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  1. #1
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    Default Feeling like you're alone

    I hear a lot of people saying "I thought I was alone" or "That made me feel better to know I wasn't alone".

    This is interesting... whilst I understand the idea of knowing others have the same issue as you helps make someone feel less of a freak and stuff, personally my usual instinct is to assume I'm not alone, and this assumption doesn't tend to help me much.

    In my case, whatever it is I struggle with, I've no doubt I'm not the only one who struggles with this thing - but knowing that in theory and actually knowing where these people ARE to talk with them about it, are two very different things!!

    But I have a theory that introverts probably struggle more with feelings of aloneness, of wondering whether they're the only one who thinks X or who feels like Y or sees Z in A or whatever - it stands to reason that if you spend less of your time talking, relating and sharing with other human beings then you're not going to be as aware of the sheer diversity there is 'out there' as someone who, like me, natters the hind legs off a donkey with anyone and everyone all the damn time.

    I can honestly say that pretty much every single time somebody's confided something in me that they were terribly afraid I'd think they were freakish for, I've been completely unfazed and have been able to confidently tell them that I've come across that before.

    So... here's my idea for this thread. If there's anyone out there who feels alone, or who worries that they're alone in something, tell us here and we'll see if anyone else relates - I'm betting you they will!!
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  2. #2
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Yeah, I feel alone.
    Excruciatingly so, sometimes.

    Sure, I know all of the junk you said in the OP.
    (And yes, honestly, too, I can handle ANYTHING someone throws at me without eyeblinks.)
    Emotionally, though, it doesn't change much.

    And you and I both know what it's like TO be different in some large ways, in a ways where you don't really align anywhere nor quite fit in. And have a lot of practical issues in our lives that end up being things we have to do all by ourselves because people are either not supportive or don't understand; we are/were forced to solve our own problems and carry our own burdens, without a lot of promise of practical help.

    I think, yes, one of the larger problems is too much introspection. Introverts especially are susceptible to it. I think extroverts find it easier to deal because they find the support they need just because they're OUT there with their desires, needs, and direction. Introverts in those situations just tend to withdraw further and feel more isolated. I found that getting out and being around people and exposing myself -- rather than sitting around and endlessly analyzing -- did help some with not feeling so lonely and isolated.

    Still, existentialistic methodology (we each are responsible for our OWN choices, and no one else can make those choices, and what happens to us is up to us) is essentially a philosophy of "loneliness" because it emphasizes the uncrossing gulf between each human being -- ultimately, we ARE alone in that sense, that our lives ARE our responsibilities and no one else can shoulder that responsibility for us.

    But it doesn't mean we can't still be there for and with each other.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft
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  3. #3
    Senior Member swordpath's Avatar
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    I've always felt alone... Even when I'm close to someone I feel alone. It's one of those feelings you get used to but never comfortable with.

  4. #4
    Senior Member INTJMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    I hear a lot of people saying "I thought I was alone" or "That made me feel better to know I wasn't alone".
    ...
    But I have a theory that introverts probably struggle more with feelings of aloneness, of wondering whether they're the only one who thinks X or who feels like Y or sees Z in A or whatever - it stands to reason that if you spend less of your time talking, relating and sharing with other human beings then you're not going to be as aware of the sheer diversity there is 'out there' ...
    I think your theory is probably correct.
    It stands to reason that if I knew more people, I would realize other people felt the way I did.
    I have heard many INTJs say that they felt such a sense of relief in discovering MBTT and coming to the realization that there were other people out there like themselves, myself included.

    In Beside Ourselves, Naomi Quenk's book, she describes the INTJ need to have someone understand how they feel in order for them to return to equilibrium:
    "Expressions of understanding, sympathy and empathy aid the return of equilibrium for some... introverted intuitives"
    (INTJ & INFJ)
    When someone can say, "I understand how you feel. I have felt that way, too." It helps me a lot. It's not pity. It's more like validation of feelings.

  5. #5
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    The problem is the difference between emotion and logic. Were they closely linked, the logic of knowing you're not alone would be the same as feeling you were not alone. Since they are not, knowing you're surrounded in support has nothing to do with feeling security.
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  6. #6
    Resident Snot-Nose GZA's Avatar
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    I used to feel alone all the time. Now I kind of drift between feeling alone sometimes, simply knowing that I'm really not, and not even really caring cause I'm more focused on something else.

    I see feeling alone as a choice. It's a choice you don't neccesarily choose because you are in an altered mental state of depression, but ultimately it's a matter of attitude. Any time I've ever felt alone, it was because I looked at myself and those around me and only saw differences. Anytime I feel like I'm part of it all it's because I look at myself and my surroundings and only see the similarities.

    And sometimes I look at myself and those around me and I don't feel the same at all, yet I still feel like I'm part of the whole thing. Sometimes I speak to people and they treat me as if I am different, and out of those times soemtimes it gets to me and soemtimes it doesn't.

    I guess it's all a choice, just like Jennifer was saying and like I was saying. As you were saying, Sub, we all pretty much come across these things anyway, and I think (or know, rather) that this is because we are all human and we are all limited or freed into the same realities that come with that. I don't know if I could ever really be alone, ever, as long as there is someone else on earth, somewhere.

