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PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 6:03 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2011 3:06 am
Posts: 518
Coach Kenzo,

Kenzo wrote:
I believe that I still have problems with intimacy and still have a fear of rejection
do others have this issue and if so how are you dealing with it?

I resonate with what you expressed here. I've noticed since I've started taking an active interest in dating again, that I too have major blocks around fear of rejection and intimacy. For me, I tend to have high approach anxiety in meeting people I feel attracted to or want to get closer with. I've started making a practice out of approaching new people, with my intentions of exploring the possiblities of friendships as well as intimate relationships. For awhile i was going out 1/2 hour a day specifically to meet people and work on my social anxiety. Asking friends to go out with me to support me in the process is helpful and fun too. Then making attempts for those who we did connect, to hang out. Even simple things like that are very hard for me to do, particularly with new folks I don't know too well. For me it is a simple level of intimacy that is very scary. So having tools like being mindful of my breath when I feel that anxiety arise, and then follow through with social action/value has been of great benefit for me. Now I am just trying to be out in the community in public places on a daily basis with things I'm focusing on, and when I see an opportunity come up, take it and explore. But I think that my history with isolation from people and engaging in addiction (i.e. porn) avoided much of the work I needed to do in my social / dating life; and when I do this, I feel like "this is recovery" for myself. Social and intimacy recovery, something that I never really fully allowed myself to explore, practice, and develop out of fears. So I've gotten "rejected" a lot, I've gotten "accepted" some, but all in all it comes down to exploration of something that I know I must go through, heal, learn, and grow. It doesn't seem to matter the outcome so much, as to it matters more that I followed through with my intentions in respect to others. For example, naming that I feel attracted to a woman because of certain qualities she has. Somehow I've developed a resistance to basically expressing "I like you, and am interested in getting together to see if we connect," but as I practice stating the obvious more, it becomes more doable and I learn from it and others teach me too. Sharing with a friend about situations that happen is great for the process too.

PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2016 3:37 pm 

Joined: Sun May 04, 2014 6:39 pm
Posts: 127
For me, things settled a lot over the last year.
But there are still problems. My social anxiety is gone. This is good. Reaching a mood state high enough to be attractive for strange women and showing enough self consciousness during talking in clubs is no longer impossible but difficult to achieve. My emerging friendships help a lot (social proof, good mood state). And my transitioning to health proceeded far enough to feel love again. Not thinking this one is "special" (delusional love) but feeling a deep intimate connection to a woman. It feels wonderful. Getting rid of this shit addiction is wonderful.
However there are still problems, i manipulate sometimes talks with emerging friends to avoid opening my heart. And the emotional power, bringing emotions back, showing emotions is an ongoing process. There is still a lot of to be done.
A lot of practice is necessary and good. I now often visit clubs, just for practice and having fun. When others at my age did this, i preferred porn sessions in front of my computer. Now it is my time. Learning and exploring emotional intelligence and intimacy. Developing the skills and tools i should have developed already a long time ago, but addiction prevented this.

PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2016 4:19 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:10 pm
Posts: 511
Some wise comments here, I can identify strongly with the fear of intimacy and rejection, but I've also realised that in some ways 'rationing out' the intimacy to the people we love is (for me at least) is some sort of bizarre twisted power/control game I play in the relationship with my wife. 'If I don't say I love you, now then I'll keep her hanging on for the time that I might say it' type of thing.

I've recognised this behaviour at times in myself. 'If I can't have control of money, spare time, internet access etc then at least I can have control in this area'.

It's a very unhealthy attitude and I don't feel very proud about the way I've acted (and I realise that I still do act that way at times) and I'm not saying anyone else behaves like this, but it's something I need to be aware of in my life and my relationship with my wife. I hope it's not part of your relationship as it's not a pleasant thing to recognise in yourself.

PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2016 6:47 pm 
Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3916
Location: UK
some great comments, plenty to analyse and take on board, I actually thought about opening to both sides but decided better not
thanks :pe: :pe:

Remember recovery is more than abstinence
Every transition begins with an ending
Do not confuse happiness with seeking pleasure
stay healthy keep safe
Coach Kenzo

PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2016 9:45 am 

Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2014 9:02 am
Posts: 116
Hi Kenzo,
since then I have thought long and hard about the question

Seems like a simple enough question, but having experienced moments similar to your situation I've pondered it many times and because it's not a simple question I still wonder what the root of it is. I've wondered if it's dysfunction, immaturity, a guy thing or something else. Maybe it's all of the above and more. Fear of rejection is definitely at the top of the list. I'm surprised at times how vulnerable it feels to open up and express myself and how quickly defensiveness and frustration rises up, when there is a hint of rejection. To me fear of rejection is a powerful and negative emotion. There are times when it rises up in me that I feel like I'm reduced to childlike responses to the situation as I become protective of myself. When I look back I'm surprised that I used silence or sarcasm as a defense, because it just seems so immature and so counterproductive. I had a moment like that this week. We both saw it happening and stepped back and remembered a thought from Brene Brown, that, "vulnerability is the birth place of intimacy." It's a scary place to be, but we keep going back there because of what is produced when we open ourselves up to one another.

