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Monday, June 29, 2015

Psychotherapy Blog: Falling In Love and Fear of Emotional Vulnerability

To fall in love, you have to allow yourself to be emotionally vulnerable.  And, yet, even though so many people want love in their lives, they're too afraid to allow themselves to open up to allow themselves to be vulnerable so they can experience the love that they desire.

Falling In Love and Fear of Emotional Vulnerability

Why Is Emotional Vulnerability So Scary?
Many people are afraid to allow themselves to be emotional vulnerable because they're afraid of getting hurt, especially if they've fallen in love before, they felt abandoned, and they got hurt (see my article:  Overcoming Fear of Abandonment).

Fear of rejection is also a factor.  People fear opening themselves up and then being rejected.  

It's not unusual for people who are afraid of getting hurt to shut down emotionally rather than allow themselves to be emotionally vulnerable.

It's a dilemma that's not easy for people to overcome on their own because they're stuck between two difficult choices:  Allowing themselves to open up to love vs. shutting down and remaining alone and lonely (see my article:  An Emotional Dilemma: Wanting and Dreading Love).

Fear of Emotional Vulnerability:  Some People Vacillate Between Opening Up and Shutting Down

In a prior blog article, Fear of Being Emotionally Vulnerable, I give a scenario that describes this dilemma.

Some people are more sensitive to the possibility of rejection than others.

Many people vacillate between these two choices.  Some people spend their whole lives going back and forth without ever resolving this dilemma for themselves.

The Courage to Be Emotionally Vulnerable
There is no way to have a successful relationship without allowing yourself to be emotionally vulnerable.

It takes a lot of courage, especially after you've been hurt before, to allow yourself to be vulnerable and open to falling in love again (see my article:  Developing the Courage to Change).

There are no guarantees that you won't get hurt again.  But if you don't allow yourself to be vulnerable, you are guaranteed to be alone.

Emotional Vulnerability and a History of Emotional Trauma
People who have a history of emotional trauma, especially trauma that goes back to childhood, have the hardest time allowing themselves to be emotionally vulnerable.

People who haven't experienced healthy relationships as a child have no personal models to draw on when it comes to choosing and developing a healthy relationship.  So, they end up bonding with others in unhealthy ways.

As a result, they often get into one unhealthy relationship after another which, unfortunately, confirms a feeling that they have that there are no healthy relationships to be had (see my article:  Falling In Love With Mr. Wrong Over and Over Again).

If they never get help to overcome their earlier emotional trauma and their misconceptions about relationships, after many failed attempts, they might opt to remain alone.

Getting Help in Therapy
If you recognize the dynamics that I describe in this article, you're not alone.

Rather than allowing your history of trauma to have a negative effect on you for the rest of your life, you could get help to overcome your fears by seeing a licensed mental health professional who specializes in working with trauma (see my article:  How to Choose a Psychotherapist).

Free Yourself of Your History in Therapy: Overcome Your Fear of Being Emotionally Vulnerable 

Once you're free from your history, you'll be free to allow yourself to be emotionally vulnerable in a healthy romantic relationship.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or email me.





















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