Intimacy Anorexia: The Grinch Who Deprived You of Valentine’s Day
Written by: Ingela Edwards, MS, LPC-Intern, National Certified Counselor, McKinney, TX.
Supervised by: Debra Dian Larsen, MS, LPC-S
Are you frowning as you walk by all the heart shaped boxes of chocolate, red roses and loving cards? Maybe you are filled with sadness because you are fully aware that you will not be receiving any of these gifts or cards for Valentine’s Day. For some people, receiving gifts is their love language. Your spouse may be aware that you enjoy receiving gifts, yet she/he chooses not to get you anything. In the past, maybe you have tried preparing romantic dinners to celebrate Valentine’s Day only to get the cold shoulder and excuses of being busy, too tired, or your Valentine leaves to spend time with a friend instead. Maybe your Valentine starts a fight out of the blue which leaves you completely confused as to what is going on?
Intimacy anorexics choose to wall off from their spouses. It is too scary for them to allow anybody in. The intimacy anorexic desires to be looked on as being the “good” one at all times. They cannot tolerate being vulnerable because you may see then that they are not always in the” good box”. You may recall from my earlier post that intimacy anorexia refers to people who deprive their partner/spouse of emotional closeness. They normally blame, shame, have angry outbursts, control money, and withhold love/sex/appreciations and praise from their spouse. Spouses of intimacy anorexics report that they feel more like an employee, nanny or roommate in the relationship than a spouse who is valued, respected, loved and cherished. This leaves the spouse feeling crazy and emotionally starved.
If you suspect that you are in an intimacy anorexic relationship, you will need to nurture yourself on this Valentine’s Day. What brings you joy? How will you nurture yourself? If you feel like Valentine’s Day is depressing and a reminder of how empty your marriage has become, seek out something that will nurture you. Maybe you try a new activity, sign up for a class, or take a walk at sunset? It may take some time for you to figure out what it is that you do enjoy or what brings joy in your life. Take your time and do something nice for yourself on Valentine’s Day.
If you are in an intimacy anorexic relationship, you probably feel alone. McKinney Counseling and Recovery offers group therapy for spouses of intimacy anorexics. This group utilizes a trauma based model and provides tools for coping and growing. Please see the” Group Therapy” tab on my website: www.ingelaedwardscounseling.com for more information, or visit the McKinney Counseling and Recovery at www.mckinneycounselingandrecovery.com
Ingela Edwards, LPC, NCC, SRT, CCPS is an individual and marriage therapist