Engulfment Fears: Running Away from Love
Engulfment fears. How I fucking hate those. The opposite of abandonment fears is usually the engulfment fear or fear of deep intimacy.
And it’s stupid, certainly from my perspective of being in a deeply loving relationship that not only supports me but allows me to be more independent, more me. I’m more free through love.
So with engulfment fears, I never understood what was so scary. Of course, fears aren’t rational, but at least with abandonment fears, the fear is more logical in a way. Pain does come with love lost or the end of a relationship. People are afraid of pain. Fear of the pain that comes with the loss of love is more logical, but it is still a largely irrational fear.
I have serious abandonment fears, as I’ve discussed before, and I recognize that they are largely irrational. They’re stupid, too. I know it. I also know from experience the pain that follows the end of a loving relationship, especially one where some level of abuse was involved. But even the loss of a healthy, loving relationship brings profound pain.
But let’s look at engulfment fears. These people are afraid of love itself. They are afraid of losing who they are in love, of being consumed by another. And ultimately, these people run away from love and allow their fear to win.
As a woman who loves deeply, I wish I could just give them a glimpse of what it’s like to be completely surrounded by and supported by love. It doesn’t engulf you, it lifts you up. It elevates. It strengthens. It is a portal for joy and spiritual enlightenment.
Through love, I have never lost who I was. On the contrary, I have become stronger, more independent.
Love is freedom.
Especially in an open, non-monogamous relationship, where love and commitment doesn’t mean limitations. Love is limitless. Partners openly love one another and others. Communication is open and honest. Work is magnified, but so is the joy and reward and love.
I love. And I love. And I love deeply. More deeply than most knew possible. I have enough love to give to fill up my husband’s love tank, a second significant other, and still have love left over. Love is infinite. My love is infinite.
Someone recently told me that I bring a new meaning to the words “open communication” and “honesty,” more intensity than most are used to. For many, I also bring new meaning to the word “love” because I love so deeply and completely.
It’s who I am. As I said before, I’m not apologizing for it anymore.
I’m intensely loving and passionate and emotional. I am a strong woman, stronger than even I knew until these past few days. I not only carry my own fears every day, I often carry those of my beloved, as was the case with my most recent relationship. I didn’t realize I was doing that until it was crashing to an end.
I was the strong one.
I took on more pain to help ease his engulfment fears because I was strong enough to do so.
I carried him for months, hoping he would find the safety within our relationship to genuinely invest himself this time. To break out of his pattern of short-lived, failed relationships where he ultimately runs away, afraid of engulfment, of losing his freedom, his individuality. To be the deeply loving man he truly is beneath the fear-ridden ego.
Through my patience and strength, I showed him that love and freedom was possible. I showed him that through love, anything was possible.
But ultimately fear won over love, and it saddens me to no end. He’s going back into his cycle of short-lived, relatively shallow relationships, searching for the utopia of ease. Wanting the depth of emotion and heights of ecstasy without the responsibility or risk. Without truly investing in a complete relationship with the ups and the downs.
And it breaks my heart, not only for my loss, but also for his struggle.
Still, I’m standing strong. Deeply saddened that he gave up on us so easily. Knowing I did the right thing by standing up for my self-respect. Hoping that he finds a way to see what he’s running away from is an illusion. That fear is clouding the love still there for him. Hoping he can find the courage to face those fears.
Understanding he probably won’t.
Lamenting that he won’t find the love he deserves because he won’t allow it past his fears. The spiritual awakening he so desperately seeks is there waiting for him through love, if he could just find the courage to face his fears.
He’s not the only man I’ve known or loved who has engulfment fears, although I think he is the man I’ve loved the most who has them. I’ve met many who do. Many women do, too. This isn’t a gender-specific fear. I truly thought he had the courage and presence to face those fears and remember the reality of the love beneath them.
I was wrong.
I’m intense. I’m passionate. I feel deeply. I hurt and I get scared. I feel insecure sometimes and am a pillar of strength at other times. I have moments of weakness. I have moments of vulnerability. I love so deeply that it frightens a lot of men. I am a complete woman and I deserve to be loved completely. I deserve love, respect, and reciprocity, as do we all. I deserve to be in a holistic, loving relationship where responsibility is embraced, not avoided. Where love is embraced, not feared.
I’m a powerful woman, and it takes a strong man to be with me. If you can face your fears and look at the face of love in all her profound depth, you will experience things you didn’t know possible. You will transcend fear.
You will see heaven with me.
Find the courage to do that and realize the meaning of pure joy.
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~ by omgrey on February 22, 2012.
Posted in Lost in the Aether, Romance & Relationships
Tags: author, broken heart, engulfment, fear, grief, healing, heartbroken, honesty, infidelity, intimacy, love, misogyny, non-monogamy, o.m. grey, olivia grey, open, open marriage, passion, polyamory, relationship advice, relationships, romance, sex