There is a difference between Loneliness and Solitude, One will empty you and one will fill you. You have the power to choose. -Ava
Ours was a beautiful relationship. He was my first serious relationship and we spent some good time together. From thoughtful compliments to amazing dates to beautiful gifts… You name it I had it. We went for picnics, movies, long drives, out of the town vacations and doing all of these things hand in hand.
He had asked me for marriage, it was too soon. I took my time but then I said yes. The time I spent with him was ecstatic and blissful at the same time. He used to call me “His Precious Treasure”
But then things started to change…
He started to abuse me, not hit me but he used to verbally abuse me and he made me feel that I wasn’t good enough- not for him not for anyone else. Everything was always my fault.
Initially most of the times things used to be really good but sometimes when he was stressed due to things at home or at work he started to blame me or the relationship. When things would calm down, he would apologize and say he didn’t mean that, or we were perfect. Slowly the blaming increased, the good times decreased and the apologies had completely disappeared.
Finally it became much worse… He could see nothing positive in me, even the things about me he used to like- he hated. He used to make me feel like I was stupid- if I re-inquired something only to avoid misunderstanding he would scream at why I was repeating don’t I understand things in one go. And if there was miscommunication he would scold me why I couldn’t clarify in advance or I wasn’t intelligent enough to understand, I was NOT WORTH explaining things.
Every second of the relationship I felt insecure, I felt worried, I felt confused and scared. I wasn’t scared of being scolded, I was scared of hurting him, upsetting him, not being intelligent enough for him- not being good enough for him. And I felt that it is only him who is and can deal with me, nobody else would even do this much, nobody else would or could be with me because I was not GOOD ENOUGH for anyone to choose me as their partner.
He made me feel that it was all my fault, that I deserved to be abused.
No-one seemed to understand why I was in this relationship… even a part of me didn’t. It was like I needed him despite all the tears,the misunderstandings, the arguments,the never ending fights. After having lost myself- my confidence in my self, self-esteem, self-worth, my values, my judgment- my identity, I just couldn’t lose him too.
There were times I thought break up would be better than this- living with someone who makes me feel sad, who doesn’t even want to love me. I would stop talking to him, stop messaging, stop begging him to love me. But then within a few hours I would feel so lonely, Scared to be alone, I would end up begging him to forgive me for stopping to talk to him.
I loved him… Was there any other explanation for why I was still in this relationship?
-I was explained that there are many things that stop us from breaking up even though we want to
- We may be afraid of being by ourselves,
- Afraid of hurting our partner, or
- Afraid that we’re not going to find someone else.
And so we think it’s safer to stay in the relationship than to risk not having a chance at a relationship again. It’s the idea that something is better than nothing.
The problem is that none of those are a good enough reason to stay in a relationship that’s gone wrong — or was never right to begin with.
- I was asked to write down how the relationship was affecting me
- I felt insecure
- I felt worried, I felt confused and scared
- I felt I was not being intelligent enough for him, not good enough for him.
- I felt that it was all my fault
- I felt helpless as I couldn’t find a way to stop creating a situation that he might scold me (premise being it was my fault).
- I felt like I was failing… I tried to not make any mistake but no matter what happened I still would do something to be blamed.
- I was always conscious, second guessing myself
- I had no Self- Esteem or Self- Worth left in me- I felt useless, worthless.
I was then asked why I was afraid of being lonely and some of the answers were the same as above. I realized I was already lonely in the relationship.
On a Scale of 1-10 I was to rate myself on how Happy I was in the relationship. I rated myself 5 maybe 4. I was asked how happy did I expect to be when I had first come into the relationship, since a perfect 10 was impossible I said an 8 or a 9 never below 7.
Then I was explained that breaking up or separating from someone I have invested so much in and have cared for so much might temporarily bring my happiness down to 1. What matters is that eventually I’ll be happier than I am in the relationship.
Learning why we’re scared to be alone
We can be scared of being lonely may be because
- we’ve always lived with someone or
- We’re worried we might not be financially independent.
- We may sometimes be worried about what friends, family, coworkers, and the neighbors will think if we’re alone or not with our partner.
- Sometimes, especially if they are someone we would have to meet or see after the relationship, we may be worried that they might date someone else and that would be hurtful.
- the future we have planned with our partner, it seems would never happen the way we wanted it to and it’s memories would haunt us.
For me it was a combination- He had told me again and again that I wasn’t good enough for anyone else and my parents, my family, my friends everyone knew about our relationship, we were about to get married… What would they say?
Start writing down both fears and the solutions
When we learn the reasons that make us feel scared to be alone, we can start dealing with them. It can help to find a quiet place, and pen down whatever comes into our mind when we picture ourselves ending the relationship and being alone in a new life (without thinking about anyone reading it or ourselves feeling anxious about finding the cause behind the fear). Letting our self experience our fears, anxieties, and concerns.
Once we have done writing it is important to not put pressure to start solving these causes right away… just get them out on paper so as to know and then to accept them.
It is also important to write how the relationship is affecting us. Only to gain better clarity regarding what actually makes us more anxious- the relationship or the lack thereof.
When we’re ready, we can start writing down the solutions or ways to overcome these fears of ending the relationship and starting over in our new life.
Example: One of the things making me feel afraid was that I might end up all alone and not find someone else- I changed that with “what are the chances that I don’t end up alone, or even if I do what are the things that I can do alone that make me feel happy.”
It helps to write down each fear and overcome it with a more positive rational thinking “what if the future we saw together will not happen- I still have my future I can follow the same future or make a new plan whatever I prefer- Finally, I am in charge.”
Or “what if I can’t take care of myself, I haven’t worked in 2 years- What if I do get a job and a good one or what do I need to get a job what can I study, I can do a long distance course, I can take tuitions at home or Find something where I can work from home (if you have a child and wish to be independent)”.
Stay connected to your source of strength, energy, and power
We are unique individuals with our own strengths, passions, hobbies and interests- I had forgotten about mine. Locus of control is the degree to which people believe that they have control over the outcome of events in their lives, as opposed to external forces beyond their control.
Till my Locus of control was outside of me- in my partner, he motivated me, he controlled my happiness, my drive, my sadness, my mental peace, even my Self Esteem- Everything… However, I couldn’t control him- what he thought, how he felt, how he behaved which is why I felt helpless when he abused me or didn’t respect me- love me. Which is why I wasn’t happy…
I brought my control back to me by investing time in traveling (something I loved since childhood), doing things that make me feel happy and proud of my achievements or learning new things- One by one I learnt driving, singing and now I’m learning to draw.
Speak your truth
It helped me to share my fears with my friends and family. Surprisingly, mostly they supported me. With their support, even just telling them helped me accept and overcome my fears.
I understood that it was natural for me to be scared, however at the same time it was important for me to do what I needed to do to take care of me, my life.
To those reading my story- It’s okay if your fear of being alone is still overpowering your need to move out of your relationship. It takes time to figure out what’s in your heart and mind. Take your time and do what’s best for you! It’s okay to take a chance at happiness, it’s worth the risk isn’t it?
Once you have found the source of your fear of being lonely overcome scared to break up and after the break work on moving on from the break up.
“Single doesn’t always mean lonely and relationship doesn’t always mean happy”– Anonymous
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