For the past few months, I have been dealing with a difficult and at times toxic relationship.
It can completely crush your ego and force you to look at some of the darkest parts of your soul when times are tough...
The hardest part of the process is accepting that there are always two people at fault. Even if it's only for allowing things to get so bad in the first place.
Our behaviors are a reflection of our accumulated life experiences and understandings. They are fluid and always changing.
An issue that keeps popping up in my relationship. One that may have been an issue in my earlier relationships too, seems to be a fear of connection and intimacy.
This is a difficult issue to navigate but it seems something that a lot of couples deal with. Luckily one that you can overcome. The trick is understanding what is the root cause of the issue is.
Once understood, you have a base from which you and your partner can rebuild the connection and intimacy you crave.
What causes a lack of connection in the first place?
From my experiences and talking to friends it seems most problems stem from 2 main fears:
Fear of being abandoned
People fear that their partner will leave them. Regardless of doing something wrong or not. This usually stems from a parent or other important figure abandoning them.
Fear of losing yourself
The fear that getting too close to your partner will lead to you being controlled, dominated, or losing your sense of self in the relationship. This stems from overbearing and controlling families.
Both fears stem from early trauma. It is so hard to understand exactly what damage was done as you grew up. It is even harder to work through this trauma.
What does a lack of connection look like?
Fear of Commitment
Everyone knows a friend that never seems to settle down. They find a reason to end a relationship when things get serious and get into a new relationship before they've had time to process the last one.
This is an easy sign that this person has trouble being intimate or connecting with the people they are dating.
Everything must be perfect
I have suffered from this a lot during my life.
Perfectionism is often due to never feeling "enough" in a relationship. To deal with the feelings of inadequacy, the person will often focus on making everything "perfect."
This way they can ensure their partner will love them.
Unable to express needs and desires, sabotaging relationships and difficulty being physical with your partner are common signs of a fear of connection
What to do?
Look to your past
The first step is to understand what the causes of your trauma are.
Taking the time to understand yourself and your issues will serve you in every relationship you have going forward. Whether romantic or not.
You need to learn to treat yourself with kindness and compassion before you will be comfortable with strangers doing the same.
Be your own best friend. Get an understanding of your boundaries. This will help explain and stick up for them in future relationships. Making you less likely to worry about losing yourself or being controlled.
Be ok to fail
A lot of intimacy issues are fears of the consequences of failing the relationship.
Learn to embrace failure and not trying to control outcomes so much.
Every relationship is a gamble, and if you are focused on failure, you may miss out on stronger healthier relationships in the future.
True change doesn't happen overnight and the path to success will be littered with setbacks.
Focus less on your desired outcome and learn to enjoy the process more. Spend time explaining to your partner what you are doing and why you are doing it.
Get them on board to support you through this journey and to help guide you through the roadblocks.
The road to recovery isn't a definite goal but a lifetime of development. Trying to rush the process will make you miss out on one of the most important aspects, living...