Humans are social creatures. We don’t want to be abandoned and left alone. But left unchecked, that fear of being alone can lead us to some toxic habits.
Things like not speaking out, not speaking your truth, and even sabotaging your own relationships can be caused by the fear of being alone. What toxic habits should you be on the lookout for?
Here are 10 toxic habits caused by a fear of being alone.
1. Apologizing excessively.
“I’m sorry” are two of the most powerful words in any language. Expressing them can have the power to build others up, to let them know you feel their hurt, but it can also tear you down if you don’t mean it. You should never apologize for something which you are not sorry about. You especially shouldn’t apologize because you think it will keep people in your life.
2. Picking no battles.
They say it’s important to pick your battles and not fight over every little thing. That’s pretty good advice up to a point. You don’t want to fight over everything, but you don’t want to fight over nothing too. When your boundaries are crossed, when something has happened that makes you truly upset, don’t fear picking the battle because the other person might leave you behind. If they did leave you for speaking your truth, that is their loss, not yours.
3. Being afraid of speaking up.
Of course, not everything is about a “battle.” Sometimes we just need to speak up about what we’re feeling, what we’re thinking, even if it’s over something super minor like doing laundry or washing dishes. If you have something to say, speak up! As Dr. Seuss said, those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter.
4. Avoiding the things you want.
You don’t need to sacrifice yourself and your goals in an attempt to keep people in your life. If your journey is taking you down a different path, that’s okay! People do come and go from our lives because our paths are no longer convergent. It’s something you just have to expect. But you’ll meet new people and make new friends. You won’t be alone for long! Don’t let the fear of being alone keep you from your dreams.
5. Letting things go too easily.
Letting go of things too easily goes hand in hand with not speaking up and picking your battles. If you have someone in your life who is being abusive or simply not good to you, you don’t have to let those things go. In fact, it’d be better if you didn’t, even if you speaking your truth did mean that you were alone. It’s better to be alone than to be with toxic, hurtful people.
6. Overworking yourself.
One of the most toxic habits of people afraid to be alone is overworking. There are times where you feel like you have to do all of the work in the relationship in order to keep it going. But in any relationship, be it romantic, familial, or platonic, there needs to be some kind of equitable division of effort. You can’t always do the dishes. You can’t always be the one to reach out. You can’t be the one to overwork yourself to make it all work.
7. Sabotaging relationships.
One of the worst toxic habits on this list is the sabotaging of your relationships. Sometimes, when we’ve felt abandoned before, we think we’ll be abandoned again no matter what and engage in activities that will create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Be the kind of person you’d want to be with. Don’t just assume you’ll be abandoned again.
8. Being a doormat.
In a moment, we’ll talk about why you should be able to say no. Choosing not to be a doormat is similar in many ways. A door mat is someone that gets walked all over, that others wipe their feet on. It basically means you allow people to disrespect you without ever speaking up about it. Don’t be a doormat! People won’t leave your side because you spoke up about your boundaries. And if they do, they’re not worth your time anyway.
The impulse to cling to the people we care about when we’re insecure about abandonment can be a strong one. But it must be resisted. There are few things that will push people away faster than being overly clingy. This can manifest in the form of too many text messages and phone calls and pushing way too hard to hang out with people. Keep a respectful amount of space between you and the people you love, but don’t be aloof.
10. Never saying no.
I think in general, saying ‘yes’ is a good thing. It opens you up to more experiences, you get a better perspective on the world and life, but if you’re not careful, the word ‘yes’ can come with a price tag. If you ever feel uncomfortable with yes, simply say no. It’s better to temporarily disappoint than to do something that you don’t think is okay.