What Is Monophobia?
You could be monophobic if you have an intense fear of being alone without other people. You could also feel the fear if you’re apart from a specific person.
However don’t misunderstand: the sufferers of this phobia do not necessarily have to be left alone physically. Monophobia can be experienced when a person feels ignored or unwanted by the people around him/her.
What Is Not Monophobia?
If you’re just experiencing a little bit of fear of being left alone or being apart from a person this could be normal. Your experience becomes monophobia when the fear begins to interrupt your normal life and make a negative impact on it.
Fear of being alone, which many people experience, becomes monophobia when it begins to ruin your life.
How To Tell If You Have Monophobia
The first suspicion that a person may be monophobic is if they experience an intense amount of anxiety when they are alone or when they simply think about being alone.
Secondly you might believe that something bad will happen if you are left alone. The “bad thing” can vary depending on the case but could involve dangers from financial loss to physical danger.
You may also experience intense feelings of aloneness and being left behind even when in the midst of a group of people.
Sometimes cases of monophobia can be difficult to determine. The only reliable method of determining whether you have monophobia (or autophobia as it can be called) is to consult with your doctor.
Can You Overcome Monophobia?
Consulting with a doctor to diagnose whether you have monophobia and then to craft a treatment plan is the most reliable and effective way to approach this phobia.
However there are a few things you can try on your own if you’re not ready to see your doctor just yet.
Monophobia is a branch of another type of phobia called social anxiety. Many cases of monophobia are in fact caused by a pre-existing social anxiety.
Social Anxiety is an intense fear of being judged or looked at by other people in social situations.
It may seem to you that social anxiety is the furthest thing from monophobia! But read on and I will explain how most people who suffer from monophobia are actually suffering from a type of social anxiety that is experienced differently than usual.
Negative Perceptions Of You
Social anxiety is the intense fear of being judged or looked at by other people in social situations.
Why do people have social anxiety? The answer is surprisingly simple: people with social anxiety tend to have low opinions of themselves and they believe that others hold the same low opinions.
When people with social anxiety try to go into a social situation they feel fear and anxiety because they think that everyone is judging all of their flaws and mistakes. And they feel that no one actually wants to be around them because they’re so horrible.
Monophobia sufferers hold those same subconscious beliefs. You’re probably not even aware of them!
The Core Of Monophobia
The absolute heart of monophobia is the inner belief that people don’t like you and people don’t want to be around you.
For people with social anxiety this belief makes people avoid social situations in order to reduce anxiety.
But people with monophobia can’t stand being away from social situations because every moment spent by yourself is just another confirmation that no one wants to be around you.
This effect is most pronounced among those monophobia sufferers whose fear centres around the absence of a specific person. That person is someone whose opinion you heavily value. Maybe it’s someone you love and hope loves you back. But if you suspect that they’re about to leave you (or if they’re just apart from you), you begin to think that they too don’t want you.
Why do you have these beliefs of inferiority? At the moment the research isn’t very conclusive.
There seem to be a large percentage of people who seem to have had traumatic experiences of abandonment in their lives, especially in childhood. Some researches hypothesize that these experiences could have led people with monophobia to develop their fear of being alone.
However not all people with monophobia have had a particular traumatic experience. In the end the cause of your fear is not likely to be very important, what is important is learning how to cope with the fear and eventually overcoming it.
The Mind’s Assumptions
There is a secret when it comes to social anxiety and that same secret is shared with monophobia: the beliefs in your mind about your inferiority are not always based in fact.
Because of your past experiences, or even a genetic predisposition to negative thinking, your mind could be seeing negativity and possible abandonment where no such things exist in the real world.
Remember: we don’t react to what happens around us, we react to what we perceive happens around us.
Oftentimes those perceptions can be dead wrong. For example someone might be hanging out with us and might mention that they have to leave earlier than expected.
This announcement might tempt you to panic and begin to think that they’re leaving because of something you did or because they’ve decided that you’re not longer interesting enough to hang out with.
But what are the other possibilities in this situation? It could be entirely the case that they need to leave early because they have to babysit their little sister. Or maybe they have to get up early for a meeting with the boss tomorrow and want to be rested and prepared.
People with monophobia (and social anxiety) tend to jump to the worst possible assumption right away. This is because of negative thought patterns and core beliefs that exist in their minds.
Getting Over Monophobia
In order to get over monophobia you must first change the core beliefs of inadequacy and inferiority that exist in your mind.
Right now the circumstance of being alone, or of being left alone even temporarily, is linked strongly with the assumption that if people aren’t around you they don’t like you.
When you feel the fear of being left alone or of being alone you are actually feeling the fear of being undesired and unloved.
In psychology the concept of progressive desensitization refers to the practice of exposing a person suffering from a phobia or anxiety to the source of the fear in small doses over and over again, each time ramping up the intensity of the exposure.
The process is remarkably effective at reducing fear and anxiety because it allows you to slowly get used to whatever it is that is provoking fear in you.
Progressive Desensitization Is The Solution To Monophobia
In order to effectively begin to reduce your fear of being left alone you need to desensitize yourself from it.
But here is the key: you need to choose to be alone yourself. By doing this you prove to your mind that being alone is not always the result of someone else rejecting you. It can occur because you wanted to be alone or it can occur for other completely innocent reasons.
At first begin with a simple exercise of just going shopping alone. Make it a big treat for yourself and make sure to buy a favourite meal at the foodcourt afterwards to reward yourself. Remind yourself regularly that it is your choice to be alone at this time and you’re not alone because someone declined to go shopping with you.
You can then progress to more and more intense situations of alonenes.
But remember: you only have to worry about desensitizing yourself from fear of being alone if it’s actually causing a problem in your life and upsetting the life that you want to live. If you just feel sad or slightly uncomfortable with being alone this can be something that you can live with.