Why are we so afraid of Intimacy?

Day 4 on ‘Why are we so afraid of Intimacy?’ of ‘Relationships’ Chapter

From Remembering Series

[Listen to the audio with guided alignment at the end]

Let’s explore more perspectives on why we desire intimacy, yet we run away from it. It is only when we understand the our fear, we can move forward by facing it.

The Origin of Intimacy

The word intimacy comes from the Latin root ‘intimum’, which means your interiority, your innermost core.

The following sharing except from the book “Intimacy: Trusting Oneself and the Other” by OSHO and the book “The Anatomy of Loneliness: How to Find Your Way Back to Connection” by Teal Swan.

Why are we avoiding intimacy?

Having intimacy could mean exposing our secrets. We are afraid that if people really knew us they would not love us. When we are running away from it, we could fill the void created by the lack of intimacy in our lives with addictions where we feed ourselves with external substances like alcohol, drugs, shopping, food or some with short series of short term relationships of sexual experiences.

Our perceptions on the past and future experiences

It is important to note that whatever happened to us is our own interpretation of the event, based on our past experiences. One person will experienced the event as painful, but the other person from the same event might experience it differently.

According to Teal, our fear towards the unknown is not the unknown, but it is the fear of our own projection towards the future. So, we are not afraid of the unknown but rather the perception of the future based on our past experiences. Thus, we are freeing our fear of the unknown and look at the real fear in the mind.

The inauthenticity of “needing space

I love how Teal shared about our human need is connection thus the biggest threat to it is isolation. If we need space to ourselves, see ourselves who needs alone time, for Teal, it is us who are being inauthentic. There is a big congruence between our inner self and external self when we are around people.

It is due to the enmeshment trauma when our personal boundaries are not acknowledge, not seen or not validated. Like when someone enter a room, one will instantly feel as if one’s thoughts, words or action have to cater to the person’s needs, desires and preferences. When one is with others, one can’t seem to figure out how do one feel, think and wants.

One of the hardest things for the human species to learn is, “I can have myself and have you too.

Teal Swan

Our Coping Mechanism

When we were young, if our parents were not attuned to us, there are two ways to cope with the unmet experience:

“1. We learned that our survival depended on disconnecting from them and retreating into a narcissistic bubble where all that was real and all that mattered was our individual experience.”

“2. We learned that our survival depended on being hyper-attuned to the people in our lives so that we could perceive them, anticipate their behaviour and make adjustments to our behaviour accordingly in order to avoid harm to ourselves.”

Consider we have layers of bubble between us and others, we can only see them, feel them and tune to them by popping the bubble.

Nobody knows you—not even you yourself know.


Why are we afraid of showing who we are?

Since young, there have been many voices around us and within us, some coming from our parents, our teachers and so on. But, how do you know which is yours? How to decide? Who are you?

To be intimate means you will have to put aside the role. And you do not want to show who we really are is because you know who you are: worthless, just dirt, which was what you have been told from the very beginning. From your parents, teachers, priests, politicians, all have been telling you that you are dirt, worthless.

Nobody has ever accepted you. Nobody has given you the feeling that you are loved and respected, that you are needed—that this existence will miss you, that without you this existence will not be the same, that without you there will be a hole. Without you this universe will lose some poetry, some beauty: A song will be missed, a note will be missed, there will be a gap—nobody has told you that.


We learned to depend on others and afraid to go into alone-ness because once we go into aloneness, we are losing the sense of who we are, which was created by others’ opinions on us. From somebody to nobody. We were taught to solve problems to be someone valuable to the society, thus we kept solving never-ending problems.

Life is a beautiful mystery to be lived—not a problem to be solved but just to be lived and enjoyed.

Self reflective questions

Do you trust yourself?

Osho described how society destroys trust at the very roots where it does not allow us to trust ourselves. It teaches all other kinds of trust: trust in the parents, trust in the church, trust in the state, trust in God, ad infinitum. Yet, the basic trust is completely destroyed. As though as we do not have real roots for real flowers to grow.

Do you love yourself?

When we are incapable of loving ourselves, we will never be able to love anybody. To love others, we must be able to love ourselves. Somehow, society condemns self-love, saying it is selfishness and narcissistic. It is selfishness if love becomes confined to oneself. Otherwise, self-love is the beginning of all other loves.

Are you stuck on security?

No relationship can be secure. It is not the nature of relationships to be secure, and if any relationship is secure, it will lose all attraction.


So this is a problem for the mind. To enjoy a relationship, it has to be insecure. To be absolutely secure, then we cannot enjoy it because it loses all charm and all attraction.

The mind would want a relationship to be alive and secure, but anything that is alive is unpredictable. What is happening next is unforeseen. We have been protecting, collecting and accumulating. Once we can accept the fact that everything can be lost, nothing is certain, which is a part of being alive, we begin to live.

What are the real and false values?

In the place of love, trust, we have created a false value: “loyalty.” Osho described the loyal person is only superficially concerned with love, where one goes through all the gestures of love, but one means nothing by them, which is not out of joy but out of fear. It is not out of love but, it is out of a conditioned mind like the dog to its master.

Society wants guarantees, thus, it has removed love as the unpredictable and unreliable experiences, putting marriage in security. Marriage knows loyalty, loyalty to the husband and wife, formally.


Can you accept yourself?

Consider this, we have been conditioned for centuries not to accept ourselves. All we have taught is to focus on improving ourselves. Thus, created anxiety in us, where this anxiety is the tense state between that which you are and that which you should be. Most of us remain anxious with a “should” in life, constantly living to improve ourselves for the best version, a future oriented based.

Next: Being authentic

Now, we kind of fill out some blanks on why most people are not comfortable with themselves. When one is not comfortable with oneself, one would make others uncomfortable too.

To enter the heart of being authentic is being vulnerable. The reason we are inauthentic is because we are afraid of what will happen if we are. We are afraid to be rejected, unloved or not received.

Being authentic might look something more like this:

“That was really scary. It made me feel like I was invisible and didn’t matter.

Teal Swan

Next, we explore on the ways to be intimate.



Published by Abbhya 阿比亚 Pan Vic Qi

One sharing and supporting unity consciousness

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: