What Is Emotional Intimacy?
Often when we think of “intimacy” we think of physical intimacy — at least I do. Emotional intimacy is sharing who we really are with another person. It is vital for our sense of well-being. Intimacy is how we connect to one another – it’s the velcro in our relationships. We are intimate when we allow another person to see into us, or to see our true self. Break the word down to, In To Me See.
How Do We Develop A Fear Of Intimacy? We develop a fear of intimacy when our true self is wounded or traumatized while in a relationship. When we have made ourselves vulnerable, exposing who we really are, and are then hurt and, or, rejected, we respond by attempting to hide our true and authentic self. We learn to avoid honest relationships. We live in fear that someone will see who we really are, and will hurt and reject us again. **Please remember that, “HURT PEOPLE, HURT PEOPLE.” Getting blindsided by someone unhealthy, who is mean, insensitive and full of rage, is never about you, it’s about them. (*unless there is a pattern of inviting abusive people repeatedly into your life – then it’s about you, too.)
When we are wounded by our first and most important relationship (parents/family) we learn to fear intimacy.
How Do We Unknowingly Block Intimacy? Here’s a sampling…
- We practice avoidance. We hide intellectually, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
- We DON’T keep up appearances. We repel people with a lack of self-care (Unclean, unkempt, dirty, etc.)
- We keep up appearances – we practice perfection with regard to our appearance, everything becomes about the physical, and the external.
- We are superficial
- We take things personally – Our interpretation of events is always negative. We wait to be hurt or victimized, so we can reinforce how we really feel about ourselves. Or, we create scenarios where we can feel victimized. This gets old quickly. People eventually leave us alone.
- We allow ourselves to be needed but not loved. Those who block intimacy confuse the two. We are comfortable when we are needed (we’re in control) but not when we are loved because we don’t love ourselves or because it feels unsafe.
- We are aggressive, abrasive, harsh.
- We are know-it-alls. No one can tell us anything or share anything with us because we already know everything.
- We are critics and judges. Everything gets discussed and dissected, a thumbs up or a thumbs down.
- We are always busy, busy, busy. We fill our day to capacity, leaving no room to breathe let alone to be. This is also a good way to never be alone with yourself.
- We are needy and often in crisis. When life is about survival it’s difficult to get close or deep with a person. The drama or worries get in the way.
- We abandon friendships when they become too deep. “If you get too close you’ll see the real me, so I’ll break it off before that happens.”
- We are perfectionists – the focus is on external instead of internal affairs of the heart.
- We are always sick. When someone is always ailing it’s hard to get close. It’s also hard to confront someone if they’re ill.
- We are always joking and fooling around. If you can’t get serious you can’t get intimate.
- We are overly independent. We don’t allow people in to help us or share our emotional burdens – we fear vulnerability.
Getting Over A Fear Of Intimacy – I’ll keep it short.
- I’m not broken. My sense of self is shattered, NOT MY TRUE SELF.
- When I truly love, honor and accept myself, I won’t need to hide or be false.
- I’ll share my feelings. I’ll learn to assert myself. I will be seen and my feelings will be felt. I will be understood. I will seek validation and enforce my boundaries.
- I will recognize when I’m trying to cover my wounds with external things. I will develop self-awareness.
- I’ll understand that my fear of intimacy is based on a false belief about myself. If I’m sustaining that lie, then the relationship I have with myself is false.
- I will practice honesty and integrity in all that I do. I will be congruent.
- I’ll stop taking cues from the outside world. I will go by my instincts even if others disagree – this is how I’ll discover who I really am.
- Until I learn to be intimate with myself (heal my wounds), I cannot be open and intimate with others. I will take emotional risks.