Being alone is sometimes necessary on a daily basis, to sleep in peace, read a good book, take stock of our life, etc. But if loneliness can be soothing and rewarding, for some people, it is intolerable and generates a feeling of irrational fear, which has a strong impact on their daily lives. This pathological behavior has a name, autophobia. What can be its physical and psychological consequences? How to take care of it?
Definition: what is autophobia?
Etymologically, autophobia means “fear of oneself”. Nothing to do, therefore, with the fear of driving a (mobile) car. In practice, one does not fear one’s own presence, but we fear the absence of others. Loneliness is perceived as a punishment and companionship, reassuring, becomes a need in its own right: so-called “autophobic” people are therefore ready to do anything to not be alone, even if it means tolerating violent and/or toxic behavior. Better to be poorly accompanied than alone, according to them.
For some reason beyond their control, people with a fear of loneliness feel incomplete or even unsafe when alone, even in secure environments. They feel a sense of unease, tinged with stress and anxiety. Their spirit convinces them that an imminent danger hovers permanently and risks falling on them when they are alone. They then fear not getting help in the event of an accident, a delirious outburst or suicidal thoughts. The very idea of finding themselves alone at some point paralyzes them and they make every effort to surround themselves, at all costs.
Several physical symptoms can manifest when they are alone, or when they anticipate being alone:
- heart palpitations,
- nausea and dizziness,
- of the difficulty breathing,
- cold sweats,
- chest pain or feeling of tightness
- anxiety attacks,
- of the depressive symptoms (sleep disorders, great fatigue, apathy, suicidal thoughts, etc.),
How to recognize an autophobic person?
On a daily basis, loneliness phobics make sure to always surround themselves with the right people. They calibrate their schedule to perfection and fill it with various activities that are not necessarily to their liking in order to escape isolation. So many parameters that often lead them to have a tense and unnatural attitude with others.
By listening to them attentively, we often realize that their stories contain inconsistencies. Because ? These people tend to construct a “false self”, in other words, to embellish reality to appear more attractive and gain sympathy from others. Their primary objective, let’s not forget, is to do everything not to find themselves alone, even if it means “lying” to conform to their expectations. The autophobe can also indulge in emotional blackmaileven becoming a danger to himself.
Causes: why be afraid of being alone?
Autophobia concerns both men and women. Originally, is often found an abandonment injury that occurred in childhood, such as forgetting to go to the crèche or in a public place, the feeling of not having been listened to or sufficiently invested by one’s parents, etc. Growing up, these children had the feeling of not being sufficiently appreciated, valued or worthy of esteem. They lack self-confidence, and being alone is therefore a source of anxiety and suffering. If this feeling has always existed, it is now exacerbated by the use of new technologies and the emergence of social networks, the race for likes being still too closely associated with personal success. Other psychological or psychiatric factors may also come into play, such as anxiety disorders or personality disorders.
The exacerbated fear of loneliness can harm both the people concerned and those around them. Fortunately, it is never irreversible. Several solutions allow you to get to know yourself in order to restore your self-esteem and assert yourself better.
Acceptance of one’s faults, support from those around him and a few lifestyle changes are generally effective.
Physical activity and wellness activities, such as meditation, sophrology or yoga are valuable allies.
But the help of a professional (psychologist, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, etc.) can be invaluable. Brief type therapies are generally recommended. behavioral and cognitive therapies (CCT). They can be associated with the occasional intake of anxiolytics, or even antidepressants, in the presence of alarming symptoms. Hypnotherapy, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) or NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) may also be recommended.