Fear of IntimacyWritten by Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
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Title: Fear of Intimacy Author: Margaret Paul, Ph.D. E-mail: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright: © 2004 by Margaret Paul URL: http://www.innerbonding.com Word Count: 701 Category: Relationships
Fear of Intimacy By Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
Emotional intimacy is one of most wonderful experiences we ever have. Nothing else really comes close to experience of sharing our deepest thoughts and feelings with another, of being deeply seen and known, of sharing love, passion, laughter, joy, and/or creativity. The experience of intimacy fills our souls and takes away our loneliness.
Why, then, would someone be afraid of intimacy?
It is not actually intimacy itself that people fear. If people could be guaranteed that intimacy would continue to be a positive experience, they would have no fear of it. What they fear is possibility of getting hurt as a result of being intimate with another.
Many people have two major fears that may cause them to avoid intimacy: fear of rejection – of losing other person, and fear of engulfment - of being invaded, of being controlled and losing oneself.
Because we have all learned to react to conflict with various controlling behaviors – from anger and blame to compliance, withdrawal, and resistance - every relationship presents us with these issues of rejection and engulfment. If one person gets angry, other may feel rejected or controlled and get angry back, give themselves up, withdraw or resist. If one person shuts down, other may feel rejected and become judgmental, which may trigger other’s fears of engulfment, and so on. These protective circles exist in one form or another in every relationship. When fears of rejection and engulfment become too great, a person may decide that it is just painful to be in a relationship and they avoid intimacy altogether.
Yet avoiding relationships leads to loneliness and lack of emotional and spiritual growth. Relationships offer us most powerful arena for personal growth, if we accept this challenge. So what moves us beyond fear of intimacy?
The Stalker as Antisocial BullyWritten by Sam Vaknin
Stalkers have narcissistic traits. Many of them suffer from personality disorders. The vindictive stalker is usually a psychopath (has Antisocial Personality Disorder). They all conform to classic definition of a bully.
Before we proceed to delineate coping strategies, it is helpful to review characteristics of each of these mental health problems and dysfunctional behaviours.
I. The Narcissistic Stalker
The dramatic and erotomaniac stalker is likely to show one or more of these narcissistic traits:
Feels grandiose and self-important (e.g., exaggerates accomplishments, talents, skills, contacts, and personality traits to point of lying, demands to be recognised as superior without commensurate achievements); Is obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance (the cerebral narcissist), bodily beauty or sexual performance (the somatic narcissist), or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or passion; Firmly convinced that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people (or institutions); Requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation – or, failing that, wishes to be feared and to be notorious (Narcissistic Supply); Feels entitled. Demands automatic and full compliance with his or her unreasonable expectations for special and favourable priority treatment; Is "interpersonally exploitative", i.e., uses others to achieve his or her own ends; Devoid of empathy. Is unable or unwilling to identify with, acknowledge, or accept feelings, needs, preferences, priorities, and choices of others; Constantly envious of others and seeks to hurt or destroy objects of his or her frustration. Suffers from persecutory (paranoid) delusions as he or she believes that they feel same about him or her and are likely to act similarly; Behaves arrogantly and haughtily. Feels superior, omnipotent, omniscient, invincible, immune, "above law", and omnipresent (magical thinking). Rages when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted by people he or she considers inferior to him or her and unworthy. (Adapted from "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited")
II. The Antisocial (Psychopathic) Stalker
APD or AsPD was formerly called "psychopathy" or, more colloquially, "sociopathy". Some scholars, such as David Hare, still distinguish psychopathy from mere antisocial behaviour. The disorder appears in early adolescence but criminal behaviour and substance abuse often abate with age, usually by fourth or fifth decade of life. It may have a genetic or hereditary determinant and afflicts mainly men. The diagnosis is controversial and regarded by some scholar as scientifically unfounded.
Psychopaths regard other people as objects to be manipulated and instruments of gratification and utility. They have no discernible conscience, are devoid of empathy and find it difficult to perceive other people's nonverbal cues, needs, emotions, and preferences. Consequently, psychopath rejects other people's rights and his commensurate obligations. He is impulsive, reckless, irresponsible and unable to postpone gratification. He often rationalises his behaviour showing an utter absence of remorse for hurting or defrauding others.