Learn Different Types of Loneliness and How to Cope with it

Edited by Debbie, Charmed, Maria Sharon Ubando, Graeme and 10 others

Loneliness can strike anyone, regardless of age, gender, lifestyle, status, job or beliefs. There are times in our lives when we have all felt melancholic. All of us have had our own share of loneliness. More often than not, we know what makes us lonely and there are also instances when we just wake up and feel so down and depressed. We feel that something seems to be missing.

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About Lonliness

There is a profound moment in every enlightened person's life, when they realize at a very deep and poignant level – that we are all alone. No matter how much in love we are, we are alone. No matter how close we are with another human being, we are still technically alone, and that realization, can sometimes be overwhelming.

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  • "Why is she happily married and I'm not?"
  • "I came here first, but he got the promotion."
  • "Why I am lonely and single - am I not attractive?"
  • "There seem to be no one who wants to be friends with me so I hang out with my dog all the time."
  • "He seems so have moved on and I am still miserable."
  • "No one at work seems to like me."
  • "Why am I never invited to social gatherings?"

There are many factors that cause one to be lonely: depression, loss of job, loss of someone beloved, relationship break-ups, death of a pet, poor grades, failure; the list goes on and on. You may know some people who are envied by many for their fame, success, beauty, brains and money, and you might be surprised to know they also have moments of deep loneliness. Do all of us really have to go through this? Is there anyone out there who has not experienced loneliness?

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Loneliness can be fatal. Loneliness can be compared to physical stress. Disconnecting yourself from the society leads to loneliness, and can trigger damages to a person's immune system. The negative effects of loneliness on the body can be compared to having fifteen cigarettes daily or even alcohol abuse. A study showed that older people who confess they are lonely have 45% risk of dying prematurely. Loneliness can also increase the level of cortisol, a stress hormone. Studies also show that being socially isolated, better said, the loneliness caused by social isolation, may cause strokes and heart attacks. A lonely person's restorative capacity slows down due to disrupted sleep. Thus, the body and brain are not able to recuperate from stress or sickness quickly making the body weak and vulnerable.

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Is loneliness inevitable? Can't we really avoid it, and live happy lives?

Various Types of Loneliness

  1. 1
    Psychological Loneliness.
    A person who has gone through a traumatic experience often suffers from psychological loneliness. When a person has been a victim of sexual abuse, the events keep playing over and over in her mind, which can make her feel isolated and alone. When a person suffers from this kind of loneliness, he or she tends to disconnect from people around them – friends, co-workers and family, because individuals with this kind of loneliness are not understood by other people.
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  2. 2
    Interpersonal Loneliness.
    People who have lost someone intimate and significant to them experience this kind of loneliness. This is caused by a failed relationship or marriage, a long-time friendship or a family feud. This is the most common type of loneliness, as all of us lose significant people in our loves at some point. The loneliness is brought on by the loss of intimacy and touch…the loss of love. When this kind of loneliness strikes and there isn't a sturdy support system available, this can lead to a deeper kind of depression. Recently widowed, a guy whose wife has cheated on him with his best friend, a mother losing a child or even an old single woman losing her long time pet and best friend. When difficult situations arise in anyone's life, they need someone to talk to, someone who will understand the kind of loneliness they are going through. Sadly, this isn't always possible.
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  3. 3
    Intellectual loneliness.
    Smart, intellectual and creative people are often seen as loners. This is not because it's their choice, but it seems as they often see themselves out of sync from the norm. They have different views on many things that an average mind can't comprehend. When they want to explain something important, and people don't understand what they are trying to convey, it brings about a feeling of loneliness; they are completely isolated from others. Also, much of the creative process is a lonely job. A writer, for instance, can only create when they are alone. Even though it's a choice to be secluded during the creative process, there is still a feeling of isolation.
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  4. 4
    Cultural loneliness.
    This type of loneliness occurs when someone has the feeling that he or she doesn't fit in to a society with a culture different from hers/his. This can happen when people have immigrated to a new country. Perhaps the community is not welcoming, or there is a language barrier preventing new friendships. This also happens when someone marries someone who was raised in a completely different culture, and they are immersed in unfamiliar territory.
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  5. 5
    Cosmic or Existential loneliness.
    When people learn they have a fatal illness, and they will die soon, it's understandable this knowledge will cause the person to feel profound loneliness. Facing the certainty of your own death is very depressing. During these dark times, we feel so alone, we believe no else can help. Often, people who are dying, have trouble finding someone who will talk to them about dying. Family and friends may not want to bring it up, but you can be sure it is ALWAYS on the mind of someone who is dying. It might be God, in this trying time, that gives comfort to a dying person. This explains why people facing death suddenly turn to religion and prayer.
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  6. 6
    Social loneliness.
    Becoming ostracized is the main reason for this type of loneliness. Getting rejected by people or a group you have once loved and hung out with will definitely cause depression. If your friends whom you have been close to in the past have rejected you, you begin to wonder who else has rejected you without your knowing. You begin to stress about people rejecting you in the future. Aside from feeling like an outcast, and lonely, you also have to contend with fear.
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Coping With Loneliness

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  1. 1
    Socialize.
    If you have become a social outcast on your own volition, it is time to see the world again. Reconnect with friends that you have not seen for a long time. Spend more time with them and you will be surprised at how fast your recovery is. Do the old things that you did with them. You may also want to host a small get-together party as a starter.
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  2. 2
    Get a Pet.
    If you are feeling lonely and you are not a social butterfly, you may want to enjoy the companionship of a pet. Studies have shown that people who don't receive much emotional support from friends and family, experience deep love and attachment to pets. Their pets will help them cope with loneliness and depression. The best animal for the job is a dog. They are loyal, easy to love and love back in return. A bonus - when you walk your dog, there's a good chance you'll meet new people.
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  3. 3
    Live with other people.
    If you are lonely and single, you may want to consider moving back home and living with your family again. Alternatively, you could get a roommate. Having a strong support system during this time is crucial to your healing. When you feel really lonely, having someone to talk to makes you feel better, cared for and less isolated. Just the idea that someone is there - ready to listen - makes you feel that you are not alone. Living with someone is also beneficial to lonely older adults who have health issues.
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  4. 4
    Active solitude.
    This sounds like a paradox; you get active to enjoy solitude. For some lonely people, they feel the need to do some activities to feel better; activities like reading a book, exercising, listening to music or writing a poem keeps their minds busy for the time being. These activities can pull your mind away from loneliness and depression, and results in a more positive and creative you.
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  5. 5
    Look on the bright side.
    It's always good to stay positive in the midst of loneliness and hardship. Sometimes it is easier said than done. Sometimes the mind overrides the needs and desires of the heart, and does what it wants. Stay away from thoughts that make you feel lonely and remember there is someone out there who has a bigger struggle than you, but still finds simple things to smile about.
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Loneliness Among Children

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Some of us envy a child's life. No pressure at work, no depression due to relationship breakups, and no financial worries. Though children are universally gregarious, they also experience deep loneliness. They too get depressed. They too have their own issues that, when not given proper attention, may lead to long-term negative effects while growing up. So what makes children lonely?

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  • Bullying at school or in the neighbourhood.
  • Family issues (parents' divorce).
  • New school.
  • New neighbourhood.
  • The loss of someone or something dear to the child. (Death of a friend, grandparent, parent, sibling or pet)

What Parents Can Do to Help a Lonely Child

  1. 1
    Give Advice.
    When your child tells you they are being rejected by the other children at school, do not brush him/her off. LISTEN! You have to listen and get your child to talk about how this makes him/her feel. Give advice on how this can be handled and what he should do next time. When he feels bad for not making the baseball team, suggest that he/she join other clubs of interest. Keep encouraging and motivating your child to build their self-esteem.
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  2. 2
    Spend more time with them.
    Sometimes just the parents' presence relieves loneliness in children. Children become lonely when they do not have someone to turn to when they need some help. If your child has already been rejected by other children and you aren't around, who else can they turn to? If you need to work on weekdays, be sure to reserve weekends for the kids. Make use of the time to ask about school, friends and any other possible issues he or she may be having. Even if you work, take one half an hour of your day to spend with your child – one on one.
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  3. 3
    Get professional help.
    If the child's loneliness is leading to depression, it is better to seek a child specialist. While your role as a parent is to help your child's coping skills is important, seeking professional advice will be a sane choice for you and your child.
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Suicide

