Loneliness


I know I’m not alone in feeling lonely.  The disconnect between how man is geared to live and how we now live can wreak havoc on your friendship supply.  I’ve found most friends do not travel well.  Of course, my new blogging friends do not have to travel, and likely will not.  Yet I feel more connected to some of the other bloggers I have met here than I feel to my own family.

I assume that is the center of my loneliness; being estranged from my family.  You’d think that I would’ve gotten used to not having family.  I’ve been estranged for more than 20 years yet I still long to talk to my sisters, though I know we have nothing in common and nothing to say to one another.  I try to think of myself as an orphan, and wonder if this is the emptiness that makes adoptees seek out their birth parents.

I’ve been reading about loneliness and find the science behind it interesting.  A study was done with mice (The original article can be found here: http://news.yahoo.com/mystery-social-isolation-messes-brain-solved-180618284.html.) where they isolated a mouse from his peers during a crucial growth period.  The results showed that the isolated mouse’s social interactions are a little off.  In other words, I see the lonely mouse as a geek, prone to social miscues and mistakes.  What was surprising to me was the physical damage to the pre-frontal cortex of the brain.  It seems a necessary process does not take place in the subject’s brain, caused by the isolation. This interrupted process is what makes the mouse lonely.  To me it was an exciting story because it talks about the key problem in MS: destruction of the myelin, and I see a correlation with my depression and ms.  If I suffered some sort of separation as a young child my brain would not have produced the proper substances, causing disturbances in the myelin sheaths covering the nerves.

The problem lies in misperceptions; perceptions that the people you just met probably didn’t really like you.  They were just being polite.  That’s exactly how I feel.  I think I have a flaw and some people pick up on it and proceed to dislike me, only they think I dislike them because of my cool attitude.  They think I’m aloof.  When all I am is really confused.

There are “cures” for loneliness; get out and meet people, join a club, subscribe to an online lonely married people dating site, blog.  Self-help gurus tell you if you’re lonely, take a class, you’ll meet people and make friends.  Ah, there is the crux of this problem.  How does one go about it?  I’ve been to a lot of classes and met  lots of great people, yet none of those great people were interested in a relationship with me.  Some say volunteer at an old folks home or hospital.  What, I’m supposed to go make friends with the sick and dying?  I want live friends (kidding).

I feel that my husband’s friends, who I have known more than 20 years now, don’t really like me.  One man in particular I looked up to for some reason.  He seemed a little like a replacement brother.  Only there were a couple of very specific instances where I disliked this man for his coldness and harsh attitude on a day I was feeling particularly ornery.  When I get ornery my voice gets louder.  I can’t help it, I’m a passionate person and if I have  an audience I want to be heard.  He made a couple of comments to me that night that I can’t forget.  After that I felt more and more like an outsider in the group, afraid to speak my mind.  For one I was the only wife that ever went along.  It was always just me and six guys.  I recently stopped going to visit them entirely.  H goes down alone, though he doesn’t really understand why.  He just knows I don’t enjoy being the odd one out, the extra wheel, the only female, the youngest, the one with lots to say and no one to say it to.

I’ll probably be blogging a bit on this subject as I have been feeling increasingly lonely since I quit work.  No one I used to work with reaches out to me any more.  I called occasionally, and emailed for 8 months, but none reciprocate any more and it doesn’t feel like they really care to stay in touch with me.  That’s ok, and I understand it, but it still hurts.  There were women there I worked with for six years.  We shared a lot together and I thought when I quit we would stay in touch, maybe.  The ones I thought I was closest to were the ones who disappeared from my life first.

Perhaps I just don’t try hard enough.  Perhaps I put too much of the burden on the other party, but I don’t want to appear pushy or needy, so I leave continuing contact to them.  Maybe that’s where I go wrong.  I look at my Facebook friends and wonder why they appear on my page at all.  Some of them are ex-work friends, who I now have nothing in common with.  I try to comment on things now and then, but rarely is my effort responded to.  One friend liked to post pictures of her meals.  I posted once asking why people do that, and I never heard from her again.  One is a party girl and all her posts are about hiphop/dance music, dating, going out, etc.  She’s enjoying her new single life and I’ve nothing in common with her.  Then there is my old high school friend still living in the “old country” and likes to forward Republican things which I am unable to comment on.  Pisses me off that I can’t respond.  I also have a “friend” who is going through tough times.  A very recent widow, a new mom with her oldest son in jail.  A story I don’t want to be a part of.  Yet she is the one I stay most connected to.

My H thinks it will be good for me to go back to work just for the social aspect.  That’s the thing that really worries me; getting to know new people at a new job.  Smiling when they say it’s nice to meet me, even though it doesn’t mean anything to them at all, especially if I come in on a temporary basis.  Maybe if people wouldn’t say “nice to meet you” I wouldn’t feel so off put.  How can it be nice to meet me?  You now know my name and shook my hand.  You know nothing about me, and I know nothing about you.  I’d rather that people said things like “welcome aboard” as lame and over used as that one is.  I rarely say anything at all during introductions and hate them more than anything about a new job, because of all the social protocol.  I’d never do well as a Brit.

6 thoughts on “Loneliness

  1. I have a personality that is hesitant at first when meeting others. But when I’m with them one on one I am better at relating.

    My last job ..I worked 13 years and was ‘friends’ with many but not close friends. However when I left on disability there was only a couple who ever attempted to contact me. I felt very ‘lonely’ and ‘hurt’ because it was a big chunk of my life that I worked there.

    So I guess I would say to fine that one or two people that you think you could have a relationship with and be honest with your feelings. It doesn’t sound as though you have any right now but maybe when you start back to work you could look at people you meet and try and discern whether or not they could be that special friend. Dare to be you and let them know who that is..Diane.

  2. I get lonely too, sometimes. You can be lonely when surrounded by people, especially if you aren’t in the inner circle. But it is nice to connect with other bloggers. And sometimes they even get together for real.

  3. I think you are so hard on yourself, but I do know what you mean. I’m glad you are posting about this topic because it is useful for others and also really interesting. I have always been a bit of a loner so don’t seem to get that feeling of loneliness (my dad was like that – he didn’t need anyone) but I have to admit that since taking leave from my job to look after Anthony and then, more recently, resigning, some of the people I worked with for nearly 20 years haven’t bothered with me whereas others who I hardly knew have sought me out – weird!
    Blog friendships are real – I am your friend.

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