The whole idea of someone losing themselves in a relationship may sound completely ridiculous. And if this was to be taken literally, then yes, it does sound crazy.
Because physically it is impossible to lose oneself in another person; there is nowhere to go and it is clearly not possible. And if this is the perception that one has, it is a result of a lack of understanding of what it actually means.
What it relates to is someone’s mental and emotional aspects and these have nothing to do with their physicality. But even though this may be physically impossible; it doesn’t mean that its affect is less severe.
The primary consequence to this fear is going to be a lack of functional intimacy. Through having this fear, there is not going to be much chance of one connecting to another. Being vulnerable is an important part of intimacy and if one has this fear, opening up will be a real challenge.
Opening up will be perceived as dangerous and as something to be avoided at all costs. And as a result of this, there is not much chance of real intimacy developing.
While the above may be a consequence, it is often a process that goes on out of one’s conscious awareness. For example, on the surface one may feel like a victim and that they have no control over the intimacy in their life.
Consciously one can have a story about how unlucky they are, but what there are likely to be are patterns. This may relate to attracting relationships where other people are: distant, aloof or emotionally unavailable. Or people who are: inappropriate, incompatible and a complete mismatch.
It may relate to attracting people who are overwhelming, smothering and overbearing. They may also be controlling and have no boundaries whatsoever.
What these patterns are amounting to is a dynamic that has three options; that are described above. One of these will involve seeking and grasping. Another will lead to one feeling neither pulled nor repelled. The final one will involve pulling away and resisting.
One may find that their behaviour fits one of these options more than it does the other. And switching from one to the other can also occur. If one becomes aware of this dynamic then there is a chance that change will happen.
But very often, one will just go from one to another and back again; ending up on an endless cycle of frustration and pain.
The Same Story
So if one were to step back and see these three primary scenarios, it would become clear that they are actually sides of the same coin. But, no matter what patterns are in place, it is not leading to a fulfilling relationship with someone.
There may be many other patterns and dramas that are created, but the consequences are the same. On the surface this can all seem to be out of one’s control and that they are just happening.
However, these experiences are the result of what ones ego mind has associated as being familiar and therefore as what is safe.
At a deeper level, ones ego mind has associated being close to another as something that will result in the loss of the self. This is what is familiar to the ego mind and what is being interpret as safe.
Now, at one point in ones life this association may well have been what kept one safe. This was probably during ones childhood years. And as an adult, one is simply creating the same experiences as a result of these early associations that were formed.
The Big Challenge
What then happens is the natural need for connection and intimacy, has been interfered with. And as this is such an important need, it inevitably has the potential to create incredible pain and suffering in one’s life.
For as long as these associations are in place, one will continue to avoid intimacy at all costs and all the while having a deep need for it at the same time.
Being brought up by caregivers who have no boundaries and therefore have no understanding of what personal space is; will lead to dysfunctional consequences. Their ability to offer empathic care is also going to be diminished.
Feeling overwhelmed, controlled and taken advantage are then the rule and not the exception. And this means that one’s sense of self and ego boundaries will not form as they should. The priority is the caregiver’s needs and not the Childs.
This doesn’t have to be extremely traumatic occurrence or occurrences; it can be an accumulation of fairly insignificant events.
What these early experiences do is form ones relationship model. It is then only natural, that as a result of the associations that are fumed during this time, one will fear that their personal space would be violated if they were to be in a relationship.
The ego mind will continue to perceive life in the same way and this is why these associations need to change. To let go off what happened in the past will enable one to attract people who will respect ones personal space.
Another part of this will be to formed functional boundaries. These will allow one to form a sense of self and to open up and to feel safe doing so. There are many approaches out there, from therapists, to books and other things.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 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.