Q: I keep pushing people away when they get close to me. Why do I do this? How can I stop?
Firstly, noticing your pattern is huge. You can't do anything without awareness.
Secondly, you'll have to decide if you're ready to make a change. Because change costs; it always does. You want a big mansion and a million dollars? You're going to have to invest time and hard work. Want a healthier body? You'll be giving up the "easy" options of fast food and sedentary living.
Sometimes, we try to skip to the big result without first asking if we are mentally ready to invest in our future. It will stretch us, grow us, strengthen us; but just know that you're signing on for a few moments of "soreness," metaphorically speaking.
So, are you ready?
Nice! The "why" behind pushing people away can be different for everyone. Maybe it comes from your upbringing or a string of broken relationships that were meaningful to you (with family, friends, or romances). It could come from an unresolved or irrational fear. It could even come from your beliefs and perceptions of yourself. (Hint: the above can also all come together in one giant snowball). That will take some soul-searching - with a therapist, with trusted friends, with spiritual mentors, with self-on-self time - to discern.
Now, let's ask "what?"
What are you using to push people away? It could be... the silent treatment, defensiveness, criticism, anger, indifference, porn, affairs, dishonesty, poorly-managed time (an unhealthy type of investment in work, video games, the kids, sports, church activities, etc.), withdrawing... and so many more.
But see, the things we do serve a purpose to us. In our minds, we are doing something to help ourselves, relieve the pressure, save our hearts from pain. Self-preservation.
Once you are more aware of your "why" and your "what," you can address the "how".
Your next steps, then, are as follows:
1. Decide if you're ready to make some changes
2. Meet with a therapist (and also, a trusted friend for accountability)
3. Be open. Apply what you learn to your relationshipsD
You're on your way to something GREAT. Get started.