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Wanting to be alone & loneliness

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Wanting to be alone & loneliness

Postby Dsptial » Sun Oct 27, 2019 5:48 pm

I have read in a number of places that Schizoid Personality isn't about not wanting or liking other people. (Sorry for the double negative, I can't work out a better way to put it). See e.g.:

He appears detached and unemotional about most of his personal issues and can seem cold and disinterested. Beneath this appearance, the Schizoid is sensitive and has deep longing to belong but may not appear that way on the surface.
(taken from a post by Dr Patricia Frisch)

On this board and others, though, posters sometimes seem almost aggressively dismissive of the possibility of meaningful relationships with other people. I don't mean this is a criticism, everyone experiences their own personality differently. I'm looking to understand and normalise my own experience, though, so I wanted to post and ask about that other side of the schism - loneliness.

For me, I very seldom, if ever, directly feel the need to have other people around. I can happily go for days without seeing other people, and I feel far more relaxed when I do so.

But ... and this is a big "but" ... I feel that I need to be connected to other people. I have a small number of relationships that I value strongly, and I feel very unhappy when those people are upset with me. Even friendships that didn't work out, but that I feel could have been one of that small number of valuable connections, have a lot of power over my mind.

The paradox is that I only worry about friendship and relationships when I am stressed, and the thing that stresses me most is other people. So I'll find myself having an argument with someone that I care about ... the argument is probably about the fact that I don't want to spend time with other people that I don't care about ... and as a result I'll start having depressive ruminations about old friendships that failed.

An underlying factor here is that I am very afraid of losing the good relationships that I have, because I know how hard they were to make and maintain, and how difficult it would be for me to establish new ones. All of these relationships come with obligations - and many of those obligations are second-order relationships that I don't want, but have to maintain to keep the important relationships. I get in trouble any time I admit that I find the second-order relationships tedious and meaningless.

Is any of this familiar to anyone else, or is it just me?
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Re: Wanting to be alone & loneliness

Postby salles » Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:32 pm

Dsptial wrote:
But ... and this is a big "but" ... I feel that I need to be connected to other people. I have a small number of relationships that I value strongly, and I feel very unhappy when those people are upset with me. Even friendships that didn't work out, but that I feel could have been one of that small number of valuable connections, have a lot of power over my mind.

The paradox is that I only worry about friendship and relationships when I am stressed, and the thing that stresses me most is other people. So I'll find myself having an argument with someone that I care about ... the argument is probably about the fact that I don't want to spend time with other people that I don't care about ... and as a result I'll start having depressive ruminations about old friendships that failed.

An underlying factor here is that I am very afraid of losing the good relationships that I have, because I know how hard they were to make and maintain, and how difficult it would be for me to establish new ones. All of these relationships come with obligations - and many of those obligations are second-order relationships that I don't want, but have to maintain to keep the important relationships. I get in trouble any time I admit that I find the second-order relationships tedious and meaningless.

Is any of this familiar to anyone else, or is it just me?

Not really.
I have lost friendships because they married, had kids and I could no longer relate. So i guess I could not endure the 2nd order obligations enough to maintain the 1st order.
Is it a case that the existence of the 2nd order relationships/obligations means you may be naturally and inevitably growing apart from your 1st order friendships as in my case when they married?
I guess it is a choice you have to make that will be dictated by your own capabilities for a certain endurance.
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Re: Wanting to be alone & loneliness

Postby Oblivion » Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:48 pm

I can relate to that need for connection, but I'm pretty sure my motivations are different, as well as how I perceive it's rewards.

Put bluntly, I'm more interested in talking than listening. This, I think, comes from living in a vacuum and my need for expression. Output. I'm good at filtering what I get from the world, but have few resources in which to air my thoughts/ideas/views. This is probably what I value most from the few friendships I have: me talking. It's also why I post on forums and do a fair bit of trolling elsewhere.

As Martin Prince once said, "My geode must be acknowledged!"

It also probably had a lot to do with the fact that before I permanently stuck my head up my own ass, I was a reasonably social person. I was always introverted, but I don't think I ever really considered there was an alternative to being "acceptably" social. There were plenty of long nights drinking beer with idiots or ridiculously overstimulating parties, but there were good times, too. Moments of connection. I remember those times fondly, although apparently not fondly enough to maintain all of the connections that have withered away over the years. And not fondly enough to get out and do what it takes to dust off and energize the few connections I currently have. It's as if I idealize the good times I've had being connected to people rather than trying to create new ones.

Over the years I've pared down the relationships I have to those which require minimal maintenance, but this also means they provide minimal rewards. At this point they're more of a backup than anything else: who would help me out if I suddenly became a paraplegic? Well, I can think of at least two people.
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Re: Wanting to be alone & loneliness

Postby smirks » Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:27 am

I don't crave the types of relationships that actually exist. I crave the unattainable ideal of a relationship where I won't constantly have to edit what I say because the first 12 thoughts that run through my head would take too long to explain.

Human beings, when they're trying to create intimacy, often fall back on what is almost universal, things like -- enjoying your family and, you know, doing things together. And ...bless them... they try so hard, but it's like trying to squeeze blood from a rock. And then I have volumes of thoughts on whatever obscure thing I'm currently into but no one has heard of. I guess it's a type of existential loneliness, the idea that the things that you think about are things that no one else is thinking about, and the things that everyone thinks about are things you never think about.
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Re: Wanting to be alone & loneliness

Postby emillionth » Wed Oct 30, 2019 1:34 am

In my 20s I used to get fixated on the subject of loneliness and isolation whenever I was stressed or depressed. I think it was largely because I had ambitions, and ambitions come with requirements (such as "having a life"). Fortunately though that doesn't happen anymore ever. I don't have ambitions other than maintaining my sanity. All connections in my life that entailed "second-order relationships" or other similar obligations are long gone. I don't miss them. I really can't stand that type of thing. It's not something I can choose to accept or embrace. It's just beyond my abilities, and I'm way better-off accepting this fact.

I would love to have a circle of superficial friends to do some mundane leisure activity with on a regular basis, Lebowski-style. In this day and age that doesn't exist anymore though. Not without pretty big "second-order requirements" at least. You don't "know someone from the bowling alley", you "go bowling with coworkers". Which, besides being forced and awkward in so many ways which already defeats the purpose, also requires you to have a job with coworkers to begin with, which really defeats the purpose. Just how it is, not much I can do about it. So I play video games instead.
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Re: Wanting to be alone & loneliness

Postby anathegram » Wed Oct 30, 2019 9:22 am

I think loneliness has been a significant factor in my emotional life, but it's not the kind of loneliness that is alleviated by being with other people.

I have a small number of relationships that I value strongly, and I feel very unhappy when those people are upset with me. … An underlying factor here is that I am very afraid of losing the good relationships that I have

I'm not sure I value the relationships I do have as strongly as I should. But I'm not really sure how I'm supposed to feel in general.

I get unhappy in those situations as well, but I wouldn't say that I'm afraid of losing the relationship as such. It's more that I'm afraid of losing my attachment to the relationship – ending up feeling like I've wasted some part of my life on something that is false or mistaken.

The idea of second-order relationships fills me with a kind of dread.
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Re: Wanting to be alone & loneliness

Postby emillionth » Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:13 pm

Dsptial wrote:
He appears detached and unemotional about most of his personal issues and can seem cold and disinterested. Beneath this appearance, the Schizoid is sensitive and has deep longing to belong but may not appear that way on the surface.
(taken from a post by Dr Patricia Frisch)

On this board and others, though, posters sometimes seem almost aggressively dismissive of the possibility of meaningful relationships with other people.

If you think about it, those things don't necessarily contradict each other. Near-zero belonging is better than less-than-zero. Chronic solitude isn't ideal, but, when human contact / human relationships actually make you feel more alien, solitude is the better option.

"The need for belonging" is a basic human instinct that doesn't really translate well to modern life, where anonymity in your own community is the norm. What that means is that "a sense of belonging" and "actual human contact" often are separate things. And for someone who has difficulty feeling at home in any sort of actual social setting, those things can become almost mutually exclusive.

Human contact in general has had an impact on my "personal growth" over the years mostly through negative reinforcement. "Things that don't work. Things to avoid. Things that make me feel like crap." Most of the positive reinforcement to my sense of self has come from "arts and media" instead. Music, TV series, video games and such. That's where I get my "sense of belonging" from.
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Re: Wanting to be alone & loneliness

Postby Dsptial » Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:30 am

Thanks emillionth, that's a really good point. On reflection a lot of my feeling disconnected comes from expectations from others rather than a lack of connection. I feel like I'm expected to feel things or care about things that I just don't.

I do feel connected to some people at some times though, particularly when binding over common interests. For example, I love the game where two people list book or tv interests till they find a match, and then recommend new things to each other.

I guess I just assume that if I didn't make an effort, I'd start by feeling relaxed and comfortable, but I'd eventually become lonely and start obsessing over what I was missing out on.

Am I the only person who watches romantic movies and gets teary about the relationship between the lead and their sidekick? (Forget the love interest, they're always getting in the road of an amazing friendship)
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Re: Wanting to be alone & loneliness

Postby Oblivion » Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:00 pm

emillionth wrote:"The need for belonging" is a basic human instinct that doesn't really translate well to modern life, where anonymity in your own community is the norm. What that means is that "a sense of belonging" and "actual human contact" often are separate things. And for someone who has difficulty feeling at home in any sort of actual social setting, those things can become almost mutually exclusive.

Human contact in general has had an impact on my "personal growth" over the years mostly through negative reinforcement. "Things that don't work. Things to avoid. Things that make me feel like crap." Most of the positive reinforcement to my sense of self has come from "arts and media" instead. Music, TV series, video games and such. That's where I get my "sense of belonging" from.


Very well put.

Dsptial wrote:Am I the only person who watches romantic movies and gets teary about the relationship between the lead and their sidekick? (Forget the love interest, they're always getting in the road of an amazing friendship)


Movies can make me teary about things that don't affect me in real life.

I avoid romantic movies because love is stupid. Is there a word or phrase for that thing when you totally disregard or delegitimize something because you don't want to face the fact that you're drawn to it? :oops:
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Re: Wanting to be alone & loneliness

Postby d3xx » Tue Nov 05, 2019 1:57 am

I sometimes yearn for close connections. But the thought of the effort required to establish and maintain them; plus the high risk of failure, awkwardness, and strife; makes it not worth trying.
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