it’s often connected to other emotions, such as:

  • A fear of abandonment.
  • The fear of failure or an excess of perfectionism and responsibility.
  • A fear of what people will say or think.
The fear of being alone is making this woman feel trapped.

Identifying the cause might seem like a simple process. However, the pain you feel often distorts your reality and makes the process of overcoming the problem more difficult. That’s why it’s important to keep in mind that you shouldn’t ignore your feelings but instead work on those emotions directly.

4. Think about the positive aspects of being alone

Overcoming your fear of being alone doesn’t necessarily mean avoiding it. You have to understand that being alone is a necessary and positive part of your life. It can become a refuge where you can connect with yourself.

In order to achieve this goal, you can associate being alone with positive things. If you do this, your fear will start losing its intensity. What’s more, being alone can lead to a period of rejuvenation in your life. You may come to see that you need to prioritize taking care of yourself.

Being alone helps you understand yourself. It brings you moments of peace that you can enjoy only by yourself.

5. Being alone is a human need

As we’ve discussed, being alone is good for your emotional health. This means that it’s important to seek some alone time, perhaps even on a daily basis, in order to recover the energies you lose throughout the day.

A walk alone, watching a movie you like, going out to eat by yourself… Take advantage of these moments to enjoy the solitude you need.

6. Professional help

Sometimes, the fear of being alone can become a serious problem. It could even end in depression, anxiety, and emotional dependency. That’s why it’s important to consult a professional if you feel the need to do so.

Remember: you’re your best companion. Without yourself, you wouldn’t be who you are. It might seem like an obvious thing to say, but people often forget that they’re their own best friends. Only you can come to understand yourself perfectly. The only truly indispensable person in your life is you.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.