Here is a story of an actual client. He grew up in a household where both his parents were medical doctors. His mother demonstrated emotionally unstable behaviour throughout his childhood.

When he told anyone about this, they did not believe him.

He heard from his parents that they were busy, and he had to be a robust and grown-up man from a very young age.

Furthermore, he perceived that the only way he could gain their attention was at an intellectual level. So, he read everything he could get his hands on and became a highly knowledgeable person.

In his adult life, he had challenges with intimate relationships.

He expressed that he only attracted needy girlfriends.

He reported that if any of these girls ever showed vulnerability, especially tears, he would find himself unable to breathe and quickly end the relationship. Furthermore, he talked about himself as operating a character. He found it impossible to spend time alone or to go to sleep unless he knew precisely what he was doing the next day. Breathing difficulties manifested in every emotional situation; his knee-jerk reaction was to learn or do something.

This is a common conflict. Feeling emotions is unsafe, and I don’t want to be alone. AWAY from feeling emotions and AWAY from being alone.