Bonding and connection with others are basic human needs. People suffering from intimacy disorders crave closeness but also fear it due to a number of factors that may include histories of abandonment and unhealthy attachment issues, past trauma, and emotional or physical neglect or abuse.
Because those with intimacy disorders associate emotional closeness and vulnerability with pain or fear, they learn to protect themselves from real or perceived rejection by developing maladaptive coping skills. These may take the form of acting out sexually with multiple partners, porn addiction, dating emotionally unavailable partners or other self-defeating behaviors.
People with intimacy disorders suffer and self-medicate in many ways that interfere with healthy functioning. Symptoms of intimacy disorders may include:
- Substance abuse
- Behavioral addictions such as eating disorders or compulsive gambling
- Low self-esteem or narcissistic tendencies
- Multiple sex partners or chronic infidelity
- Histories of physical, emotional or sexual abuse or other forms of trauma
- Co-occurring disorders like depression, anxiety and personality disorders
- Both craving and fearing intimacy
- Deep-rooted fear of abandonment
- Hypersensitivity to perceived or real rejection
- Inability to find or stay in intimate relationships
- Trouble being vulnerable or “real” in relationships
- Seeking out situations that offer a real or perceived sense of control
- Attraction to partners who are emotionally unavailable
- Social phobias
- Self-monitoring so others don’t see “flaws” or emotions
- Feelings of loneliness and isolation despite many friends and relationships
Treatment for Intimacy Disorders
The goals of treatment for intimacy disorders are to help clients eliminate problematic coping behaviors; address underlying issues like trauma and co-occurring disorders that sustain these challenges; and learn to feel safe with emotional, sexual, spiritual and intellectual intimacy.
Components of intimacy disorder treatment include:
- Individual and group therapy
- Couples and family counseling
- Abstinence from problematic sexual or self-defeating relationship patterns
- Appropriate boundary-setting techniques
- Accountability and self-forgiveness for behavior that has hurt others
- Shame-resilience counseling
- Trauma-focused therapies
- Relapse prevention skills and planning
- 12-step groups or other support groups
Change the way you relate. Call 855-900-7357 to learn how our intimacy disorder programs can help you.