Overcoming Fear of Intimacy

There is a very large fear that I carry in my life.  It is fear of intimacy.  I have heard the world intimacy broken down to read into – me – I – see.  That is an interesting word play isn’t it?  Until we can truly see into our own hearts we cannot really connect with others.  Our minds may block us from our hearts and bring up all kinds of defences as to why we cannot open our hearts.  Our minds may lead us to rationalise and deny why we cannot take the risk of reaching out and connecting.

Hidden deep within our heartscape may be many memories of past loss or rejection.  We may carry an imprint of hurt occurring any time we open up.  If humans around us growing up failed us or made it difficult to connect we carry this wound unconsciously.  We often bury the pain and sadness and we may block it with anger.  When we start to really connect with our own hearts we may have a lot of grief to release over never being able to be truly intimate with and connected others.  We may block this pain unconsciously for years through addictions to substances or activities which don’t put us in touch with the deeper need to connect that may be buried or hiding inside us.

Anger may be only one part of an understandable and natural reaction to not getting our needs met in the past, but if we carry that anger through to our adult life and transfer it onto new situations in which the anger may not be appropriate, it may actually block us from connecting in the here and now and building intimacy with others.    By all means we should connect to past anger over invalidation abuse but we also need to unpack any kind of splitting that occurs when others don’t totally get us and that old pain is triggered.  Part of being intimate and connecting involves being able to identify and know our own feelings and fears and taking the risk to communicate them to others.  For those of us raised without emotional insight this may take a lot of reparative work in therapy.

I know in my own case, my fear of connecting has come as a result of past hurts.  It is something that has been occupying my attention in the past month or so and the last New Moon cycle started with the Sun and Moon meeting on my first house Pluto in Virgo.  This is the archetypal loner position for the planet Pluto and Pluto rules forces of both creation and destruction.  The first house has to do with identity so with this placement we find ourselves in ongoing situations where our identity is impacted upon by forces of destruction, creation and recreation.  Pluto is also related to desires and the problems that result when desire and the need to truly connect at depth is thwarted and desire gets defended against or buried. (The first house of identity and self opposes the seventh house of connection and relationship.)

In my astrology chart Pluto opposes Chiron in the seventh house of relationships an aspect which shows wounding and healing being big patterns I met in one on one close relationships from childhood onwards.  Both planets contact my emotional self (Moon), self assertive desire nature (Mars) as well as Saturn which shows heaps of blocks and fears around emotionally bonding with others and a childhood that was big on duty and low on meeting emotional needs.   With Mars conjunct the Moon this need to connect becomes intense but very blocked by the fears and insecurities of Saturn, but Saturn also lends a lot of depth to the Moon.  In my own case past needs of frustrated attachment mixes together and makes the prospect of and need for connecting all that more intense with the Pluto and Chiron influences which play into it are taken into account. I desire intimacy and connection but fear it at the same time.  It is taking me some years to unpack all of this through life and therapy.

Two days ago there was a Lunar Eclipse in Pisces occurring, the Moon had travelled around in those two weeks since the New Moon In Virgo to conjunct or meet up both with my Chiron in Pisces in the seventh and transiting Chiron in Pisces also currently in my seventh house.  I had read about it in a very good piece of writing by the astrologer Leah Whitehorse on this which I would like to include here bellow.

The Lunar Eclipse in Pisces is an emotional high tide. It makes me think of being on a surfboard, scudding across a beast of a wave as the crest begins to fold and you’re wondering whether you’re going to stay upright or be flung head over heels by the force of the water. The Moon is in a tight conjunction to Chiron which means we are very sensitive to being hurt.

In Pisces we are wide open with no defenses, especially as the Moon squares warrior Mars. In fact, it may be the case that we are pushed to let down our defenses and really allow ourselves to feel. So often we try to tough it out, brave it, stiff upper lip it until our mouths are drawn so tight we can’t speak and our bodies so rigid with tension that we feel like we’re going to snap. But this watery Moon says, we have to go with the flow, wherever the flow goes because we can’t avoid what hurts.

Chiron is both the one who wounds and the one who heals the wound. The wound itself is the way to healing – like cutting open an infected sore until it bleeds clear. I mentioned in my September forecast that Barbara Hand Clow likens Mars-Chiron aspects to going to the dentist so with this aspect triggered by the eclipse (and perfecting on the same day), there is a sense of trepidation. But Chiron isn’t your botch-job dodgy unlisted dentist in some dank corner of nowhere; he’s the gentle doctor, handling his patients with all the care in the world but knowing that sometimes the path to healing must begin with a painful cut. If you’ve ever had an abscess, I imagine you’ll know how welcome the sting of the lance can be.

And our part is to surrender, to accept that healing is needed and necessary, to put trust in the universe that what comes is for our benefit. Wide oppositions to both retrograde Mercury and Jupiter (out of sign now in Libra), suggest that it may be hard to see the benefits and difficult to think about or articulate. But some things can’t necessarily be put into words. Some things can only be felt at soul level. Let go of trying to find an explanation. Accept what is.

