The Gate of Fear…
Happy Sunday beloved!
Following dinner one evening recently in NYC, I was walking back to my apartment and passed a store that was no longer open for business. It had one of those huge chain metal gates that blocked the entrance from outsiders. As I continued to walk, I would see other business owners press a button and watch as the gate slowly close as they packed up for the evening. This particular gate flooded me with memories and reminded me of how I used to unconsciously “protect” myself from being hurt-more specifically, how fear ruled my life by appearing as that gate that kept my heart at bay from romantically being involved with others. This was how fear used to look and feel like to me; a closed gate which I had no control over!
What used to happen is I would meet someone I was intimately interested in, begin liking, begin dating, would start having strong feelings, then, like clockwork, begin to shut down and lose all feeling. I felt as though one of those aforementioned gates was slowly beginning to close between me and the person I was dating as we began to get closer. I didn’t know I had any control over what was happening to me- this “feeling” of shutting down. It brought me great sadness and pain as many of these people I dated were lovely, gentle people that I cared about.
What I have learned through my education, healing and my own process, is that this experience was a sign of my fear of intimacy. This was indicated by things going great in my relationships then turning sour overnight. This is a very common occurrence in many people- does this sound familiar to you? When you think about it, rationally it doesn’t make sense that one day you are in love, and literally the next day, not. Something was going on inside that was holding me back from experiencing the true intimacy I deeply desired.
When I looked at my past relationships, the one consistent thing in each of these situations that didn’t work- was me! What about for you? I had to do something about what was happening- and I did!
Fear appeared very real to me and manifested in ways I don’t even recognize as fear. But truth is- fear is an illusion- which I was beginning to see. There have been many acronyms to the word fear, such as “Fuck Everything And Run” or what I now prefer to use, “Face Everything And Recover!” In the past, when things start getting a bit too close or comfortable in my relationships, I freaked out and unbeknownst to me, started falling out of love. I didn’t realize I was unconsciously choosing the first acronym – run. Now, I chose the later- face it and recover!
The root of my fear of intimacy, or its twin, the fear of abandonment, was in my perception of my childhood experiences. At that time, things happened with my parents that I took personally and then perceived accordingly -when they in fact had nothing to do with me- and consequently created the belief I couldn’t trust anyone or I would be hurt. Up until that point, I had guarded myself against letting anyone get close who could possibly hurt me. The problem is our perception of what happened wasn’t reality and the belief I was holding, which kept everyone away, was hurting me by keeping me alone and lonely. This is what fear does!
One of the most important things we can do as adults is identify what fear looks and feels like inside, so we can address it and not let it control our lives. This “feeling nothing’ was fear for me, which felt like a gate being closed. This awareness was powerful because I learned how to take action and change the outcome.
How do I deal with this fear? How did I walk through it? By facing it head on! When I started to “feel nothing”, began shutting down and felt the gate being lowered, I had an honest discussion with my partner about what I was going through. I communicated how I was feeling- how scared and confused I was about what was happening inside of me. I shared my past patterns and how I desired to stop the cycle. I explained that I was telling him about my process because on some level, I knew he would feel me pulling away and having him pull away as a result would affirm my original fear of abandonment and would further perpetuate the issue and result in me shutting down more. I had a real, heartfelt discussion and was amazed at what came forward!
A fascinating thing happened; by creating vulnerability, I fostered the very thing that I was afraid of – true intimacy. True intimacy is a bi-product of heart-felt communication. I immediately felt closer to my partner. It felt wonderful. By doing this, I walked through the fear and miraculously, begin to experience the feelings I had previously “lost.” I learned that my vulnerability and honesty is one of the most beautiful gifts I could give someone. It was a very powerful process!
Wow, who knew from a simple walk around the city that never sleeps, I would be reminded of my past patterns and how I learned to change them. I was able to acknowledge how far I have come since that time. It was a true gift to see my growth and maturity. For that I am deeply grateful!
For me it was a gate. What does fear feel like to you? How does it manifest? Do yourself a favor and ask yourself what is getting in the way of you loving to your full capacity? We are here to love and be loved. Remove the obstacles that get in the way of that being a reality.
Comments are closed.