Overcoming Fears of Intimacy
By Margaret Paul 12 Comments
Overcoming Fears of Intimacy
By Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
Sam, age 42, had never been married. It's not that Sam had
never fallen in love. But every time a relationship had
started to move toward commitment, Sam ran.
When Sam's loneliness became overwhelming to him, he called
me for help.
"I want to be in a relationship, yet every time I get close
to someone, I run away. I'm not even sure what I'm so afraid
of, but I must be terrified of something!"
"Sam, what happens inside you when you like someone?" The
following answer and resulting dialogue came out over time,
but I've condensed it here.
"I think that if this person really knew me, she wouldn't
like me. I do all kinds of nice things for her so she will
like me. Then after a while I start to feel trapped and I
pull back. She gets upset about my pulling back and I then
feel even more trapped. Once she gets mad at me, I stop
feeling in love with her. That's when I decide she is not
the right one for me. This has happened over and over."
"So the first problem is that you believe that she won't
like you when she gets to know you. Out of your fear of
rejection, you try to control how she feels about you by
doing nice things for her. But then you feel trapped and
your fear of engulfment ' of being controlled by her and
losing yourself in the relationship ' kicks in. Then you
run. It sounds like your underlying fears of rejection and
engulfment are controlling your life and not letting you
"That's exactly right! So what do I do about this?"
Sam was operating from core shame ' the false belief that
there was something basically wrong with him. As long as he
believed that he was inherently flawed and unlovable, he
would fear rejection. Out of his fear of rejection, he would
give himself up until he felt trapped, and then he would
The part of Sam that believed that he wasn't good enough is
his wounded self. The basis of the wounded self in all of us
is our core shame false belief ' the belief that we are
inherently flawed. Our wounded self does not know that we
are a perfect child of God, an individual expression of the
Divine. Because the wounded self operates out of false
beliefs rather than from the truth of who we really are, it
wants to control how people feel about us. Sam needed to
develop a loving Adult part of himself ' a part of himself
connected to a spiritual Source of love and truth ' in order
to heal his core shame.
The Six Step Inner Bonding process is a profound process for
developing the loving Adult and for healing the fears and
limiting beliefs of the wounded self. As Sam started to
practice Inner Bonding, he slowly developed an Adult self
who loved and valued his core Self, his true essence. As he
developed this inner sense of personal power, he lost his
fear of rejection. He saw that if a woman rejected him, it
was because of her fears rather than because of his
inadequacy or unlovability. Because he stopped taking
rejection personally, he stopped fearing it.
Once he stopped fearing rejection, he stopped giving himself
up in his attempt to control how a woman felt about him.
Once he stopped giving himself up, he stopped feel trapped
and engulfed in a relationship.
Over time, by consistently practicing the Six Steps of Inner
Bonding, Sam developed a powerful inner loving Adult self
and healed his fears of rejection and engulfment. Sam is now
happily married with a child on the way.
This did not happen quickly. It took Sam time to heal his
false beliefs about his own adequacy and lovability. It took
time to develop a personal relationship with a spiritual
Source of love and truth. It took time to be in truth with a
woman rather than being "nice" to try to control how she
felt about him. It took time for him to feel safe in being
himself. It took a couple of years of devoted inner work.
But if you were to ask Sam if all the time it took was worth
it, he would look at you with shining eyes and a huge grin
and you would feel the joy within him. You would have no
doubt that it was worth whatever time it took.
About The Author:
Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is the best-selling author and
co-author of eight books, including "Do I Have To Give Up Me
To Be Loved By You?" and "Healing Your Aloneness." She is
the co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding healing
process. Learn Inner Bonding now! Visit her web site for a
FREE Inner Bonding course: http://www.innerbonding.com or
email her at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.