How Loneliness Manifests
I have heard a good friend say numerous times, “A man alone is in bad company.” Now, I have no idea if he coined this phrase, but the truth of it is profound. I’ve heard him make this comment in the context of a men’s group seeking to promote personal and spiritual growth among men.
My experience reveals the large majority of men struggle with living lonely and isolated lives. Now, I don’t mean that they literally don’t interact or engage with other people. It is more that they have unique ways of building walls that prevent others to really know them or for them to know themselves.
How Men Isolate Themselves
I observe men isolating themselves in many ways by:
Ignoring Their Own Needs
Sometimes they do this through achievement or busyness or serving others. They don’t let themselves slow down long enough to take a peek under the hood of their heart to examine their true longings. They strive to be the “nice guy” that everyone relies upon. They commit themselves to other’s needs and don’t bother to consider what dreams they have for life – and nobody asks.
Keeping Feelings Inside
Other times, men are so overwhelmed with their fear and certainty of how screwed up they are (often compared to their perception of other men) that they walk around barely holding it all together. They press on feeling like a fraud. They believe its only a matter of time before everyone finds out. They put on a smile in public and secretly condemn themselves for not being good enough. They don’t dare let anyone in on what they are experiencing.
Men have unique ways of building walls that prevent others to really know them or for them to know themselves.
There are times men unleash their anger and aggression through the assertion of their power and control over others. They have no intention of leaving space for anyone else’s influence as long as they are around. They are consumed with a commitment to prevent others of a chance to take advantage of them, their possessions, or whatever else they are afraid to lose.
Most all of these men are unaware that there is any alternative to live life. They are also often unaware of how difficult it is for others who love them or work for them or live with them due to their behaviors. What’s worse, they don’t go looking for help even when it’s clear to everyone they need it.
The only company they have are themselves. They are alone with the thoughts, feelings and beliefs inside that only promote more of the same protective behaviors. It is a vicious and tragic negative cycle.
The Long Term Effects of Isolation
When this cycle goes on long enough, it often contributes to even more destructive behaviors like:
- Cheating on a Spouse
- Addiction to Pornography
- Over Eating
- Alcohol Abuse
- Crippling Anxiety
Relational and Legal Consequences
The cycle may lead to other activities that carry a higher risk of relational and even legal consequences. In fact, it is often these consequences that force men out of hiding and isolation. However, those consequences are the most punishing and painful for men and those who are closest to them.
Do You Feel Alone? Call Watershed Today
Take my word for it: if you can avoid getting to that point you will want to. So let me or the other professionals at Watershed help you now. Make an appointment today and take a step towards finding better company.