When Edie O’Dare left her hometown to pursue acting, her mother and sisters stopped talking to her. Edie had mediocre professional success as an actress but made many famous friends. Realizing her future wasn’t in lights, Edie became a gossip columnist, a job where she profited from exposing her friends’ secrets. As her success grew, Edie learned her old friends’ increasingly personal secrets and shared them, ultimately leaving her the most feared and loneliest woman in Hollywood.
Edie knew how to get along with others. So, why did she pick a career that required her to sabotage her relationships and avoid emotional intimacy?
People with a history of being abandoned tend to fear emotional intimacy. When a person has been vulnerable in a relationship (think family or origin, friendship or romantic partner) and then experiences rejection, the heartbreak can be intense, provoking a desire to avoid history repeating itself. The anticipatory anxiety of abandonment can be so overwhelming that loneliness seems preferable to any risk of rejection.
Applied to Edie: When Edie decided to go to LA, her family estranged themselves from her. This broke her heart. Edie did not want to go through that pain again, so whenever she got close to someone, she gossiped about their secrets, ensuring she had sabotaged the relationship before the other person had the chance.
Here are some tips on how to mentally prepare to stop avoiding emotional intimacy:
Get Comfortable With Uncertainty: It can be scary to start a relationship, not knowing how or if it will end. Stay in the moment and remind yourself that every relationship is a new opportunity for you to learn, grow, and love (platonically and / or romantically).
Accept That Not Everyone Will Like You: Just like you don’t have to like everyone else. When you are authentic, you will create lasting relationships with people you respect and appreciate the real you.
Identify Characteristics You Like About Yourself: Notice your strengths and accomplishments. When you feel good about yourself, other people’s opinions matter considerably less.
If Edie had accepted that she could be a complete, happy person even if rejected by others, she wouldn’t have sold out her friends and likely would have found that some people loved her and others didn’t. This is normal and could have led to a fulfilling personal and professional life…in a different career.