Why Emotional Intimacy is Difficult
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A Five Part Series
The second greatest fear that sabotages our efforts to communicate is the Fear of Rejection. It is easy to think, if my spouse really knew what i was like inside, he or she would run away. It feels very risky to let our partner, who may be our only anchor to some intimacy, to see the doubt, pain, or unacceptable impulses that inhibit the stagnant swamps of our lives.
Sometimes we respond to each other in ways that communicate rejection, even though we don't mean to shut down our spouses' attempts to share. In one recent Couples group I was leading, a woman told her husband, "I always feel inadequate." His response was, "but that is so stupid! I never see you as inadequate. I always tell you that it's dumb for you to think that way!"
This husband thought he was helping, and it had never occurred to him that his answer reinforced her negative feelings about herself. His comments about "stupidity" felt like rejection to her, so she just quit sharing her feelings.