The Scariest Thing We Do

Every day that I work with clients struggling with relationship anxiety I find myself saying some version of, “Of course you’re scared. Loving is the scariest thing we do.” As I’ve written about several times on this blog, fear doesn’t always present as fear but instead shows up as irritation, annoyance, numbness, ambivalence, lack of attraction, and doubt. It’s a convoluted defense mechanism, the ego’s attempt to circumvent being left or rejected by convincing you that you don’t love or even like your partner anyway, but in the end these are all manifestations of fear.

And the client almost invariably asks, “But why is love so scary?” It’s scary because we’ve been hurt by love. It’s scary because underneath the projections (“He’s not intellectual enough”, “She’s not attractive enough”) lives the belief that you’re not enough in some way. It’s scary because when we love another person we’re handing them … Click here to continue reading...

The Cracks are How the Light Comes In

When discussing the concept that a root cause of relationship anxiety is the fear of being hurt by love, course members and coaching clients will often say, “I had a good childhood with loving parents. Why would I be so scared of love?” I’ve written other posts about how essential it is to peel the veil of perfection or idealism off of our parents or childhood if we’re going to heal, for there can be no doubt that, because we’re imperfect humans, there will always be places where our parents missed the mark, times when they didn’t attune, and incidences where they failed to honor our sensitivity or teach us how to feel our feelings. Very few parents of older generations possessed the emotional intelligence to raise emotionally intelligent children. It wasn’t their fault; they simply didn’t have the healing tools at their disposal that we do today. The fact … Click here to continue reading...

Shrink Fear Grow Love

When the fear-fog clears, when the projection that has kept him separate from you and sealed a barnacle over your heart finally shatters, you see your partner as if for the first time. Not only do you see her clearly, in all of her sweet and simple splendor, but the delusions of separateness fall away, and you can see how under the hooks of

hair or

teeth or

height or

education or

ambition or

boredom or

do we have enough to talk about or

he’s wrong for me or

she’s not attractive enough or

I’m always irritated or

mannerisms or

humor or

social fluidity or

so-called chemistry

lives the voice that says:

I have loved you all along.

In those moments of clear-seeing, like sunshine after rain, it’s as if there is no “me” or “you” but only us, or maybe it’s fully me and fully you that makes the … Click here to continue reading...

Social Anxiety and the Cocktail Party

While flipping through one of my favorite bedside stand-bys, Reflections on the Art of Living: A Joseph Campbell Companion, I came across the following passage and chuckled out loud:

“My experience is that I can feel that I’m in the Grail Castle when I’m living with people I love, doing what I love. I get that sense of being fulfilled. But, by god, it doesn’t take much to make me feel I’ve lost the Castle, it’s gone. One way to lose the Grail is to go a cocktail party. That’s my idea of not being there at all.” p. 76

I smiled thinking about my audience of highly sensitive people who also struggle socially (not all HSPs struggle in social situations, but the vast majority are introverts so social challenges come with the territory). I smiled thinking about all of the times I’ve stood at a party feeling so … Click here to continue reading...

Oh, So That's How You Love!

There have been countless times over the many years of my marriage when my husband will say something that makes me feel loved or do something that gets us back on track when we’ve been in a negative feedback loop and I’ll think, “Oh, so that’s how you love!” It could be something as small as walking me to the door to say goodbye instead of being satisfied with a kitchen goodbye or apologizing with a hug and an “I’m sorry” instead of just the words, and I’ll look at him with a certain amount of awe because he seems to know innately these simple ways of loving and repairing that I’ve had to learn. My husband has shared with me that he also marvels at certain ways that I intuitively know how to love.

This is how it goes in marriage: we teach each other how to love. We … Click here to continue reading...