Loneliness is an Inside Job – II
I think that loneliness evokes our inner child’s fear of being abandoned. Whether we first experienced that in a relatively benign way, with a parent being absent for short periods or not responding as we wanted, or whether we suffered the more difficult abandonments of neglect or abuse, that primal fear lives inside us. It is the social animal’s fear of being left by the herd, the infant’s fear of being deserted.
In addition, I sometimes feel a fear that there’s something wrong with me. My inner child is afraid that she was bad or wrong, and that she caused the abandonment. In such a mood, I fear I’m not loving enough or good enough. Then I begin fearing that I’ll always be alone—that’s the fear of fear. My thoughts take me in catastrophic directions, regardless of my reality.
At such times, I need both to hold the inner child and listen to her fears and also to let her know that these feelings are not based in reality. It’s not true that I’ve been so bad that everyone has deserted me. It’s not true that I am unworthy of love. Just by the act of connecting to my inner child’s emotions, I can begin to love her back into an inner connection. With this greater security inside, I can more easily make the outer connections to other people, as well.