True or False?
I feel fenced in or controlled when people try to get close to me.
I feel lonely even when I’m with others.
I’ve been told I’m clingy, jealous or controlling.
I’m afraid that if I let someone in they will hurt me.
I’m uncomfortable with affection.
It’s hard for me to depend on others.
Open expressions of feelings are hard for me.
If you said true to one or more of the statements above, you may be struggling with issues of intimacy and closeness with others.
Fear of intimacy is common. We open ourselves to the possibility of abandonment, exposure, merger, or attack when we open up to another person. And yet the deepest, most meaningful, and growth promoting experiences are interpersonal. We miss out on a lot if we cannot let ourselves get close to others.
Intimacy is the experience of allowing ourselves to be known in the depth and complexity of who we are. It is revealing our true self to another, “warts and all”, and letting them see us as we are. It is also opening ourselves to another, allowing ourselves to know who they truly are, and letting them in.
Intimacy requires that we be able to tolerate the discomfort of vulnerability. We do not have ultimate control over whether or not someone will care about us, take an interest in us, or judge us when we open up to them. This means that we need to be able to trust that we can manage what comes up in ourselves, that we are able to stay with and take care of ourselves regardless of how the other person behaves.
To Have and To Hold guides you so that you can develop your ability to do this.