Since I brought it up yesterday, why not talk about touching today? It’s something that’s been on my mind for the past couple of weeks, since the yoga instructor told me about her massage therapist friend.
For me, touch is a touchy subject. (Sorry…bad pun….but I just couldn’t resist!) I have very few people in my life that I am okay with them touching me. Dh and ds are two. A couple of friends…ummm…Huh…looks like the list is shorter than I thought! I avoid being touched by other folks at all costs, my parents…nope, my MIL is a huge nope, acquaintances, strangers, men…Nope, nope, and nope.
In order to touch me, you have to pass my rigorous trust test…Which is pretty near impossible. My policy in life is to distrust first, be very skeptical, distrust some more and then maybe start to trust Touching is a pretty high manifestation of trust and I just can’t hand it out to everyone. My body is mine and I don’t like it to be interfered with.
Of course, it is obvious where my touch (and trust) issues come from…Early sexual abuse…but there were other messages I got about being touched as I grew up. My father was emotionally absent, there was no touching from him unless it involved being physically disciplined. My father and I had a huge schism in our relationship when I was probably a pre-teen and that kind of sealed the no-touch fate. My mother was different, I don’t remember her being really huggy or touchy…But she was good at misusing touch (and just to clarify, I don’t mean sexually here) and rejecting my need for touch when I needed it. Rejecting a child when they need loving support and hugs and snuggles is pretty brutal…No wonder I felt empty and unloved and worthless.
But, I digress…So, as an adult, I am hyper-aware of being touched by other people. And when people do intentionally touch me, I can pretty much tell you every detail of the moment, who, what, when, where…It gets cemented in my brain. And it can even be a friendly touch, but it gets filed away in the panic part of my brain.
The frustrating part, is that I know touch is good for me and I crave it sometimes. But it is really, really hard. And even things that seem benign, are hard. I have a good example, sometime back in June during Art Therapy, the Art Therapist held up his hand for a “high-five.” I hesitated. I had to quickly gauge if high-fiving him would be okay. Really, I shouldn’t have had to have an internal debate about it…but that’s the level of hypersensitivity to touch that I have (And the Art Therapist is a safe person and I still hesitated). Actually, he’s a good example of something else too….Sometimes, when I hand him my mandala book or a painting or something, as I pass it to him, our fingers touch. The same thing might happen at a store if I hand the cashier money or put change into their hand. It’s seems like it should be a non-event….like the social greeting and small talk….but it’s not. I remember that it happened. It’s not that it is upsetting or anything, but that hyper-awareness is there.
And for the most part, my issue with touch is about being touched…someone else making physical contact with me. I am okay with me initiating touch with most people. I guess that is a control issue. If it’s me doing it, I control the parameters and it is okay. Control=Safety. I am in charge, so it is safe.
Okay, my commitment to this topic is waning…It is starting to feel complicated and overwhelming. I think I will stop for today.
So, Pocket Peace is officially lost. It just is not here at my house and it is not in my car. I am actually pretty upset about it. I can replace it with something else, but I don’t want to. I want my Pocket Peace back!!! I hold out the slightest of hope that maybe it fell out at the Art Therapist’s office and I will find it on Monday. (I did email him and ask about it, but he didn’t answer….So, I will have to wait until I go back.) If it is not waiting to be found at the Art Therapist’s office, I either dropped it in the street or in the parking garage…which means I am unlikely to find it. <sigh> I didn’t mean to get attached to Pocket Peace, but I guess I did.