Are you really open to the love you seek

We often defend against the very intimacy we are trying to attain.

Posted May 23, 2011

Carly found herself not letting anyone get too close to her. At the same time, she didn't like it when her love objects got too far away, either. She was in a full blown conflict. She felt like a rat in a maze who would not know whether he would be shocked or fed if he pressed a bar. She vacilated, procrastinated and didn't know what to do. She wondered what was wrong with herself. Have you ever felt like Carly? She tried to block and erect barriers to the very love she sought.

When she began dating someone who could"matter," she became frightened. She didn't realize that this was a great fear to experience because it meant she was becoming involved in something that could be very good. It was like going for an important job interview. Of course, she was going to be scared. This was to be embraced. She did the opposite. She wanted to avoid and escape feeling this. She often settled for dating men who bored her. She never felt that fear" with those men.

In reality, this distancing maneuver may be due to a person's fear of intimacy. I believe this fear is universal. Hasn't everyone felt burned at the stove of obtaining love from their family of orgin?Try as they might, parents are seen by their children as hurtful and mean at times. The parent is the one who denies them a second cookie, who tells them they have to turn off the tv, or who imposes a bedtime. The parent sets those unwanted boundaries. The children for a variety of both rational and irrational reasons, can feel discriminated against and become reluctant to get too close to others again. Many may be concerned about being rejected and do not easily tolerate closeness. Instead of facing their own fears and insecurities, many erect defenses and remain judgmental, self-righteous, angry and dissatisfied. This keeps their focus on their partner, deflected from themselves. They appear to need such an ideal person, that they are unable to find someone who is as perfect as they want.

When we erect the love barriers, we have a hard time putting both feet in the water so to speak. It's easier to leave one foot on the sand. Many give a half-hearted effort or pick partners thery know are flawed so they can justify keeping this imperfect, flawed person at a distance. What a drag.

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About the Author

Gerry Heisler, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist with 38 years of experience as a clinician and assistant professor who has dealt with relationship issues.

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