When Healthy Love Feels Scary: Some People Aren’t Ready to Be Truly Seen

July 20, 2021

Our deepest human need is to feel seen, heard and understood.  And yet sometimes when we experience all of those things in a relationship, it becomes incredibly terrifying.

Today we’re talking all about;

  • Why healthy love can end up feeling so incredibly scary
  • What stops us from truly allowing ourselves to be fully seen within that healthy relationship
  • A few signs to watch for that may signal yourself that you are sabotaging a healthy relationship
  • And much more…

Are you ready? Let’s Go!

If you’re dealing with self-sabotage or on the painful receiving end of someone else’s, let’s chat to book either a one-hour private session, or 6 months 1:1 coaching. Send me a DM, spaces available for this month!


Download my free 15-page guide Where Do We Begin to learn how to build the foundation to healthy, thriving relationships – including the one you have with yourself

EPISODE 249: Developing the Capacity for Unconditional Love





Emily Gough Coaching

Room to Grow Podcast

Questions?  Comments? Want to connect and chat about this episode? You can email me at info@emilygoughcoaching.com, or DM me over on Instagram @emilygoughcoach or Facebook at Emily Gough Coaching.  I would absolutely love to connect with you and thank you for listening in real life and here any takeaways you had from this or other episodes!.  It makes me day to see you listening to the podcast and fills me up with pure joy. Seriously.  See you on the ‘gram!

If Instagram and Facebook aren’t your jam, send me a good old fashioned email!  info@emilygoughcoaching.com




You’re listening to Episode 285 of the room to grow. I’m Emily Gough, a human connection coach, speaker and mental health advocate with an insatiable sense of curiosity and adventure, always asking more questions and using the power of stories to teach, learn and grow. It’s about allowing for room to grow. And this podcast focuses on three main pillars: human connection, personal growth, and freedom. We cover topics like relationships, and cultivating genuine supportive connections with ourselves and others, speaking your truth, shattering personal barriers, radical self acceptance, and courageously leaning into your skill sets. Whether it’s a solo episode, or bringing on highly curated guests with incredible stories, experiences and expertise to share, we’re leaning in and taking the entire idea of growth to the next level, all while still covering the uncomfortable topics that many of us like to avoid, there’s always more room to grow. Let’s do this. 

Hey, welcome back to the Room to Grow Podcast, Emily here. And today we’re going to be talking about when healthy love can kind of feel scary, why it can feel so scary. And the fact that some people just really aren’t ready to be truly seen. And it’s a deep human need. I’ve talked about this before that our deepest human need is to feel seen, heard and understood. Every single one of us wants that at a deep, intimate level. But sometimes when we can end up in relationships, where we actually are truly seen and understood, it’s too vulnerable. It’s more than what we feel equipped to handle. And it’s interesting, because what we as humans ultimately crave, is to feel truly seen, right? It is that feeling truly seen, heard and understood, we want that. But when we get it, it can feel like too much. And it’s this like naked raw vulnerability and exposure that we feel when someone truly sees us, flaws and all it can be overwhelming. even feel terrifying for some of us. Especially when that other person accepts us exactly as we are without judgment. Because then we start going through all of the things like, but I’m not good enough, how can they possibly accept me this way? We could even start to subconsciously go down the road of losing respect for the other person. Because we don’t respect ourselves. So we actually lose respect for them. Because they still like us flaws and all. And we’re like, how can you like this? Right. And it’s heartbreaking, but it’s true. I have seen this play out before. So when someone truly sees us, and we can sense it, and we start to freak out a little bit, what happens in those moments, there’s a few ways that this usually goes. And some of these might sound a little bit too familiar for you either with someone else that you have been in a relationship with, or maybe even yourself too. So how this usually goes is maybe picking a fight, criticizing the other person unnecessarily. Going into a state of fight, flight or freeze, maybe even physically bolting, becoming visibly uncomfortable and starting to fidget non stop, maybe quickly changing the subject, potentially staring at you as though they’ve seen a ghost. I’ve been on the receiving end of that one. And it’s, I could see it in their face. It was the strangest experience. Maybe someone is pulling away emotionally and they begin to distance themselves. Potentially allowing long periods to go by before responding to messages when responses used to be quick and attentive. Maybe ending the relationship or ghosting you even, hopefully not. But that does happen sometimes. Basically, all of these things come down to a variety of forms of self sabotage. And this is definitely not the only reason why these things happen. But it’s something I’ve observed play out and it is fascinating from a very human perspective. Because for some, the vulnerability that comes with being fully seen, may actually overload the nervous system and self sabotaging behaviors as a result as a stress response. Completely overriding more rational, logical thoughts. 

