Good Energy Massage

Integrative therapy for the Body, Mind and Spirit.

Healing the Fear of Intimacy

Are you sick of being afraid of intimacy? Are you ready to have the wonderful experience of emotional intimacy in your life?

Why would someone be afraid of intimacy? Don’t we all want to feel close and connected with someone?

Yes, of course we want that, but there are very real fears that keep us from opening to emotional intimacy in a primary relationship.

The Fears

What is the first fearful thought you think when you think of feeling close to someone?

“I’m going to be rejected or I’m going to be abandoned.”
“I’m going to be smothered, engulfed, controlled. I will lose myself.”
“If I lose the person I love through death, I can’t handle the pain.”

These are the fears that are behind the fear of intimacy. It’s not the intimacy itself, but the bad things that can happen that are sometimes part of an intimate relationship.

These fears come from the pain of having been rejected, or of having lost ourselves in a relationship, or of having too much loss without knowing how to handle grief. These experiences may have been so painful that you are afraid to experience them again.

Is this pain inevitable in an intimate relationship? Yes and no. The pain of rejection or engulfment is NOT inevitable. The pain of losing a loved one through death may happen and is always a huge challenge, but would you really rather live a life without love than face this challenge?

The Healing

The key to healing the fears is developing your loving adult self.

For example, you are in a relationship with someone you really love. One day, out of nowhere, your partner gets angry with you, shuts down to you, or threatens to leave you.

If you are operating from the ego, wounded part of yourself, your reactions might be:

“What did I do wrong?” (Taking it personally and feeling rejected).
“What do I have to do to fix this?” (The beginning of losing yourself).

Then you might also get angry or shut down to avoid feeling rejected, or you might scurry around trying to make things right, taking responsibility for your partner’s feelings. Out of your fear, you would try to control your partner.

If you are operating from your loving adult self, your responses might be:

“My partner is closed right now and trying to blame me or punish me for something. My heart hurts from being treated this way, but I know that his or her behavior has nothing to do with me. I cannot cause another person to act this way, nor am I responsible for how he or she chooses to behave. If my partner leaves, I will feel very sad, even heartbroken, but I can manage this feeling with deep compassion and tenderness toward myself. Now, I wonder how I can best take loving care of myself until he or she opens up?”

As a loving adult, you would not take your partner’s behavior personally and feel rejected by it, nor would you give yourself up trying to get your partner to open up. You might ask your partner what’s wrong with an intention to learn, and if he or she opens up, then you can have a productive conversation. If not, then you would compassionately tend to your own heartache and do something loving for yourself – take a walk, call a friend, read a book, and so on.

You would not fear being left by your partner, as you would not be abandoning yourself. You would know that you will take loving care of yourself.

Developing your loving adult self is a process that takes consistent practice. When you shift your intention from trying to have control over another not rejecting you, to taking loving care of yourself, you gradually develop your loving adult. The more powerful your loving adult self is, the less you fear intimacy. You no longer fear rejection because you no longer take others’ behavior personally, and you no longer fear engulfment because you no longer give yourself up to avoid rejection. As a loving adult, you learn how to manage loss so that you don’t have to avoid love.

The Inner Bonding process is a powerful process for developing your loving adult. Practicing the 6 steps of Inner Bonding gradually leads you out of your fears of intimacy and into the ability to truly love yourself and take loving care of yourself, so that you can share love with others.

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December 9, 2010 Posted by | Sacred Intimacy, Sexuality, Tantra | , | Leave a comment

Fear of Intimacy

We all desire that deeply fulfilling experience of intimacy, yet many people have two fears in the way of intimacy. In this article, discover what these fears are and how to heal them.

Emotional intimacy is one of the most wonderful experiences we ever have. Nothing else really comes close to the experience of sharing our deepest thoughts and feelings with another, of being deeply seen and known, of sharing love, passion, laughter, joy, and/or creativity. The experience of intimacy fills our souls and takes away our loneliness.

Why, then, would someone be afraid of intimacy?

It is not actually the intimacy itself that people fear. If people could be guaranteed that intimacy would continue to be a positive experience, they would have no fear of it. What they fear is the possibility of getting hurt as a result of being intimate with another.

Many people have two major fears that may cause them to avoid intimacy: the fear of rejection – of losing the other person, and the fear of engulfment – of being invaded, of being controlled and losing oneself.

Because we have all learned to react to conflict with various controlling behaviors – from anger and blame to compliance, withdrawal, and resistance – every relationship presents us with these issues of rejection and engulfment. If one person gets angry, the other may feel rejected or controlled and get angry back, give themselves up, withdraw or resist. If one person shuts down, the other may feel rejected and become judgmental, which may trigger the other’s fears of engulfment, and so on. These protective circles exist in one form or another in every relationship. When the fears of rejection and engulfment become too great, a person may decide that it is just painful to be in a relationship and they avoid intimacy altogether.

