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Autophobia: The Fear of Being Alone

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How it Was

I have never minded my own company. Even as a child. If I wanted to go there and no one wanted to come, I went alone. I never felt afraid.

As I got older I would go to venues, on my own. I never called everyone in my address book to find a companion. If I wanted to go somewhere it was no problem for me to travel alone, be alone, return alone.

I never thought about it.

I liked being on my own. No one to answer to. Free to do what I wanted. If I wanted to eat ice cream for breakfast, if I wanted to watch a show, read an article, even clean the flat, I did so.

It was called life.

There was nothing peculiar about it. In ancient days, that was how people were.

How Did We Get Here?

Recently I have been watching Vintage Twilight Zone; (1959 - 1964). There are many episodes in which the protagonist wants to be alone. Wants to have time for himself to live his life without people interfering.

It is clear that in those days people did not 'need' others, in fact, getting alone time, privacy, was prized.

In those days, people didn't 'need' to be in a crowd. In those days, people were complete in themselves. They made up their own minds and were not easily led.

Then, somehow, there has been a change.

The New Norm

I began to notice that people didn't want to be by themselves. That they were reluctant to go anywhere without company. It never hit me as hard as when I met the superlative example of a person who hates her own company.

Never before had I encountered a grown woman so afraid to being by herself that she would 'buy' young men so as not to drive twenty miles alone. Not to walk to that shop by herself.

I was amazed and took a deeper look.

The Terror

She is over sixty.

Her children are far away and take little interest . Her marriages are over.

Because she hates herself she can not be alone. She has become a 'sugar momma' who 'buys' younger men as companions. In many cases, it is not sexual. It is simply that to drive by herself is so terrifying, she will virtually hire someone to go with her.

She sleeps with the light on. Often, she will sleep sitting up, with the light on.

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If there is no one around, she will phone people to hear a voice. She will babble fabricated rubbish to get interest, often forgetting she has given the same babble on the last call.

The pressure of being alone forces her to travel to where her children are. Not that they want her around, but she can not stand her own company.

She literally hates her own company.

Take a Look

Although she seems like an isolated case, she isn't.

Look around you.

People are walking on the road. Many, on their cell phones. Why? What is so important that they need to conduct a conversation while they walk amid others?

It is not getting directions, it is not vital information. It not being alone. It is not having to experience one's own company. Because people hate themselves.

Those not connected hold their phone in their hand as if it is some magic weapon against loneliness. For fear of being alone has become the major terror.

The Cold Sweat

This modern terror of being alone is real. A large majority can not stand their own company. This is why so many people do not leave abusive partners.

There is an inculcated fear of being alone which so explodes within a woman that she will take abuse, live around it, because she can't leave.

It is not that he ties her, it is that she binds herself. Being alone is more terrifying then domestic abuse.

To be on her own is impossible. As if a toddler, she needs someone to look after her. So will put up with the abuse because she prefers it to her own company.


Despite what you want to believe or imagine; we are all alone. We are all within separate bodies. And we live this way. And we die this way.

Being surrounded by a crowd or singular on a beach is the same.

Think of a pebble; alone on the desk, or amid hundreds of pebbles in the garden. It is still a separate pebble.

What has happened to us in the past sixty years? How is it that Twilight Zone, where episodes are devoted to people trying to get away from others and be on their own is turned upside down?

Why do people hate themselves?

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