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  • In order to survive in the world, we have little option but to spend our lives

  • being rather defended, that is, at one remove from are more vulnerable sides

  • closed off from certain emotions focused in many cases on not feeling

  • and yet in relationships quite the opposite is required to be good at love

  • means to have a capacity to reveal one's hurt, desire and tender sides, this is quite

  • a balancing act

  • great strength for most of the day and well handled tenderness for the few that remain.

  • it's no wonder if the journey from independence to vulnerability can get

  • rather fraught and if the desire for closeness can be accompanied by terror

  • and what looks like but isn't really, nastiness

  • even after years with someone that can be a hurdle of fear about trying to get close.

  • two major symptoms then tend to show up

  • firstly we can get distant or what psychotherapist call avoidant we want to

  • get close to our partners but feel so anxious that we may be unwanted

  • we freeze them out a bit instead we say we're busy

  • we pretend our thoughts are elsewhere we imply that a need for reassurance would

  • be the last thing on our minds we might even have an affair

  • the ultimate face-saving attempt to be safely distant and often a perverse

  • quest to assert that we don't require the partner's love , a love that we've been

  • too reserved to ask for or else we can get controlling what therapist called

  • anxious

  • we feel our partners are escaping us emotionally and we respond by trying to

  • pin them down administratively

  • we get unduly cross that they're a bit late will chastise

  • them heavily for not having done certain chores

  • we asked them constantly they've completed a task they'd agreed to

  • undertake all this rather than admit I'm worried I don't matter to you

  • we can't we believe force our partner to be generous and warm

  • we can't force them to want us even if we haven't actually asked them to

  • so we try to control them procedurally a tragic cycle that unfolds we become

  • shrill and unpleasant to the other person

  • it feels that we can't possibly love them anymore

  • yet the truth is we do which is fear rather too much that they don't love us but if

  • a rather harsh graceless behavior could be truly understood for what it is

  • it would be revealed notice rejection but as a strangely distorted get very

  • real plea for tenderness

  • we should have sympathy for ourselves relationships require us to put

  • ourselves in a very weak position visa fee partners if they ever want to use

  • the power they have over us (and sometimes they do they know) exactly

  • where to put the boot in this can be deeply frightening this aspect of

  • relationships is even more difficult if our early experiences and childhoods

  • have made closeness rather scary if we've encountered people who have taken

  • signs of vulnerability as targets

  • so we're not frightened of closeness because we're fools but because it is a

  • challenge to be around another person who might easily hurt us and to keep on

  • in a relationship despite the fact that they do sometimes use this knowledge to

  • strike out at us

  • closeness is inherently threatening but we can gradually with courage and

  • difficulty replace defense with explanation we can say we are frightened

  • and why

  • rather than turn cold or controlling and we can begin to see what our partners

  • might be trying to communicate through their off-putting behavior

  • we can never be through with a requirement for acceptance

  • this isn't a curse limited to the weak and to the inadequate, in security and love

  • is a sign of well-being

  • it means we haven't allowed ourselves to take another person for granted

  • it means we remain realistic enough to see that things could genuinely turn out

  • badly and that we're invested enough to care

  • we must get better at seeing the love and longing that lurk behind some of our

  • and our partner's most frosty managerial and brutish moments were just in our own

  • way of dealing with the anxieties of trying to get close

In order to survive in the world, we have little option but to spend our lives

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B1 closeness love partner vulnerability frightened anxious

The Challenge of Being Close

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    Mandy Lin posted on 2017/01/30
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