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Many people experience a fear of intimacy for one reason or another. It’s important to figure out the root cause and work on overcoming it.
1. Be honest about your feelings
A fear of intimacy can be a result of a variety of factors. For example, it may be caused by past childhood trauma or a lack of attachment in early relationships. A fear of intimacy can also be a response to upsetting life experiences, such as a divorce or death of a loved one.
People who struggle with a fear of intimacy often avoid closeness, even when they crave it. They might tell white lies or make excuses to avoid being emotionally vulnerable with others. They might even sabotage close relationships before they have a chance to develop. Intimate relationships are important to human existence, but they are not always easy to achieve or maintain.
If you have a fear of intimacy, it’s important to talk about it with a mental health professional. A therapist can help you identify the source of your fear and work through it. They can also teach you techniques for becoming more intimate in your relationships. You can find a therapist who specializes in this issue by using an online search tool or reaching out to your insurance provider for a list of providers in your area.
2. Practice intimacy-building exercises
A fear of intimacy can be caused by a variety of things, including past physical or emotional abuse, difficult ex-relationships, anxiety disorders, and more. People who have a fear of intimacy often avoid intimate relationships because they believe that being vulnerable will make them unsafe. These fears can be triggered by a wide range of things, including sex, a person’s appearance, and certain memories from the past.
Another common reason for a fear of intimacy is a feeling that a person does not deserve to be loved or supported. This can lead to a lack of trust in close relationships and an inability to express feelings.
A fear of intimacy can affect many aspects of a person’s life, including their relationships and lifestyle. Intimacy-building exercises can help people overcome their fear of intimacy and lead to happier, healthier relationships. If you’re struggling with a fear of intimacy, it may be helpful to speak with a counselor about your experience. Licensed therapists can provide you with the support and tools you need to heal from your trauma and feel more confident in yourself and your relationship.
3. Talk to a therapist
Fear of intimacy often stems from childhood experiences, including physical abuse or a lack of trust. It may also be a result of not being able to communicate clearly with your partner or a feeling that you don’t deserve to be loved. Either way, it’s difficult for those with intimacy issues to have a fulfilling relationship because they struggle to express their needs or wants.
If you’re afraid of intimacy, it’s important to understand that it isn’t your fault. This condition is usually rooted in past trauma or experience, and it can be hard to overcome without professional help. Licensed psychologists and other mental health professionals are able to pinpoint patterns you might not have noticed before and help you find healthier coping mechanisms.
It’s also worth noting that this fear is often subconscious, meaning that it is triggered by positive emotions or actions that are intended to bring you closer. It’s a vicious cycle that can be difficult to break, but it’s possible with the help of a professional. Ultimately, healing from a fear of intimacy starts with changing the way you view yourself.
4. Practice self-compassion
People who struggle with fear of intimacy often have maladaptive beliefs that can keep them from forming close relationships. They may erroneously believe that the people they get close to will inevitably leave them or cause them pain. This can lead them to shy away from most, or in some cases all, close relationships.
Other times, fear of intimacy stems from past emotional, physical, or psychological abuse. These negative experiences can make them erroneously believe that they are not worthy of being loved for who they are. This can cause them to forcibly hold themselves back or even sabotage relationships that could potentially help them heal.
To overcome these fears, it’s important to practice self-compassion. This includes practicing mindfulness, acknowledging emotions, and showing yourself kindness. There are several resources available to help people learn how to practice self-compassion, including a podcast by psychologist Kristin Neff and workbooks by Laura Hickman and others. It also helps to seek the support of a therapist. They can provide safe spaces for people to communicate their feelings and offer guidance on healthy ways to form intimate relationships.
5. Practice deep breathing
Fear of physical intimacy can be accompanied by an emotional fear of closeness. It is common for both to exist together, and they can be very challenging for the people who struggle with them and those in their relationships. It takes patience, open communication, and commitment to healing to overcome these barriers.
Often, fears of physical intimacy stem from fear of abandonment. This can be a result of childhood trauma or difficult relationships in adulthood. Alternatively, it can be related to anxiety disorders, such as panic attacks.
The root cause of these fears can be complex and vary from person to person. However, the most common cause is a lack of trust in others. People who have these feelings may also believe that they need to work on themselves before being worthy of love. This can lead to them avoiding intimate relationships or pushing people away, even when it is not in their best interest. A therapist can help them find healthier ways to cope with their feelings. They can also teach them to recognize and challenge negative inner dialogue so that they do not act out on it.