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Emotional isolation is a state in which an individual is mentally distanced from other people. A person with this condition may appear numb and constantly seem to be pulling away from others. In addition to a lack of mental connection, emotionally isolated people tend to show little interest in the feelings of others as well.
Many people suffering from this kind of isolation have strong social networks, but lack a significant bond with their friends. While they can build superficial friendships, they are often not able to confide in many people. People who are isolated emotionally usually feel lonely and unable to relate to others. This condition has historically been most common among men.
This condition is often preceded by or coincides with depression, anxiety, and feelings of inadequacy. It can be difficult to end the cycle of bad feelings associated with emotional isolation as any of these conditions can increase the symptoms of the others. The most common treatment is therapy that deals with the causes of the bad feelings that lead to the isolation.
Several other conditions can lead to isolation, even though the individual may wish to form connections with others. This can include agoraphobia, social anxiety, and some cases of narcissism. In these cases, individuals often become frustrated because they feel blocked from forming emotional bonds.
There are other conditions leading to emotional isolation in which the individual may not wish to forge mental bonds with others. This can include autism and schizoid personality. In some cases, narcissists may also distance themselves emotionally, due to feelings of superiority. These cases can be more complex, as an individual may not feel the need to change.
Many people who experience emotional isolation are unable to keep friends due to insensitive or self-centered behavior. In several cases, an inaccurate view of self can prevent an isolated person from understanding what causes these friendships to end. Talk therapy can help to unravel some of these mysteries.
Emotional isolation is often confused with social isolation, though they are two distinct conditions. A person who tends to be physically distant from others is socially isolated. People with this condition typically spend a lot of time alone, sometimes for several days in a row, and may not have very many friends. The mental state of a person who is isolated emotionally is different, but may eventually lead to social isolation. It is common for an individual to experience both conditions simultaneously.