Do You Have Fear of Intimacy in Relationships?

Wow! There is soooo much I can write on this. I consider myself an expert in this field – fear of intimacy, that is. Well…I WAS an expert, as in past-tense; these days I’m becoming more of an expert on ways to overcome fear of intimacy. This has been a huge fear in my life, that I’m happy to report I’ve experienced almost complete healing around. Today I want to share an exercise (or two) I’ve used that have been of great help to me, and that I hope will help with your healing of this as well.
For me, fear of intimacy was based in fear of abandonment and fear of rejection. Fear of abandonment has been deeply ingrained in me since the loss of my Mom some twenty-three years ago and it’s been affecting my life in huge (and not good) ways since then.
I don’t want you to worry so much about the “why” of your fear of intimacy. For me, it’s been much more helpful to concentrate on ways to heal it. The past is the past, and although it deeply affects us in everyday life, and it is helpful to understand, they “whys” are better discovered in therapy. For me, as a Life Coach supporting women’s empowerment and positive self image, it’s more about working with and healing the NOW.
My particular fear of intimacy and abandonment manifested itself as attracting unavailable men. These guys weren’t married or otherwise unavailable, they were emotionally unavailable (in many ways worse, because I actually thought I might have a shot at a life with them). I attracted emotionally unavailable men, and the saddest thing is, even if I would have had a shot with them, it would never have worked, because I was terrified to let them know that I cared about them. They would say how they were never getting married, never getting involved, etc., etc. and I would just shrink up into myself and build those walls (around my heart) a little higher. Sound familiar?

Eventually, I began to realize that there was a reason I had a pattern of attracting men like this, and the reason was… ME! That’s right. You’ve heard the saying, “like attracts like”? HELLO, mirror! The guys I was attracting were unavailable, because I was unavailable. Not just to them, but to myself. So the first thing I began doing was to learn to accept myself. I did so by, as I’ve talked about so much on here, facing my fears down and doing what scared me anyway. I did it by considering the ways I felt unworthy and unloved and really asking myself, “is that true”? Sometimes it was. Byron Katie does some good work around this and if you’re really interested in this exercise, you can find her work online. She has a great website with some free worksheets that will get you started.
The other thing I did, was to identify whatever fear it was that was particularly strong, such as, “Oh no. He’s going to walk away now. I messed up and he’s going to walk away!” Then I would acknowledge that I messed up and ask myself a question, like this: “Okay. I messed up by (fill in the blank here). So if he does walk away, what will that feel like? What will that look like?” Then I really sunk into my feelings and imagined the worse possible scenario and how it would really feel for him to walk away. This feels horrible at first, but soon I would be telling myself, “If he walks away, I learned from it. I feel proud of myself for having done this. I know I’ll attract another great guy, and I’ll be better prepared for this with him because of the healing I’m giving myself around this now.”
I would see it wouldn’t be the end of the world, that yes. It might hurt a little; it might hurt a LOT, but it would not be the end of the world. My life would go on and keep getting better.
I’ll keep getting better and the more I heal, the better I”ll be able to maneuver through these land mines. AND…the more I learn to maneuver through them, and to feel at peace with myself and not feel the anxiety, not only will it be easier with the next guy, and the next, if necessary, but ultimately, I feel more at peace with myself. And ladies, that feeling is priceless.
I have another exercise that will help you heal this that I’ll be posting in the next few days. For now, try this and let me know how it works for you.
In the meantime, much love to you and wishes for healing.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Coach Mary
    Jan 05, 2012 @ 20:10:50

    Hey Miss Michelle,Sorry it took me so long to publish your comment and get back to you…it's been a busy couple of weeks and for some reason, I never received notification of a comment until after I had published it. ????The "mirror effect" is something that's showing up hugely in my life right now, or maybe it's just a matter of my becoming more cognizant of it.Thanks for the feedback. Hope things are well with you and yours. Happy New Year!


  2. Michelle Green
    Dec 18, 2011 @ 08:43:26

    Great article Mary and so true about the mirror – I know this from my own personal experience, so this article really resonates with me! 😉


  3. Coach Mary
    Dec 16, 2011 @ 20:19:21

    T-Girl,Thanks for stopping by and I'm so happy to hear that it helped. For me, fear of intimacy ws centered around fear of loss (abandonment). Doing these exercises has really helped to heal that in me. For the first time in my life, I really feel like I can "Hold on Loosely" as the .38 Special song suggests. Have you heard it? "Hold on loosely, but don't let go. If you cling too tightly, you're gonna lose control." I was definitely feeling out of control where my relationships were concerned. Hang in there. I'll be posting another article (probably tomorrow, because I'm really excited about it and can't hardly wait) that might help enlighten you around this a little more.Thanks so much for your feedback. It's greatly appreciated!


  4. Anonymous
    Dec 16, 2011 @ 19:26:06

    Thanks for such a great article. It gave me a reall aha moment – that fear of intimacy is fear of abandonment and rejection. I'm sure I've heard that before but your article helped to sink it in. (T-Girl)


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