When we enter in a relationship, we strive not only for the enhancement of the self, but also for the enhancement of the relationship. When we work for the betterment of the relationship, it takes us out of our self-centered fear and out from behind the walls of aggression, defense and retreat.
Learning boundaries is a fundamental tool in relational development. In order for our relationships to become intimate, we must learn the art of controlled vulnerability. A concept from the work on boundaries presented by Pia Mellody. Controlled vulnerability means the ability to keep yourself safe and utilize boundaries, while at the same time being vulnerable. Controlled vulnerability keeps us open enough that our partners can know us, but it defends us from destructive incoming energy.
Our bodies are made up of energy. We learned as children to become attuned to our caregivers' energy. We knew when they walked in the room what their mood was, without their saying a word. We picked up on their energy, their vibration. In fact, most of us become hyper-vigilant to energy; it's the way we learn to survive.
Addicts live in extremes. They flood energy like Ingrid Bergman in Clasablanca, oozing sexual energy like thick molasses dripping off the screen. Or they are walled off, emotionally shut down like the Terminator, a robotic character void of emotional connection and authenticity.
The goal in emotional maturity is the moderate expression of our energy, neither flooding or damming its flow. It becomes a steady stream of conscious expression.