Adult Loneliness Linked To Childhood Trauma And Feelings Of Shame

Statistics Relating To Loneliness :

  • About one in twenty (i.e. 5%) of the adult population reports feeling lonely ‘often’ or ‘always’; 16% reported feeling lonely ‘sometimes’; and 24% reported feeling lonely ‘occasionally’ (2016-2017).
  • Those who have low levels of trust for people living in their locality report feeling lonely more often.
  • Of all the age groups that make up the population, 16 – 24-year-olds were found to be most likely to experience feelings of loneliness
  • Females were more likely than males to report feelings of loneliness


Childhood Trauma And Loneliness :
Such traumatic experiences can lead to adult loneliness because, if we have been traumatized as children, we are more likely to : distrust others – suffer from emotional dysregulation, making our relationships more volatile and unstable, and, also, causing us to experience feelings of loneliness with increased intensity – suffer from identity problems, making it harder for us to know where we fit in socially – see ourselves as essentially unlovable/unlikable –  expect others to reject and abandon us –  see ourselves as socially inept and inadequate –  view ourselves as ‘unworthy’ –  have low self-esteem –  view ourselves as unattractive –  be plagued by intense and pervasive feelings of shame – isolate ourselves from others in the belief that any attempt to socially integrate ourselves will be futile On top of the problems listed above, those who have suffered significant childhood trauma are also more likely to suffer from depression,  anxiety, and lack of confidence in general, all of which, of course, inhibit any abilities we may have to socialize effectively and intensify feelings of social anxiety.


Because feelings of loneliness are intrinsically linked to feelings of shame and inadequacy, individuals who suffer from it frequently try hard to hide it from others. Indeed, they may mix with others socially and, outwardly, give the impression of enjoying doing so, whilst still experiencing intense feelings of INNER LONELINESS AND LACK OF MEANINGFUL CONNECTION TO OTHERS. In other words, deep feelings of inner loneliness can exist in us despite our frequently interacting with others on a superficial level. And, just as frequently interacting with others does not guarantee we won’t feel lonely, being alone does not guarantee feelings of loneliness (some individuals choose to be live lives apart from others without experiencing mental distress as a result).

Adverse Effects Of Loneliness On Physical Health :

Studies suggest that chronic feelings of loneliness can :
  • increase levels of stress hormones in the body
  • increase levels of inflammation in the body
  • increase the risk of heart disease
  • increase the rate of decline of cognitive function (in the elderly)
  • increase the risk of type 2 diabetes
  • increase risk of insomnia
  • increase the risk of an impaired immune system
  • increase risk of suicide/suicide attempts

Ways Of Tackling Feelings Of Loneliness :

Seeking out people with similar interests and experiences to our own may be helpful if we wish to overcome our feelings of loneliness. Activities we might consider to help us meet such people are provided below:
– exercise classes – creative writing groups – sports groups/clubs – spiritual groups – I.T. classes – slimming groups – reading/book groups – political groups – chess clubs – LBGT groups – meditation classes – amateur dramatics groups – voluntary work – overcome social anxiety – improve distress tolerance to make feelings of loneliness less intense – overcome the fear of rejection – use distractions (such as hobbies, studying, etc) – join social clubs,