Yet avoiding relationships leads to loneliness and lack of emotional and spiritual growth. Relationships offer us the most powerful arena for personal growth, if we accept this challenge. So what moves us beyond the fear of intimacy?

The fear exists, not because of the experience itself, but because a person doesn’t know how to handle the situations of being rejected or controlled. The secret of moving beyond the fear of intimacy lies in developing a powerful loving adult part of us that learns how to not take rejection personally, and learns to set appropriate limits against engulfment.

When we learn how to take personal responsibility for defining our own worth instead of making others’ love and approval responsible for our feelings of worth, we will no longer take rejection personally. This does not mean that we will like rejection – it means we will no longer be afraid of it and have a need to avoid it.

When we learn how to speak up for ourselves and not allow others to invade, smother, dominate and control us, we will no longer fear losing ourselves in a relationship. Many people, terrified of losing the other person, will give themselves up in the hope of controlling how the other person feels about them. They believe that if they comply with another’s demands, the other will love them. Yet losing oneself is terrifying, so many people stay out of relationships due to this fear. If they were to learn to define their own worth and stand up for themselves, the fear would disappear.

The Inner Bonding process is designed to create a powerful inner adult self capable of not taking rejection personally and of setting limits against loss of self. Anyone can learn this six-step process and, with practice, heal fears of intimacy. Through practicing the Inner Bonding process, you learn to value and cherish who you really are and take full responsibility for your own feelings of worth, lovability, safety, security, pain and joy. When you deeply value yourself, you do not take rejection personally and become non-reactive to rejection. When you value yourself, you will not give yourself up to try to control another’s feelings about you. When you value yourself, you are willing to lose another rather than lose yourself.

Start to learn Inner Bonding now! Consider joining the membership community and receive the support you need to develop your loving Adult. Moving beyond your fears of intimacy will open you to the deep personal and spiritual growth that relationships can provide and the profound fulfillment and joy that loving relationships can offer.

December 9, 2010 Posted by | Sacred Intimacy | , | Leave a comment

Emotional Intimacy By Dr. Margaret Paul

Experiencing emotional intimacy with others is one of the most satisfying experiences of life. Emotional intimacy, or a sense of deep connection with another person or a group of people, occurs when each person is completely open hearted and devoted to taking 100% responsibility for their own feelings and needs. It occurs when each person is deeply connected with his or her own true Self, and connected with a personal source of spiritual guidance. When people are connected with themselves and with a source of love, truth, and wisdom, they become filled with love to share with others.

There is a huge difference between people wanting to get love, intimacy and connection, and wanting to share love, which can happen only when they are each filled with the love from Spirit that comes from taking full responsibility for themselves and doing their inner work. Out of their inner connection and their ability to share love with others comes the fun, the learning, the growth, and the creativity.

Emotional intimacy can also occur when people are open and vulnerable enough to share their fears, pain, and challenges. However, sometimes people get addicted to experiencing emotional intimacy through the sharing of their woundedness, rather than the sharing of their passions, fun, creativity, learning, and joy. While sharing pain can be an important part of a relationship, when it is the only way people experience intimacy, the relationship becomes codependent and dysfunctional.

True intimacy in a relationship comes from a deep commitment with oneself and one’s partner to kindness, compassion, presence, integrity, the intent to learn, responsibility for self, and faith in one’s own and the other’s essential goodness. It is the sweet, comfortable, light, safe feeling that comes from knowing that neither of us is making the other responsible for us in any way – that both of us are fully present with ourselves, with each other, and with Spirit.

Emotional intimacy is the natural outgrowth of developing intimacy with ourselves and our Higher Power. The more inner work we do to heal our fears and beliefs that limit us and learn to be open and honest with ourselves, the more open and authentic we will be with others.

Practicing the Inner Bonding process is a powerful way of developing this intimacy with ourselves and with our partner. Through the daily practice of learning to take full responsibility for our own feelings and needs, we gradually heal our fears and the limiting beliefs that cause our fears of being open, honest and transparent with others. Emotional intimacy is the outgrowth of your devotion to your own inner work.

Emotional intimacy is what takes away loneliness. We may feel lonely when we are alone, and equally lonely when with another or others who are focused in their heads instead of in their hearts. Our western civilization has stressed intellect much more than heart-centered feelings, which is why we are such a lonely society. Our loneliness goes away only when we are able to share our laughter, fun, joy, creativity, honesty, insights, and love with each other. When we are with people who are in their heads rather than their hearts, we may get stuck sharing our woundedness and our complaints, instead of being in the loving creative flow with each other that signifies true emotional intimacy.

