self assessment (part 2) – intimacy
(Please note that I am not a psychologist and have no formal training. I do not claim any expertise in any area of psychology. Nor would I ever advise anyone else in any matters of a psychological nature. Anything written, while based on existing psychological theory, are purely my personal opinions and thoughts.)
Up next in the Amy self assessment…intimacy.
Well, well, well. I don’t have an issue with getting intimate with a guy, in say, the biblical sense. It’s the heart, mind, emotionally-based intimacy that I need to improve on and that will be today’s post topic.
As I am very frank about my thoughts and feelings on here, in real life, I’m not as forthcoming. Ask anyone who knows me in real life. Writing for me has always been therapeutic and sometimes when I am contemplating seeing a therapist, I wonder if I’ll be able to really open up and talk to him/her. Couldn’t I just give them the link to this blog and say “here you go…here’s the crazy that’s going on inside my head. Now fix me”? No? Okay, well that just sucks.
So many psych theories focus on early life relationships and how childhood shapes your adulthood interactions. I guess that’s a good place to start.
While I never ever doubted that my family loved me, growing up we were not by any means a huggy, kissy, “I love you” family. We didn’t sit around and talk about our days and definitely not about our feelings. We all did our own things and sadly (?) kept to our own devices most of the time. Quality family time was not pushed in our home. I mean we had dinners together and took family vacations all the time, but day-to-day activities were spent in our separate bedrooms or at friends’ homes or outside, but not necessarily together. From a very early age, I was playing by myself and pretty content about it. I think that has helped develop the ease I have with being alone.
I believe my mom to be the bestest mom on the face of the earth, yet I do recognize how some of the ways she raised us helped shape who we are. (I don’t talk about my father as I’ve ceased to recognize that he even exists). Maybe I should start off by explaining the dynamics of my mother and her mother. My mother and her two sisters were essentially raised by their grandparents. Their mother/my grandmother divorced (in the 1940’s) and lived with her parents and her three children. My grandmother, being a youngish single woman was more interested in dating and having a social life than her children. Now, I fully believe my grandmother loved her kids, but she also loved her own social life. She loved them, but wasn’t very loving toward them.
Fast forward to my mother having her own kids. As I said before, we weren’t a lovey-dovey household. I don’t remember my mother telling me she loved me on a regular basis (she does now, which at first caught me off guard, but it was very welcomed). I’ve no doubt in my mind that she loved us, but she just wasn’t all that affectionate. This was likely due to her own less affectionate and emotionally-repressed upbringing.
She also wasn’t one to coddle us. If there were truly a need to comfort us, she was there, but really for the most part I felt that if I were upset about something, I needed to toughen up and get over it. Even with the break-up, she was telling me not to cry over it. Now, I kinda need to cry over it. I am sad. I cry when I’m sad. I learned at an early age to self soothe. I probably really learned it in my first year of life in the orphanage.
Because I was so good at dealing with being upset by myself, I never got used to telling others when I was hurting or when I was mad or when I was distressed. I still have a problem voicing what’s going on inside of me when it’s a not happy feeling. Sharing feelings does not come easy to me. I really have to be pushed and prodded to get me to open up (in real life). This is one of my deficiencies of being an emotionally well-balanced person.
I’m not sure what exactly is holding me back from opening up. I take that back, I know. Fear of appearing weak. Fear of criticism. Fear of rejection. Fear of making myself vulnerable. I also know that I become over-emotional when I’m upset and cry. I really don’t like crying in front of others. Part of that is most likely all the pent up sadness that I’ve repressed for years while growing up. Crying was frowned upon. Letting life get you down wasn’t allowed. “You’re stronger than that and need to just deal with it (without tears).”
I’m trying not to go the route where we blame our parents for our problems, but in this instance, I think I have to. We were brought up to keep feelings repressed. That is not healthy in the least bit and I think it’s left me emotionally stunted in this area.
I’m not sure what I need to do other than therapy to help me break through my emotional intimacy wall. It’s easy to tell myself that I need to talk about my feelings, but it’s a whole other thing to actually do it.