Carolyn Dyck-Maynard

This conversation is closed.

Why is it so hard for people to establish true intimacy with each other, when it is so very rewarding?

As a Clinical Social Worker and a student of life, I believe I have the answer to this question, however, I would like to hear other people's opinions and insights on this subject.

Closing Statement from Carolyn Dyck-Maynard

Sorry, I am new to this...closing statement is below.

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    Jan 22 2012: The degree of intimacy is directly proportional to the degree of vunerability. the more open and sharing one is - emotionally, physically, and even intellectually, the greater the risk of harm if the intimacy is betrayed. As all of us have experienced this in some degree from the kindergarden playground foreward, it is a learned if not hardwired response to our external world and in fact learning whom and what we can and can not trust is necessary for our individual and species survival.
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      Jan 24 2012: It took me some time to find this information that I had copied down from a Kent Keith book. I thought I'd share it with you.

      "..... it is tempting to build up one's defenses and go around in a suit of armor. But there is a problem with that. A suit of armor protects you by "containing you". You can only grow so much - and then you have to get out of your armor if you want to grow any further. As you step out of the armor you will feel free and liberated - and you realize that you don't need the armor anymore - because your strength will come from the inside."

      I think as we get older, some of us are willing to live without the armor, because the rewards far outweigh the consequences of being intimate with others. Of course, it still hurts when we are betrayed, but knowing the risk, softens the blow....that is just my opinion of course.
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      Jan 30 2012: The ability for intimacy stems from one's honestly with their inner self. When you live your truth, inside out, you will live without the "armor". There is a point of maturation, somewhere between kindergarten and the retirement "home" where one finds one's true self. At that point "becoming" ends and "being" begins. The genuine self operates. I agree with both Michael and Mary's very beautiful posts.

      It is imperative to point out that intimacy is neither required nor appropriate outside of one's exclusive personal life, i.e. marriage life partner. Outside this, in parent-child, sibling, friend, teacher-student, etc. relations, there are boundaries that must be maintained, for - both personal health and community health depend upon the maintenance and integrity of such boundaries - Thus exist respect and honor.
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    Feb 4 2012: Hi everyone...
    I enjoyed your different and insightful responses. Thank You!

    I really wish we could sit in a group together and discuss the "variables" on/of this subject! :)I see my answer "topically speaking" as one single word.The word is "Fear".Four of you used the word in you responses and the rest of you inferred it, although David's answer implied a different meaning to the word...Lynn, regarding all kinds of risks...I was speaking of those we take for granted...just getting out of our home, driving our vehicles to go "anywhere", flying, etc., we take physical risks in order to start or keep, emotional intimacy...or to simply live.The lack of these risks is named, agoraphobia.My personal belief is that if we i.e., friends, parents, siblings and couples practiced the simple precept of daily practicing, "The Golden Rule" on a daily basis with each other, there would be no fear of intimacy. Intimacy would be an automatic part of our lives.There is one step beyond the simple Golden Rule...and that is taking it one step further...finding out through "open communication" what the other person desires...not what we "think" they desire, because "it" is what "we" would desire!On second thought I added a poem of mine...below...that may clearer explain my stance on true intimacy.Comments,
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    Feb 4 2012: Togetherness

    May we strive to be open and honest
    express what we “really” feel and mean...
    avoiding the shadows of silence,
    instead, the forthrightness of truth to glean

    Truth can be gentle and soft
    when sincerely spoken with care...
    with love in our hearts and our minds
    surely tis’ but a kindness to share...

    Sharing our pain and our troubles
    also our laughter and tears...
    seeking to know...and grow...with each other
    May we strive to lessen, and banish our fears...

    Those fears that inhibit and maim, when
    continuing to chasms so wide...
    when a loving touch...soft spoken words
    bring warmth and peace inside...

    Silence is golden and precious at times
    but sometimes it cries to be voiced...
    May we sidestep the fear, share what we feel
    call on the strength on this choice...

    When we can be open and honest
    the sharing of truth sets us free...
    so growing with can be “you”
    and I can be ...the real me...

    The way…that we, were meant…to be...
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    Feb 2 2012: Hi All!
    I have read your responses with great interest! :)
    Just a note to say that I will be responding to your comments over this coming weekend, Feb.the 4th. See
    you then :)

    P.S. Mary just keep the lid on the anwer really is not a deep one. :(
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    Jan 22 2012: I believe there are as many different reasons as there are different people.

    Probably the current mind set of our society of consuming, consuming, consuming, but never be consumed and that would be where some people stall, they fear to lose themselves and becomes weak. Like they want to break others but they don't want to get broken. They want to get money, but they don't want to give money.

