Do you have friends who are fake friends?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Fake Friends?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com’

Some friendships are very conditional.

When things are going well, you’re likely to have many friends, but once things get tough, those friends disappear. When you’re throwing the party, they are there, when it comes time for the cleanup those friends have vanished. When your life is working, these friends want to be associated with you, but when times get hard, they moved on.

One article I read described these folks as “Clear weather friends.” When life is sunny, you see this person, but the first raindrop washes them away. There are many names for these people, fake friends, pretend friends, Fairweather friends, clear weather friends, unreliable friends. Underneath all their pretensions they want something from you, but they’re not willing to reciprocate.

It’s tempting to put up with these fair-weather friends thinking that without them they would have no friends. When you feel lonely, you may be tempted to settle for fair weather friends. The worst form of loneliness is caused by poor quality relationships rather than by having too few relationships. So how can you spot these fair-weather friends?

Fairweather friends are never wrong.

Their motto is “I’m right; everyone should be able to see that.” If you’re afraid to disagree with them for fear of losing a friend, that’s a fake friend. When they let you know that you must always agree with them to keep their friendship, what you have is a fake friend, not a BFF.

When problems arise, you can’t tell Fairweather friends.

Fake friends expect you to listen to all their problems, but when your troubles come they don’t want to hear about. They especially don’t want to hear when you have a problem with them. While they expect you to be empathetic toward their issues when you talk about your difficulties, their answer is, “you need to get over it.”

With Fairweather friend’s criticism is a one-way St.

Fairweather friends feel free to criticize you. They may preface the comments with the statement “I’m just being honest.” But their honesty always consists of telling you what’s wrong with you. They have no problem pointing out your every flaw. What a fake friend can’t take is anything remotely like you criticizing them.

You must always agree with fake friends.

Fake friends will tell you that “If you disagree with me about that there’s something wrong with you. I write, I know I’m right.” Rather than sympathy and understanding when challenged, they always attack. With Fairweather friends, it’s not possible to agree to disagree. They will always insist on being right and on your agreeing with as a condition of keeping their friendship.

Fake friends enjoy criticizing you.

Fairweather friends enjoy telling you what’s wrong with you. Rather than building you up, they tear you down to make themselves feel better. If you have a friend, and every time you’re with them, you come away from that visit feeling worse than when it started, good chance you’ve identified a pretend friend.

Fake friends are not empathetic.

Fairweather friends don’t want to hear about how you feel. How you feel is not important to them. They may even tell you that you shouldn’t feel that way. When you’re upset, you’re likely to hear, “Stop being so emotional.” They dismiss your feelings. But these Fairweather friends have no problem burdening you with their miseries. When it comes to conflicts, fair-weather friends will tell you, “If it upsets you, it is your problem.”

Why don’t you believe me, if I said it then it’s true?

Fake friends have the belief that if they say something, that makes it true. They expect you to believe what they say even when all the evidence contradicts their statement. They like to say, “Why don’t you believe me, would I lie to you?”

I don’t want to talk about it.

Pretend friends avoid discussing difficult topics. When problems arise in the friendship, they want to sweep everything under the rug and pretend it’s all your fault. Lack of openness is a characteristic of fake friends.

You will find related posts under – friends, Relationships, and Loneliness.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Four David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking, and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.

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What loneliness is trying to tell you?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Lonely person

Loneliness.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

There is more than one type of loneliness.

As many as one in five people may be experiencing harmful Loneliness. Like other emotions, loneliness can sometimes be a good thing and other times be a significant emotional disturbance. Recently researchers examined harmful loneliness, its impact on psychological health and its connection with early childhood trauma.

Loneliness is not one of those disorders for which we have a test. The only way to measure loneliness is by personal report. While loneliness can cause significant mental health issues, the way the professional knows the client is lonely is when the client says they are lonely.

People who are low in loneliness.

Some people report little or no Loneliness. These people are generally satisfied with both the quality of their relationships and the quantitative of relationships they have. In a survey of the general population, close to 60% of people reported that they rarely felt lonely.