Emotional intimacy feeds the heart and soul. Without it in our lives, we will always feel that something is missing. We can learn to connect deeply with ourselves and with our spiritual guidance, but we are social beings, and the sharing of love is the highest, most satisfying experience in life.

December 9, 2010 Posted by | Sacred Intimacy, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Orgasm

Because orgasm and ejaculation tend to happen simultaneously in men, we often think they are the same thing. Understanding that they are not is the key to exploring ecstatic states.

Orgasm is described, even by sexologists, as just the all-of-a-sudden release of the sexual pressure that happens during arousal, followed by an intense relaxation. Sounds like ejaculation. Missing from this medical explanation is any understanding of what happens elsewhere in our multidimensional beings–that is, in our hearts, our souls, our minds. Orgasm doesn’t happen just in the pelvis. Studies show changes in brain waves, for instance. Muscles all over the body tense and relax, emotions arise.

Some orgasms are more powerful than others. Sometimes we are seeking a simple release–we are feeling sexual tension, and we want to get rid of it. The resulting orgasm may be a bit of a thrill, and it is certainly pleasurable, but it is a pelvic sneeze compared with full-tilt, openhearted orgasm.

The French phrase for orgasm means “the little death.” When we are in an orgasmic state, time seems to stop. We experience something transcendent and powerful. We may feel a sense of clarity, losing our sense of self-consciousness, living only in this present moment.

In this ecstatic state we let go of the ego. Our day-to-day anxieties no longer seem so important and we let go of our obsession with the self. We let go of our sense that we are separate from those around us; that’s one reason why this ecstatic state is especially powerful for those who are in love. In this orgasmic state we are simply present, alone or with a lover, fully alive and connected with everything that is. It is a powerful spiritual experience, a miracle in itself. Small wonder that so many religions seem to fear sexuality and do everything they can to control it!

To be able to let go during sex and to savor this sense of transcendence is one of life’s great joys.

Let’s talk about how it increase your body’s capacity for pleasure and how to open yourself more fully to this experience.

Bodies which are full of life are more capable of ecstasy than those which are half-asleep. Exercise of at least a mild sort helps. Sex isn’t a marathon, but if you spend your life stuck behind a desk and are a couch potato at home and have trouble climbing a flight of stairs without getting winded, you’re not likely to feel fully awake and at home in your body.

When having sex either with a partner or solo, let go of any goal other than to feel your body, feel pleasure and connect deeply with yourself or your partner. If you find yourself getting distracted by concerns about erections, what your partner is thinking, how you are doing, etc., notice them and let these thoughts go; be in the moment.

Focus on pleasure rather than orgasm as a goal in itself. Let go of any goal whatsoever. Are you tightening your muscles and holding your body tense? Let go. Relax. Breathe. Savor sensations and delights for their own sake. There is no hurry. What else could be more important than what you are doing right now?

When you start to cum, stay relaxed and breathing. This allows the sensations and rhythms of your body to increase and reverberate inside of you, and it greatly prolongs the pleasure. Keep breathing! Some of us tend to hold our breaths or to breathe very shallowly as we approach climax. Doing so shuts down sensation. In fact, half the pleasure some men’s orgasms comes from simply relaxing their too-tense bodies.

A friend recently shared with me that when he starts to ejaculate, he recites to himself the Buddhist prayer of compassion and loving kindness: “May all beings be happy. May all beings be free.” In doing so, he shifts his consciousness and expands his vision.

Our culture enshrines the idea of simultaneous orgasm. That can be fun if it happens spontaneously, but working to that end can turn sex into, well, work. Consider instead what can happen when you cum at different times. You can be your partner’s witness–seeing him in this moment of transcendence, truly being there for him. He can be there for you, free from his own need to do anything other than just be with you; that’s magic enough.

The time following orgasm is sacred time, sometimes referred to as “afterglow.” Enjoy it, whether you are by yourself or with someone else. Notice what thoughts, even visions, come to you. Notice what you are feeling. Don’t be in a big hurry to clean up. Stay where you are. If you have been making love to yourself, this can be a useful time to simply enjoy the feelings of peace and openness. If you are with a partner, this gentle, open time can be a wonderful opportunity to affirm your love for one another.

The openness that many of us feel after orgasm may also bring up negative feelings. Perhaps you realize that the person you just shared this experience with was someone with whom this level of intimacy was more awkward than you expected, or perhaps old messages about sex-and-shame made an unwelcome visit. This may be an opportunity for you to learn something about yourself.

John R. Ballew, M.S., is a licensed professional counselor in private practice in Atlanta. He specializes in issues related to coming out, sexuality, and relationships, spirituality and career. He can be reached via the web at http://www.bodymindsoul.org

December 9, 2010 Posted by | Sexuality, Tantra, Tantric Therapy | , , | Leave a comment