Do you frequently find that you need space to yourself? Do you identify yourself as someone who likes to be alone? The human race is a social species. Our species survival depended (and still does depend) on each other. Technically the top human need is connection and the single biggest threat to our wellbeing is isolation. So how can it be that you need space, how can it be that you need alone time so badly?
I want you to notice that when you need to be alone or need some space, this never includes being away from plants. It never includes being away from your dog or cat. You don’t look down at your dog and say, “I just need some space right now and time to myself” and then close the door to your room with them outside of it. So what makes people so different for you? What is it about being with people that makes you need to get away and be by yourself?
I am going to tell you today that if you need space to yourself and identify yourself as someone who needs alone time, it is because you are struggling with inauthenticity. The difference between your dog and a person is that you feel like you can completely be in alignment with your unique desires, needs, perspectives, feelings, thoughts and do what you want to do when you are with your dog and you don’t feel like you can do any of that with a person. There is a big incongruence between your internal self and your external self when you are around people. This leads to both pressure and exhaustion. It is hard to act differently than you feel. It is hard to do what you don’t want to do. It is hard to tailor every word and action to the response you want to get from them.
Enmeshment trauma is a common thing in the human species. Enmeshment trauma is distress that is caused by boundaries not being acknowledged, seen as valid or respected. It is most common in households where one adult (or more) refuses to see a child as his or her own person and instead regards them as an extension of themselves… The child is not allowed to have their own desires, needs, perspectives, feelings or thoughts. There were consequences for that. In order to maintain the secure connection they needed with this adult, they had to lose their sense of themselves. They have to forfeit their autonomy. Therefore, the desire to develop a sense of self is as strong for them as the desire for merging is for people who have suffered abandonment.
If you have suffered from enmeshment trauma, the minute that a person steps into the room, you will instantly feel as if you need to cater your every thought, word and action to their desires, needs, perspective and preferences. You will instantly try to create connection with them by anticipating the reaction they will have to anything you do or say so you can only do and say what will get you a positive reaction and avoid doing or saying anything that will get you a negative reaction. You will immediately lose your authenticity for the sake of the connection. It is like walking on broken glass. The tension and pressure you feel as a result of not being able to be natural will be immediate. And it does not matter whether the person is someone who can actually welcome the totality of you as a separate person or not, you will feel this way anyway because it is the way you’ve been conditioned to be in your early life. The other person is essentially a trigger for you to not be yourself. The way your boundaries dissolve is a bit terrifying. It’s as if around other people, you can’t figure out how you feel, you can’t figure out what you really think, what you really want, what you really need and you can’t act in accordance with any of this personal truth. You have lost access to your personal truth.
When you are away from people, away from the trigger of another person, you can have yourself. You have access to how you really feel, what you really need, what you really think and you can act in accordance with that. You are in touch and able to live out your own personal truth. Sometimes you may even wish you didn’t need connection at all because the ‘price’ of connection is the loss of your sense of self, loss of a sense of free will and freedom and incredible degrees of pressure.
The people who are in relationships with you often suffer because they feel constantly pushed away by you. They feel like this because they are right. They are being pushed away. They feel like this because the problem is that to get a strong sense of self, you feel like you have to push people away in a multitude of different ways. When you are unconscious of this dynamic, it is only through that friction of defiance and rebellion to another person that you have a sense of yourself as an individual. And this feels safer to you. It does not feel safe to lose yourself because losing your self in this sense is not the same as becoming one. Instead it is becoming the other person but them not becoming you. It feels like you are being consumed or absorbed by them and losing your free will. So you constantly vacillate between pushing people away and needing them. Relationships do not feel safe to you if you are too close. You can get just close enough to not lose your sense of self. But the second you feel you’re losing yourself, you push them away and then when they go away, you chase them. And then the pattern repeats. This leads to a painful relationship where there is always a gap between two people.
Pushing people way is not a good thing, especially if you are pushing away people that you love. This hurts them and ultimately you as well. It is a reaction you have to the threat of absorption. Being alone can be a good tool to use to get in touch with yourself. But remember that it is a tool. It is not actually necessary for a physical human. Feel the resistance you just had to that statement. That should tell you something about yourself. It would not be necessary if you felt like you could have boundaries and be authentic around people. One of the hardest things for the human species to learn is “I can have myself and have you too”.
If you struggle with this issue of needing space in your relationships and from the people in your life, the first thing you need to work on is boundaries. When people have a poor sense of self, they will think of boundaries like a fence or something that other people don’t get to cross. This means you will think of a boundary as being anything that represents a “NO” for you. Do you feel how this is in opposition to someone? But boundaries are every bit as much about whatever a personal “YES” is for you as well. When one person says they like vanilla ice cream and the other says they like chocolate that is a boundary. When one person says they like vanilla ice cream and the other says “I like vanilla too”, that is still a boundary. A boundary as the imaginary line that uniquely defines your personal happiness, your personal feelings, your personal thoughts, your personal integrity, your personal desires, your personal needs and therefore most importantly, your personal truth from the rest of the universe. This means, regardless of whether people are or aren’t there with you, you need to start consciously getting in touch with your personal integrity, desires, feelings, thoughts, needs and truth and then communicate that and act in alignment with that. There will be boundary conflicts in any relationship. There will be times when your needs conflict and desires conflict and personal truth conflicts. This is ok. This will simply be a time for conflict resolution. It will not be a time for either of you to simply give up your boundaries for the sake of remaining connected to the other. To understand more about boundaries, watch my video titled: Personal Boundaries vs. Oneness (How To Develop Healthy Boundaries).
The second thing you need to do is to commit to a path of authenticity. Notice and mend the incongruences between your inner self and outer self. To understand how to do this, watch my video titled: How To Be Authentic. Commit to authenticity regardless of whether you are in the room with another person or not. If you let it happen, any people who do not belong with your true self will gravitate away and leave the space open to be filled by the people who do belong with your true self and in turn; you will feel at ease around them. You will not feel like you need space from them any more than you feel like you need space from your dog because you can be completely yourself around them. And you will know true and genuine connection for the first time.
After all, unless you are willing to show who you really are, how you really feel, what you really think, what you really want and start acting in alignment with your personal truth, no one can even see or feel or touch your core so as to really love and connect with you. Be brave enough to take this step.