Autophobia is the fear of being alone within four walls. Sometimes this fear is hidden so deep inside that many people do not even realize that they have it. Since any phobia tends to progress and produce terrible consequences, the fear of staying home alone cannot be underestimated. Over time, it can turn into a depressive vegetable and even lead to suicide.
What Is the Fear of Loneliness?
People suffering from autophobia feel discomfort not only in the walls of their own home when everybody leaves, but in an empty office at work, and in the quiet, empty park. It would seem that in our overpopulated world it is difficult to find a place where no one would bother you. Writers, for example, like to go to nature, to book a quiet, lonely house and create their masterpieces there – so that no one interfered with their own thoughts and ideas. But for a person with autophobia such privacy seems impossible, frightening, disgusting. It’s like he doesn’t trust himself, afraid of his own dialogues in his head and that something will happen while he is at home alone. A person with a fear of staying home alone tries to constantly be in touch: phone, Skype, social networks. His TV works in non-stop mode, creating the illusion of someone else’s presence, and the steps and voices of neighbors at the entrance bring tangible relief.
A special paradox occurs with introverts. Such people are naturally prone to seclusion, they get energy from silence and withdrawal. The people around only exhaust him/her trying to communicate, but the fear of being home alone does not allow the introvert to retire. He feels most comfortable when sitting alone in a room, with somebody behind the wall (mom preparing dinner, brother and friends playing computer). Then the introvert with autophobia can do his/her business, staying in the middle ground between the conflicting needs.
Symptoms of Phobia
As soon as the person with autophobia is left alone, all the preconditions for the occurrence of a panic attack before sleep are immediately created:
- pulse is racing;
- blood pressure increases;
- there is anxiety, fear for your life;
- thoughts acquire terrible shape, create scary images and dialogue in the head;
- there is absolute self-doubt (“I’m worthless, I can’t help myself, I’m in danger”);
- any simple things scare to shiver: quiet tapping somewhere in the entrance, alarm someone’s car on the street, wind noise, your own reflection in the mirror.
Often, the patient even begins to feel aggression towards himself (“Why am I so abnormal?”) or to his/her household who went out for their business (“I could not rely on them, I will die, and they won’t even notice!”).
It should be noted that almost all patients are jealous, petty, picky, somewhat tyrannical, insecure, have low self-esteem, high anxiety, bad sleep. Women’s fear of being alone manifests itself more often than the men’s one, but this fact is causing a lot of controversy. After all, the stronger sex is “not allowed” to show excessive emotions and generally be afraid of anything, so men often gloss over their autophobia, which greatly exacerbates it.
The Mystery of Autophobia
There are many reasons that cause fear of loneliness. Sometimes only a psychotherapist can reveal the truth. Most often the phobia occurs in the following circumstances.
- The child was locked in a dark room, frightened by horror stories or forced to experience stress in an empty apartment (parents left without warning). Even an accidentally thrown threat “I will lock you in a closet for the whole night” may forever deprive the child of peace and to generate a phobia.
- A strong stress suffered alone (there was a fire, someone was killed or was on the verge of life and death, there was an attack, robbers broke in) causes fear that this will happen again.
- Lack of parental love and care has caused low self-esteem and self-doubt. If a girl initially did not have a full, healthy relationship with her father, then in adult life she risks becoming emotionally dependent on her beloved man. And the fear of being alone at home will be associated with an attempt to keep the beloved partner close at any cost, receiving from him the emotions that the father did not give.
Note!Overcoming fear of staying home alone becomes possible only after discovering the real cause of phobia. Then the patient has all the chances to regain a quiet life and the opportunity to quietly do business, even when there is no one around.
Psychotherapeutic sessions help to remove fear quickly enough. With the help of a specialist, the patient returns to the stressful situations of the past and lives them anew, changing his attitude to them thanks to adulthood and accumulated experience. Medications are applied only in case of advanced autophobia when there is a real danger that in a rush of the panic the person will do something bad to himself.