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Why Do We Push People Away?

Why do we push people away?

Pushing people away

Depression and anxiety can lead to pushing people away and also cause a feeling of emptiness within ourselves. Most of the people are stuck with thoughts of either getting too close, and then feeling suffocated, or moving too far apart, and then feeling abandoned. It’s quite tricky, isn’t it?

Do your beloved ones not pick up their phones or make strange excuses not to meet up? Maybe they are trying to push you away because they might be dealing with depression.

When we face depression, we tend to push people away from us. This kind of withdrawal from loved or close ones is intimately related to desire, and like Gautama Buddha said: “Desire is the root of all the suffering.” Desire is a sense of longing or hoping for a person, object, or outcome. It can sometimes be painful or confusing and even unsettling.

Since we don’t explicitly know what others desire or needs are, it tends to create a void of confusion and question among us. Since they can never know precisely what they are thinking – the ‘other’ always fails you because they can never know you. This is the reason why when we push people away, and it can cause confusion among people around us too because they won’t know the reason either. People are likely to push people away to try to separate their desires away from other people.

Some of the major reasons why someone might be pushing someone away could be because of:

Lack of Energy

Energy is a major reason for pushing people away. Sometimes people with depression don’t possess the energy to talk because for them everything seems pointless. Especially when you are alone, feeling the lack of energy can be really rough. People with depression tend to have less energy especially from their way of lifestyle, and it can become worse for them, when they are expected to talk, expected to meet up or even expected to put up a smile. They might not even have the energy to keep conversations going.

People with depression also might fear that they cannot par the expectation set up by people around them. Such people don’t want to exhaust all the little energy they possess and thus try to push people away. Lifestyle also plays a major role in creating this energy depletion. People with depression are less likely to stay active. The best way for you as a friend is to let them know you’re still around. Letting them know you’re still around and still care can sometimes help.

Lack of Trust on ourselves and others

Sometimes depressed people are afraid to get close to other people because they are afraid to get hurt again or get left alone again or they have experienced a similar backstory. Sometimes negative thoughts clump up making them feel unworthy of being around other people and causing doubts on others that might want to be with them. We constantly feel like we don’t need people around us, and think that they might be better off without us. Socializing seems to be very awkward for them and depression might make them feel completely worthless. We start to question everything around us. For example, if someone makes a good gesture to invite us to their birthday party, you would start wondering, if they are just trying to be nice.

Lack of Space

People who are depressed generally tend to feel like nobody is able to resonate with them and what they feel. They feel like being alone and want more space for themselves. Another reason why they want their own space is mainly that they don’t want to hurt people, because it can upset them. It might hurt them, and we don’t want that, because we love them. So we push them away. Navigating the space between ourselves and others is one of the great tasks in life, one that we may never completely master in.

You don’t want them to be hurt

One of the major reasons why depressed people tend to push people away is because they don’t want their loved ones to get hurt. Depressed people normally have their life all over the place from non-existent sleep routines to dirty hygiene. The sense of shame lets them push caring people away, so they don’t feel like a mess.


The first step is to work on the root causes of your avoidance of people. After this, if you strive to more open with other people, and try to prioritize building relationships you can attract people. It is also important to make sure you also work on any annoying traits you might possess, that might be pushing people away from you. Trying to find happiness in things once you enjoyed (including people) can be hard, but it is certainly doable.

Learn more about how to cope with depression here.

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