Welcome to part 2 of our Their Eyes Were Watching Heaux series documenting the fear of Intimacy. In this piece, we will discuss ways in which you can assess whether or not you have a fear of intimacy and steps that can be taken to alleviate those fears and strengthen intimacy in your relationship.
So let's dive the fawk on in shall we?
With most diagnosis, there is a spectrum. Fear of intimacy is no different. Some people may have mild traits that can be worked out by communication and slight behavior modifications. On the contrary, some people are out in these streets totally unable to form close relationships with people at all. Individuals are able to receive psychometric testing by mental health professionals to assist in identifying which spectrum they may fall on and to also assess for undiagnosed mental health conditions. The Fear of Intimacy Scale is one measurement that can assist with objectively assessing the condition.
Click here for a pretty cool assessment of your barriers to intimacy. I think they do a fabulous job of identifying the genesis of your barriers by dating them back to as far as infancy. For a general intimacy assessment, click here.
Speaking of mental health conditions/disorders, people who have a fear of intimacy are also susceptible to having a mental health diagnosis. Shit sometimes a few of them heauxs. Many individuals who have a fear of intimacy also experience problems with substance use, depression, and anxiety disorders that also need to be addressed and treated.
But the great thing is that you can overcome your fear of intimacy. Will it be challenging? Of course. But look at it like this: you didn't get this way overnight so you cannot change out of that way overnight. I say this about changing ANY type of behavior or orientation of completing things. One way of addressing and treating your fear of intimacy is therapy. Talking out your fears and gaining understanding of them both from your own person centered orientation and guidance of a mental health professional is certainly a great avenue to address your fear of intimacy. This is particularly true if you also possess a diagnosis of any mental health diagnosis and are prone to abuse substances (which pacify us by numbing our subconscious desires and acting as a further barrier for our intimacy to exude organically). Talk therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are my suggestions for clinical therapeutic intervention.
Not ready for the therapy route? No worries. There are secondary practices that can assist you with opening the door to your road to recovery.
Meditation is a good practice as it allows your mind to wander to places you may have long forgot. Meditation can assist in ascertaining where your fear began and what your exact fears are. Practicing courage can make a difference as it's been found that developing positive relationship experiences can decrease fear. Practice courage with bolder intimacy practices with a trustworthy individual. These practices of trust with vulnerability can strengthen your intimacy "muscle" and assist you with coming out of your intimacy shell to see the new light of day. Journaling is another great practice. Write out your fears and ideologies in a journal that you can keep in a safe private place. Don't just write your fears. Read them. Sometimes when we read our thoughts, we sometimes see how we really think and it may differ from who you think you are and how you really handle things.
Showing self some self-compassion and tenderness is also a great route to successfully overcome your fear of intimacy. This is because in order to be intimate and comfortable with others, you must first be intimate and comfortable with yourself. Moreover, If you truly know and accept your own value and worth as a person, then you know that rejection is not as crushing as it may seem. More importantly, when you truly know and accept your value, its so much more easier to set them good old boundaries that may cause you to clam up into your shell.
Caller are you fawking there??
There are a plethora of books and workbooks available that may be helpful with gaining a better understanding of your self-worth and compassion. I love self help books from Cici B. Check her out on Amazon. I have damn near all of her books. I will also post her on our IG page for her direct connect link.
In closing, a fear of intimacy is not a death sentence and it damn sure doesn't mean your destined to senior years with no partner like Madea...if you let it. Yes the origin of your fear of intimacy may not be your fault but it is certainly your responsibility to overcome...so that you can really let go and overcum.