Social loneliness is a result of not enough personal contact.

Approximately 8% of people report having social loneliness. They are satisfied with the quality of the relationships they do have but feel they don’t have enough close relationships. Social loneliness is sometimes seen as a helpful thing. It tells you that you don’t have enough contact with other people and you need to expand your social circle.

Emotional loneliness is the result of poor-quality relationships.

Approximately 25% of people report being emotionally lonely.  They have enough friendships and other social relationships but are frequently dissatisfied with the quality of their close relationships. How supportive your close relationships are, determines whether feelings of loneliness may result in emotional issues.

Some people are both socially and emotionally lonely.

About one in eight people report that they are unhappy with their close relationships and that they also do not have enough friendships and other social relations. People with both types of loneliness are also more likely to have been the victims of trauma and to report Trust issues.

Who suffers the most from loneliness?

A little more than half the people in one survey reported that they were rarely lonely. They were neither socially nor emotionally isolated and lonely. Loneliness had the least impact on these people.

People who had good close relationships, but not enough social contact were slightly bothered by their loneliness. People who had social relationships but were unhappy with their close personal friendship were more likely to suffer from the ill effects of loneliness. Those people who were most likely to report suffering because of their loneliness were those who are both socially and emotionally lonely.

People who were either emotionally lonely or both socially and emotionally lonely are much more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and were more likely to have another emotional disorder. People who had been the victim of an early childhood trauma were far more likely to report poor quality personal relationships and resulting emotional loneliness.

Having high quality close emotional relationships is most likely to buffer someone from the ill effects of loneliness. Not feeling close to your romantic partner or your family is most likely to create the kind of negative loneliness that is harmful to your mental health.

If you are bothered by loneliness, ask yourself whether it is the result of too few friendships or not feeling close to your partner or family. Improving the quality of the relationships you do have is most likely to reduce your loneliness. If loneliness is dragging you down, consider getting professional help. Professional counseling can help you improve your part of the relationship and couples, or family counseling may help improve your close relationships.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Four David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Where you live can make you lonely.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Lonely person

Loneliness.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Where you live can make you lonely.

Where do you think people, are most likely to be lonely?

When I saw the research on location and loneliness, I was surprised.

It seemed logical the people who live in remote, rural areas would have less human contact and would be lonelier. That’s not what the research showed.

The highest rates of loneliness are reported in crowded, urban areas. It’s not surprising then that with more than half the world’s population living in large cities loneliness is on the rise. Here are some of the reasons we think people who live in large cities experience more loneliness.

Not knowing people in the neighborhood makes you lonely.

One of the common complaints about small towns is that everyone knows everyone else’s business. It’s harder, maybe impossible, to be anonymous in a small town. The upside of having everyone else know about you is that you know about them. In a large city, you may live in an apartment for years and never get to know other people in nearby apartments. That lack of connection results in loneliness. One cure for loneliness is to frequent places where people know your name.

Lots of crime around you increases loneliness.

If you live in an area with a high crime rate, you avoid other people. In cities with high murder rates, people stay indoors at night. If you believe you live in a high crime area, you are likely to stay boarded up in your dwelling, hiding from other people. Work with other civic-minded people to reduce crime and dispel the loneliness.

Not expecting help makes you feel lonely.

When you don’t know people nearby, you don’t expect them to help you. People who have close relationships with those around them feel safer and are less likely to feel lonely. In crowded areas, people are often reluctant to help those around them. When there are many people present everyone tends to think someone else will take care of it. The result of this thinking is that when everyone expects someone else to help no one may act.

Not feeling safe where you live can make you lonely.

Lack of safety, feeling at risk and vulnerable increases your isolation and loneliness. People who feel unsafe barricade themselves behind locked doors.

Being afraid to leave the house makes you lonely.

