Fear of Intimacy
At a workshop, recently, three different people stated that what they would like help with was their fear of intimacy.
What struck me about these three was that they all appeared to be independent, strong, intelligent and attractive.
I wondered if they shared my mismatch between my insides and my outsides.
Ah, the double life Bill talks about in the Big Book (pg 73), wanting to enjoy a certain reputation and knowing in your heart that you don’t deserve it.
I am like that and I have had to overcome some hurdles to getting help.
Only crazy people need therapy.
My childhood was normal.
That it was not OK to not be independent, strong, intelligent and attractive.
Even though I didn’t really feel that way on the inside.
That you expected me to be independent, strong, intelligent and attractive.
So, I was living a lie. Putting on an act.
No wonder I had problems with intimacy.
The turning point came when I felt safe enough to face my insecurities.
What I needed was safe and trustworthy people to help me do it.
This was a hard one because when I was living the act, I was not a safe and trustworthy person. I was way too ready to point out to you where you had fallen short of the bar. (I knew you wanted perfection, too.)
I thought I had to be cool, sexy and tough to be loved.
I thought I had to be different than what I was to be loved.
It didn’t help that I was weird, sensitive and slow.
And I was so afraid of being exposed for the phony I was.
So maybe a fear of intimacy is a fear of exposure.
Exposure of what?
My imperfections? My shortcomings? My act?
If I had been mirrored as lovable for my strengths as well as my weaknesses as a child, how would I be different now?
How do I give myself that nurturing, acceptance and support? The 6 steps of IB.
My wife was reading this over my shoulder and remarked “I think you are sexy, cool and tough and weird, sensitive and slow and very lovable.” What a gift. An even greater gift is that sometimes I think so, too.