ACoAs – Loneliness: Lack of Comfort (Part 1)

everybody hates me,
I’m going to eat worms & die!

PREVIOUS:  Not enough Love? #3

SITE: “Why Love is Not the Cure for Loneliness … and what’s far more important

REVIEW posts: Abandonment pain, Now

• “Anger is a manifestation of a deeper issue… and that, for me, is based on insecurity, self-esteem and loneliness.” ∼Naomi Campbell
• “Loneliness, and the feeling of being unwanted, is the most terrible poverty.”  ∼Mother Teresa
• “…..the distressing feeling when one’s social relationships are perceived as being less satisfying than what is desired….” See article above
• “What loneliness is more lonely than distrust?” ∼George Eliot

• Dejected or desolate by the awareness of being alone, without companions. Separation between persons or groups
• Feeling a strong sense of emptiness, yearning, distress and solitude, from an inadequate quantity or quality of social relationships
• Sadness resulting from being forsaken or abandoned
• Social pain – a psychological mechanism meant to alert people to being too isolated, which can motivate them to seek social connections
(SITE: ….. 3 Factors of Loneliness)

✶ Loneliness is a universal phenomenon,
since humans are social creatures by nature. But too much of it is crippling.
• Most people think that loneliness is ONLY about external scarcity – not having friends or someone special in one’s life. Human beings definitely need others –
“No man is an island” – for support, companionship, information, touching, mentoring, sex, love, fun, sharing creativity….

… BUT ACoA loneliness is not mainly about missing a physical presence. We know this is true because healthy people can be alone & not feel lonely.  However, ours is primarily an internal lack, from not having been comforted & nurtured as kids, which became a big ‘hole in the soul’, & then is acted out in our life-choices, SUCH AS:

a. With too much unresolved old pain, we’re so uncomfortable being alone with ourselves that we either keep very busy (over-doing, rescuing others….) or find endless distractions (social media, addictions, – to not have to feel / deal with out anxiety & rage

b. This is then reflected in who we pick to be with. Being with the ‘wrong’ person is very lonely indeed – even when it’s someone we love – if they’re always in their own inner world, with little or no room for us.
In that case the loneliness is even greater because there’s the illusion of companionship, but with no real connection

a. Health: While some children naturally need more time by themselves than others (Introverts), all need guidance & companionship – when learning new info, doing chores, trying out new skills, playing, performing… AND most of all – to not be alone with painful emotions!
Trauma is not only caused by the actual distressing events, but from having to cope with the resulting fear & pain alone!

In difficult times – whether from a skinned knee, being bullied by peers or the loss of a parent – kids need 4 main things:
💔 comfort for any/all emotions the child may be feeling!
📿 physical / medical care, when appropriate
🤔 validation that a situation was legitimately distressing, without hysterics & over-dramatizing
👄 words for what actually happened, & a way to understand it

comforting✶ When children experience these comforting (E) & informative (T) interactions from loving parents &/or other caretakers, self-comforting skills gradually become internalized, so that as adults they know how to take care of themselves, & self-soothing becomes automatic.
By carrying that ‘togetherness’ internally for the rest of life we’re never truly alone. This modifies the level of hurt & eliminates panic whenever we face difficulties & losses as adults.

NEXT: Lack of comfort #2

9 thoughts on “ACoAs – Loneliness: Lack of Comfort (Part 1)

  1. Donna, I really enjoy reading your insightful posts. Your description of the pains, loneliness, and formidable challenges of children who grew up with unemotionally “disabled” parents comports fully with the soulful and courageous shares I regularly hear 12 Step meetings.



  2. Thanks for the good descriptions.
    I realize that during different times in history, parents were sometimes mistakenly doing what they thought was right. Like spankings vs no spankings; letting kids cry themselves to sleep vs not.
    However small or larger the aloneness/abandonment/shaming was, it’s important I end my day with quiet time meditation, even 4 minutes. I invite HP in to heal that “hole”. It can flip my moods to lightheartedness instantly & make all the difference in my sleep & therefore my well-being the next day. It’s perhaps the greatest self-care tool I have been given. But it has to be consistent.
    Trying to get outside sources to fill me only causes more problems (i.e. demanding, manipulating, helplessness which backfires and isn’t enough anyway.)
    The love, the Power has to come from the inside. And we’ve all been given what we need for that.


  3. One of the best posts I’ve ever read. No wonder I’ve been feeling lonely! “So we carry a big emptiness in our gut (where human beings ‘feel’ emotions) – the lack of a safe, nurturing presence!” And I was thinking it was an external lack. Ha!

    “When children experiences these comforting (E) & informative (T) interactions from loving parents &/or other caretakers, self-comforting skills gradually become internalized, so that as adults they know how to take care of themselves & self-soothing becomes automatic. By carrying that ‘togetherness’ internally for the rest of life they are never truly alone.” Wow, is this good to know!

    By the way, I really relate to “Julie” – just replace thumb-sucking with nail biting. Mom told everyone funny stories about how she tried everything to stop it (using the same techniques). And like Julie, my mom was “pleased to have a child she didn’t have to pay much attention to – to be free to do her own thing. She never even considered helping her child transition✶ into ‘sleep time’ by rocking her, reading or singing to her, assuring her she was safe…”

    It’s painful to read posts like this. The kids (?) even try to stop me from reading them. Suddenly it’s time for bed – NOW! But they are so good to read (and understand).


    • I just read this again. Thanks for the valuable information.
      I think it’s so important that in fellowship we are kind to each other. We can’t do this alone. I love ACA because the people are kind.


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