I also find it hard to talk with my spouse about sex because I've hurt her and am fearful of her hurting me when she is hurting. Sometimes I think she is giving signals that she wants to be close, but then she totally rejects my advances. She has even said later that on some occations I did get the signal right, but she got scared and put up walls. But, it's on me, I did this. So it's fear of rejection, it's fear of the her anger and hurt projected at me when my guard is totally down.

Somethings I wonder if it doesn't take practice too. I don't think it comes naturally to me. I think it's healthy for me and for her, but at this point it doesn't just flow out naturally all the time and I don't always see the moments when it would be great to verbally express my thoughts and feeling. But I don't think it's always about fear or being unhealthy, it just about learning a new skill, learning to be more aware and then learning how to act on that awareness.

I think it's something I could practice mentally. I think that something heartfelt, but sounds slightly rehearsed is still meaningful and can at least be a place to start. Getting my mouth open and words flowing can be the biggest hurdle. Also allowing my self a few moments to respond helps and I've been shocked at what has come out of my mouth, there is some very caring and loving stuff lurking deep down that I've been afraid to express before, that has came tumbling out.

Recognizing that awareness and practice is needed we have set up a somewhat mechanical system to help. we have set times each day and have some guidelines that help. Seeing that several of the skills taught in RN are very mechanical at first we thought it would be worth doing for communication and intimacy too. It hasn't hurt.

As I try to understand myself and the role addiction has played in sex with my wife, I'm aware that I often became very focused on the act and creating the 'perfect moment.' Since starting this workshop, I have really tried not to plan ahead very much and let things happen and listen more too. I think this has been important for me and has helped me see what true intimacy is about. I think planning ahead and some fantasy is ok, but for me, for now, I'm not trying to create great moments, I'm trying to be in the moments and in time maybe I can learn to blend some of my creativity with still sharing in the moment (rather than trying to be a director of some movie or performance). I think this change has helped me, I'm not so focused on a goal, but am there, looking for ways to give and to connect....still learning though.

One last thought, I now believe my spouse has a right to know what is happening in my head when we are moving towards sex and having sex. As she looks back over our marriage she can see how I got the lines blurred between being loving and trying to maximize my physical pleasure. There were plenty of times that my plans were all about loving her, but there were also many times where i was so focused on the physical act and not on building intimacy and connectedness. So, she has the right, but I have to say that it's a learning point for me and I'm still growing and don't get it right all the time and have to check myself that I'm not just saying what she wants to hear. But, it seems to be that openness that matters most and builds trust.

Thanks Kenzo for your openness, I've kinda spewed my thoughts, not sure if they will make sense to anyone other than me, but am glad for the encouragement to think about this and examine whats happening in my life.

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 4:41 am 

Joined: Fri May 17, 2013 3:38 pm
Posts: 212
Absolutely a fear of rejection. A fear of expressing a need. I had a moment last year when I was with someone. We were in close contact and I made an advance. She resisted playfully but I didn't internalize it that way. I felt rejected and absolutely undesirable. I lay in silence sulking. Eventually the discomfort grew so great I left her place and took a taxi home. We had been dating for some time, and it wasn't the first instance I felt this way. When I arrived at my place, I realized just how childish I had acted. It was early in the morning, and I reflected about how I felt. I knew what I had to do.

I asked her that morning if she found me desirable. I explained to her that I viewed her resistance as rejection and that I couldn't stand that kind of vulnerability. She asked why I didn't bring it up as I felt it. That kind of spontaneous communication felt uncomfortable. I needed space to find the courage to express honestly. I apologized for acting childish. She was very supportive and encouraged me to share openly when I felt these emotions. The only way to overcome my fear was to talk about it openly with her. Somehow that felt incredibly dangerous and threatening to my sense of self. The anxiety produced by that lack of control was palpable, and I had very little experience in dealing with it. I think to a degree we are conditioned to think that our needs are somehow invalid and not worthy of expression. I saw this play out many times in previous relationships with my repeated failure to communicate boundaries and/or needs. We have needs. Sexual or otherwise. And as difficult as it may be to express them, we have a right to seek out ways to meet them. I know for me, I was so accustomed to meeting them on my own, having to ask someone else to help me meet them felt threatening. There is always a possibility of rejection and I was afraid of it. Like somehow that meant I was defective.

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