Since the Moon during this lunation has been passing over transiting Chiron, while Mercury in Virgo has been opposing it, a light has been shone on the wounded self, that part of me that may have been hurt or injured and as a result had to build up a lot of defences.  This part of me that went through a lot of wounding experiences carries that pain and those memories that cannot ever be completely fixed or healed, but Chiron here shows me there is some healing that occurs when I am mindful of who I really am, what my past has been and how it affects me in the present.  From this position of mindfulness I can show compassion for myself and not push myself as much as I do, as I am beginning to realise more and more over the past few weeks how hard I can be on myself and how much I suffer inwardly if I don’t take the time to connect with myself deeply.  Then I reach out unconsciously not remembering that what is needed I can find within by showing myself love and being mindful too of the love others need and of the wounds they too might carry and not be so kind to themselves about.

This week I have also become much more aware of the scared (and deeply scarred) part of myself that can hold me back from reaching out or taking action.  It fears just opening up and being vulnerable and allowing the flow to enter my heart with all its sensitivities.  This part of me that longs for connection, often finds lots of reasons not to even try.  It feels safer to be in my comfort zone and it hurts to open up to connection when the fear is I will be hurt.  But I also know that at some stage I have to have the courage to look into my heart and take action; to act despite the fear.  If I am mindful of myself as mentioned above and remain in touch with myself through the process of reaching out, things go so much better for me because in opening to the flow good or bad I learn something.

It is interesting how when we working on something, the Universe somehow leads us to a place were we read something we need to.  This week via Lucky Otter’sblog I was led to the blog of BPD Transformation.  Yesterday after reading through several posts that appear there I was moved to reblog one.  In it the writer talks about risks he had to take in order to recover from Borderline Personality Disorder.

The following paragraph really spoke to me:

Anxiety is almost always related to specific environmental causes or lack of support. Whatever progress you want to make in your life, identify the fears that are holding you back. Brainstorm creative ideas in which you can challenge your preconceived beliefs and fears. Execute them. Do not be afraid to be take risks and be rejected.

The ability to take risks in relationships can also grow once we recover more, in that we can learn to trust when we are connecting with those who are healthy and know how to take care of ourselves if we find ourselves attracted to those who are not so good for us to be around.

If a given relationship or work situation is not working, be open to making radical changes which give you a better chance of feeling good about the situation. That may mean ending a frustrating relationship or job, seeking a new one, or fundamentally changing how you deal with a person or situation. Don’t be afraid to experiment and to take calculated risks –the idea of taking a leap of faith is again important.

Once we have intimacy with ourselves we are better placed to reach for intimacy and take the necessary chances to move out of a prison of fear where we may be isolated.  Once we know and have the support and understanding of the role our emotions and fears play as well as the limiting impact of our past wounding attachment history we are in a far better place to know how to live honestly and openly in this world, protecting ourselves when needed but having the courage to drop our defences and fears when they stand in the way of truly connecting with others.

Today I went to a yoga class again, my second in a week.  I didn’t really enjoy it and I came home crying.  The teacher was not at all connected with the other class members.  She seemed more interested in doing her own yoga work out and demonstrating her very high level of ability.  I did as much as was possible for myself, but I also stopped and rested when the poses were too much.  I found myself making judgements of the teacher  and feeling a bit cranky but I soothed myself through it and realised it was a different kind of energy and class.  I walked away quite sad.   Then I came home a little confused.  Would it have been better for me to stay at home cuddling Jasper?  Not really.  I took the risk to go to the class and came away feeling I didn’t really enjoy it, yet I learned something.   I won’t always be able to connect in every situation and things I try may not fully suit me.  But I can still keep reaching out and trying, knowing things wont always gel but if I can just stay open to the process and connected to my heart I will be okay.

I can also realise that this was my first time at a new class.  The others there had more skill and strength than me.  I am recovering from breast cancer and I am aware how the radiotherapy I have had has slowed me down.  I may want to try the class again with more awareness.  Do I want to shut down on the class all together, go to another class that is slower and more suited to me?  Or do I want to go back realising building up to that level will take time and if I just go at my own pace I will grow and build strength and proficiency in time? The choice is really up to me.


3 thoughts on “Overcoming Fear of Intimacy

  1. I like how you were brave enough to go to the class, and even though it was not a great success, you give yourself credit for trying it. Not everything we try will be wonderful, but it’s still good to try things. I also dislike that athletic ‘show-off’ approach to yoga – to me that’s not what it’s about. It’s as if the teacher has misunderstood the deeper meaning of yoga IMO.

    I’m also venturing back to a yoga class tomorrow, and am hoping for the best.

    1. Hey Ellen yes you really get what I was trying to say. To me yoga is about union and its not possible to unite inwardly when the focus is all about standing on both hands while arms are twisted all around your body for as long as you can hold the pose!!
      It wasn’t the right class for me.
      I really hope you find a good class tomorrow. I am going to look for a school and teacher with a different approach.

  2. Fear of intimacy is a dark beast indeed. It’s only since I’ve started therapy that I’ve realized just how deep my fear runs. Like you say, it may be easier to stay in our comfort zones, but at some point we need to take that leap. Good for you on going to that Yoga class. We can only learn what’s good for us by trying different things. Thanks for this post.

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