Look for Signs of Suicide. It is so important that you seriously consider this if your child is lonely and sad all the time. Every parent believes it could never happen to his or her child, when the truth is, it could, and it does. If you are a child or teenager reading this, and you have thoughts of suicide, or you've experienced any of the symptoms below, you need to talk to your parent, an adult friend, a school counsellor your doctor right away. If you believe your child exhibits any of the symptoms below, seek immediate help for your child. When someone is suicidal, they believe that nothing at all, would be better than what they have now. Getting through the night is so important, as tomorrow always breathes a different light on our lives. It is extremely important that you take all threats of suicide seriously and seek immediate treatment for your child or teenager. If you are a child or teen and have these feelings, talk with your parents, an adult friend, or your doctor right away to get some help.

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  1. 1
    1. 2
      Early Warning Signs Might Include:
       
      1. Making comments about suicide. Always take these seriously.
      2. If you notice your child is preoccupied with death – conversations, writings or drawings.
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    2. 3
      Critical Warning Signs:
       
      1. If your child begins giving away his belongings – especially things that are beloved to your child.
      2. Your child has withdrawn from friends and family.
      3. Your child exhibits hostile or aggressive behavior.
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Loneliness/Depression in Animals

Just like humans, animals feel lonely too. Dogs are among the animals that become depressed the easiest. Between cats and dogs, the latter gets more depressed than the former. Cats are not as social animals as dogs, and they can live alone, as long as they are fed.

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Reasons our Canine Friends Feel Lonely

  • Their companion dies.
  • Their owner dies.
  • There's a new, more dominant pet in the house.
  • Moving to a new home
  • New baby/partner (dogs get jealous when the owner has a new baby or gets married).

How To Tell If Your Dog Is Depressed

  • Change in appetite. Your dog is eating less resulting, in weight loss, or eating too much leading to weight gain.
  • Changes in sleeping patterns. Your dog may either sleep longer than the usual or his sleep is constantly disrupted.
  • Inactivity, laziness. You dog has become inactive, and no longer enjoys the activities you both enjoyed doing together. Your dog also refuses to interact with the other dogs around him or with the other members of the household.
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Questions and Answers

Why am I lonely?

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Each of us has felt lonely at different points in our lives. This is indeed a familiar feeling or state of mind for every individual, although the definition of loneliness varies from one person to another. Our biological makeup, day-to-day experiences, relationships, health, and environment certainly shape our emotions and overall state of well-being. Acknowledging that you are lonely is a good start to getting the right answers and help you need. There is no one-size-fits-all reply to this question. As much as every person is considered unique, that goes precisely the same to the reasons for feelings of loneliness. The state of being lonely is not the same as being physically alone (although this could lead to it in one way or another). Try this analogy: a person can be happy and contented doing solitary work or enjoying some activities alone, such as reading a good book or fixing a stool, while there are those who feel lonely or isolated even in a crowd or at a party packed with people. There are different causes behind that nagging feeling of loneliness. Medical experts point out that this is deeply rooted in genetics or family history while some say this is primarily linked to an individual's level of self-esteem. A kid might have an entirely different set of reasons for experiencing loneliness, compared to an adult or elderly person. A woman might be battling different issues from that of a man or a gay individual. There are definitely a lot of causes surrounding the "blues" that you're feeling. It could be fleeting or temporary or could cause other long-term diseases or lead to clinical depression or other psychological disorders.

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Being lonely is regarded to be an emotional or psychological state of mind. This is a feeling of being isolated, unwanted, or a generalized perception of emptiness. Here are some of the common causes of loneliness:

