Fear Of Commitment

Does a fear of commitment hold you back?

Commitment issues often stem back to our early experiences of family relationships.   

  1. The way we were attached and cared for in our original family units tends to become the basis of how we attach and commit to other people later in our lives.  
  2. People who have a fear of commitment tend to be people who have had a bad experience of early attachment.  The kinds of bonds that we developed in our childhood are markers for the kinds of attachments that we will go onto develop.
  3. If our parents were inconsistent with us, then we may well grow up to be inconsistent and ambivalent about how we relate and commit to others.

Unless we are careful we will tend to repeat our mistakes.

We may unwittingly pick partners which will replicate our early experience and so we live through a series of repetitions in which one failed relationship follows another.

We may develop a fear of commitment following a betrayal.  

The experience of being cheated on, of finding out that our partner has been unfaithful can leave a traumatic mark on us.  

  • If your trust has been broken by someone you loved, this may have a significant impact on your ability to trust others.
  • It is our early experiences that go onto shape how we commit, and from where our fear of commitment develops.  From these experiences we may develop poor self-esteem and low self-worth.

It is not clear that men are more prone to a fear of commitment than women.

If you can understand the links between your current behaviour and your earlier patterns of attachment then you have a better chance of not repeating those pattern. 

Psychotherapy and fear of commitment

If you have a fear of commitment and want to try to find a way to repair this, and to give yourself the chance of developing meaningful and satisfying relationships then psychotherapy may be helpful.

  • Psychotherapy will give you the chance to understand what your fear of commitment relates to. 
  • It will help you to gain a clearer understanding of the kinds of attachments and the quality of relationships you developed in your very early years. 

This is very helpful information, and can help you to have a better sense of the emotions, feelings and attachments that you tend to go through and develop in your relationships. 

If you have been through a traumatic breakup, psychotherapy will give you the chance to process your experience.  

Trauma and fear of commitment

In traumatic breakups we can go into a state of shock which is meant to protect us from being more vulnerable.  This kind of defensive impulse will work differently for each of us, but the important thing is that we come out of that state.  If we remain in it, it is likely to compromise our ability to commit fully to future relationships.   You may end up living in a constant state of anticipating being let down again.

People who have been through repeated traumatic shocks tend to become particularly anxious and avoidant.  They develop a fear of commitment that can block them from any kind of attempt at repair.

One of the reasons that psychotherapy is helpful is that the therapeutic relationship provides its own confidential setting in which your way of relating can be thought about.  If you suffer from a fear of commitment, then it is likely that this will be manifested in the therapeutic relationship.

Can a fear of commitment hold you back professionally?

A fear of commitment is not just an obstacle to developing more satisfying relationships, a fear of commitment can limit your capacity to develop your work to its full potential.

It is generally easier to have an idea than it is to turn that idea into reality.  It is important and necessary to understand what it is that stops your good ideas from going further, and doing better.  And so from taking your work to the next level.

  • Is it possible that the thing that holds you back is your fear of commitment?
  • If you were able to commit to your projects what might you be capable of?

Often the things that stops us from doing well is more to do with our fear of commitment than anything else.

Client example – fear of commitment

I worked with someone who had a bold idea for developing and showcasing their creativity through developing a website.  In the beginning this worked well.  They had more time on their hands than they had work, so they could use their time to write good copy and get their work seen.  This led to requests for more work – so far so good.

But as they became successful this changed.  They became busier dealing with enquiries and this meant that they had less time to put into writing and showcasing their work.  The net result of this was that they stalled.  They went from being very productive to slowing down.  When they tried to understand what was going wrong, they realised that it was to do with a fear of commitment.   They could see they were faced with a choice; stop or commit.

In our work together we were able to see that their current problems were proof that they were onto something and doing well.  The best idea was to commit more fully, and if this meant that they would have to change the way they did things then so be it.

Contact me

I have twenty years experience of working with people who have needed to address their fear of commitment.  Contact me, if a fear of commitment is limiting your life, be it emotionally, professionally or in any other way.

Giving yourself the chance to speak in a confidential setting may help you develop a clearer understanding of how your fear of commitment tends to work. This may prove to be the beginning of starting to develop greater insight into yourself and your situation.  It may provide you with the energy and motivation you need to carry on with renewed confidence.

Contact me to arrange a free telephone consultation to discuss how my approach might help you.