Fear isolates people. As your fear of leaving your house increases, you will feel a corresponding increase in loneliness. People in poor, crowded, environments, become increasingly lonely because they try to avoid contact with others who they fear will harm them. Not feeling safe has resulted in a generation of kids who grow up playing in their homes, connecting only with electronics because their parents are afraid to let them go outside.

People who are afraid to go walking after dark experience an increase in loneliness.

Have you noticed the news stories about a group of people who all go walking together after dark? The premise here is that people’s fear of leaving their homes after dark increases their loneliness and increases isolation, and turns the streets over to people out to harm others.

If you live in a neighborhood was well-lit streets and have a busy shopping area close to your home are more likely to go out at night. When you must travel long distances, alone in your car, to connect with other people are likely to stay home and feel lonely.

What do you do if where you live makes you feel lonely?

The greatest cure for loneliness is human connections. Get to know your neighbors. Enlarge your social network. For some people moving to another neighborhood where they feel safe and accepted is an option. For other people, the solution is to work to change the neighborhood in which you live. Join community groups dedicated to making your neighborhood safer and a better environment. Make friends and be a friend. Loneliness, the feeling, tells you that you need more human connection. Increasing your social connections will help you overcome that feeling of loneliness.

David Joel Miller MS is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC.)  Mr. Miller provides supervision for beginning counselors and therapists and teaches at the local college in the Substance Abuse Counseling program.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

 

The Times Loneliness Takes Over.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Lonely person

Loneliness.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Loneliness is worse at transition points.

It’s common for people to feel lonely at certain times in their lives. The feeling of loneliness can have survival value. One person, by themselves, is in a dangerous situation. A group of people together can protect each other. In limited amounts, loneliness can motivate you to seek out others and create new supportive relationships.

Sometimes loneliness becomes excessive and can result in feelings of rejection, isolation, and distrust. High levels of loneliness can damage your physical and emotional health, harm your relationships, and result in self-harm, or abusing substances.

The effects of loneliness intensify when you have fewer supportive relationships. Knowing when loneliness is likely to strike can help you to understand that this is a normal part of life rather than something wrong with you.

If you are feeling especially lonely right now, reach out to others and work on improving your support systems. If loneliness has gotten you in its grasp, consider getting some professional help to get you through this time. Here are some of the times in life you are likely to feel lonely and what that loneliness is trying to tell you.

When you don’t feel you belong, you get lonely.

People used to know where they “belonged.” Historically individuals were connected to groups and locations in ways that told them where they belonged and where they didn’t belong. Over the last hundred years, most of these connections have weakened to the point that people no longer can tell you where they belong.

For most of human history, people lived in small groups. First, there were small bands, then larger tribes. Over time humans progressed to building dwellings and being parts of families. Next people belonged to a particular city or state. The group you lived in might have been loving, or it might have been harsh and cruel. Either way, you were likely to feel that where you were was where you belonged. People who grow up in a rural community or a small town typically put down roots. No matter where you go afterward you can feel anchored to your “hometown.”

People used to be able to define themselves by their social role. Men, when asked to describe themselves, would tell you what they did for a living. They were farmers, fishermen, shopkeepers, or they worked in the factory or mine. Women used to define themselves as wives or mothers. Over the last hundred years or so women moved into the workplace. Certain occupations became traditional “women’s work.” When asked who she was, a working woman was likely to cite a handful of common women’s jobs. She might have been a teacher, a nurse, or a cashier in a retail store. The work role person a person “belongs in” is more fluid today.

Most people used to be affiliated with a group. Church or religious memberships were the norms. There was a time in America when you ask someone about their religious affiliation they would give you the name of a particular denomination. They would say they were Catholics, Methodists, Baptists, and so on. They likely attended functions at the church even if they didn’t fully believe that church’s doctrine. Membership in occupational groups, like a grange or union was much more common in the past. So was membership in social and fraternal organizations.

In this new millennium, most group affiliations have weakened. People move frequently. Most people must change their career multiple times in their life. Women have moved into jobs that were once exclusively done by men, and in a few areas, men moved into traditionally female occupations. Church membership has declined. Today most people describe themselves as “spiritual rather than religious” or as simply “Christian” rather than as a member of a specific denomination.

