If you're like most people, you enjoy being by yourself sometimes, but you also have times when you crave time with your friends and family.
You may dread being alone in certain situations, like going out to dinner or attending a party where you don't know anyone.
You want to have a friend with you to make it more comfortable.
This is normal, as a lot of us like to have someone with us in situations we aren't familiar with or when we are doing something new.
But for some people, the discomfort of being alone is more than just an occasional feeling.
It is a debilitating condition that impacts the quality of their lives.
Autophobia, also known as monophobia, is defined as the fear of being by oneself or feeling lonely.
If you suffer from autophobia, the anxiety of being alone, even in a place that is typically very comforting like one's home, can lead to severe suffering.
People who have autophobia believe they need to have at least one other person around in order to feel safe. Autophobia is often exacerbated when a person is feeling ignored, unloved, and dissatisfied with themselves.
If being alone gives you a sense of dread and is accompanied by a fear of extreme isolation, you might be suffering from autophobia.
The good news is that you can learn to overcome this fear with dedication, perseverance, and sufficient support.
Let's look at some of the best ways to overcome this fear.
12 Of the Best Ways To Overcome Fear Of Being Alone
Fear of Being Alone at Night
If your fear relates more to being alone at night, here are some steps to take:
1. Systematic Desensitization
One way to resolve a phobia is to gradually expose yourself to the stimuli that make you uncomfortable.
You can start by keeping all of the lights on in your house at night and keeping the television on.
Having the background noise of the TV will help you feel less alone and keeping the lights on will help you feel safe. As time goes on, start to dim the lights or only keep half of them on during the night.
You can also lower the volume on the television. Eventually, you will be able to have all of the lights off without any noise as you will have gotten used to it.
2. Learn Your Surroundings
Walk around your house with your eyes closed, or at night with the lights off, and use your available senses to learn every step, every noise, every turn in your house.
With this level of concentration, you become so familiar with your surroundings and with the darkness that you eventually learn to feel comfortable with them.
3. Face Your Fears Of Being Alone
Your imagination is the problem in this situation, as you fear some dreadful situation might occur while you're alone at night.
You need to prove to yourself that whatever is in your imagination is just that — imaginary.
Open your windows and look outside to see a calm and peaceful night. You can even go for a short walk down your street to realize that there is nothing to be afraid of.
4. Keep Your Mind Occupied
To keep your mind from wandering to a fearful place, listen to something like a podcast or some music when you are alone at night.
Do some work or chores that have been nagging at you for the last few weeks. Keep busy so your mind stays occupied.
Fear of Being Alone and Abandoned
5. Figure out where the fear is coming from.
Children may experience real losses or traumas that lead to insecure feelings as adults. These traumas may be dramatic, such as the death of a parent, neglect, or abuse.
However, they can also be subtle and occur in everyday interactions between parents and children.
For children to feel secure, they have to feel safe, seen, and soothed when they’re upset. Parents are not always fully attuned to their children's fears, so exploring early attachment patterns can provide insight into fears regarding abandonment.
A child's early attachment history greatly influences how they view relationships as adults. People may bring their childhood insecurities into their adulthood.
Adults who have a fear of abandonment may have a preoccupied attachment style, which causes them to anticipate rejection.
They may be triggered by even imagined signs of rejection from a partner based on the rejections they experienced as children. These triggers are based on events from the past, so resolving these emotions is paramount to feeling more secure in themselves and having healthier relationships.
6. Learn Self-Compassion
Enhancing your self-compassion is a healthier goal than building self-esteem. Self-compassion doesn’t focus on judgment and evaluation, but instead, it involves self-love, mindfulness, and acceptance.
You practice being kind to yourself rather than being judgmental.
The more you learn to accept your struggles, the stronger you’ll be when you are triggered to feel rejection.
Being mindful helps you refrain from over-identifying with your thoughts and feelings to the point of letting them control you.
When people fear abandonment, they typically have unkind thoughts about themselves that perpetuate this fear. Imagine if you could acknowledge these unkind thoughts without allowing them to control you.
