Living with the feeling that your life and existence mean very little to anyone at all can create a dangerous state of mind, only worsened by the idea that the reason for your loneliness is shameful. Those who are estranged are too often reminded of the isolating family myth - that everyone else in society is enjoying a functional and close family experience.
"Hey you. If you've got a problem, do something about it. Don't talk about it. Nobody cares." As a man, I've heard this before. All the time actually, and in several different ways. After a girlfriend cheated on me, when I was shattered and expressed a need to discuss it, a friend told me: "You need to stop talking and thinking about it right now. Nobody cares."
Lonely. The word hit me like a dull blow down the phone line. For a man of his years to admit to loneliness to someone he had not met and hardly spoken to before seemed beyond belief. I know elderly men: my grandfathers and their peers don't 'do' emotion, and would balk at sharing them - even with their nearest and dearest, let alone a stranger.
I had a conversation the other night with a gentleman in his 50's, who also admitted something similar. That he suffers from "loneliness". I was so sad upon hearing this. Vulnerability always does that to me. Moves me in inexplicable ways. A lot of us get lonely at times, yet we are often too afraid, or too embarrassed to admit it.