Irrelationship is a jointly created unconscious defense system that enables two or more persons to protect themselves from awareness of the anxiety that surfaces as they become close to one another. Irrelationship provides a hiding place from the vulnerability driving this anxiety — specifically, from empathy, intimacy, emotional risk and emotional investment. Irrelationship is often seen in people drawn to one another romantically, but can as easily affect friendships, the workplace, and even international relations.
Irrelationship: Using Dysfunctional Relationships to Hide from Intimacy explores how disquiet in early childhood relationships with caregivers teaches us to distance ourselves from those close to us even as adults. Case histories illustrate how people trapped in irrelationship learned tools for building satisfying connection with others.