Humans are social creatures by nature, but often, you might find that you want to be alone. There’s nothing wrong with this. However, you can end up isolating yourself, both mentally and physical, for reasons that might be your fault or because of outside influences.

Isolation can be physical, in which you lock yourself up and refuse contact with others, or mental, in which you refuse to talk to people or make any kind of lasting connection. These can both stem from deep-rooted psychological problems or have an outside cause. For instance, a child who is bullied every day might end up emotionally isolating themselves from their schoolmates, and as a result physically isolate themselves as well. You might go to a part of the playground the others don’t spend a lot of time on during recess, and if someone tries to ask them to play with them, you either ignore or refuse because you feel that you’ll just get hurt again if you attempt contact with other people.

When Isolation Becomes Unhealthy

If you are is isolating yourself because of a lack of trust in other people, it’s already become unhealthy. Not everyone needs to be a glass-half-full type of person, but everyone needs contact with other human beings every once in a while. If you are constantly hiding yourself from others and pushing them away when they try to become friends or find out what is wrong, you are bound to make them stop trying, and then you end up alone.

Isolation can lead to depression as well, if that isn’t a condition you already suffer from. If you refuse to interact with other people, eventually you’re going to feel like it just isn’t something you can do in the first place. Refusal to form emotional bonds with others can lead to an even worse lack of trust in others, because you don’t have firm examples in your life of people who care about you. If others have not stopped trying to get through to you, refusing to believe that what they say is true (that they care about you, that they’re worried about your behavior patterns) can lead to paranoia. For instance, you may start believing that people only ever want something of you, and wouldn’t want to be around you just because they like you.

How Isolation Affects the Family

The main purpose of isolating oneself, physically or emotionally, is so that you don’t have to deal with socializing with others or worry about them getting too close to you and ending up hurting you. Those who isolate themselves from the world often find that their family life suffers; if you’re a younger person, you drift away from your parents and any siblings you have, simply because you refuse to talk to them, about your problems or anything else.

Isolation is often a symptom of severe depression or anxiety, and if the person experiencing it has a spouse and children, it can affect them even worse. Children depend on their parents, after all, so if you’re constantly disappearing into your room because you don’t feel like you can associate with others, not only will your relationship with them suffer, but they could suffer as well because they do not have you to take care of them. Your relationship with your spouse can become strained as well, if you continually refuse to spend time with them. Unless the person is extremely understand and is willing to work with you to help you through whatever is causing your need for isolation, it can often lead to divorce because your significant other just can’t deal with someone who is emotionally closed off.

How Therapy Can Help

Seeking therapy can vary depending on the cause of your isolation and your age. Social and emotional isolation is a common symptom of children who experience excessive bullying, for instance, so you aren’t the only one who should be talked to. Therapy can help you realize that what the bully is saying isn’t true, and help them to build the confidence they need to get past the experiences and not be bothered, because you will eventually come to know that what you do and what they say does not matter.

If the isolation comes from a different cause, a deeper psychological assessment through therapy is recommended. For instance, if you’ve constantly had bad experiences in life, such as a lot of lovers leaving you, you might stop trusting others and refuse to form emotional bonds, even if they aren’t intended to end up as romantic. This is not an uncommon issue, and a therapist will be more than happy to help you through it and help you make a plan so that you can talk to others, make friends, and trust others without worrying that they might end up hurting you.

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