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Alison Bulman, LCSW
I spent most of my life having no idea how I was emotionally shutdown, and what it was costing me.
Until I saw how my armor was exactly the thing keeping me stuck in the loneliness I wanted so much to get rid of.
For years, I struggled with intimacy - dating, crying, and longing.
Fast way forward, I now have the super ALIVE life and a beautiful, mindful relationship with a partner who makes me cry with gratitude.
And you know what? I wouldn't have any of it if I didn't face my blocks. I can honestly tell you what you have to lose by hiding from people....
I hung out in the backroom of life. I know what that's like - dark, boring, PREDICTABLE, safe, soul-sucking.
My soul ached in the wrong relationships, the safe jobs I tolerated, the addictions I wasted away in for so many years. ALL of them SYMPTOMS of being emotionally unavailable while simultaneously making me more and more shutdown.....
I stuffed my feelings on dates to try to be what I thought the other person wanted.
I pretended in my relationships that I never felt anger to try to seem pretty, feminine, more desirable.
I was disappearing.
I had to hit rock bottom in my addictions.
And after stopping those, years later, I had to hit another bottom - in my pattern of choosing and staying in unhealthy relationships.
Because I was afraid of being alone.
I had to face the real reason I wound up in these wrong relationships (including the relationship I had with substances).
It was because of my disconnection to myself.
I did not honor my true feelings. Nor was I even recognizing what they were!
I squashed them - The red flags I saw starting a new relationship, the warning bells when getting too dependent on something or someone. The hell no's echoing inside me when choosing the wrong job and dragging myself out of bed every morning.
I ignored them all.
I was emotionally unavailable to myself.
Once I got clear on how this was blocking EVERYTHING I wanted in life, and literally making my sick, I committed to building a healthy relationship with myself.
I got urgent.
I took tons of motivational workshops. I practiced yoga and meditation. I explored spiritual communities. I got my masters and became a psychotherapist
All to expand my ability to feel and express my feelings. To become emotionally literate. To become whole.
When I started seeing the walls I'd built, and realized the breakthroughs that come from talking about my FEELINGS, everything changed.
I got the job, lifestyle, health and relationship I always wanted.
At 41, the baffling relationship patterns finally made sense, as stepping stones to health and would not be traded.
Agonizing break-ups I see now as blessings to make room; as courageous leaps toward love that honored my tugging inner voice.
It all has to happen to ready us for the real thing. The real us. The real love.
Believe me when I say, you are not defective.
Love is so much more accessible than you realize.
If you open the door.
You just need to start with the one inside you.
To learn to show who you really are.
And all the other doors will open.
For more about my journey to love, see my IntimaCities Blog and consider joining the Intimacy Overhaul Online Course