The Weird Reason Many Women Are Afraid To Stay Home Alone These Days

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Being home alone really is frightening for some women.

I live with my boyfriend and our friend, and by some standards we have a full house. We all get along very well together, and often share meals and do things outside the home. I like having people (and cats) around. 

I lived by myself for eight years, so you'd think on those occasions when my boyfriend and our roommate are both out of town, I'd have no trouble spending the night alone. But honestly, it makes me really nervous.

We live in a pretty safe area of Los Angeles (well, safe if you forget that serial killer Richard Ramirez shot and stabbed a married couple in the area I live in). So when I'm home alone at night, I get nervous. Not so nervous that I go somewhere else to spend the night or call a friend to come over and keep me company, but nervous enough to lock all the doors and windows, and have a bit of trouble getting to sleep. 

According to an article in The Daily Mail, more and more women are too afraid to spend the night alone at home. The article calls it "Alone-A-Phobia," but it isn't an official phobia as yet.

There's Monophobia AKA Autophobia AKA Isolaphobia, which is the extreme or abnormal fear of being alone. Both people and animals can suffer from it, and it's not an easy fear to overcome.

Amy Carroll, 39, and mother of one, tells The Daily Mail what she does when her husband goes away overnight: "I go to my parents' home, 20 minutes away, or get them to come here. The last time they moved in with me for four nights. I feel uneasy and paranoid, and thoughts about intruders keep popping into my head and refuse to go away."

While this may not be an official phobia, the message boards are full of desperate women seeking companions when they're home alone. On, member lovemytwins says, "Tonight is my second night without my husband and I'm scared right now someone might break in or be hiding somewhere in the house. I checked the basement, bathrooms and closets, but I don't have the courage to go to the attic or the upstairs bedrooms."

Clinical psychologist Laura Galbraith says that women are scaring themselves with thoughts about people breaking into their homes.

"We live in quite an individualistic world where there is less of a sense of community and we don't know our neighbors, which can feed into these types of fears," she told The Daily Mail. "But the irony is the risk has actually gone down in modern times."

In an essay in Real Simple, writer Noelle Howey describes the process she went through in breaking her fear. She said, "The first night was hell: I kept my ears peeled for creaks. I rearranged the items on my nightstand so they formed a less ominous shadow on the ceiling and was almost relieved when my son called out for a cup of water; it gave me an excuse to get out of bed."

Howey had three nights where she forced herself to face the fear, but at the same time enjoyed the little things like a glass of wine or tucking her kids into bed: "Nothing much happened, and that was the joy of it."

Dr. Katharine Ayivor-Nygard says that after women have rationalized the risk, they should focus on the time alone as positive.

"Plan an evening you can really look forward to. Start thinking how wonderful it will be to read that book you've been planning to read for ages, or buy a magazine you know you'll love and treat yourself. That way, even when you get a bit anxious, you can turn your thoughts to the positive side."

Now when I have to spend a night alone, I order sushi and make it a date night with myself. I remember that I actually like hanging out by myself, and forget all about my alone-a-phobia.


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