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  • Rejection or failure. This is a state of emotional lethargy that most people can relate to at different points in their lives. Kids might feel they can't cope or measure up to school standards, or they are unable to fit in to groups or society, or they fall short on parents' expectations.
  • Separation from a parent or divorce in the family. Nobody ever wins in a divorce or separation in a family. This is indeed a very difficult decision, and the children are the most adversely affected. Many children feel they are to blame for the divorce and become withdrawn or dysfunctional in school or society.
  • Death of a loved one. Death is a part of life indeed, but it can be devastating to the survivors. If one suffers the death of a loved one - parents, grandparent, children, sibling, friends, or a doting pet - it becomes an agonizing phase that may feel like you're stuck in limbo. It might take months or even years of recovery before a person suffering from grief becomes fully functional again. Sometimes the state of loneliness experienced with deaths in the family can lead to clinical depression.
  • Moving to another home. People create a sense of attachment to their home, especially when you have spent many years in that home building relationships and memories while growing up. The history of a home or a neighborhood will make it difficult for you to pack up things and go. Children, or teens that have to move to another place away from the things, people, and routine that they have been accustomed to for years most commonly experience this. Never forget - they didn't have a choice in the decision.
  • Conflict between family, or issues with friends. Constant conflict or quarreling in the home, or misunderstandings with a family member or friends can make you feel lonely. A simple argument or feeling misunderstood by a close friend can have adverse effects, and they end up feeling lonely and depressed.
  • Stressful demands of school or work. The fast-paced scenario of day-to-day grind, whether you are in school r at work, can leave you burnt out or stressed, which can trigger feelings of loneliness. When you feel like you don't have anything else to do but work or study all week, it can be hazardous to your lifestyle and overall health. All work and no play makes one dull; so-to-speak.
  • Breakups or cheating in romantic relationships. Love is said to make the world go round and round. Most depression and suicide cases stem from heartaches caused by break ups or cheating in relationships. Falling in love is easy – crawling back out of it is hard.
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Reasons for feeling that lonely sting do vary from one individual to another. Even the simplest triggers can make one feel lonely at times. It could be a sad song heard over the radio that reminds you of a past flame or lack of sleep and plain exhaustion that makes you feel tired and blue. Loneliness is a natural and a common state of mind. Everybody gets to experience it. How often depends on how much pressure you can have in your life. It helps to be able to talk about it with a support group or family and friends. Cry or shout if you must. Expressing your loneliness in productive ways or activities can help you deal with it effectively. Remember that time won't stop and wait for you. Go on and sulk, but be able to bounce back and move on with life. Loneliness is a state of mind that you can take control of before it takes over your entire life.

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My friend told me two months before she died that she would die within the three days or so, which she predicted to be in the middle of December.

I am quite vexed by these coincidences.

It can be a mere coincidence as people make predictions quite often in their lives. Psychologists also have found out that people can program themselves for a certain action or even be programmed by others. For example, when someone predicts your future, he or she programs your brain to be obsessed, even at the subconscious level, on this idea and realize the mechanism of the program as soon as the time comes. This is neurolinguistic programming. She could also have something from a doctor whom she had visited that let her know the date. Humanity has also a lot to discover in the field of medicine and science.

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Breathe easily. Sometimes, people just know, and it can be a beautiful thing, and nothing to be afraid of. How lovely that she shared this with you.

My Perspective on Life if I was this type of person.

Acceptance of What is and realize there is nothing you can do to change it, so just drop it and rather focus on what you do have. For example - I Am Extremely Grateful I was able to type this so others may read it to. I am grateful that everyone who hears this and reads this can. And just be honest to people around you. If its friendship you are looking for its friendship you will get. It seems really simple to do but it does take work, but I promise you the rewards and light and love you radiate to those around you. We can change the world by just choosing to do so. GOD is Love and Love is GOD that's why they are called the COMMANDMENTS and not the Suggestions!

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Very nice of you to share, but there are people dealing with some very personal and huge issues. It's not particularly helpful to tell people to get over it. They need love and compassion and caring. When people are lonely and depressed, they don't need someone to tell them what to do, they need someone to listen to them, with their heart.

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Can I add these types in my thesis?

I want to add it to my research thesis.

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Are you author of this article?

Different types of loneliness article written by you? If you are, when did you write it? I want to know the date it was published, and year. Can you help me with this?

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Is there a specific type of loneliness when most of your immediate family has passed away and you may have people in your life who are close, but still feel psychologically isolated in some way?

Mom and dad passed away and also feeling stuck in a relationship. I have tried: Tried to leave my partner for someone else, therapy, keep in contact with family overseas. I think it was caused by: Becoming entrenched in my long-term partnership.

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You sound lovely. I'm so sorry for your loss. You deserve to be sad about your parents, but you do not deserve to feel lonely when you are with someone who's supposed to love you. It's worse to feel lonely when you are with someone, than it is to feel lonely when you are on your own. I'd leave…not to land in another relationship, but leave for yourself, because you deserve better, and you deserve to be loved. After every breakup, people need space and time to reconnect with who they are as an individual. Best of luck and love to you.

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