We think that we know what we want, until we actually experience it and then we realize it’s so foreign and unfamiliar that it can actually feel unsafe. And we don’t even know how to receive that level of visibility and love and acceptance because we’re so used to the complete opposite or we feel so unworthy of being fully seen without judgment that we actually lose respect, right, like I said before for the other person, because we’re so busy judging the shit out of ourselves, that we can’t understand why they’re sticking around when they can clearly see all of our messy imperfections. And it can also be terrifying that we’re allowing people far enough to feel truly understood in such a way that they are opening themselves up to the possibility of being hurt. So our defenses go up. And we might hide or numb or push away or use sarcasm or humour to block intimacy, busy ourselves on our phones or screens, or like any of the other things that I mentioned before, any of the things can start to come up. When we put the walls up, or convince ourselves that our partner isn’t enough for one reason or another. It’s because it then allows us to maintain control. Even though the underlying factor to all of this is that we actually feel like we’re the ones who don’t think we’re enough. And we can leave someone out in the cold, we can end a relationship or push someone away so that we can hold on to the idea that the other person won’t be able to pull the rug out from under us when we least expect it. If we keep them at an arm’s length. It’s like, Okay, if I take control the situation and I keep you pushed aside, then there’s no way that you can rip things out from under me just when I’m getting comfortable. And it’s the ego talking and is trying to protect you. So you know, we can thank the ego for trying to protect us, but we have to recognize it for what it’s doing. Because what cost is it coming out. And love can feel so incredibly risky and vulnerable and overwhelming. There’s so many unknowns and variables that can’t be controlled. And that’s the scary part. But we have to start to learn to recognize the fear is when we notice them coming up to see them for what they are, and realize that the stories you’re telling yourself are just that they’re just stories. Feelings are not facts, right. And depending on what you truly want in life, you are going to have to make peace and and accept that love comes with risk. Instead of looking around at all of the potential possibilities of what if it goes wrong, ask yourself what if it doesn’t? Or you committed to being disappointed? Or you committed to growing and expanding and new beautiful ways? Like Which one is it? you’ve recovered from every other loss up until this point, and we don’t have unlimited time here. So what is it that you want most out of life? What is it that you that you want to have it more of in your life? What is it that you want to grow you if all the sounds a little bit too familiar about pulling away, and not being ready to feel truly seen whether that’s for you, or whether that’s maybe the person that you are in a relationship with currently, or that you have been in a relationship with in the past? Let me know, let me know. Because if you’re on the the if you’re dealing with self sabotage, or for yourself, or if you’re on the painful receiving end of someone else’s, let’s chat to see if we’d be a good fit to work together. Because this is a tricky area to unpack. And there’s a lot involved here that we have to really kind of do a deep dive into sometimes for ourselves, to figure out how to be open to receiving what it is that we claim we want. Because sometimes when we get it, it’s like whoa, this is too much. This is more than my nervous system can handle. my nervous system wasn’t actually prepared to receive this. So then we get it and we freak out. Or maybe somebody else in your life is and and you know, we can only ever control ourselves, we can only ever control our own reactions and how we show up in the world and how we treat others. But this is important. This is really important. So let me know if you want to talk more about this. Please share this episode with somebody who needs to hear it. Make sure to tag me over on social media over at Emily golf coach Sunday message if if this is something that resonated with you, I posted something a little bit about this. And the response was a little bit astonishing. Actually, it clearly hit a nerve. And that’s why I ended up doing a whole podcast episode about it. Because I was like, okay, so people want to talk about this. This is definitely a big one. So that’s the other thing too. If you aren’t already following me on social media, definitely come jump over there. I am on Facebook and stuff as well. But Instagram is definitely where I hang out the most. And if you have anything that you would like me to cover on the podcast or talk about if you have a specific question, let me know and I can hopefully add it into the queue for the podcast as well. Start doing more Q and A’s all of those things. So I love to hear from you. I would love to get to connect with you. So don’t hesitate, send me a message, send me an email, and we will be back soon. Thanks. Thank you so much for listening to the podcast today. It means the absolute world to me and I’m so grateful for any references in the episode and all show notes. Be sure to jump over to room to grow podcast.com and if this episode touched your heart, it would mean so much. If you would take a quick second to hit subscribe, write a review and share on social media over someone who really needs to hear today’s message. It makes such a difference to keep this podcast going so I can continue to bring you amazing content and absolutely incredible guests. Be sure to tag me over on Instagram at Emily golf coach that I can thank you in real time for listening and connect with you. We’re back every Tuesday and Thursday with new episodes and I’m looking forward to talking with you


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