In the Oxford dictionary, the word alone is defined as…. having no one else present. In the Psychology of Stalking, a book that analyzes the traits of stalkers, Kristen K. Kienlen, PsyD, says, “ The central theme of object relations theory is that early caretaking relationships are internalized and transformed into a sense of self.” (Kienlen, pg?) To clarify, this doctor compared the early lives of stalkers to the theme in object relations theory and implied that stalkers have a history of viewing others as a part of themselves; this does not benefit the person who they end up stalking. Do you see any connection between the definition of alone and the statement referring to the childhood of people with stalker tendencies? At this point, you may not, but hopefully by the end of this blog you will be able to draw a closer comparison to these two topics that are more connected than they may initially seem.
As I did my research for this blog, I started getting excited as I formed a new connection about a topic that I’ve investigated for years; my past understanding and the newer information created a breakthrough. I thought about my upbringing as an only child and how I never suffered from feeling alone; making the best out of what was in my room became my “sense of self”. It was just me and my mother in the apartment in Brooklyn, New York. Stemming from the object relations theme in the previous paragraph, my early experience did not teach me to make other people (outside of my mother) a part of “my self evaluation”. This upbringing has its disadvantages and advantages, so I am not implying that coming up as an only child is better than a packed household. I want to discuss the source of feeling alone and how it can lower the quality of our lives; my adolescent experience is simply responsible for my initial comfort with not having others around me. Regardless of what type of household we grew up in, by the time we get to our teens, peer pressure, hormones, television, etc. the concept of feeling alone usually becomes a dominant factor in most of our lives. With that sentence in mind, I will lead into my next paragraph with the following question; with my background, why did I start feeling so “alone” by my late twenties?
The myth that I was incomplete started slowly but surely invading my mind. Depending on others to provide my emotional stability became a part of my intention and action plan. The “objects” that I included in my definition of self were substances, women, clothes, etc. Without getting more of these “things/people” I would start feeling “alone”. Even though I was interacting with many people every day at work, my emotional instability led me to depend on situations outside of myself to give me what I created on my own as a child. In 2009, as an over 320 pound, functional alcoholic, workaholic, it took me hitting the reset button to start the journey towards my current understanding; as a part of this gift of life, being alone is a choice, not a fact. Based on one’s connection with themself, their ability to “feel alone” will increase or decrease.
This is vital information to understand because it will impact the type of friend, relative or spouse a person becomes. If a person feels that someone else is needed to make them feel good, they are entering the situation from a place of scarcity; as in arriving with the intention to subtract something from the situation to make them feel better. Just because this is normal does not mean it is healthy. The person who is already overflowing with an abundance of self-confidence is good with or without anyone else and can bring that energy into their interactions with others; especially if they choose to be around those people. Have you ever had your energy drained by a person? Chances are that “at that time” their main purpose was to get something from you without adding anything into you. Occasionally, all humans go through their phases; however, once any relationship involves subtraction(from one party or each other) on a regular basis, the growth of that relationship will be hindered.
Now to share another point that I hope can stay with you forever. In the first sentence of the second paragraph of this blog I mentioned how excited I was after doing research about this topic. These feelings were derived from the following correlation; if I ever start needing a person to make me feel better about myself, I am exhibiting the traits of a stalker. “Wait, Kinja! Isn’t that a little extreme?” is what you may be thinking. Yes it is! With this extreme understanding, certain effects will come from it. My ability to grow from within instead of from reaching outward will expand with this newer belief system. Most importantly, the sadness, anxiety, and uncertain feelings that invade so many innocent humans’ lives because of feeling alone, will not be a part of my default way of thinking. On a less important note, this understanding will also eliminate me from ever stalking someone. Smile. If I am around people it will be because I want to add joy, love and growth into their lives because I already have processes in place (Four Pillar Development) to generate those feelings from within myself; instead of the need to get those feelings from others.
This concept of self-love is far from new. It is probably more popular today than ever before because of the attention focused on identity attachment; as in “loving who you are”. The issue with this train of thought in many cases is that as more people “love who they are”, they often isolate themselves from “the others” and form dependencies on the people in the groups of people who “are just like them”. It seems productive at first, but often leads to higher cases of feeling alone when a) surrounded by “the others” or b) when that person is not around the members of their chosen group. It is a complex subject that is far deeper than what can be covered in this brief blog; however, out of the many possible takeaways, I would like you to leave with the point made in this final paragraph.
If I, you, or anyone else starts needing other people to make us feel better about ourselves, we are exhibiting similar emotions to a stalker. The stalker simply acts on those feelings by following and/or hunting their human prey. What we do when we start (feeling alone) “emotionally stalking'' is becoming upset, depressed, bitter, etc., when certain people who we “need” are not around. There is a difference between missing someone and needing someone, so please don’t misunderstand my intention. For instance, I miss my mother, Rest in Peace Ma, but needing her to be alive to strive towards excellence every day is not a part of my reality. You see the difference? And speaking of death, haven’t we seen people spiral downwards when a close family member passes away? Mourning the loss of our loved ones is a part of our growth as humans; however, once their deaths start to speed up ours, in my opinion, I don’t think that is a healthy way to process it. This train of thought takes practice and as I mentioned, you may have had a completely different upbringing where people were always around, so this concept may be foreign to you. All I ask is that you reflect on how it could possibly add value to your past/current/future relationships. It can also help you rate the quality of the people who “depend on your company”. Are they adding to your world or is it a one way street filled with subtraction and division? There are many people who are emotional stalkers and really have no clue that they are taking away from people who they need to make them feel good about themselves.
Four Pillar Action Plan: Create a list of Four Pillar developing activities. Remember the Pillars are Health, Emotional Intelligence, Purpose and Knowledge. If you can simply work on one of these many activities when you start feeling alone, you become a better version of yourself, which in turn increases your spiritual value to the person you are missing when they come back around. If they never come back around, you still progress as a person; a win, win scenario. As you start working on your inward development when these feelings arise, your view of the situation has no choice but to be impacted. It takes time for any paradigm to shift, so as you make this a habit, the amount of times you feel lonely should lower.
Kinja’ Current Reality: The above action plan has been my default for many years. I even mentioned “turning pain into positive production” in my 2014 Tedx talk. Now with the mixture of years of practice and this breakthrough, I have a better understanding of why it makes no sense for me to ever force anything. For instance, I have gotten extremely close to the family of my Goddaughter over the last few years and at times, I do miss being around them. Instead of allowing my feelings to turn into “a need”, I use my feelings as signals; I must really value their associations and must continue developing as a person so that when I am around them, I can give off energy that adds joy, love and growth into the surroundings. Does that mindset make sense? To dive deeper into understanding the Four Pillar system, explore the 365 page manual at any time. Regardless, next week I will see you again in another episode of the Decade Series.
Kristine K. Kienlen, Chapter 3 - Developmental and Social Antecedents of Stalking, Editor(s): J. Reid Meloy,The Psychology of Stalking, Academic Press,1998,Pages 51-67,ISBN 9780124905603, https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-012490560-3/50022-0.