I am really pleased to share this important post by psychotherapist Joshua Miles, and I am glad that he is writing again! I have shared some of his posts before, and initially what resonated with me in his writing was his emphasis both on the therapeutic relationship, and on creativity in the therapeutic process.
This post is on intimacy, and I suspect that many of those with BPD will recognise in themselves most if not all of the symptoms of fear of intimacy described above. I would add only, to the section on how and why that fear develops, that it can arise as much out of too much attention in childhood, as well as out of too little. My mother was not able to meet my emotional needs, but she was also very intrusive and tried to force a level of emotional intimacy that I did not want and that violated my own space. It was not, of course, genuine intimacy in any sense, but it still left me with a fear of being intruded upon and swamped by another’s needs and wants.
Through the process of therapy, I have become much more conscious of my own fear of intimacy. I have always been used to throwing myself really quickly and seemingly ‘deeply’, into both romantic relationships and friendships. It was easy for this to masquerade as intimacy, but I tended to share facts rather than feelings; and as I tended to ‘chase’ rather than ‘be chased’, I didn’t have to deal with the fear of someone else wanting to draw closer than I was happy to allow.
My therapeutic relationship was the first time I was involved in something where I became known, and got to know, slowly. Where the process involved conflict, as well as closeness. Where it took wrong turns and misunderstandings but got stronger through them, rather than weaker. It helped me to realise that genuine intimacy can only take place in the two context of two people acting freely and openly, and it has little to do with the volume of information shared, and much more with the nature of what is shared, and the quality of the sharing.
I hope you enjoy this excellent post!
We as humans are relational beings, and inherent in all of our relationships is a need for physical and or emotional closeness and intimacy. We need to develop, build and experience relational bonds and experience closeness from another person. For some people however, intimacy is not so simple, and for some people it can be a source of fear, worry and difficulty. In this article, I aim to look at possible reasons for why people might develop a fear of intimacy, detail some of the symptoms people might exhibit and lastly, how psychotherapy can help those who may be struggling with a fear of intimacy.
What is a fear of intimacy?
At points, we all experience find ourselves contemplating the validity or meaning of our intimacy or closeness to another person. We may have concerns over the outcome of the relationship, whether we will be rejected, that the relationship will…
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