Opposite of Lonely

I don’t often feel lonely, not the way I hear others describe it. I looked it up in a dictionary and thesaurus, and curiously, could not find an opposite for lonely that makes sense to me.

Lonely is defined as the one of the most terrible things in the world: Sad because one has no friends or company, isolated, alone, lonesome, friendless, with no one to turn to, forsaken, abandoned, rejected, unloved, unwanted, outcast, deserted, uninhabited, unfrequented, unpopulated, desolate, isolated, remote, out of the way, secluded, off the beaten track/path, in the back of beyond, godforsaken; in

the middle of nowhere.

Opposite? Populous. Crowded.

I do have a longing for meaningful connections in my life. Love and acceptance from people you can trust. I have a deep, dark, pain, an emptiness much greater than loneliness, because I know it will never be filled. I’ve looked into the depths of this chasm, and it is seemingly bottomless. It seems I’m safe as long as I only glance at it, no jumping in.

For me, acquaintance people are nearly always a nuisance, a stressor. Hell even the current people in my life that are supposed to be loving, supportive, combat loneliness, like my husband and in-laws cause stress and conflict. My kids are the only people I enjoy time with, and even then after a bit , I still feel crowded, smothered, like I can’t think or breathe. When I am alone, I feel peaceful. When I am with others, the tolerance clock starts clicking and I have limited time before I bolt, hide, isolate myself and recover from the constant scrutiny, questions, confusion, misunderstandings, obligations, words…so many endless words attacking my system.

It wears me out to nod, smile, be polite, figure out how to respond, sense danger, protect myself. Talking is my least favorite activity. I’d rather go to the dentist than have to chitchat with some random person. Is it my turn to talk? What did they just say? Are they lying right now? What time is it? Is that a TV show they’re talking about? Is this something I’m supposed to know snd recall or are they telling me something new? Ugh. Too stressful

Add multiple people and this feeling is exponentially heightened, to being the opposite of lonely, I get a strong need to be alone, to escape.

I’m not heartless. I do wish all these people well. I just don’t want to hear about it, sorry. Most things people tell me I can’t do anything about and I feel uncomfortable having to express sympathy or advice. Most people I start diagnosing their personality disorders, recognize cognitive distortions popping up, and of course I must remain silent. People don’t want to know this. They don’t actually want to change their own behavior or think about their thoughts. And they would be insulted or embarrassed, even though they are the one oversharing to me. It is only socially acceptable to offer support like, oh you poor thing that sounds difficult for you. They just want to hear it sucks, for validation.

I’ve found when I interact online, I can control the pace and intensity and don’t get overwhelmed. Each time I venture out to a real life Meetup, it is not a positive experience.

I’m not sure that’s bad or unhealthy. At this point in my life, if I feel satisfied by this level of connection, than maybe I need to stop trying to force myself into a more social, extroverted role just because I’m supposed to be lonely this way.

I’ve been reading “Quiet” by Susan Cain and embracing my introverted self. I don’t think I need fixed. When I socialize it is to complete a task, or because others want me there. I get nothing but stress from most gatherings otherwise.

I watched the Netflix series “Atypical” which was fantastic. I’m not an expert on autism to know if they portrayed this accurately at all. It was entertaining, but also I indentified strongly with his social struggles. I don’t think I’m autistic. But I do think I’m atypical and that my brain can’t be changed much at this point. I don’t connect and form bonds or relationships like most others do. I’m highly sensitive, tuned into emotions, which is the autistic difference. My hyperactive neurons though gives me high scores on tests for autism, overwhelmed by sensory input, can’t look people in the eye, don’t make friends, can’t work in groups, hate loud noises and bright lights, take things too literally at times, repetitive soothing behaviors, trouble following conversation, it goes on and on. Fascinating really. So it seems that autism may be caused by too many neural connections, a lack of pruning, is one theory. I’ve read similar theories for anxiety and PTSD, our connections stay strong reinforcing past memories to keep us vigilant and safe.

This is me rambling and I hope not being stupid or offensive with these curious thoughts. I only look for similarities to figure out the puzzle of me. I don’t claim to be right, ever.

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7 thoughts on “Opposite of Lonely

  1. You don’t sound unreasonable. Maybe a bit of all of those including being a “highly sensitive person.” Maybe we’ve talked about Elaine Aron’s research; I don’t remember. It’s simply the way you’re made, the way you perceive life. I think it’s possible to slide toward the autism side of the scale without qualifying officially. Add in CPTSD and other factors. Doctors like boxes they can check off definitively. Definitive isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I’m learning to be okay with fuzzy.

    • Yes we have talked about HSP as how we are possibly not neurotypical. I’m also okay with fuzzy. mostly I find it interesting that so many boxes can fit when talking about the brain. We all have so much yet to learn. I know some of my boxes overlap or enhance each other as well, making some sensitivities even more err atypical

    • “I’m done with peopling”, I need that on tshirts and mugs, maybe a flag or sign to wave, printed on a blanket I can hide under….Thanks yes I have heard some of her ted talks, it is great to have someone speaking for us

  2. What you are describing is what I felt a lot. No chance to be introverted in my childhood home, my dad was a world-class talker, to be heard I had to talk. The other people in my house were a genius brother, the abuser and her daughter, none of them successful encounters for me, most of the time. I was and am content to be by myself, it certainly was safer than any social encounter. I lived in a hostile universe which seemed to want things of me I could not supply in the right quantity, at the right time, in the right way.

    Being alone for me was a way off the hamster wheel/no-win insanity of dealing with the world. Thankfully, through a variety of luck and life choices and a lot of work, I no longer live that way. Mine was based on PTSD and the abuse, not physical issues, but emotionally based. That meant a shift was possible.

    The world you describe is familiar to me. It was exhausting. And, the people who knew me had (and still have) no idea wtf it was like. My therapist got the closest anyone ever has when she said I had a siege mentality, like a prisoner of war, where everything was a potential threat and everyone was a potential danger, immediate or not.

    I think “normal” people couldn’t cope, if a way was found to give them these feelings so they could understand. Maybe that’s a good thing or maybe it isn’t. Ignore them when they tell you to get over it, give it to God, or move on, which are what most people told me.

    Do what you need to do to survive, for yourself and your family.

    I wish you a calm, safe place to be alone.

    • ” I lived in a hostile universe which seemed to want things of me I could not supply in the right quantity, at the right time, in the right way.” yes – that’s it exactly. I’m sorry you understand this feeling. Thank you. I’m trying to figure out what I need to do to survive, still uncertain, but then I will.

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