Fear of Getting Too Close to Someone
Have you ever been afraid of getting too close in relationships?
As humans, it is one of our deepest desires to be in a relationship with others. Closeness is what gives us a sense of belonging, and nurtures a robust sense of self. On the other hand, isolation is one of the worst things for someone who is struggling. Being left alone to deal with our own negative spiral can feel like losing touch with reality. Yet, when we are struggling, we often feel drawn to isolate ourselves. I will tell you why.
Why Isolation Seems Like a Good Idea
When we feel depressed, negative feelings about ourselves come into our mind and into our heart. Emotional pain, and often physical pain, accompany this along with a pervasive conscious or underlying feeling of unworthiness. This unworthiness teases us into thinking we are wrong–either inherently, or because of something we’ve done. (Even if we can’t figure out what it is.)
The burden is so great on our hearts and we feel incredibly vulnerable. We get an idea that reaching out to someone would be a great burden on them, or that they would be disappointed, or angry at us. We think that it would be a sign of weakness, or that we might start to depend on someone and that this would make us even more vulnerable.
Or, that they might hurt us if they knew. Nothing is safe when you are vulnerable. We think that if felt them care we would get needier and dependent-falling off the cliff of sanity.
"What if I lose him?"
Did you ever think one of these:
- If we got close and she realized who I really am, I would, of course, lose her.
- No one would like me once they saw the dark inside.
- What if he couldn’t be patient enough for me?
- Or, What if she died?
We cannot bear to lose them for any reason.
You have to be alone or you’ll go crazy knowing you could lose them, our Fear says.
For all of these reasons and more, we isolate ourselves, folding into our burden. The loneliness pierces our hearts which is swells ten times its size from the pain.
The very thing we are doing to try to protect us: not getting close, is ripping us apart.
Isolation is no protection. It is suffering.
We need people. People need people because we are social beings. It is in connection that we can find peace. In connection that we can see others clearly. In connection that we are grounded enough to see ourselves and our situations from another perspective.
Always choose connection. Even if you don’t tell people what is going on inside of you, hanging out with them can help lift you out of yourself. It gets your mind off you. Sometimes we think it is lonely to be with people who don’t truly know our problems. Sometimes we get so mad when we “have to pretend” we are OK when we are not. But it is you deciding to pretend, so you are not a victim of it. Stop thinking that you are.
After reading this, please don't pick a person who is mistreating you to get close to. If you are afraid to get close to a person who mistreats you, then listen to yourself. That is your wisdom talking.
Otherwise, get close, allow yourself, because then you will feel better.
Have you ever been afraid to get close to someone?
LCSW-R, J. (2013, October 9). Fear of Getting Too Close to Someone, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 20 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2013/10/fear-of-getting-too-close
Author: Jodi Lobozzo Aman, LCSW-R
I'm a fourteen year old female and I thought that keeping people away would make it better, if I pushed my emotions down and told my self it was just thoughts then maybe I would feel better... But it hasn't gotten better, I feel like no matter what is going on, no matter who I am with.. I can't tell them anything because it would just burden them and I would just be a problem. Recently a big major thing has happened in my life and I suddenly felt as if I couldn't be with anyone anymore, I broke up with my partner, left friendships, and suddenly was even more closed off then ever, my step father had left us after seven years and about a week later he went after my mothers best friend whom was practically my aunt... she has kids of her own and it feels like he's replacing us... I felt like after that and even now, I'm to scared to let anyone in, or to talk to anyone... I feel like I'm to alone in this world of billions.
I'm glad that you are searching for help and finding some useful information. Another very important source is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or 1-800-273-8255). They are there to help, and they have information about local resources and support groups. Given what you've described, it is natural to feel so alone. You aren't alone, and you can come to not only see that but create meaningful relationships. Start with the most important relationship of all -- the one with yourself.
i live with my grandmother and she is the most special person in my life.
sometimes i have this weird thoughts that what would i do if anything happens to her ,that i would be left alone and these thoughts really freaked me out.
I would never say that I can't stand my friends, even if I don't want to hang out with them, and I don't think you can't stand them either. I think you just want to be alone. Some people, myself and yourself included, have a much lower threshold than most when it comes to how much social interaction they can take at one time. This isn't a bad thing - some people are like that. It's only problematic (and unfortunate) if your friends don't understand why you need time to yourself. That's something you have to explain to them, and hope they understand it.
Meeting new people is also very hard. But you shouldn't let that fear cause you to retreat entirely inside yourself. Take things slowly, and realize that it's OK not to know scores and scores of people. What matters isn't knowing a lot of people, but having enough people who are close to you to give you the support you need.
With your grandmother, it sounds like you have that support. I'm also very close to my family, so it worries me too that someday they won't be around like they are now. But that should give you extra incentive to try and get close to people outside your family. Don't beat yourself up if it takes a lot of time. It'll be worth it.
I see this was written quite a few months ago, but I know how it feels to be wary of making friends..keeping friends...having your heart broken. I isolate myself, often because I feel my friends and family are ENJOYING Life, and I will just bring them down.
I try and go to exercise classes, dog park, etc..here, where I live and be chipper. When inside I am in about a zillion pieces. Whenever someone gets "close" I know they will realize, that at first glance..or a few conversations, I am "fine" , "ok" and "doing great".after they get to know me, they will realize that I am not like them. My life is one series of disbelief.
I just find it easier not to have to explain...to too many people. I figure, they wouldn't "understand".
There are"friends" on my FB page that I used to spend countless HOURS with when Iwas little or when I was working for the County, or when I was in school ( grad school) or college or high school and we NEVER talk on phone. Rarely even message or comment on one another's posts. Some of them were very close friends...at one time.
I guess we move on, change and make new friends at our new jobs..etc. ITs hard for me to remember what it feels like to have friends. I've met some new ones, and am trying to cultivate and KEEP the ones that I really like. They are some great people. But I feel they won't understand...won't want to be around someone who is not always "happy" and chipper.
They may or may not relate to what I'm going thru, but I don't even trust them enough to tell them. I don't want to be criticized or separated from the "group" by being too needy, to lonely, too isolated, too sad...too negative. Then I am always on guard when I do go do something with them. Afraid to stand out...different in a bad way. They are NOT the problem, I am. I don't want to be rejected..
I deal with depression, anxiety, OCD, and an eating disorder, so isolation has been a part of my life since high school. I am now 43 and am finally ok with opening up and letting people in. It's scary, but nice.
We stayed friends for awhile, but my attraction to him was just too strong. One evening I called him, to invite him for New Year's Eve but he was busy and when he called the next day. I ignored his phone calls. A week later I called to see how he was and he refused to talk to me. The saddest part of this all is I still think about him and want to call him again... And I haven't been able to let anyone get close to me since...
As for girlfriends I had a good friend for 14 years and I began to make changes in my appearance and lost some weight. I met someone who was very attractive and she was jealous even though she was married. We would set up a time to go out and she never showed up twice! I talked to her about how I felt and she apologized, but when I told her some good news I had. She wasn't happy for me. It was at this point I realized she was never a "true" friend in the first place. As long as I had struggles in my life, and problems with my appearance she had no problem being my friend, but when I changed and life was getting easier. She had no time for me.
After that experience I started to take note of the people I chose for friends and why. And I've learned to listen to my true feelings when I first talk to someone, but these days it's even harder to find a good female friend...
And there is some truth to the notion that people generally do not like displays of vulnerability. Even good people will demonstrate this.
We ALL have pangs of loneliness from time to time - whether you have a mental illness or not. But it does pass.