October 16, 2021

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The FEAR OF INTIMACY & 5 Ways to Overcome it

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Hey everybody. Today we’re going to talk about the fear of intimacy. Where does it come from and what can we do to help it? (Introduction Music) So like I said today we’re going to talk about the fear of intimacy. Many of you have reached out and asked if I would talk about this and I know that there’s a lot of talk and chatter online about the fear of intimacy being related to social phobia or different anxieties, but I think it’s more important for us to actually dive into where the fear of intimacy comes from so we can work in therapy or on ourselves individually and help better our relationships.

First of all I just want to say this if you are out there and you’re in a relationship with someone who has the fear of intimacy and you find them often putting you off or maybe not giving you as much attention as you need or you don’t feel they’re emotionally available like you want. Know that that doesn’t always mean that they don’t care. Often people who struggle with the fear of intimacy will think that they’re giving you as much attention as you possibly need and being as emotionally available as they would want. Because it’s really difficult for them to understand what a “normal amount of this is” And they feel like they’re doing everything they can.

Now it’s my belief that the fear of intimacy comes from us not having a secure attachment. Now, I know I’ve talked about this in the past, but just to refresh your memory, a secure attachment is what forms when we are babies or small children whenever we express discontent or being uncomfortable or something may be hurting us a parent comes in, soothes us, lets us know that our emotions are okay.https://datinginsider.com/lesbian-dating/ How we feel is normal.

It makes us feel, it’s like very validating. and we feel taken care of and soothed. That’s how we form a secure attachment. An insecure attachment or what we call, and I wrote it down because I always forget, avoidant or dismissing type or reactive attachment is when We cry or we express discontent and a parent doesn’t show up. They aren’t around or they’re like oh, he’ll cry it out. Or we had a completely smothering parental type where they’re all about it, and worry so much about how we’re feeling.

And that anxiety gets picked up on And either way, either extreme creates an insecure attachment. Now the reason that I believe this leads to fear of intimacy is because many people grow up thinking that Emotions that they feel are not okay. Either A.) no one’s going to come to our rescue. Maybe we’re making this up.

Maybe I don’t have the right to feel this way or if we’re on the smothering end it may, we may think “oh, I”m going to burden that person too much. It’s going to be too stressful if I express what’s actually happening.” And so the only safe way to be is to not feel any of those emotions, So we stick them deep within ourselves and tuck it away, and hope that it goes away. And then when we’re adults it can even be scary to consider feeling things and letting those emotions out.

Because if you think about it all of our experience hasn’t been good. And it can make us feel very vulnerable and wonder what we’re going to get out of it. Are we going to have somebody completely abandon us, because that would be another deep wound right?

Or are we gonna have someone freak out and make things feel worse for us And then we worry what we’ve done to them, and then we freak out in the end also. And so you can see how it can be really scary To go from having an insecure attachment to try to learn how to properly express emotions. But don’t worry you can do it. Now before I get into the ways that we can fix it, I want to address the fact that those of us who really struggle with fear of intimacy don’t usually know that we do. It only tends to come out most commonly through work and work relationships, because we’re forced to work.

We have to pay our bills, right? And so we’re forced into relationships with people, and then these situations may arise. Where we maybe end up in therapy or talking to someone else like what happened? Or in romantic relationships. And so usually it takes us awhile to even recognize this is something that we struggle with.

So now let’s get into how to fix it, and I have five ways. The first is CBT or DBT therapy. Now before we even get into the five ways that we can fix it, know that CBT and DBT therapy tend to be best. Now there’s the most research about CBT, so if you go looking yourself, you’ll find that they recommend CBT, but because I’m a DBT therapist as well I find a lot of overlap with the ways that I would help treat this in my practice.

Hey everybody. Today we’re going to talk about the fear of intimacy. Where does it come from and what can we do to help it? (Introduction Music) So like I said today we’re going to talk about the fear of intimacy. Many of you have reached out and asked if I would talk about this and I know that there’s a lot of talk and chatter online about the fear of intimacy being related to social phobia or different anxieties, but I think it’s more important for us to actually dive into where the fear of intimacy comes from so we can work in therapy or on ourselves individually and help better our relationships.

First of all I just want to say this if you are out there and you’re in a relationship with someone who has the fear of intimacy and you find them often putting you off or maybe not giving you as much attention as you need or you don’t feel they’re emotionally available like you want. Know that that doesn’t always mean that they don’t care. Often people who struggle with the fear of intimacy will think that they’re giving you as much attention as you possibly need and being as emotionally available as they would want. Because it’s really difficult for them to understand what a “normal amount of this is” And they feel like they’re doing everything they can.

Now it’s my belief that the fear of intimacy comes from us not having a secure attachment. Now, I know I’ve talked about this in the past, but just to refresh your memory, a secure attachment is what forms when we are babies or small children whenever we express discontent or being uncomfortable or something may be hurting us a parent comes in, soothes us, lets us know that our emotions are okay. How we feel is normal.

It makes us feel, it’s like very validating. and we feel taken care of and soothed. That’s how we form a secure attachment. An insecure attachment or what we call, and I wrote it down because I always forget, avoidant or dismissing type or reactive attachment is when We cry or we express discontent and a parent doesn’t show up. They aren’t around or they’re like oh, he’ll cry it out. Or we had a completely smothering parental type where they’re all about it, and worry so much about how we’re feeling.

And that anxiety gets picked up on And either way, either extreme creates an insecure attachment. Now the reason that I believe this leads to fear of intimacy is because many people grow up thinking that Emotions that they feel are not okay. Either A.) no one’s going to come to our rescue. Maybe we’re making this up.

