- Do you have a fear of intimacy?
- Don’t you want that special someone relationship, where you feel loved, seen, honored and respected?
- Do you spend countless hours dreaming of Mr. Right, yet find yourself alone, or having serial relationships?
- Ever wonder why it seems to be going so well, but then all explodes unexpectedly in your face?
My Story Of Dependency and Fear of Intimacy
Trust me, I know all about this. I have been trying to figure out relationships since my dad sat me down at the breakfast table at Layton’s over French toast and grits at 8 years old and asked me, “How do I fix my marriage with your mother?”
You can already see the kind of relationship I had with my dad. And my mom had a bunch of addictions. Dad was the classic codependent, and mom was the classic addict. Dad would try to control and suffocate her, and she would withdraw, numb out and run away. It kept him hot on her trail; he was addicted to trying to get love from her. And she was dependent on him, and probably at some level, liked how much attention he gave her. She could literally do anything to him, and he would come back to her. And he tried in every way he could to control and manipulate her into loving him.
I’ve been trying to recover from this as my model for relationships for my entire life. I have literally been studying it since I was 8 years old. All of the course work I did for my masters degree in mental health was the marriage and family track. I was literally DYING to know how to make a healthy relationship and to overcome the fear of intimacy.
Controlling Relationship In Disguise
When you’re not in a healthy relationship, it hurts so bad. You are either being controlled, or you are controlling someone. Usually, we have a hard time seeing when we are the manipulative, controlling one.
Many of my coaching clients are set free in the moment that they realize they are actually the one causing the pain in the relationship.
Why would someone do that? Why would someone try to hurt or control or manipulate someone else that they love?The answer to why we hurt each other: Lack of Self Love Click To Tweet
Our own insecurity about who we are prevents us from wanting to be close to someone else.
Think about it, if you thought you were a piece of shit, but you were pretty good at putting on a mask that looks like you have it all together, you would probably be afraid of someone getting too close and finding out that you are a fraud.
Also, if you think you are a piece of shit, and someone loves you anyway, you might think that they are stupid and crazy for loving you!? Why would someone love a piece of shit? Either they are stupid or blind. These are the things we subconsciously tell ourselves. So, you don’t want to date someone stupid or blind, so you start pushing them away.
What sucks is that you are missing out on love.
Another example is the person who thinks they aren’t worthy of love.
Not thinking you are worthy of love, or thinking you are a piece of shit, comes from your childhood.
EXAMPLE of INSECURITY
I remember a couple of important pieces that really stick out in terms of my development of insecurity and my inability to connect with others. I am still facing these demons today. Luckily, now, I am inside a loving relationships where my partner and I can talk openly about all of this, I feel safe enough to share, and he holds me while I cry/grieve about what I missed.
Here’s an example of my childhood. You’ve already seen an example of the model of “marital” relationship of my parents, but this is how I was raised.
- Conditional love: awards based on achievement
- I was given money and acknowledgment when I did something “RIGHT” or “GOOD.” This taught me that love is conditional. People will love you if you do things RIGHT. I get into a lot of trouble with this in my relationship with Mike. He will say something simple like, “can you please do the dishes?” And I will hear, “You’re doing it wrong.” Luckily, we can talk about this and process it together. When I wasn’t aware of this, I would just fight with my partner and tell him to stop attacking me… ??? really Heather? It’s just the dishes.
- Hold it all together: you’re so annoying
- Hold your feelings in – I was literally told to hold it all together. I remember the way this felt, like I should try to tuck myself into myself. That “WHO I WAS,” was unacceptable.
- Stop being so annoying – I remember singing a lot, or dancing, or spinning. And I was told to stop. All the time. The message I got was, don’t express yourself. Don’t sing, don’t dance, you’re so annoying. I remember getting punished as a child for just being a child. I would be sent to my room because I had too much energy. This taught me that people wouldn’t tolerate me, my bigness, and my energy. Let me tell you, holding all of your energy inside of you is EXHAUSTING! But, after all of that conditioning, I’m still terrified to let it out, for fear of not being accepted… which of course is part of fear of intimacy.