Along with church membership, participation in fraternal and social groups has declined. Even union membership has become more fluid. Many of the newer jobs are not unionized and as people move from job to job they may move from union to union. Rather than being able to define yourself by the groups you belong to, today people must define themselves by the things they have. As you move through life, your changing experiences are likely to trigger feelings of loneliness.

When you are a teenager, you are likely to experience loneliness.

Part of being a teenager is moving through changes in relationships. During these years, teens make the shift from being part of the family to becoming a separate, individual person. Loneliness can drive you to find out who you are as a separate individual. During these years, the relationship between you and your parents or caregivers needs to transform from being close and affectionate to being a more separate adult relationship. You will need to make your first step to overcoming loneliness by finding out who you are as a person.

The teen years are a time when being accepted is important. Teens want to be liked and be a part of a group. Some kids become part of the “in” popular group. Others may become “stoners” or “nerds and geeks.” Increasingly teens find it hard to fit in anywhere. This lack of belonging has resulted in increasing depression and anxiety.

Those who don’t find the group to belong to may become lonely, isolated and develop significant emotional problems. As difficult as this stage is for some teen’s learning to cope with changing social relationships as a part of the growing up process. The hard thing to understand for many as they pass through this stage is not to take it personally. Not being a part of the group doesn’t mean there something wrong with you.

During your teenage and early 20 something years, it’s important to learn the skills to make and to maintain relationships. One of the biggest hazards of being lonely at this point in your life is that you will rush into a romantic, sexual, relationship to avoid feeling lonely. The most important developmental task during this stage in your life is not finding a life partner but learning to tell the difference between the potentially good partners and the bad ones.

When you live alone, loneliness tries to move in.

One of life’s challenges is learning that when you are alone, you do not have to be lonely. Most people tried to avoid the loneliness beast by staying constantly busy. You’re either going to school or working. First, you are a part of a family. If you go away to school, you probably have roommates. Many people move rapidly into romantic relationships. Some of the clients I’ve worked with moved in with a partner after the first or second date. A few of these relationships succeed. Most do not.

At some point in your life are likely to find yourself living alone. The minute you’re sitting there in an empty house or apartment loneliness moves in. If you can learn to be your own best friend, to be happy and content when you’re all alone, there won’t be room for loneliness in your life. People who manage to achieve a good balance between the time they spend with others and the time they spend with themselves are more likely to create a contented life, free from the presence of the loneliness beast.

When you are unemployed, loneliness comes calling.

What you do gives your life meaning and purpose. When you are young, you go to school. When you get older, most people must work. All those activities involve interacting with other people. The day you wake up and don’t have anywhere to go, you are likely to experience loneliness. Whether you have left your job voluntarily, resigned, been fired or watched the workplace close not having some purpose can leave you feeling depressed and lonely. The cure for this loneliness is to get out there and find another job.

When you are sick or disabled, you may be lonely.

People with a significant disability or those faced with a serious illness spend a lot of time alone. The most difficult part of this experience can be the emptiness of the time you must be alone. During these life transitions, it’s important to stay as active and engaged as possible. Newer technologies have made staying connected easier than ever. But staying connected requires effort on your part.

When you become an older adult, you spend more time alone.

Time alone does not have to equal loneliness. Developing the skill of being comfortable when you are by yourself can ease this life transition. As you age, it becomes harder to maintain connections with other people. For some people, the retirement years are active ones. For other people, the exit from work leads to isolation and loneliness. Families move away, and friends pass away. Overcoming loneliness in later life requires effort to maintain your friendships and social connections.

Now that you know the times that loneliness may come calling, what efforts will you make to keep him out of your life?

Read more about the causes and cures for loneliness.

David Joel Miller MS is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC.)  Mr. Miller provides supervision for beginning counselors and therapists and teaches at the local college in the Substance Abuse Counseling program.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

How lonely will you be?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Lonely person

Loneliness.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Will loneliness cause you problems?

