The Need to Belong

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I feel so lonely. I just wish I had someone who can understand me. Everyone of us feel this at some point or the other. But what if someone feels this way every day? Is it still considered as normal?

There are a few who feel this almost everyday. They need constant love and attention. If that is denied they try to create problems in their life to get others attention. They are always complaining about petty things. A very few of them realise this as young adults. For a few it becomes a part of their life. As adults they suffer in their marriage. They will not be able to take care of their children. Even though they have good academics, they will struggle to get respect from others. When a needy person does not get love he might even commit suicide.

The root cause of this is not getting enough love as infant. Let’s look at the story of Annie. Annie was put in a care center when she was 9 months old. Her parents loved her but that didn’t reach her as they hardly had any time for her. She didn’t grow an attachment to her mother as a result of this. She used to go hug her aunt but not mother. Situation grew worse once she had a sister. Her parents were completely ignoring her. All she longed for was a kiss or a hug from parents. She was not even getting that. She prayed to God that she should be gifted death if her parents can’t shower love on her. She started doing well at her studies to gain attention of her parents. But her parents still were paying attention to the younger one alone. The problem just grew worse with age for her. She fluctuated between avoidant and neediness based on the people around her. If she had people who would shower love she would show neediness for others she was avoidant. She was having terrible problems in her relations. She was always complaining or falling sick to get complete attention of her partner. She used to feel insecure at times.

The following are a few ways one can deal with it:

1. Practise self compassion:

  When one practises self compassion, it helps one give to oneself the love they need. Humans are more harsh on themselves than on others. Be your own friend. Take care of yourself as you will take care of others.You can download some self compassion videos to start with.

2. Maintain a gratitude journal: 

Write everyday what good the other person has done for you. You will be habituated to look for the positive things when you are not getting enough attention.

3. Discuss your problem with a trusted one:

 When you tell a friend or partner or someone whom you trust, they might remind you of your mental condition when you get into that mode.

4. Meditate: 

Meditation cools your mind. You might not be able to focus well in the beginning. But that helps in identifying that you feel attention in the beginning itself.

5. Pursue a hobby: 

Make sure that you don’t have too much of idle time. Involve yourself in flow like activities.

Happy conquering loneliness!

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