Fear of intimacy

They are wounded.

Keep this in mind when you see or experience people — or yourself — hiding or running from real intimacy in a relationship.

I am not talking solely about physical intimacy or love-making intimacy. I say love-making intimacy because people have been having sex for years without an iota of emotional and spiritual intimacy to be seen for miles. Physical intimacy, holding hands, holding each other, cuddling, simply touching, can be a steep climb for the badly wounded. Love-making intimacy, even steeper.

Avoiding intimacy takes many forms. One of the more common is when people enter into relationships with partners who are either unable or unwilling to be intimate. At times, this allows the partner seeking intimacy to both bemoan the absence of intimacy on the one hand without ever having to  be intimate on the other. Choosing to be with someone who can’t be intimate can be a way of avoiding intimacy in and of itself. This does not mean either person is aware of the intimacy-avoiding pattern they’re trapped in.

If emotional and spiritual intimacy were physical beings the amount of intimacy being lost could fill the Grand Canyon on a daily basis.

There are real reasons deserving of the deepest respect people fear intimacy. Almost without exception the fear revolves around the following truth. At some point in time, usually in childhood, but not exclusively so, you were in some way taught that being who really really are was dangerous. Emotionally, physically, or sexually dangerous. Someone you loved with all your heart died. You were abused physically, emotionally, spiritually, sexually. Somehow, through no fault of your own (even if you are still making the mistake of holding yourself responsible (You’re not!)), you came to believe truly being yourself with someone else was dangerous.

For an array of reasons, I believed it was dangerous for me to be myself with someone for years. For me, getting free of this fear began with two understandings. First, getting free of this fear meant getting free of my history. Second, who deserves to be in control of my decision making? Me or my history?  I pick me.

Talking about the fear with someone is not only an immense help, it is necessary. Talk to someone: a psychotherapist, a member of clergy, a close friend. Now, for those who believe asking for help is an act of weakness, let me ask you something. If it is an act of weakness to ask for help, then why is it so hard to do? After all, if it was an act of weakness, asking for help would be easy. And, it’s not so much that I think each of us need the help. I think we damn well deserve it. Why? Because you deserve to get free of your history’s decision-making power. Promise.

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3 thoughts on “Fear of intimacy

  1. Wow, a great post. I continually nodded as I read and even had some personal insights, Thanks!

  2. Intimacy definitely is difficult, especially when you have not had childhood experiences of seeing, watching or knowing others in intimate circumstances. Or if these intimate experiences were forbidden during childhood, or had a taboo put on them, or if you had some traumatic experience involving someone close to you. All these possibilities can cause a backlash to intimate experiences.

  3. I am 40yrs old male, I have never been in a relationship longtime. My childhood was dry and I was never received / depend on my parents for emotional support. I ran away from my family couple of times, I was around 4yrs when I first ran away. Still it is hard for me to trust anyone fully emotionally, I can’t spell the words “love you”, or open myself to others. I listen others worries, problems and give solutions, but I never discuss my own or reveal mine. When somebody shows affection towards me it is hard for me to digest and respond. My insecurity kicks in most of the time either I walk away from relationship or make them walk away. It is really hard.

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