Recognizing Fear of Intimacy How To Move Beyond Your Fears

By Jennifer Elizabeth Masters

Fear of intimacy keeps many of us, from having deeply connected relationships. A fear of allowing someone close to us means we don’t allow others to see our true feelings or our authentic selves. In this article, I will share my personal experiences and how I overcame and continue to work on this issue.

What is Fear of Intimacy?
Fear of intimacy is an unconscious fear of closeness –  emotional and or physical. A fear of intimacy shows up in our closest relationships. It affects our ability to allow someone close to us both physically and emotionally. 
We may long for a loving relationship, but when we have one we may have difficulties allowing someone to see our true selves. In order to have deep intimacy with another, we need to drop our defenses and allow the other to see us up close, without a mask, shield or wall. 
Just because you have sex with someone does not negate the fact that you have a fear of intimacy. You may be able to have sex with someone and then recoil – pulling away from their new lover. Many one-night stands happen due to a fear of intimacy.
You Can Be Married And Have A Fear Of Intimacy
People in long-term relationships can have sex, but still, have a fear of intimacy. Others stop having sex because of their fears. Many people live alone rather than engage intimately with others.
Fear of death increases the fear of intimacy. If you are afraid your partner may die ahead of you, you could pull away out of fear of loss.
How Do We Develop This Fear?
Emotional trauma in our childhood sets us up to feel that we aren’t safe. Rejection, emotional abandonment, and physical abandonment, as well as sexual trauma and rape, can create a fear of intimacy.
As children, we may shut down emotionally and develop fantasies, imaginary friends and play better alone than with friends. We may shun others, in an effort to protect our feelings, becoming the lone wolf, or black sheep of the family.
After being hurt we feel afraid we will be hurt again. We may feel hurt, unheard and misunderstood. After being hurt in our childhood we learn to be suspicious and mistrust others when they express an interest or love for us. 
Many children are told to be quiet when they express feelings of sadness, anger or even joy. When we learn to repress feelings, it becomes a way of being, so we shut down our feelings.
What Are Signs of A Fear of Intimacy?
  1. Your retreat from affection.
  2. You make yourself unattractive to push your partner away.
  3. You might gain weight to make yourself unattractive.
  4. You say no to sex.
  5. You have sex, but are completely disconnected from the emotional side of it. 
  6. You may feel dead inside.
  7. You may feel numb.
  8. You keep your eyes closed during sex, without connecting on an intimate level with eyes open – soul-to-soul.
  9. You fantasize about other people.
  10. Create emotional distance by keeping things that bother you to yourself.
How Can I Overcome My Fear of Intimacy?
  1. Allow yourself to be seen as you are authentically.
  2. Talk about the issues that trouble you compassionately and openly.
  3. Allow your eyes to remain open and really look at your partner while making love.
  4. Do eye-gazing exercises beginning with one-minute intervals. Build up to longer periods of time, allowing your partner to really see you.
  5. When you feel uncomfortable about letting down your guard, stay with it, rather than run away.
  6. Allow yourself to be held, hugged and kissed.
  7. Talk about the elephant in the room. When we have a fear of intimacy we stuff our biggest issues, rather than bringing them up for discussion. Resist your desire to run away. Stay with them, keep your eyes open and resist turning away during the discussion.
We may feel because of our unconscious programming that we are unworthy of love or unlovable. Many of my clients have both of these unconscious programs running in the background of their unconscious minds. These patterns can be healed.

We can stop being afraid of love and move forward anyway. We can allow ourselves to take risks, opening up to the possibility of something better and deeper than we have had before. 

I was one of those who used to have a fear of intimacy. Even though I loved sex, I wasn’t connecting on a deep level with my partner. 

My past trauma both from molestation and the emotional abandonment created this fear. I played alone much of the time, creating fantasies,

playing school with imaginary students as a child. Having a caring partner who is willing to accept me for who I am has allowed me to open up more fully, receive love from him and allow myself to be seen authentically. If I can do it, so can you! 

It can be done. Let me help you.

When we lovingly accept ourselves as we are with all our faults and flaws, we have healthy self-esteem. 

What Clients Are Saying About Jennifer’s Work

May 26, 2016

I wanted to let you know that I am feeling absolutely wonderful spiritually and about myself! After our session yesterday I felt energized and HAPPY for the first time in years! Despite my Fibromyalgia pain, I feel light, like a huge weight has been lifted from me. It’s so nice to feel like I can actually take a deep breath and breathe. Life feels happy and optimistic again (I haven’t felt this way in over 10 years!). Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! 
I hope you are having a wonderful day, and I truly appreciate everything you have done for me!

Love and Light, Lauren

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