Do you find yourself wanting love but being afraid to really open to it? This is the situation Marley finds herself in: "How can I do a better job of letting love in and sharing love? I seem to feel a fear of engulfment with loving, kind people and I tend to get overwhelmed and very introverted—in a sense pushing them away. I want to change, but I don't know what else to do."
Marley, the fact that you experience a fear of engulfment with loving kind people indicates how much you want loving kindness, which triggers your fear that you will want it so much you will give yourself up to keep it. It's the fear that you will give yourself up to avoid losing a loving kind person that leads to you pushing others away. Pushing them away is currently the only way your ego wounded self knows to protect you from losing yourself.
There is much you can do to heal this.
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Healing The Fear Of Engulfment
The fact that you are so fearful of giving yourself up and allowing yourself to be controlled/engulfed indicates that you are not giving yourself the loving kindness you need. Your inner child needs much loving kindness, so when you don't give it to yourself, you become needy of getting it from others. But being needy for loving kindness from others makes you vulnerable to losing yourself, which is what is so very scary for you. So you end up pushing people away as your protection.
The first thing you need to do to begin to heal your fear of engulfment is to focus on giving yourself the loving kindness you need. Loving kindness toward yourself means letting go of self-judgments and of addictions that numb your feelings. Loving kindness toward yourself means attending to all your feelings with much kindness, gentleness, compassion and an intent to learn about what your feelings are telling you—both about how you are treating yourself and about how others are treating you.
The other reason you push people away is because you have not yet developed your loving adult self to the point of being willing to lose the other person rather than lose yourself. And you have not developed your loving adult to the point of setting healthy limits against being engulfed. Your ego wounded self is likely afraid of rejection, which can lead to losing yourself to avoid rejection. Without a loving adult to set limits against engulfment and to manage rejection in loving ways, you are left with the only thing you know to do. Which is to pull away or push people away.
In order to heal both your inner abandonment—your lack of giving yourself loving kindness—and your lack of loving limits against engulfment and not managing rejection, you need to practice Inner Bonding. The practice of Inner Bonding is a method by which you can develop your loving adult.
Once you are giving yourself the loving kindness you need, you will not be so vulnerable to giving yourself up to avoid losing another's loving kindness. Once you develop your strong loving adult, you will know that you can manage loss and rejection. That you don't have to give yourself up to avoid it. It is only when you know that you can manage rejection and loss that you will feel safe enough to open your heart and risk loving. This is what will enable you to stop pushing people away out of your fear of engulfment. This is what will enable you to keep your heart open to letting love in and to sharing your love.
To begin learning how to love and connect with yourself so that you can connect with your partner and others, take advantage of our free Inner Bonding eCourse, receive Free Help, and take our 12-Week home study eCourse, "The Intimate Relationship Toolbox"—the first two weeks are free!! Discover SelfQuest®, a transformational self-healing/conflict resolution computer program. Phone or Skype sessions with Dr. Margaret Paul.
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