Anxiety, anger, and sadness are all emotions that we’re told as humans not to feel, as they’re associated with negativity. Some people take this concept with a grain of salt, others embrace it.
They cut themselves off from not only these emotions, but all of them, because they’ve been hurt and told their sadness isn’t valid. When they do feel happy, something happens that bashes it against the rocks.
Over time, this can cause someone to develop a fear of emotions. They’re scared of feeling because it makes them vulnerable. This fear can create a strain in every relationship that they try to have throughout their life and it’s not healthy.
If this sounds like you, we’re here to say that it’s okay to make yourself emotionally vulnerable. Let’s learn how to tackle your fear head-on.
Closing Yourself Off
The first step to overcoming your problem is to realize that you have one. The most common symptom of fear of emotional intimacy is delving into your shell and closing yourself off.
As you get older and experience more and more pain, you start to build a wall around yourself to protect you. When someone you thought was your soulmate leaves, you might shrug it off by telling yourself that they never actually cared about you, instead of confronting the disappointment you feel.
This wall makes it hard for you to give or receive any of the affection that you deserve because you’re trying too hard to keep people out.
The wall you build will begin to make you feel more isolated and cause you to develop bad behaviors to cope with the emotions that you’re forcing yourself not to feel. For some, these destructive behaviors take the shape of alcohol or food.
Others may take on a new significant other every other month only to break things off when they start getting too close. This keeps potential partners at an emotional distance that you feel safe with, but it’s not constructive to having a healthy relationship.
The emotions of anger and fear can be dangerous. Anger feels nice because it keeps others away, and it’s much easier to feel angry over a situation than confront the emotions that are hiding under it. The ones that you’re afraid of feeling like sadness, guilt, confusion, and bitter disappointment.
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ever feel anger. It’s okay to be upset, but what’s not okay is only letting yourself feel that one emotion because the others are more painful. It can cause you to lash out at your partner when they don’t deserve it or again, keep them at an unhealthy distance.
Recognize Physical Sensations
Now that you know what emotional fears look like, let’s talk about how to overcome your problem. The first thing that you have to do is realize that emotions don’t always come with the best physical sensations.
Feeling nervous might cause your stomach to hurt or create a tightness in your chest. Sadness and guilt also give you that same uncomfortable burning chest feeling. These physical responses can be enough to cause you to pull back from your emotions.
You don’t want to feel crummy every time you have a big date with someone. The important thing to do here is to realize that nervousness isn’t always a bad thing. You’re nervous about that date because you really like the person.
Learn to connect your physical sensations to an emotion and break down the reasons why you’re feeling it. That will help you come up with a logical way to cope.
Realize That You’re Not Perfect
If your significant other snaps at you because they’re tired from working three jobs, you’re most likely not going to hold it against them, right? At least, not for long. You understand that they might be feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
Why would you hold yourself to different standards? If you snap at your partner because you’re going through something and apologize after, they will understand. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you can tackle your fear of emotions in a relationship.
Know That You’re Important
No matter how harshly you judge yourself, there is someone out there that’s happy that you exist. They want you to be vulnerable with them and talk about what ails you because you’re important to them.
It’s okay for you to drop your barriers around the people who are in your support team. Once you do, you’ll realize how valid your emotions really are.
It’s Okay to Embrace the Past
For many people, the fear of emotional intimacy stems from a traumatic event in the past. They might have had a parent who left, or perhaps a partner they loved and trusted stabbed them in the back.
If you’re one of these people, the most important thing you can do is embrace your past. Don’t dwell on it and start blaming yourself but accept it as something that happened. This will help you learn from your mistakes and allow you to be emotionally vulnerable with someone again.
Remember that your emotional fears aren’t going to disappear overnight. It will take some time for you to be able to drop your walls and that’s okay.
In the meantime, explain the situation with your significant other and inform them that you’re trying to get better. If they’re the right person for you, they’ll do everything they can to help you through the process.
Overcoming Your Fear of Emotions
To have a healthy relationship with anyone, you’ll need to do what you can to overcome your fear of emotions. It’s not a process that happens overnight. You’ve got to come to terms with your destructive behaviors and learn to accept yourself.
Depending on how long you’ve held on to your fear, this process will be hard. Finding the right partner can make it feel easier. Book a free consultation with us to find the right person to take this journey with.