If the thought has crossed your mind that you may be emotionally unavailable, or that you seem to continuously attract people who are, let’s take a look at how you are showing up and at steps you can take to re-build your emotional availability…or your understanding of what that looks like in your partner.
What does it mean to be available emotionally? It means you can form healthy attachments and make an emotional connection with someone based on honesty, trust and vulnerability.
So…when you can’t do that, it’s called emotional unavailability.
First, learn how to recognize the signs.
Do you keep your distance? If you consistently keep people at arm’s length, if your connections to people never go past acquaintance to become intimate friendships, you may be emotionally unavailable.
Are you more about sex than pillow talk? In other words, do you jump into physical relationships while avoiding emotional bonding, or even in order to avoid it? For many, physical connection is part and parcel of the whole emotional attachment that is formed when they are in a close relationship. But for the emotionally unavailable, the two—sex and attachment—are artificially cut off from one another. It is protective for the emotionally unavailable, and very frustrating for those who are in relationship with them.
Are you an aggressive perfectionist? Looking for faults in others is often a strategy (unconscious, of course) for distancing them, or even cutting them out of your life altogether.
Do you avoid conversations about your personal feelings? I know a guy who is brilliant at changing the subject whenever we veer close to the personal. His deft maneuvering is hard to pick up on at first. But eventually I realized that I knew almost nothing about him, though I know a lot of funny, superficial anecdotes about his life—all of them presented to me as a distraction from the topics that cut closer to the bone.
Are you always longing for a deep emotional connection that never “happens”? Your higher self knows that connection is what is best for you, but it will not “happen” until you can authentically show up in relationships.
Second, learn how to be emotionally available.
Acknowledge your emotional state. Understand that you learned to be emotionally unavailable as a coping skill to protect yourself from being hurt. It does not matter who you were afraid of… or what. No need to blame yourself or blame others. Just look honestly at the fact that you are in this place, now, and that you can choose not to be.
Face your fears. The funny thing about fears is that they are not so scary when we drag them into the light of day and look at them objectively. Yes, you created these fears but they are not who you are. What scares you the most that you don’t want others to see or know?
Challenge those fears. Poke holes in them. Ask yourself “Is this really true?”
Write down your attributes. List the genuinely great things about you. You can’t skip this step and you are not allowed to say “there are none.” What makes you lovable? What makes you loving?
Figure out what you can do today. It took years to learn how to protect yourself through emotional unavailability. You can’t unlearn it in a day. One step at a time. Where will you start… today?
Make your action plan. Actions—it is true—speak more accurately of what is true than words do. Just as the emotionally unavailable person might be able to say, “I love you” but not actually show up when needed, in order to learn emotional availability, you need to show up differently in your relationships.
This process of unlearning a behavior that does not serve your highest good will take time, perseverance, and action, and may involve some scary moments. You can do it! I can help you.
If you would like to know more, please schedule a complimentary call with me.