  7. #7
    にゃん runvardh's Avatar
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    Yeah, knowledge and feeling seem do not translate easily for me, frustrating as that is. I try to keep occupied with things just to keep from feeling it since it never really helps me get anything done. I am, however, working on the problem locating groups and people I can talk to - staying at home obsessing helps me in no way.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    Yeah Jennifer - I think in our cases it's been quite extreme, as we really have had to go very much against the grain of what our entire societies holds true, so we were very unlikely to actually get much support - especially unlikely to be able to find enough people who genuinely did understand so as to form a 'pool' from which to sorta pick people we actually click with.

    Cos just having the same problem as someone else doesn't guarantee in any way that you're compatible as friends. I know that out of the several (very small) support groups I attended, there was only one person with whom I shared any interests or approach to life in common, that enabled us to actually like each other rather than 'just' sympathize. So... in many cases I felt that, whilst I was getting support and understanding with my particular 'issue' there, I was actually getting quite the opposite of support for other parts of my personality!!

    The loneliness of unique responsibility that you describe Jennifer is what's always drawn me to 'kings'... recognizing that amidst all the riches and trappings, you've got a very lonely person with an enormous burden that nobody else can possibly understand - nobody but another king. I suppose the more rare your particular burden, the less likely you are to find other 'kings' to lean on...

    But I just wonder, outside of our rather exceptional situations, how many of most people's burdens are being somewhat overestimated as to their uniqueness? How much is the likelihood of finding that other 'king' actually being underestimated?
    Ils se d�merdent, les mecs: trop bon, trop con..................................MY BLOG!

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  9. #9
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    ...The loneliness of unique responsibility that you describe Jennifer is what's always drawn me to 'kings'... recognizing that amidst all the riches and trappings, you've got a very lonely person with an enormous burden that nobody else can possibly understand - nobody but another king. I suppose the more rare your particular burden, the less likely you are to find other 'kings' to lean on...
    You could expand that outward to "leaders."

    And I think it helps explain a little why presidents (for example) can become great friends after they've been in office even if they were enemies while running for office and during their tenures. The relationship between GHW Bush and Clinton right now is good case-in-point; they both can identify with the burden of what it had been to be president.

    ...how many of most people's burdens are being somewhat overestimated as to their uniqueness? How much is the likelihood of finding that other 'king' actually being underestimated?
    I think if one has the ability to generalize enough, many "different" situations actually share a lot of common traits. It's why "art" works across personalities and subcultures; people can tap into what the protagonists experience, even if they have never been in that particular situation, because the general emotional content is the same.

    I think people could open up more than they do. That's probably one of my "life goals" -- to be a safe person for others to be open in regards to their lives about, since I have undergone some terrible experiences of my own and I "get it."
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  10. #10
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    ...yeah Jennifer, I feel the same way, I work hard to be open and accessible so that if anyone recognizes in me any of their own pains and struggles, they can feel okay to approach me with it and know they won't be turned away.

    I wonder though, whether there aren't some people who aren't really aware of that 'bottom line' responsibility for your own life choices and stuff that you talked about. I do tend to meet quite a few people who spend a lot of their time blaming other people for things that, really, bottom line, were their responsibilities to see to. It's fair enough, I think, to expect that certain key people in your life - family, close friends etc - should be willing to give support and help in shouldering this burden, but I think there are a lot of people who don't recognize that this is something voluntary, and that in actual fact, it's a bit like being the manager - if someone calls in sick, you can't just shunt the shift onto someone else who's already done their quota, YOU have to come in and work the shift, that's why you have a higher salary...

    In a similar respect, y'know, if your friends or family aren't fulfilling the functions you hope or expect them to, in order to get you where you want to be in life, it's no good trying to shunt the blame for your life not working out onto them, because you were the manager, it was your job to find a way when they didn't... that's why you get the rewards of things working out; it's your life and you get out what you put in. It's great if someone else is willing to put something in as well for you to help you along, but ultimately, there's no guarantee that they will.

    Do you think that bitterness could be largely the result of not recognizing these things?

    --------------

    Do you also think that trust might have something to do with it? Or rather, lack of ability to trust? Like... I mean I've had it before where I've told someone I understand them, that I don't judge them and that I value them, love them, care for them and truly do y'know, unconditionally, I'm there whenever they want. But they've not trusted me in that - not believed me to be sincere - and so when the time's come when they've needed someone they haven't called, because they figured, I dunno, I was just saying that before, and if they called me I'd be annoyed, they'd be a burden, they'd be unwelcome etc.

    I'm thinking perhaps a lot of the times when people are feeling alone and like they've nobody to connect with over something, perhaps there are actually people who'd be receptive that they know, but they just choose not to approach or take the initiative, because of a failure to trust that this person's positive attitude towards them was genuine?

    (addressed to the forum at large, not just Jennifer)
    Ils se d�merdent, les mecs: trop bon, trop con..................................MY BLOG!

    "When it all comes down to dust
    I will kill you if I must
    I will help you if I can" - Leonard Cohen

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