Restorations Therapy Blog

What Is an Intimacy Disorder and Do I Have One?

by on Monday, August 3rd, 2020

What Is an Intimacy Disorder and Do I Have One?

Intimacy involves being close to others, especially when you are engaging in a romantic relationship with someone. Fear of being close to others results in a fear of intimacy. An intimacy disorder describes an individual that is unable to experience true intimacy due to disordered thoughts.

More specifically, intimacy disorders are possessed by individuals that are unable to feel safe and secure when sharing their personal thoughts, desires, needs, concerns, and feelings with others. They often will develop addictive habits to cope with the lack of intimacy. The causes of these disorders vary, and not everyone’s experience will be the same.

Attachment Trauma

One of the primary causes of an intimacy disorder is attachment trauma. This involves an instance when someone’s connection, bond, trust, or safety was broken by a parent, sibling, relative, teacher, coach, or another significant figure.

The event can be explicit, such as physical or sexual abuse. It could also be more hidden, involving situations that entirely lack emotional nurturing, validation, praise, or physical touching such as hugs or kisses. Role reversals are also a possible cause, such as when children are forced to become caregivers to their other family members, specifically parents. They are subsequently neglected of emotional nurturing since they are fulfilling adult responsibilities as children.

When a child’s needs are neglected so they can take care of other family members, they are forced to grow up too quickly and can experience attachment trauma. Being the victim of abuse or living in an environment where addiction is present can also cause a child to form an intimacy disorder. Children who have experienced covert incest may also develop an intimacy disorder.

Other Causes

  • The fear of rejection or total abandonment
  • Developing an avoidant personality disorder
  • Being a victim of sexual, physical, or verbal abuse during childhood
  • Parental neglect
  • Being overdependent on friends and family, causing separation anxiety
  • The fear of losing control or being controlled in a relationship

Do I Have an Intimacy Disorder?

To diagnose an intimacy disorder, it is recommended that you see a licensed psychiatrist or doctor. As an intimacy disorder forms, different symptoms will appear as warning signs.

People with intimacy disorders often experience low self-esteem and have trouble trusting others. They tend to have explosive episodes of anger and a history of unstable relationships. Self-imposed isolation causes these people to feel more trapped and distant from others. They also cannot form close relationships with others because of their fear.

Most importantly, though, an intimacy disorder describes someone who is unable to be vulnerable with another person. This keeps them from sharing their personal thoughts and feelings.

If you or someone you know is suffering from an intimacy disorder, reach out. There are several online resources and people you can talk to. Taking the appropriate steps can put you on the path to healing. No one should have to suffer in silence or worry about talking to someone. For a good place to start, contact Restorations Therapy at (720) 446-6585

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