Loneliness can result in significant emotional problems. While loneliness isn’t considered a specific mental illness, it plays a role in creating and worsening several mental health issues. Loneliness can undermine self-esteem by making people feel, empty, worthless and unwanted. Loneliness is both a cause of and a result of social isolation. If you are feeling lonely, you probably feel that you lack something in your life. Loneliness coupled with anxiety and depression increases your risk of feeling threatened and may result in paranoia.

In its milder forms, loneliness can be a motivator for you to seek out human contact. Stronger versions of loneliness result from feeling you have too few social connections or the relationships you have are one-sided and unhelpful.

Researchers have discovered strong connections between loneliness and depression. Lonely people are at an increased risk to think about suicide or to even attempt suicide. Lonely people are more likely to use and abuse drugs and alcohol resulting in alcoholism and addiction. The combination of substance use disorders, feeling lonely and depressed, and believing that others are rejecting you, increases the risk of violent behavior. Loneliness has also been linked to physical health problems and poor emotional development.

The very young and very old are at increased risk for feelings of loneliness. Particular life transition points also increase these risks.

Your thinking can make your loneliness better or worse.

How lonely you feel is less likely to be the result of how many friends you have or how much time you spend with others, and is more connected to your attitudes about the quantity and quality of your social connections.

Your feelings of loneliness are primarily the result of your beliefs about four separate factors. When you’re feeling lonely, it is important to look at both the facts and your beliefs in these areas. One way to reduce the feelings of loneliness is to develop the skills you need to change your situation. The other way to feel less lonely is to reconsider your beliefs about things. Often negative emotions are caused not by the situation, but by the beliefs you have about your circumstances.

What do you think about your friendships?

Loneliness is reduced more by having close, true friends, than by the number of casual friendships you have. It’s not how many friends you have, especially your social media friends, but how close you and your friends are.

True friendships should be reciprocal. You care about them, and they care about you. You should be willing to do for them, and they should be equally willing to do for you. If you find that your relationship is all about that other person, that you must do what they want to keep their friendship, that’s not a healthy, positive friendship.

It’s wonderful to have a BFF (best friend forever.) Having only one close friend limits the ability of your friendship to be supportive. No one will be able to devote every minute of their life to meeting your needs. If you call that one best friend constantly about your problems, you are likely to burn them out.

Recovery programs often recommend that you have at least five separate people in your support system. Your friends should have other people in their lives beside you. If you’re in a relationship where you can’t have other friends or where you resent the other people in their life, these are not healthy relationships.

Emotionally healthy people belong to a group of friends rather than being dependent on only one person. Having only one person to meet their emotional needs is a large issue for couples. When there are difficulties in your relationship, you will find it hard to turn to your partner for emotional support. It’s risky to turn to friends with whom you might be tempted to develop a close sexual relationship. For heterosexual people, this is the time you need to have friends of your own gender.

Are you isolated?

Feeling socially isolated causes loneliness. If you feel like you have no friends and no one you can talk to, this should prompt you to reach out and make connections. For some people, this means professional counseling, which can help in the short-term. In the long-term, you need to put yourself into situations where you can make friends, and need to learn the skills necessary for creating and maintaining friendships.

Is being alone a bad thing?

Your attitude towards solitude will magnify or reduce your feelings of loneliness. Ask yourself how you feel about spending time with you? Some people find that when they are alone, they don’t know what to do. Are you bored when there’s no one else around?

Being alone shouldn’t make you unhappy. Alone time is an opportunity to find out about yourself. Focusing on the negative will increase your loneliness. Feeling negative about being alone will cause the time to drag. Filling the alone time with things you enjoy doing turns loneliness into happiness.

Can Solitude be a good thing?

When you are alone, look for the positives. Your time alone should be an opportunity to get to know yourself better. Develop a friendship with yourself. Throughout your life, the one constant will be you. Everywhere you go, every minute of your life, you will be there. Work on enjoying the time you by yourself.

