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Author Topic: Why the fear of intimacy?  (Read 140 times)
Kaufmann

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« on: September 29, 2020, 07:02:14 AM »

I'm in the process of leaving a relationship with a woman who displays the classic symptoms of BPD. This is proving to be incredibly difficult on my emotions, because she's starting to be incredibly kind and loving, starting to idealize me like she did when we started dating. So I'm starting to question my decision.

But this morning I woke up and realized that just a few weeks ago she was pushing me away because I was too in love with her. She would complain to friends that I was obsessed with her and that I would too frequently tell her how much I loved her. (In truth, I was/am madly, deeply in love with her.) So I feel like I can't win: When I try to leave, she pulls me back, but when I try to commit, she pushes me away.

Why do people with borderline fear intimacy so much? My girlfriend is terrified to be alone, but she's also terrified to be with me. Why? Have others run into this problem?
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dindin
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« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2020, 07:12:52 AM »

Why do people with borderline fear intimacy so much? My girlfriend is terrified to be alone, but she's also terrified to be with me. Why? Have others run into this problem?


I'm sorry you are going through this.

I went through something similar, and will share what I discovered for myself. If it's not correct in terms of what BPD is, someone please correct me.

They aren't afraid of intimacy, they don't know what it even is. Most likely, you won't find an answer that would sound something like that of a codependent: "I'm afraid of intimacy because I always get rejected, yet I don't want to be alone."

If your partner has BPD, the clinical reality of that is that they have no sense of self, or even a false self like a codependant or a narcissist. Because of that they cannot relate to other people like an adult. They relate to their partner more like children relate to their ever-abandoning father.

Basically in childhood they experienced abuse, that resulted in them being developmentally arrested in terms of emotions and skills of relating. They are stuck, because their parent hasn't bonded with the properly and most likely was abusive. And because of all this, romantic relationships are merely a means of retraumatization. It's a repetition compulsion. There is no true love or intimacy in this. All it is is playing out of the dynamic of a child which for their own survival tries to bond with a parent -- but it's never romantic bonding - it's the type children do to secure survival: unconditional and needy -- and that parent abandoning them, and the child trying to not to "die" from the fallout of this imagined abandonment, be a step ahead of it, but they can't, they feel too much. Even if you are not really abandoning them, they don't care, they'll make you, or feel/think you are. Always! There is nothing about intimacy in all of this.

In everyday language, what that means: their dad/mom has abused and abandoned them. They are emotionally stuck because of that. Relationships they enter are mirrors of that dynamic, there is no true intimacy. It's all smoke and mirrors.

So your question My girlfriend is terrified to be alone, but she's also terrified to be with me can be answered this way:

She isn't. She unconciously sees you as a tool for retramuatisation (repeating the abandonment trauma that happened to her in childhood) - there is no intimacy or love in all of this. And even if you aren't really abandoning her, if you are a really loving guy, BPD won't care. They live to repeat that cycle again and again, regardless of objective facts. They have no access to them. That's why it's called borderline, it's borderline psychotic because of inability to escape the childhood trauma and relate to the real you.

In more existential terms, they aren't motivated by "fear of intimacy" in a way that codependents are. They are motivated by fear "of not ceasing to exist" - because that is the price they paid for their parent's betrayal. It's an extremely tragic disorder.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2020, 07:28:28 AM by dindin » Logged
Lucky Jim
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« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2020, 12:08:44 PM »

Excerpt
When I try to leave, she pulls me back, but when I try to commit, she pushes me away.

Hey Kaufmann, Right, that's the classic BPD dynamic of "I love you; go away."  In my view, it all stems from a fear of abandonment.  If you try to leave, her fear of abandonment kicks in and she will pull you back.  If you get too close, she will drive you away in order to avoid the possibility that you might leave/abandon her.  It's a paradox, but that's BPD!

LuckyJim

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« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2020, 01:25:06 PM »

I'm starting to question my decision.

if youre questioning your decision, and going back and forth, id really encourage you to post on the Bettering board for the time being and talk more specifically about whats going on. you can do so, even as you plan to exit the relationship. its easy to get confused by and lost in the push/pull.

its important to consider whether your girlfriend has a fear of intimacy, or if she may be expressing that she feels smothered and has a hard time dealing with what she considers to be neediness (it could also be both!). ive been there myself, many times.

a person with an insecure attachment style tends to be needy in a relationship. and the irony is that needy people are easily overwhelmed by the needs of others. if shes saying to her friends "he says he loves me too often", she may be experiencing those expressions as an obligation. similarly, a person with low self esteem may have a difficult time accepting compliments, may find expressions of love to be over the top, or obligatory, or even insincere.

when a person with an insecure attachment style has a partner who threatens to leave, they may be threatened by the prospect of that loss, and their own neediness and insecurities may return to the forefront. most people in general have a tendency to see a loved one who is planning to, or has left them, through rose colored glasses.

a person with an insecure attachment style may have difficulty seeing the entire trajectory of the relationship,  and instead react (or overreact) to whats going on in the moment. simply put, your girlfriend may be more attracted, in her way, to this more detached version of you, and reacting to and compensating for that.  

loving someone with an insecure attachment style is a difficult balance. there are dos and donts, but its not something you can cure or love away (and trying to do so may cause that person to resent you).

This is proving to be incredibly difficult on my emotions, because she's starting to be incredibly kind and loving, starting to idealize me like she did when we started dating.


regardless of whether you are leaning toward staying or going, its important to see this for what it is, not what you want it to be. a lot of us long for the honeymoon days of the relationship, try to return to it, and at best see fleeting glimpses of it (our partners do the same thing). those days are over.

dont over invest in idealization, that is temporary. determine whether or not the relationship is fundamentally broken, accept that it is over, grieve the loss, and detach from the words, or determine what went wrong and how (if possible) it can be resolved.
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