To accurately define intimacy, someone once said, “True intimacy is the ability to share who you really are with another person. This implies the other person is also able to share who they really are with you.”
One cannot share something they don't have access to - the True-Self. Sharing from our wounded self - our False-Self, is more like identification than true intimacy.
In other words, we may identify with each other’s pain, but we don't really get to know each other until we heal our wounds and get to know our True-Self. Until that happens we can only experience “False Intimacy” which -- due to the intensity of it -- can be mistaken for true intimacy.
You cannot truly have an intimate relationship until you finish your source relationships. In other words, one can have as many relationships as one wants, but they will all be of the same general nature as the relationship dynamics they learned from their parent(s).
Unless healing occurs in those patterns and cycles where wounds were created in one's original relationships, one is destined to repeat them. We tend to attract and unconsciously select someone with the same level of wounds as we have; someone who knows how to play the same games as we do.
Wounded people, wound people -- we hurt the ones we love the most and so we destroy our relationships with these destructive patterns of behaviour.
If in our childhood we were unable to get our “Dependency Needs” met fully, now as adults we are less likely to know how to create intimacy.
Children who get their dependency needs met fully on a regular basis, will thrive, flourish, and grow at a healthy pace; but if we don’t get our needs met at all we will feel a great emptiness inside, like a black hole, a void, a vacuum, an ache, a longing.
If we only get our needs met half of the time, we may only feel half-full but with something still missing and may still feel as if we have an ache inside. This emotional wound is the original pain that comes from the abandonment of childhood dependency needs.
The extent of the wounds may be mild, moderate, or severe depending upon the extent of the abandonment.
Mild to moderate cases of wounds come from situations in which the child does not fully or consistently get their emotional dependency needs met. There may be few overt signs of family dysfunction or abuse.
For instance, it may be that one or both parents are able to give reasonable amounts time, attention and direction but they seem unable to express affection. The words “I love you” may rarely be heard, if at all, in this family.
A lack of hugs, kisses, pats on the back, and other expressions of affection leave a child wondering how they measure up in the eyes of their parents - remember, to a child affection equals approval.
Another common abandonment scenario occurs when one of the parents is physically absent much of the time. The parent may be a “work-a-holic” who cannot seem to stop working long enough to find time for his family.
He rationalises his absence and breaks promises to be there for the child in the same way an alcoholic rationalises their drinking and breaks promises to stop or control it better.
The above scenario may lead to moderate levels of abandonment.
Severe cases of emotional wounding come from emotional, physical, and or psychological abuse and neglect. In these cases the household becomes a dangerous place.
The neural networks of children who grow up in abusive situations have to focus on survival and there is not much time or opportunity to be a normal child. One rule of thumb about growing up in a dysfunctional family is that it is NOT okay to ask directly for what you need, or to expect to get it. When you try, you are likely to get the opposite.
So, the brain records and keeps track of behaviour that helps the child get what they need. This behaviour gets recorded on neural networks for behaviour we call survival skills. It is the magnificent ability of the brain to adapt to its environment that helps a child survive in a chaotic home and of course survive childhood.
As an example: “Don't Talk”, Don't Trust”, and “Don't Feel” rules, along with hyper-vigilance and difficulty regulating emotions can get in the way of emotional health, intimate relationships, and job performance later in life.
It is not usually a question of whether our parents loved us or even if they did the best they could, it is about understanding our past and healing it, as these are the very wounds that prevent us from intimacy.