Too close, too far

On approach and retreat. On movement and flexibility in contact.

We know we need relationship. But we also sometimes have a hard time with it.

One of the things we find most difficult is to be in contact with each other without losing contact with our own self.

That is why many times we need space. I am not talking about space when there is a fight, discussion or conflict. Nor am I talking about space in daily life, in routine. I am talking about contact and withdrawal with the necessary spaces in between.

Being in contact with me means knowing what I need, desire and feel. It also means knowing what I think. To be in contact with the other means to be listening, to be attentive to what he expresses or wants to express, in the end, it is also to be attentive to what he needs, wants and feels. Also to what he thinks.

This supposes a sharing of my attention. Paying attention to what is happening to me and/or paying attention to what is happening to the other person. It is not always easy, it is rather difficult.

That is why we talk about flexibility in contact (attention to the other) and withdrawal (attention to me). There is talk of knowing how to set limits, but not those limits of «when I feel invaded», not those limits of a «borderline» type, nudging type, isolation type, but of respectful limits.

Respectful with the other person and respectful with me. Limits in the day to day, in the mundane.

Sometimes when you withdraw to protect yourself it’s healthy. Other times you feel it’s better to stay and go through what you’re struggling to go through. And, how do you know what the middle ground is?

Good question. In the face of the everyday and the routine, in the face of normality and the day to day. Or even in the face of a conflict or a fight;

  • If I withdraw, am I protecting myself and taking care of myself or am I running away and not coping.
  • If I stay in contact, am I facing my fear or am I facing the other person? Am I attacking or am I defending my space?

There is no easy answer. To be able to choose between too close and too far with a minimum of healthiness, one must have a minimum of listening. And we start again, listening to me, to my need, to my desire, to my emotion and cognition, and listening to the others need, desire, emotion and thought.

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Somos especialistas en psicoterapia con adultos, adolescentes, parejas y grupos.

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