Life can get hectic at times. Sometimes it’s nice to get away from it all. If when you get that chance to get away from life’s hassles, you discover you’re getting lonely, consider developing a stronger friendship with yourself.

Other posts about feeling lonely will are found in the category – Loneliness.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Loneliness can make you ill.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Lonely person

Loneliness.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Loneliness has been linked to many illnesses.

While loneliness is a common human emotion and happens to most people at certain points in their life, for most people, it is a very negative emotion, with significant consequences. Untreated loneliness can become a debilitating condition, which results in isolation, feelings of emptiness and worthless. People with severe loneliness can feel personally threatened, rejected, and that they lack control of their lives.

Loneliness is often described as the difference between the quality and quantity of the social relationships you have, and the ones you wish you had. Some people experience loneliness only a few times in their life, while other people may experience high levels of loneliness throughout their lifetime. Despite loneliness not being a specific mental or emotional illness, feelings of loneliness play a major role in physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral illnesses.

Loneliness is a risk factor for physical illness.

The health risk from loneliness equals the risk from smoking. (Gerst-Emerson, Jayawardhana, 2015.) Feelings of loneliness make physical health problems worse. Feeling lonely increases blood pressure. Feelings of isolation play a role in eating and sleep disorders. Among people with obesity feelings of loneliness interfere with their ability to lose weight.

Among the elderly, increasing levels of loneliness results in increasing numbers of Dr. visits. While this is believed to be partially caused by a need for more social connection, it may also reflect the way that emotional symptoms are often misinterpreted as signs of physical illness. Fortunately, high levels of loneliness in the elderly do not also translate into more hospitalizations. Among people over the age of 80, more than 50% report being often lonely. Among middle-aged patients, those between 40 and 60 years of age, those who report higher levels of loneliness see their medical doctor more often than those do not report being lonely.

Loneliness makes emotional problems worse.

Feeling lonely has been linked to depression. A common cause of substance use disorder and a relapse trigger for drug and alcohol use are feelings of loneliness. Feelings of isolation can increase stress. Not having a support system makes personality disorders worse, and it has been associated with psychosis, cognitive decline, and dementia. Loneliness can seriously undermine your self-esteem.

Behavioral problems are made worse by loneliness.

Feeling lonely along with binge drinking or drug use increases the risk for suicide attempts. This feeling is also connected with self-harm, such as cutting or other Nonsuicidal self-injury. Loneliness has also been associated with relationship violence and other impulse control problems. Being lonely can make you feel more vulnerable resulting in more vigilance to keep yourself safe, the result is more difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Poor sleep results in an increase in grouchiness and irritability.

Cognitive and thinking problems are made worse by loneliness.

People who are isolated and lack a support system are prone to an increase in irrational decision making. When you feel all alone, your mind can fill with unhelpful thoughts. Sometimes loneliness becomes a positive emotion when it encourages people to look at their lives and seek out more connections with other humans. It’s important to connect with people who will have a positive impact on your life. Don’t become so desperate for human connection that you allow negative, abusive people into your life.

Loneliness damages relationships.

Among couples heading for a breakup, we often find that both parties report being lonely. The higher the feelings of loneliness, the more likely the couple is to break up. If you’re in a relationship and feeling lonely, don’t automatically think you need a new partner. Begin by working on yourself, becoming your own best friend, and learning to not feel lonely when you’re by yourself. Also, work on improving the emotional connection you and your partner have.

If you’re suffering from loneliness and it’s starting to damage your health and your relationships now is the time to reach out for help. Consider getting involved in activities where you can make friends and seeking professional help.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Lonely.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Lonely Flower

Lonely.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Lonely.

“All alone! Whether you like it or not, alone is something you’ll be quite a lot!”

― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! and The Lorax

“You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re with.”

― Wayne Dyer

Living the past is a dull and lonely business; looking back strains the neck muscles, causing you to bump into people not going your way.

― Edna Ferber

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.