This is What’s Happening When You Fear of Intimacy
Do you live in a relationship where you want intimacy but find that you just can’t? You feel like there’s a big wall stopping you from having intimacy with your partner. Are you having a difficulty to understand this behaviour of yourself?
Calm down. It’s not that you have sexual problems. It’s not about you (your willpower), neither. In fact, there might be some blockages underneath that you need to deal with in the subconscious level.
Understanding Early Developmental Trauma
Some people have shown signs of numbness, dissociating, and withdrawal when comes to intimacy. What is the root causes of it?
When an infant does not receive the proper care and love. They develop a notion that they must survive without love and care for their whole life, and a freeze state in the subconscious mind and body can be developed during their early childhood.
Freeze is one of our biological survival strategies, which are governed by the Sympathetic Nervous System. In the wild, the freeze response kicks in to prepare the animal for death and it numbs the entire system in order to keep the animal from feeling the pain of being eaten.
Without at least one present, unstressed parent that is around consistently for the early stage of life for a child, a part of our autonomic nervous system called Ventral Vagal Complex (VVC) cannot form properly and so brain landscape is not the way that it should be.
If the parents didn’t provide enough care to the infant over time, the children have not much idea about intimacy and such emotional care. When a child called for help for parents, it was not available to them. In this case, the infant’s system will bypass fight or flight and go directly to the freeze, shut down response. If it is a chronically stressful environment, the developing nervous system will perceive it as a mortal threat.</big?
And for children who have been exposed to threats repeatedly in their early years, their brain landscape changes. They may over assess threat when threat is not present and become hyper-aroused because they have lived in the fearful agitated states for so long.
Alternatively, if the mother is overly stressed during pregnancy, it can also impact the baby as maladaptive wiring is then established in the womb. This formed the embedded freeze response in the infant.
Freeze State in a Relationship
If you show sign of withdrawal or shutting down every time when it comes to intimacy, not to mention making love, but simple like touching, holding hands or kissing, your body might probably locked in a flight or freeze mode at a certain degree, in that biological responses, your body is out of your conscious control.
There is possibility that some form of trauma exists in your subconscious which is avoiding him/her to block intimacy. Instead of forcing yourself to have intimacy, let your partner to give you some space to address the underlying issues first, as that is quite likely inflicted during their childhood or past experience.
Coming Out of Freeze
Underneath an embedded freeze response there is always a big charge of energy waiting to get out, and we need to let it out from under the lid of freeze. Therefore, when comes to triggers, we should not avoid the feelings of dissociation and despair, and feel the energy in the body, this can be vibrating, trembling, shaking or pulsing. Allow this bodily experience to take place. Because that energy has been stuck for so long in the body, we need to sense it to get it moving and embrace the strong emotions that start to surface
To help ourselves come out of freeze state, one of the important concept to understand is that our body and mind is linked. When there is stagnation in your body, there is stagnation in consciousness. So, once we start to open up our consciousness, the frozen areas of the body will also start to open up and move. By moving the consciousness, you can get flow going in the body.
Allow yourself to observe, witness and feel the sensations and emotions of the survival energy so that you can understand more the state you are at. Once you have created enough internal safety of this experience, you turn yourself to be your own parents to nurture this inner child within, giving its caring and empathic.
Working a Way Out
In a relationship, both sides need to learn their own behaviour patterns and understand the patterns of their partners and the reasons behind it. They need to communicate their emotions properly, and open up with their vulnerabilities when comes to struggles.
The partner who is being avoided needs to learn to give their partner proper space and respect their boundaries. Be patient with them if they close off. Confrontation will only make the avoidant feel trapped and they will often panic.
Only through mutual respect and patience, can the two have a healthy relationship. And if it seems like things still aren’t working, then sometimes it is better to talk with professionals to solve the problem rather than continue the destructive pattern.