Our Loneliness Is An Emotional Issue Not a Locational Experience


Our Loneliness Is An Emotional Issue Not a Locational Experience

I just read a comment on social media about the loneliness we face as we care for family members.

The commentor shared that we are lonely because we spend so much time inside and that we must reach out through technology, like FaceTime.

The mistaken assumption here is that our loneliness comes from our location -- being inside our house. We can easily solve that by simply reach out through FaceTime.

Oh my. This is the kind of comment that makes me crazy.

Our loneliness comes from our experience which others can't understand. Because they don't understand, they can't emotionally embrace us by being sensitive and kind about what life is really life for us. Meaning, we obviously know how to FaceTime. (Just typing this is making me crazy. Hello! We're awesome with technology. Of course, we can use FaceTime and know it's an option.) The problem of our loneliness is what happens when we FaceTime. When we FaceTime with the wrong person, we feel awful -- completely misunderstood, absolutely disconnected from support and utterly alone.

When we're having a difficult day and feel trapped by our circumstances to the extent that we don't feel hopeful that a new day will change our situation, FaceTiming with a friend who shares about her weekend of parties, date night and carefree days makes us feel bereft. Even worse, we are kind people which means we share the appropriate comments, like "The sounds awesome" and "What a fun night for you two," while trying so hard not to cry. When our life is full of problems that can't be easily solved, we can't help but feel worse when another has an easy life. (I appreciate appearances can be wrong. But let's face it, our updates to friends don't include a weekend of parties and a lovely date night out.)

In our Simple Stress Survey, family caregivers rate their stress at 4.14 on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most stressed. The source of our stress? We miss our lives. We are lonely for a life that is manageable, that gives us time and opportunities and possibilities. We feel alone in our life while surrounded by others who have their own life.

We are lonely because we endure heartache and hardships. The heartache and hardship doesn't exist exclusively in our homes. They travel with us. We are just as lonely out in the world as we are in our homes. We endure while we struggle to find another who will listen to us with loving acceptance and supportive compassion. We endure while others imply the hardship comes because we are just doing something wrong.

The hardship, others often imply to us, is our fault. Surely, we can just call the government and get the help we need. Obviously, there's easy-to-reach programs and services that we're just refusing to access that will solve all our problems.

Nope. It's hard because this caregiving situation is really and truly this hard.

Our loneliness comes because during a time when we give it our all we struggle to find someone who will give back to us. We're lonely because we don't receive regular support and help.

A horrible symptom of a caregiving experience is loneliness. The experience disconnects us because so many just don't get it. And yet we have to interact every day with others who don't understand but judge us anyway.

We're lonely. Rather than suggesting we use FaceTime, perhaps you could instead volunteer to call a family caregiver to listen with kindness and compassion.

(I'd love to hear your experiences and perspectives. Please share your thoughts in our comments section, below.)

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Hi Jacqueline! I'm so glad you stopped by -- come back when you can. We'd love for you to keep us posted on how you're doing. And, you are so right -- it's completely different when it's a personal experience. The emotions we feel make it a completely different situation.


I'm so glad you found us, Sandra, and I hope knowing we're here for you helps ease some of the heartache. Know that you can take the mask off here with us. Please keep us posted on how you're doing when you can.


Thanks so much for being here, Kathleen, and sharing with us. Please keep us posted on how you're doing as often as you can.

This post really touched home, I can relate completely to all you said. I stay off of Social Media because it is depressing to see all that others are doing. I am happy for them I really am, I just can't relate so I stay away and try to find other ways of filling myself up rather than feeling worse about my life by what I see online. This statement is right on \"We endure while we struggle to find another who will listen to us with loving acceptance and supportive compassion. We endure while others imply the hardship comes because we just doing something wrong.\" I will add to that, if we find someone who will listen, how long will they be there? When your Caregiving experience is long term as in my case, 20+ years with a husband struggling with MS, there have been individuals that have come alongside, they just don't know what to do with you after a time, it's difficult to be in it for the long haul when there isn't a resolution to an illness & it just drags on......\n\nHave you ever been surrounded by people and felt lonelier than when you were at home by yourself? It is the worst feeling in the world! You are so right, this is very much an emotional issue. You are also right when you say the world doesn't understand this kind of loneliness, try as they may, good intentions but they miss the mark every single time they suggest one more thing to add to your \"to do\" list, for you to do to combat your loneliness. Yet, they don't invite you places because they know that you are already busy and they are doing you a favor by not putting that burden on you......I say, invite, please!! Just be okay with it if the answer is \"no\". Give me the choice don't make it for me and don't judge whether you think I should or should not be doing something, lets have a conversation.\n\nI was recently invited to dinner at a coworkers home to celebrate a special friends (another coworker) birthday, I made sure I could go, it was important to me to be there. Most don't realize what that means to get someplace especially after work, how difficult it can be to go out. Once there I realized that my coworkers do this quite regularly, get together for dinner at each others homes. My friend whose birthday it was insisted that I be on the invitation list. I can't tell you how much it meant to me that she made sure I was included and how much it hurt to know that outside of this situation I would have been left off the guest list. Ouch!! Such a simple thing........I have good relationships with all of my coworkers, by the way I work at a church, stings just a little bit more, why? Because we should be doing it better than the world........