Most people equate intimacy with sex, but that's not what intimacy is, says Terry Kellogg. Intimacy is about feeling safe and spontaneous in a relationship, and most people, says Kellogg, never do.
That's because you can't be intimate with another person until you first become intimate with yourself, and you can't do that, he says, until you figure out who you are. But a lot of people, according to Kellogg, are too busy getting their identity from other people.They are, to use the current buzzword, co-dependent.
Kellogg, a Minneapolis therapist, is an expert on co-dependency, as well as those two other current buzzwords - dysfunctional and recovery - concepts that have received a good deal of attention lately, much of it inspired by the TV shows and books of John Bradshaw. Before he became the nation's new psychological guru, presenting workshops around the country, Bradshaw took workshops from Kellogg.
The low-key Kellogg, as soft-spoken as Bradshaw is flamboyant, will be in Salt Lake City on Friday, Dec. 7, and Saturday, Dec. 8, to present a lecture and workshop sponsored by the Say Yes Foundation and CPC Olympus View Hospital.
The Dec. 7 lecture, "Inside Out: Building and Maintaining Intimacy From Within," begins at 7:30 p.m. at Churchill Jr. High School, 3450 East Oakview. Tickets are $10. The Dec. 8 workshop, "Addictive Relationships," runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at CPC Olympus View Hospital, 1450 E. 4500 South. Tickets are $55.
"Most people work hard on relationships," notes Kellogg. "But they don't work hard on their relationship with themselves." You can't have intimate relationships with other people until you develop your own identity, he says.
"What co-dependency is really about is lack of self."
Most people are pretty adept at having friendships. It's when they try to establish a primary relationship, based on intimacy, that "the pathology" shows, Kellogg says. That's when a person might start acting in a controlling way, for example.
"To one degree or another most people are co-dependent or have co-dependent traits," he says. Those traits might include a penchant for worrying too much or working too much, as well as more self-destructive behaviors such as addictions or a tendency to be in hazardous relationships.
People get into relationships that aren't healthy as a way of avoiding their own unhealthiness, he says.
"Most of our relationship problems," he adds, "are a reaction to or a re-enactment of unresolved childhood issues," many resulting from dysfunctional families. Nine out of 10 families, he estimates, are dysfunctional.
People who never saw intimacy in their own families, and who were not "cherished for their uniqueness," have a hard time establishing intimacy with others, says Kellogg.