Nowadays, it is not uncommon for the term ‘fear of intimacy’ to be thrown around. In general, it is more likely that someone will use this term to describe another person than to describe themselves.
One reason for this is that it is usually easier for someone to spot this in other than it is for them to spot it in themselves. This comes down to the fact that they will have a mind that causes them to see themselves as merely an observer of their life, as opposed to a co-creator of it.
As a result of this, someone can endlessly attract people that are not emotionally available and not take a step back to see if they are playing a part in what is going on. These people will be at fault, with them having no control over what is playing out.
There may be times when this allows them to feel better, and even more evolved, than these people, but it is likely to cause them to feel totally powerless when it comes to this area of their life. For them to change their life, it will be essential for them to take a step back and to see what part they are playing in what is going on.
Anyway, when this term is used, it is going to mean that someone fears getting emotionally close to another person. Therefore, while they will be able to share both their mind and their body with another human being, that will be about as far as it will go.
Opening their heart and emotionally connecting to another person (forming an emotional bond with them) will be a challenge. They might not be able to do this or, if it does happen, they could soon end up shutting down (even more) and/or pulling away.
Now, if someone does respond in this way when they get close to another, it doesn’t mean that they are aware of what is going on. If this happens, then, they could believe that the other person is overly needy and smothering or that they are just not into the other person.
So, if they have had this experience take place on a number of occasions, they could believe that people are too needy or that they are not made to have relationships that are too deep. In both cases, it will show that they lack self-knowledge and, as things stand, they won’t have the self-awareness to attain it.
For someone else, someone who wants to have a deeper relationship with another person, they could struggle to understand why they end up shutting down and/or feel the need to get away. They might also find that it is hard to emotionally connect to them from the outset.
If they were to look into what is going on, they could come to the conclusion that they have a fear of intimacy and they might even believe that there is something wrong with their ability to emotionally connect to another person. After this, they could look into what they can do to let go of this fear of intimacy.
This could just be a fear that they can let go of by changing their thinking and questioning what they believe, for instance. Then again, simply changing what is taking place in their mind (up top) might not be suffice.
The reason for this is that what is taking place in their body (down below) could be playing a big part in how they currently experience life. Said another way, there is a strong chance that they are carrying trauma.
Connecting the Dots
If they are unable to remember a time in their life when they felt overwhelmed and as though they had no control, it could show that they experienced trauma very early on. Not being able to remember what took place will be due to at least two reasons.
Firstly, they may have been too young to remember it and, secondly, their mind may have blocked out what took place in order to protect them. And, how they feel could even relate to how they felt whilst there were in their mother’s womb – as outlandish as this may sound.
A Closer Look
If they experienced early trauma, it may show that they had at least one caregiver who was unable to provide them with the attunement that they needed whilst they were a baby. Consequently, they may have regularly felt smothered and trapped by their attention and as though they were going to be annihilated (to die).
Consequently, or along with this, they may have also experienced some kind of abuse and/or neglect. In both cases, their boundaries would have been violated and shutting down would have been the only way for them to handle the pain that they were in.
The Body Remembers
The years will have passed but how they felt all those years ago will have remained inside them. Getting close to another person will unconsciously remind them of what happened when they were younger.
The early arousal will be triggered and once again, shutting down and/or pulling away will be a way for them to handle it. This trauma will make it more or less impossible for them to stay emotionally present and to deeply connect to another person.
The experiences that they had as a child will also have affected their ability to trust and to feel comfortable with being vulnerable. Ultimately, what they fear has already happened but as they are still in a traumatised state, they are unable to move on from what happened and to realise that they survived what took place.
Dealing with all this arousal will be essential if one is to ever have a deep and fulfilling relationship with another person. When it comes to working with this arousal, the assistance of a therapist or a healer will probably be needed.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.