ABANDONMENT or ENGULFMENT
Basically, Lack of intimacy comes from either I’ll push you away so you cant see me, or you’ll abandon me/ push me away, because I’m acting in a way that no one wants to be close.
Engulfment is just what it sounds like.
One of my coaches explained it to me like this. It’s like I’m going SCUBA DIVING without an air tank. It’s so freaking beautiful. I go ALL THE WAY DOWN… saturate myself in the beauty and wonder… and then all the sudden, realize I can’t breathe!! WHAT THE HELL!! I can’t breathe!!! So, I swim back up to the surface, but instead of just taking another breath and going back in, I get too scared and GET OUT completely!
That’s what engulfment feels like. It feels SO GOOD when you are getting the love you’ve always wanted… but then when you realize you’ve completely lost yourself and you cant breathe, you go screaming for space/air and get so scared that it will happen again, you start to back out. Your mind will literally come up with hundreds of reasons why that guy is no good for you, why you should GET OUT and not get back in!
Then, of course, you tell the story to others, and they tell you that you are being controlled by that person. That’s what it looks like and feels like. The reality is, you went swimming too deep without an air tank. That’s on you. I know I usually go swimming too deeply without an air tank because I’m not loving or taking care of myself, and I like the way it feels to surrender into someone else doing it. This is DANGEROUS.Any time you give yourself up, even for “love” and pleasure, you will lose yourself, and then you will get scared. Click To Tweet
Abandonment sounds clear. Someone left me. I was abandoned. But it’s not always so clear. It’s possible that a parent ACTUALLY left. For instance, they literally moved to California, or they died. It could also mean your parent was working 80 hours a week and you were literally abandoned with the nanny or babysitter. That is literally and actually abandoned. And that totally sucks. And there is also emotional abandonment, which is less clear.
Most people’s abandonment wounds stem from childhood. Emotional abandonment could be as simple as, my mom never hugged me, which I found out was true for my own dad. That’s some pretty serious emotional abandonment and neglect. Does that make sense? Does it make sense why he chased my mom? His own mother didn’t hug him, so he went looking for love.
Abandonment could also be, your parent is RIGHT IN THE ROOM with you, but they are intoxicated or narcissistic and dealing with their own problems, and can’t see you or yours. As a child, this is wounding. Children want to be seen and validated. It’s an awful feeling to be right in front of someone and they don’t see you because they are too numb or worried or full of anxiety or overwhelmed with their own drama.
The child who is frequently abandoned emotionally or physically grows up to be an adult who struggles in relationships and has a fear of intimacy.
PleasurePleasure - what you’re missing out on when there is a fear of being intimate. Click To Tweet
When we have a fear of intimacy, we miss out on truly experiencing love! Fear of intimacy is about our own insecurities. If we feel secure, we love ourselves, we are able to receive love.
5 Ways to overcome your fear of intimacy
- Open Your Heart & Let Go
- Become aware – bucket #1
- Choose love – learn to love yourself first Bucket #3
- Make a practice of loving yourself and filling your cup – Self-Care Bucket #4
- Boundaries – bucket #5 – establish your own sense of worthiness, and then when someone is engulfing you, learn how to say, “no, that’s too much, I need space, I feel threatened, and I love you.”
READ MORE FROM ME
Over the years, I have been a serial learner and practitioner, taking in information about psychology, religion, spirituality, science, medicine, quantum physics, relationships, parenting, and overall, general happiness and work-life balance. I’ve been fascinated in what it takes to and have created my life of pure joy, happiness, balance and peace. It is my mission to spread what I have learned and practiced to you in ways that are simple, easy to understand AND implement. I have served people in achieving realignment in their bodies, relationships and purpose for over 20 years. If you liked this article about how to get sex right now, and you want to read more, please visit one of the links below:
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