A lot of people experience a fear of intimacy for various reasons and it's nothing to be ashamed about. Understanding the reasons why is a big step forward.
Many people are longing for real commitment, but don't want to risk being rejected over and over again. Even in a relationship, they start panicking when their partner talks about the future.
Perhaps you're one of these people experiencing fear of intimacy. Although it is perfectly normal to be afraid of opening up and being vulnerable, it can get in the way of your relationships over time.
To overcome this problem, you must dig deep to understand why you feel what you are feeling. This article aims to help you reflect on your past human bonds and how you can practice allowing greater vulnerability for the sake of your present and future ones.
People who suffer from fear of intimacy often long for closeness, but push people away when they're getting too close for comfort. This can stem from several different causes, including bad childhood experiences, trauma, abuse, and failed romances.
Perhaps a bad break-up made you vow never to open your heart ever again. You may find yourself shutting other people out by steering clear of dates and keeping everyone at bay to prevent another painful heartbreak. Some people have an avoidant attachment style, which means that their fear of intimacy is deeply wired into their brains from their childhood. These people crave real connections but feel an uncontrollable urge to distance themselves when things are getting too serious.
More often than not, this debilitating fear starts inside the mind and builds a calloused barrier around the heart. It's our way of protecting ourselves - a mode of survival. Just as it took your brain years to build this wall of defense mechanism, overcoming fear of intimacy takes a lot of time and patience. Consider these heart-opening tips to start your process:
Most people who experience the fear of intimacy often prefer the past to remain buried. Opening up old wounds could trigger a well of emotions, which requires one to be more vulnerable. However, to heal your present and secure your future, you need to look at your past.
Acknowledge the hurt you experienced as a child, perhaps from a parent or another authority figure. Now is the time to deal with the pain so you can truly let go. Sometimes, you need to confront the ghosts of your past so you can start mending your present relationships.
When you have a fear of intimacy, it's easy to dwell on your partner's flaws, no matter how tiny they may be. You may be dating a close-to-perfect person, but be bothered by the awkward way he or she holds a steak knife. You suddenly feel a hyper-focused awareness because your brain is telling you to run and avoid an intimate human bond.
When you find yourself starting to nitpick your partner's qualities, take a breath and stop. Remind yourself that it's just a primitive part of your brain trying to protect you. Once you realize this, you can start to look at positive traits instead.
Part of being self-aware means embracing your fear and leaning into it instead of rejecting it. If you find yourself pulling away after an intimate moment with your partner, try to lean into the discomfort. Stay close and connected for as long as you can. This is a great exercise to overcome your fears and accepting that your childhood survival strategy is no longer needed in your adult relationships.
Don't let your fears prevent you from meeting the one. When you start opening up, life can amaze you with beautiful surprises!
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Written by Alan Kasanda
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