Many people can fear intimacy, and feel nervous about sharing close emotional or physical connection with another person. One key factor to remember with intimacy issues is that some people don’t necessarily realise they have a problem, or that they are avoiding intimacy or sabotaging situations where people become too close. Another important point is that it is entirely possible to long for a close, intimate connection with another person, but also to be afraid of being so vulnerable as to allow that to happen.
What causes intimacy issues?
Any number of things can cause intimacy issues in a person. They may have had bad experiences in their past, especially in childhood, which has coloured all of their later relationships throughout life. This may stem from insecure attachment with one’s parents which leaves us with an insecure method of attaching to others.
There may be a fear of abandonment or rejection, or a fear of engulfment, where we worry about being controlled or losing oneself in a relationship. There may also be a social phobia or anxiety playing a part.
How do you overcome intimacy issues?
If you are experiencing intimacy issues (or perhaps someone else has suggested this to you) one of the best things you can do is to spend some time thinking about this area of your life with an objective mind. Are you sabotaging relationships in your life? And if so, do you want to create more meaning relationships moving forward?
Seek help and support
You don’t need to have a formal diagnosis of a personality disorder to seek help with intimacy issues. If you want to make a change and feel you could benefit from some support in doing so, seek help from someone who has experience in these things. This article has some great tips and resources. A trained counselor or therapist can help to provide a safe environment for you to delve into your past and look at what may be causing your intimacy issues, as well as providing you with tools and support to make a change.
Work on your inner relationship
A key part of tackling intimacy issues is to be comfortable in yourself, and compassionate with yourself. Anything you can do to increase your level of self love and acceptance will have a positive effect on any efforts you make to tackle intimacy issues. This can be as simple as talking back to that negative voice in your head. Speaking of which…
Learn to notice your inner critic
Often when we fear intimacy it’s because we are our own worst critic. Learning to notice that voice that puts you down, and to realise that voice is not you can make a big difference in overcoming obstacles in all areas of life, including problems with intimacy and connection.
Overcoming intimacy issues can be something of a life’s work, requiring constant vigilance and presence in the moment. It is rarely something from which we can be miraculously cured; instead it’s something we will have to revisit each time we are triggered and want to retreat, each time we are feeling stressed or overwhlemed and our old tried and tested coping mechanisms come into play. But castigating ourselves for falling back into familiar patterns will only make things worse in the long run. Better to maintain patience and show ourselves some love and compassion.