Parenting Alone Doesn't Have to Mean Being a Lonely
Loneliness reveals itself many ways and it's sense of isolation can strike at almost any age and any demographic, not just divorced or single mothers struggling to rebuild a social life. The negative attitudes of others can increase this sense of isolation by causing many lonely single mothers to feel that their loneliness, even though caused by circumstances, is all their fault. The cures for loneliness are as unique and personal as the people who are experiencing loneliness. There is no "one size fits all" cure for loneliness. Loneliness in single moms and their children can be alleviated with a good support network of family and friends that can make a difference as the mother and her children experience the loneliness caused when the spouse and father are no longer in the environment. Lonely single moms should try to keep their normal life and routines uninterrupted to keep busy, easing the initial loneliness of divorce and smoothing the progress of meeting new people and building new relationships.
Skills Single Parents Can Use to Overcome Loneliness
Here are several steps that single parents can take to build toward social re-connection and self-help when they come to realize and acknowledge that loneliness is beginning to disrupt their life. Lonely single mothers fight and overcome loneliness with the strength of a support network along with the following steps as they recover from their loss and move on with their lives.
- Understand That You are Not Alone - Many people feeling loneliness express that their feelings of loneliness connect to feeling that they do not belong and are not normal. Unbearable loneliness affects one person in every four of our population so there are many others experiencing loneliness and numerous resources to help you understand this fact and provide opportunities to communicate with others leading to an excellent first step toward building confidence and overcoming loneliness. The configuration of your "family" may have changed or may not fit the norm but you and your children ARE a FAMILY!
- Take Steps - Don't wait for others to approach you or offer a greeting. Begin with simple hellos or good mornings to others, but if they seem distracted or too busy to respond in kind don't take it as personal rejection, Celebrate your courage at offering a greeting and continue to greet and approach others. Become vigilant about the "groups" available in your community who were created just for your situation. Divorced, widowed and separated support groups are a great way to begin. Many local churches will sponsor such groups. Parents Without Partners is a nationally founded group specifically intended to give single parents an outlet for themselves and their children.
- Take Interest - Once you have worked through your personal pain and opened the boundaries and have begun greeting and approaching others, the next step to take is noticing and striking up conversation with everyday people on everyday life topics. Don't be afraid to comment when you notice common threads between you and others in a book or magazine choices and hobbies. As you comment on these commonalities, internally and outwardly, listen and watch for the response. Listening to others is the first step to being heard.
- Build Confidence - Chatting with others, even though it's just small talk, leads to activities that build confidence. Join a group or club centered on a subject that interests you. It will take enormous courage to walk into a room full of strangers, but understanding that you are not alone is the key to gaining self-confidence and building relationships. Once you make contact and begin to get to know the people in your group become more active by making phone calls and writing letters and emails. Friendships and relationships are worthwhile and require time, work, and commitment but can be so fulfilling that they become their own reward.
- The Gifts of Changes - Always remember that loneliness isn't incurable and by understanding that you are not alone and that you can make a difference to yourself and your children gives you the strength to make personal changes and gain the treasures of companionship and belonging that everyone deserves.
Loneliness is an inescapable part of all human existence. Feeling lonely is an overwhelming and unbearable, disconnected feeling, a separateness that comes from deep inside a person. Loneliness is more than just a need for company and is often a completely normal emotion.
Newly single mothers who are accustomed to the support and companionship of their spouse and find themselves suddenly without this support in the first weeks and months after a separation experience a great deal of loneliness as they adjust to the loss of support and companionship. This feeling of being cut-off and alienated from others, if allowed to grow unchecked, is a serious, life-threatening condition affecting people in different ways. Overcoming loneliness as a single parent requires understanding and managing the triggers that bring about feelings of isolation and loneliness.