Loneliness — Silent Stalker (Part 2)

CPTSD Foundation
4 min readMar 20, 2024


“Loneliness corresponds to a discrepancy between an individual’s preferred and actual social relations (Peplau & Perlman, 1982). This discrepancy then leads to the negative experience of feeling alone and/or the distress and dysphoria of feeling socially isolated even when among family or friends (Weiss, 1973)”

When discussing loneliness, it is important to realize that several unique types can afflict people at almost any time. Let’s review the most prominent four of them.

Emotional Loneliness:

Emotional loneliness often refers to a lack of an attachment figure or reasonable, meaningful relationships. This often presents in people who have a social structure around them, however, they still feel isolated. As mentioned in an earlier post, an intriguing fine line intersects emotional loneliness and the presence of choice.

Social Loneliness:

Social loneliness refers to the lack of relationships of social contact and support. Those mired in this type of loneliness feel the quality of their social connections is lacking. It is quite often for teens and young adults to experience social loneliness, particularly when struggling to be part of a specific social group.

Situational Loneliness:

Sometimes referred to as transient loneliness, it is simply a feeling of loneliness that isn’t present in everyday life. Examples include frequent uprooting to new homes, altering one’s friend circle, or, as Dr. Alison Cook explained, “the type of loneliness that strikes one as a result of a unique change in circumstances.”

Chronic Loneliness:

On the opposite side of situational, sits chronic loneliness, an uncomfortable social isolation that extends for long periods.

In many of these scenarios, the word lack appears several times. It is no surprise that humans are social creatures. We, subconsciously yearn to be together, to communicate, to love, to listen, and to be acknowledged.

What Led to All of This Loneliness?

According to a recent American Psychiatric Association poll, 30 percent of adults say they have experienced feelings of loneliness at least once per week with 10 percent saying they were lonely every day.

While it is impossible to find the root of how loneliness became the epidemic today, several cultural impacts have exacerbated it.

Expansion and mobilization have had significant impacts on loneliness. In the 1800s, as American emigrants trekked westward, population centers diminished, breaking up families/social bonds and spreading people coast to coast in a relatively short time. Mass casualty events, most notably wars have resulted in more than a million American deaths. The COVID epidemic, particularly at its onset while many people were purposely isolated for health reasons had a sizeable impact on loneliness. COVID also led to over one million American deaths.

And, perhaps the worst culprit — technology

Technology has made it easier to communicate, work, travel, and find movie showtimes and sports scores, among thousands of other uses. Because there are no statutory guardrails on technology usage, specifically social media, it can be hard to delineate where the benefits outweigh the pitfalls. We are not taught that technology/social media is addictive; much the same as nicotine, alcohol, and gambling.

According to the CDC:

(8–10) year old children spend about 6 hours a day in front of a screen using entertainment media (approximately 4 hours on television);
(11–14) year old children spend about 9 hours a day in front of a screen using entertainment media (approximately 5 hours on television);
(15–18) year old children spend about 7.5 hours a day in front of a screen using entertainment media (approximately 4.5 hours on television);
Adults 18 and over average about 7 hours per day

It provides a statistic that is beyond comprehension. If the average American sleeps about 7 hours per night and spends 7 hours using technology, more than 60% of your life is spoken for before you even make a choice.

And the result of this tech usage?

Most studies conclude with the same analysis: the extensive use of technology is associated with a decline in participants’ communication with family members, a decrease in their social circle, and an increase in depression and loneliness. Many experts believe that constant access to social media and technology, in general, can prevent us from making or keeping meaningful social connections.

-> NEXT MONDAY, 3/25/2024: In part 3 of this series, we will discuss ways to avoid loneliness and live a more connected life.

Originally published at https://cptsdfoundation.org.



CPTSD Foundation

Successfully equipping complex trauma survivors and practitioners with compassionate support, skills, and trauma-informed education since 2014.