    So somehow, the society has made "love", a consuming product that everybody wants, but nobody wants to lose. Something like that so the children are growing in this society mind set and it scares a lot of them, because the first thing they learn even before they have experienced it is that it hurts when it's finished, then they decide they don't want it. Because let's face it, "love" or the "intimacy", i presume you're talking about a Loving relationship between two person, which means "Love", so society made "Love" a consuming product, that you go shopping for during your life, then you get all the girls wanting one particular type of guy and all the guys wanting one particular type of girl.

    But not everybody fits in that "high quality" standard and that's where you get tons of problems from if you're not considered an "high quality" loving product by your own standard of "high quality" loving products.

    Love is a product, there are tons of different "quality", they are all the same price and everyone goes for the "high quality".

    Maybe i'm mistaking and you're not talking about love when you say "establish true intimacy" so if it's the case, then i really don't get what "establish true intimacy" would mean.
    • W T

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      Jan 22 2012: Maxime, although love might be involved, intimacy is defined as:

      a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group. 3. a close association with or detailed knowledge of.

      It involves disclosing intimate information about your life with another. Sharing your happy and sad times. Letting others know how you feel about anything and everything.

      Carolyn will probably reply to your comment, but I wanted to add this in the meantime.
      Carolyn, I hope you don't mind.
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        Jan 22 2012: Mary, I do not mind at all! :)
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        Jan 22 2012: Well in that case the lack of "true intimacy" is probably due to the lack of "trust" through the fear of disappointing the "trustworthy person" to the point of being rejected by this person out of disgust.
  • Jan 22 2012: There are several reasons:
    1. The unwillingnes to place oneself at risk. Intimacy necessarily involves trusting the other party. If this trust is broken it could be devastating, so why take such a risk?
    2. The fact that people are expecting to find "the one"! The one who is perfect in every way for them. People may be reluctant to establish intimacy with someone who is not "the one". Of course, there is no such person - and people who are only content with perfection in their partner (and in other areas of life) will ultimately lead unfulfilled lives.
    3. Some people, in some cultures, feel they are being disloyal to their family if they establish intimacy with someone else.

    This is my personal experience based on 46 years on the planet.,
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      Jan 22 2012: Thank you for your insightful response.
      For me, it raises the question of, how can one live a truly fullfilled life without taking all kinds of risks, including emotional ones.
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        Jan 23 2012: To Carolyn: I think perhaps there's a difference between a 'truly fulfilled' life and a 'fulfilled' life. A fulfilled life is taking risks instead of 'all kinds of risks'.
  • W T

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    Jan 28 2012: Carolyn, this is worse than the ketchup commercial that used to be on tv when I was a little girl.

    Anticipation, anticipaaaation....7 days, 19 hours and 29 minutes to go.....can't wait for your answer.
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    Jan 25 2012: I'll choose a weird, but stock answer from my little bag of tricks. The death of the single parent income.

    Being a devoted partner, used to pay pretty well... Now it doesn't, so no one is teaching their children to be a devoted partner. I would actually argue that almost all successful families, have a parent, and a provider... Two seperate individuals, with two distinct and equally valuable skill sets.

    In the post feminist world, this is seen as sexism... But, I in no way suggest that women have to be the parent... I suggest that someone who works 40 hours a week, deserves to have someone support them emotionally, raise and educate their children, and if possible, cook healthy food. Men need to be more willing to do this in the future... but I don't think both parents working is the solution... I think half of us need to return to the role of educator, and parent.

    I think having half of our populace dedicated to this pursuit, was incredibly valuable, for things like intimacy, happiness, culture, morality... etc.
  • Jan 22 2012: Its just the way the mind has evolved. The more intimate one becomes, the more they could potentially be 'setting themselves up to fail" that and the fear of rejection.
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    Jan 22 2012: Thank you ladies...I am enjoying your thoughtful responses...:) I will wait until the time is up(2 weeks)or responses quit coming to give my opinion.
    • W T

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      Jan 22 2012: LOL we must have been replying at the same time.:)
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    Jan 22 2012: When people get to know each other, they become more aware of the other’s weaknesses as well as strengths.

    This in turn leads to a certain vulnerability. Fear of being vulnerable, I would think, keep some from intimacy. Maybe they were hurt in the past, and were left emotionally fragile?

    I have friends like this, as well as members of my family that find it hard to be intimate. I have always assumed that there was something about me they didn't like.....or perhaps they just were private individuals....or they had intimacy with others whom they trusted more than me.

    I don't know the answer. BUT, I can't wait to hear what others have to say, especially you.
    And yes, intimacy is very rewarding....finding a kindred spirit....a bosom buddy.....chit-chatting over a glass of wine, or a cup of coffee about anything and everything.

    I'll keep checking back. :) "Sorrow shared is halved and joy shared is doubled." Native American saying