Nothing compares to falling in love. They make your heart skip a beat. They bring meaning, inspiration and sunshine into your life. You cannot imagine a life without them.
Yet at the same time our instincts urge us to to flee. Whether we act on this feeling or not, we are subconsciously pushing our partners away when perhaps its the last thing we truly want to do.
Why is falling in love so confusing and hard for some?
Two steps forward one step back...
Many of us enter into a relationship with much trepidation. Especially those with a string of failed and painful relationships behind them. We long to be in a happy relationship, to be intimate with someone, to be deeply connected and yet we subconsciously or deliberately sabotage it time after time.
What are the classic signs of a fear of intimacy?
The person may choose to limit interaction with others. They may be unwilling to reveal too much information about themselves to avoid being judged or potentially rejected. They can also be overly interested in other people in a way to bypass any attention on themselves. People who are overly busy may use their lifestyle as an excuse to being single.
The person may have impossibly high standards / expectations of themselves or others. They may be overly critical and use excuses for not being in a relationship or loving their partner.
People who fear intimacy may develop strong feelings for those who are emotionally unavailable or unattainable. This is due to the low demand of personal investment from themselves, thereby avoiding rejection. They would prefer to love from afar than be in situation where they'll feel scrutinized / vulnerable and most likely be rejected.
Short term / Long distance relationships
Those who fear intimacy may favour short term or casual relationships. They feel safer when there is a certain amount of distance from their flame. However it only takes a matter of time before the victim dumps their love interest in search of another. Again, these people do not want to invest too much time with any one person because such investment requires more from them than they are prepared to offer. Revealing more about themselves makes them feel out of control.
Hot and cold
If the sufferer is able to be in a committed relationship this may be wrought with immense spells of them running hot and cold. This often causes a lot of confusion and frustration for the poor partner. It is also very hard for the sufferer too. Too much intimacy can cause sudden alarm bells to ring in their head and before you know it they are giving you the cold shoulder, withholding affection, being mean and distant or avoiding you completely. It's almost as though they are possessed during such phases and the more you try to love or chase them the faster and farther they flee from you. They are conscious of what they're doing yet cannot seem to control it. However they are often tormented themselves and feel ashamed of the pain they are causing to others. The hot and cold act is a means for them to monitor and control the flow of intimacy.
Where does it all stem from?
Quite simply, past trauma. At some point in their lives (most likely way in the past such as childhood) they had their fingers burnt. They may not even recall the actual event(s) but the emotional impact was so significant that the sufferer is wired to associate intimacy with pain. They may have felt a deep sense of abandoned, rejection, being ignored, criticised or unloved when they were emotionally vulnerable.
Fearing intimacy also represents a feeling of being unworthy of love. Therefore whenever a person provides love to them when they least expect it, they will mistrust it and will probably reject you. Such victims were taught to work hard for love and will reject it whenever they feel they are undeserving.
What can be done?
Firstly, there needs to be an awareness of the problem. The sufferer needs to consciously become aware of when they are acting defensively and what triggers them. They say that time heals all wounds however merely burying your head in the sand indefinitely, is not going to magic your problems away. Time makes us forget certain things but it isn't a complete cure all. It's what you do with the time that counts.
If it's you who fears intimacy and you wish to be in a relationship, I would encourage taking some time out to deal with the problem. The decision to remain in your relationship, have a temporary break, etc is yours. However, it's best to be honest with your partner about your feelings and circumstances. Try not to leave them in the dark. Be considerate and kind. Exploring your past emotional wounds will be key into letting go and overriding any anti -intimacy knee jerk reactions. It would be beneficial to understand where your triggers stem from; certain behaviours of your guardians as well as their coping mechanisms. All together these can bring tremendous clarity and self awareness. You'll be able to pin point where it all came from, why it causes you to act a particular way and therefore be able to consciously choose to do things differently. You will be free from your past.
It will take time and some heavy lifting on your part to overcome this emotional restriction. Yet with determination, the right tools and patience you can achieve more emotional freedom and empowerment that you'd ever imagined.
If the above resonates with you and you wish to explore a personal matter further, please contact me for a friendly consultation.
Love, Life and Destiny Guru
Dating, Relationship and emotional wellbeing Advisor
Heavy tea drinker
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