Why People Become Reclusive and Like It
Where The Desire Comes From
What causes a person to voluntarily remove themselves from society and live a life of solitude? For some, it may be a symptom of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). They witnessed or became a victim of some horrific act; or, something horrible happened to somebody they loved and they had no control over it. In many cases, people become reclusive after somebody within or outside the home, repeatedly, infringes upon their privacy or threatens them in some way. The act or acts play over and over again in their head causing them grief, anxiety, guilt, and/or fear. These emotions overwhelm them leaving little or no room for comfort, peace, or joy. They may also develop agoraphobia, a fear of going outside.
Reclusive for Privacy and Comfort
For other people, being alone feels more comfortable to them than being around other people. Some of them enjoy entertaining their own thoughts and hobbies without the obligation to contribute to conversations or happenings of others. Their privacy may be more important to them than any whim to share details of their lives. They at have spent much of their lives catering to the needs of others and they feel a need to step away from all that and just relax and enjoy a peaceful existence. In some cases, the prospect of sharing stories of their life tenses them up and they want to protect their privacy. Whenever they share private information with others, they, often, regret it. Many of these people may become reclusive because they feel inadequate. They can't imagine why anyone would find anything they have to say interesting. The whole idea of being around other people who ask questions of them causes them more anxiety than joy. Staying inside their own home makes life easier for them.
Reclusive Due to Feelings of Inadequacy
Some people know that nothing they say or do will change the past; and therefore, they, mistakenly, believe that sharing their feelings about it serves no purpose. Other people know that what they have to say will make a difference. They want to share it with the world. However, they either fear that speaking out will make them more vulnerable, or, they are the ones who, repeatedly, tugged on their mom or dad's leg as a child only to hear, "Not now; I'm busy," or, when they knew the answer in class, they frantically waved their arm back and forth, yelling, "Pick me; pick me," only to hear another person's name called out. Parents and teachers are busy people. Sometimes, they have to give someone else their attention. It's somebody else's turn. However, the child internalizes this as a belief that their voice lacks importance. Throughout their lives, people, unknowingly, speak over them because they, too, have something they want heard. However, that is little comfort to the people who have questions, answers, or statements reeling around in their brains with nowhere to go.
Lack of Money
Other people stay inside because they can't afford to do anything that interest them outside the home. In the beginning, their friends invite them places but they have to decline because they don't have the funds. When this occurs time and time again, most friends figure they already know the person will not join them; therefore, they stop asking. The reclusive person becomes more accustomed to doing things alone in their own surroundings. The longer some of them spend away from other people, the more uncomfortable they feel when they have to be around them. However, some of these people maintain friendships and feel perfectly at ease when they visit.
Reclusive for Safety Concerns
The need to feel safe in a world where there's no guarantee of security against foreign or domestic terrorists or violent criminals such as stalkers or muggers causes some people to choose a life of seclusion. Ironically, the good people who would never bring harm to another human being become prisoners in their own homes while the people who do bad things or threaten to hurt or kill another person or people walk around freely. Unfortunately, laws designed to protect people from others who threaten them rarely incarcerate the perpetrator for any significant amount of time. In fact, in most cases the laws provide more protection for the criminal than they do for the victim. Many victims would venture outside more if the perpetrator was locked up. If the perpetrator was locked up in a state far away and not allowed to ever leave that state, victims of that perpetrator might be able to function outside the home.
The Importance Of Sharing
Whether the desire to be reclusive stems from comfort or fear, it's important to weigh the risks and benefits of getting out in the world or staying in and to analyze which choice, if any, could be looked back on with the least amount of regret. Some reclusive people, simply, need somebody to help them see the beauty of who they are. They need somebody to hear their voice. Whether they yell at the top of their lungs from a podium or they sit alone in their home writing onto a notepad or typing into a computer, what they have to say matters to somebody somewhere. All people have a story. Their experiences, continually, change who they are and who they are destined to become. Every page of their lives has the substance to teach, heal, or entertain. A mere chapter of their story could, potentially, change a life, or, maybe even, make the world a better place to live in.
Reclusive Rights - Putting It Out There
Writers, sometimes, become reclusive because sharing their knowledge or wisdom becomes an obsession. A friend stops by to ask if they want to go out somewhere and they shew them away; saying, "I can't go right now. I'm in the middle of an important article," or, their phone rings and they quickly stuff it under their pillow. Their life and everybody in it become distractions. Their ultimate goal of getting their point across releases them from feelings of insignificance and worthlessness. They imagine that what they've shared on paper or screen makes something easier for someone to understand, or helps somebody feel better, or makes another person smile or laugh. And, they like it. They like working on pieces that entertain their audience. Leaving their mark on the world trumps experiencing more of it. They like the idea that things may be better for future generations because of something they wrote about. They like spending all their time working on making the people of the world more aware, healthier, or happier. They like being a recluse.
People choose or feel forced into reclusiveness for other reasons also. A common misconception is that they sit around in a catatonic state and do nothing or that they are all feeling sad or lonely. Some people may be experiencing a deep depression. It's possible that they slipped into the depression over a long period of time and they don't realize that their desire to be alone is a result of that. Therapy may help them make changes to feel better. However, many people who choose a reclusive lifestyle live productive lives doing exactly what they want to do. They feel happy and content. Many of them run businesses from their homes. Some may concentrate their time on being more relaxed and less productive but if they are happy and content with where they're at, they are in a better place than many people who are rarely alone yet feel lonely often. Some reclusive people may seek therapy because they want to become more social beings but they don't know how to feel safe or more comfortable in the process. Therapy may help people who want to mingle more with others or feel safer outdoors. Each individual has the right to choose and options to change if they desire to do so.
Questions & Answers
My partner has become a self-loathing recluse over the last five years. He won't answer calls, texts or the door for even his family, who now blame me. How can I help him?
Talk to him to let him know that you care about him and you want to do what you can to help. Let him know you will listen with an open heart and you would like to be part of a plan to bring him happiness. Suggest seeing a therapist who might be able to get to the root of what's wrong and how to combat it. Invite him to gradually participate in outdoor activities with yourself at first and then maybe another couple and eventually maybe family members. Start with short periods of time close to home such as a two-hour barbeque in the backyard, and if that works well maybe have another one the following week and perhaps make a date to travel a little further with another couple the week after that.Helpful 8
How do I help my twenty-three-year-old daughter if she is becoming a recluse?
Therapy might help, but it's sometimes difficult to convince somebody to talk to a therapist. From one parent to another, what I would do in a similar situation is look for something outside the home that my daughter and I could do together once a week. I'd let her know that I really want to spend time doing fun or exciting things with her. I'd start with something fun like a trip to an amusement park or a dance class (if she likes dancing) (something that both of us have to put our phones away for). For ongoing weekly outings, maybe we could find a cause to work on together (like becoming adult literacy tutors or volunteering at a children's hospital) or maybe set up a bunco club with people of both our age groups, go to the show every Sunday, or take a culinary class together. I might see if my sister and niece want to join us on some of these outings to give her someone her own age to talk to.Helpful 4