The more you recognize that you are human and that everyone has struggles, the more self-compassion you can cultivate. If you keep in mind that you're not alone and that you are worthy, you can avoid believing the thoughts that lead to a fear of abandonment.
7. Face the Past
The more you can identify your feels around abandonment and link them to your past, the more you can separate past experiences from the present.
It can be daunting to self-reflect to see what led to your current pain and face the feelings of abandonment you experienced as a child when you couldn't control your situation.
However, by facing these feelings, you can free yourself from the mindsets and emotions holding you back. You're able to create new stories and friendships as adults in which you feel safe, seen, soothed, and secure.
You might need to help and support of a professional therapist to help you navigate this self-reflection and heal the wounds of childhood fears of abandonment.
8. Transform the Fear
You can transform your fear of abandonment into emotional self-reliance by learning to accept your separateness as your own individual person. Everyone one of us has to face our aloneness at some point in our lives.
But acknowledging this can empower you to stop being needy or insecure with your partner and in all of your relationships. It teaches you to take responsibility for your own emotional needs and to accept that being alone at times can be positive.
Fear of Being Alone Forever
9. Stop Criticizing Yourself
How often do you put yourself down? How often do you tell yourself things like, “I'm not smart enough. I'm fat. I'm so old. I'm unattractive. I always mess things up”?
If this is how you talk to yourself, you're conditioning yourself to believe that you are not worthy and no one will ever want to be with you. Your thoughts directly impact your feelings and the way you present yourself to the world.
So, if you have positive thoughts, you feel more confident and worthy. If you continue harboring negative thoughts about yourself, you reflect those feelings to everyone around you.
Be gentle with yourself. If someone in your past made you believe you are unworthy, don't let them have your power.
When you start to hear negative self-talk, remind yourself that you are a worthy person. Focus on your positive attributes so you can believe someone wants to be with you.
10. Recognize that you have something valuable to offer.
Think about your strengths and greatest qualities. Are you hard-working, funny, and honest? Do you love art and spending time with your family?
Think about the things you bring to a relationship and how you can make someone happy because of your great qualities.
It may take some alone time to realize what your unique talents or interests are. Spending time alone is valuable because it will teach you more about yourself and your interests.
Use your alone time productively so you don't become anxious or fearful. Allow yourself to discover your interests, talents, passions, and dreams, knowing that the right person will be attracted to these qualities in you.
Also, join a dating site and put yourself out there so you can meet potential romantic partners. You have to be proactive to find the love of your life.
11. Change the way you feel about being alone.
Society sometimes suggests that being married and having children is a sign of personal success.
There is tremendous pressure to be in a committed relationship, particularly for women.
No matter how professionally successful a woman becomes, if she is not in a relationship, people assume that she is either depressed or something is wrong with her.
This makes being single seem like a personal failure, but it certainly is not. Your relationship status does not determine your value as a person.
Being alone just means that you want to wait for the right person, or it can mean you are taking time for yourself.
To increase your confidence when you are overcoming autophobia, envision the things that you want for yourself.
Imagine yourself being confident and successful when entering into situations alone. Think about how it would feel to be completely self-reliant.
12. Don't be jealous of other people's relationships.
Do you feel bitter when one of your friends gets engaged?
What about if someone tells you about a great date they went on?
You may stop to wonder why this happens to other people but never seems to happen to you.
Try to feel happy for other people who find their life partners. Exude positivity toward them. When you see a happy couple, think of how great you will feel when you meet your next partner.
View it as evidence that it's possible to find someone to be your life partner.
Having these positive thoughts shifts your perspective on your relationship status and helps you formulate an optimistic view of your future.
You have the power to overcome the fear of being alone, especially if you can identify the root of your fear.
The best thing you can do is to learn how to be more comfortable alone, so you can face that fear head-on when it arises.
As you learn to be more self-aware and accepting of some alone time, you can also work on expanding your social life and developing close friendships so you feel less alone.
If you worry you'll never find a romantic partner and live alone forever, remind yourself that you have unique qualities and strengths that people find attractive and that you are good enough to find a partner in life.