Maybe I don’t have the right to feel this way or if we’re on the smothering end it may, we may think “oh, I”m going to burden that person too much. It’s going to be too stressful if I express what’s actually happening.” And so the only safe way to be is to not feel any of those emotions, So we stick them deep within ourselves and tuck it away, and hope that it goes away. And then when we’re adults it can even be scary to consider feeling things and letting those emotions out.

Because if you think about it all of our experience hasn’t been good. And it can make us feel very vulnerable and wonder what we’re going to get out of it. Are we going to have somebody completely abandon us, because that would be another deep wound right?

Emotionally and Sexually

Or are we gonna have someone freak out and make things feel worse for us And then we worry what we’ve done to them, and then we freak out in the end also. And so you can see how it can be really scary To go from having an insecure attachment to try to learn how to properly express emotions. But don’t worry you can do it. Now before I get into the ways that we can fix it, I want to address the fact that those of us who really struggle with fear of intimacy don’t usually know that we do. It only tends to come out most commonly through work and work relationships, because we’re forced to work.

We have to pay our bills, right? And so we’re forced into relationships with people, and then these situations may arise. Where we maybe end up in therapy or talking to someone else like what happened? Or in romantic relationships. And so usually it takes us awhile to even recognize this is something that we struggle with.

So now let’s get into how to fix it, and I have five ways. The first is CBT or DBT therapy. Now before we even get into the five ways that we can fix it, know that CBT and DBT therapy tend to be best. Now there’s the most research about CBT, so if you go looking yourself, you’ll find that they recommend CBT, but because I’m a DBT therapist as well I find a lot of overlap with the ways that I would help treat this in my practice.

And so I think that CBT and DBT can both be beneficial. Now the first way that we can help fix it is by practicing expressing how we feel. I know that sounds really hard and difficult, but instead of just saying “oh, I’m fine don’t worry. I’ll be okay. No.

I’m fine.” I’m going to trying to brush things off. What if instead we said “Yeah, I’m just feeling really overwhelmed right now. Give me a minute.” And then we take the time to kind of decompress.

Maybe we check in with ourselves. Maybe we click the link in the description, and find this feelings wheel that’s amazing. And we highlight one or two of those feelings, and we come back and say “You know I’m just feeling really angry, but I think I’m feeling angry because I’m actually feeling really hurt.” That would be great. And practicing communicating our emotions is the first step to helping with fear of intimacy.

And that actually goes into the second one, because I’ve already kind of talked about it but using feeling sheets. I have my clients do it at least twice a day I know that sounds like a lot But imagine all the emotions that are actually going through your head every day or your body that you’re kind of trying to ignore. You’ll be surprised how many feelings and emotions that you have. And so I use these feelings charts for my clients, so they can circle them maybe once in the morning and once in the evening. So that we can kind of track how they’re doing, and I would encourage you to do the same.

Like I said there’s a link in the description. Now the third way to help is to practice reading emotions on others. Many of the people that I’ve talked with who struggle with fear of intimacy have a hard time reading other people. And knowing when other people are upset, because some people might not come out and say it to us directly. We may struggle to read it on their body language and their face.

And so I would encourage you to have a trusted friend, family member, loved one who you can bounce this off of as you practice. So as you meet other friends and family members, maybe afterwards you say to them, “Hey. I got the feeling that they actually were having a pretty good time and going well.

Is that correct?” Or maybe “She was seeming a little distraught and kind of scattered, like she was really busy. Am I right with that?” And checking in with them, because the more we practice the better we improve and the quicker we can actually read people’s emotions and make sure that we’re doing the best we can to support them. Because the more we practice this the better we’ll get and the quicker we’ll be able to recognize emotions on others. The fourth: Be patient. As you can tell all of these things that I’m asking you to do take a lot of time and practice.

But it does get better, and it does get easier. Just give yourself a little time and cut yourself a little slack. It just takes us practicing day in and day out before it becomes (snaps fingers) actually like an automatic thing that we do. So just be patient. You’re doing the best you can.

And the fifth and final way to work on fear of intimacy is to practice calming techniques. Whether or not we’re in a distressing place I want you to start practicing now. Breathing techniques, distraction techniques.

Maybe there’s a way that you, you know tense and relax muscles without people really noticing. There can be a bunch of different things that you do to help yourself relax. But practicing when we’re not in distressing environments helps us, so that when we go into maybe one of those conflictual situations where we normally would numb out and distance ourselves or maybe walk away or maybe just go deep inside. You know feel like we’re kind of maybe dissociating.

Maybe that’s a way that we cope with it. Instead of doing those coping skills, let’s try relaxing, so we can stay present. and we can actually have discussions and conversations even if they’re a little uncomfortable. And hey, maybe soon, we’ll be able to say, “You know I’m feeling really overwhelmed. I’m going to have to walk away, but can we, you know, take up this conversation again in about 30 minutes when I feel a little better?” You’ll find that people actually respond well to that. And you can get better with practice.

Just like I said be patient. It does get better know that you’re not alone. Like I said only 55 percent of people grow up with secure attachments So how many of us are roaming around struggling with intimacy because it feels unsafe? And it’s hard to be vulnerable.

We may not even know how to be vulnerable. I hope this helps. I hope you find all of these tips and tricks and where it comes from interesting and helpful in your daily life. And please share, you never know who would need this information.

And if you’re new to my channel click here to subscribe. I put out videos twice a week And you don’t want to miss them. If you want to know what I’m up to my regular life, click any of these links to follow along. And I’ll see you next time