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#194972 - 12/12/07 12:49 PM Touch
FormerTexan Offline
Site Administrator
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 10946
Loc: Denver, CO
While sitting in my cube, a coworker came by and greeted me with 3-4 pats on the side of my shoulder, not enough to make me jump, but the next best thing. He also strikes me as one of those machismo kinda guys, though easy to get along with. Most people at work just say hello to me.

I don't mind touch, in fact in many ways I welcome it. A good hug, a hand reassuringly placed on the shoulder, those kind of things. But I like to see them coming and not catch me off guard. Though I like to feel accepted by coworkers and such, this one caught me a bit off guard.

Andy



Edited by FormerTexan (12/12/07 02:09 PM)
_________________________
List of things ain't nobody got time for:

1. That


If I could meet myself as a boy...

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#194975 - 12/12/07 01:12 PM Re: Touch [Re: FormerTexan]
Still Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 6317
Loc: 2 NATO Nations
This seems to be a issue/sub-issue for survivors. Many of us HATE being touched. Even if I see it coming...even if I know its ok...I hate being touched. Not normal...I know...but I hate it. Some days I can't even stand for my kids to touch me. I just learn to grin and bare it so as to not seem too much like a freak in society.

A quick question for all. Are we unique in this touch aspect? I kind of always thought random touch amoung everyday people was rather taboo in our society.

_________________________
Jesus Loves The Hell Outta Me!

Still's Globs

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#194981 - 12/12/07 01:37 PM Re: Touch [Re: Still]
BJK Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/02/07
Posts: 1526
Rob,

I think your thoughts might be tainted by your abuse. I know mine are.

I always thought touch was taboo, but there are a lot of people whom I work with right now who are just touchy-feely. I am triggered heavily when I am touched when I'm not expecting it. One guy caught an elbow in the zyphoid process a few months back when he grabbed my shoulder from behind without warning me first (I now have a mirror and a buzzer to alert me when people are approaching).

However, if I know the touch is coming, I welcome it. In fact, I'll go one step further. Positive appropriate touch is something that, over the past few months, has evolved into something I crave and enjoy. It fills me with a warm fuzzy feeling that makes me feel alive.

A hug? Well, the only people who have ever hugged me are my sister's kids, and I'd trade anything in the world for the feeling of love that accompanies that.

Bryan

_________________________
Revenge is nothing more than another way of perpetuating abuse.

What the world needs now
Is some new words of wisdom
Like la la la la la la la la la.
-David Lowery

Having a friend who will keep a secret for you is worthless compared to a friend who won't keep a secret from you.

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#194983 - 12/12/07 01:55 PM Re: Touch [Re: BJK]
AndyJB2005 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/14/06
Posts: 1242
Loc: Saint Paul, Minnesota
I have trouble with hugs, even if I'm expecting it. I don't jump or get triggered at someone touching me, but it just gets under my skin. Hugs, for me, seem to be just an uncomfortable feeling. It makes me feel icky and nervous. Even with my family.

About the only people I don't feel icky about touching or hugging, or them touching or hugging me, is my nephews. \:\)

_________________________
Life's disappointments are harder to take when you don't know any swear words. -- Calvin (Calvin and Hobbes)

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#194987 - 12/12/07 02:18 PM Re: Touch [Re: AndyJB2005]
mogigo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 1331
Loc: Colorado
Think I'll just avoid this topic for awhile guys \:\)

Mike

_________________________
Thriving

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#194990 - 12/12/07 02:47 PM Re: Touch [Re: FormerTexan]
alexey Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 08/16/05
Posts: 1674
Loc: Moscow, Russia
Andy,

I want to support you. I understand what you say.I have a girl coworker who likes to went from behind and touchmy back or belly. I don't like it every time. Sometimes my body seems to be on guard.

You can always dare to say that you don't like to be touched without your knowing it will happen.

Take care,
Alexey

_________________________
(\__/)
(='.'=)
E[:]|||||[:]3
(")_(")
--------
When you feel all alone and unhappy, turn to you Inner Child and talk to Him.
You will see He can comfort you like nothing else!

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#194991 - 12/12/07 02:56 PM Re: Touch [Re: alexey]
MarkK Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/02/07
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denver, CO
ahem .. yes .. well, ask anyone in my support group - I don't even shake hands. one of the reasons I felt the group was ok to even try is one of their rules is "no touching without permission".

to date, I have two friends I will permit to shake hands or otherwise touch me. that's kinda sad. 52 years old and (outside wife and kids) two people who can touch me. interestingly enough - both men...

(and yes, if it's a business meeting - I will shake hands and fake a smile)


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#194993 - 12/12/07 02:58 PM Re: Touch [Re: mogigo]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1862
Loc: durham, north england
This is one thing I really want to get around, sinse I have a fairly big problem with pysical contact, affectionate or otherwise, and if I understand what is meant here by "Triggering" this is one thing that really does it for me, ---- particularly in certain areas, but being touced anywhere is something I'm pretty uncomfortable with most of the time.

Even with my family i'm relatively defensive about the pysical stuff, and generally it's something I submit to from them, and won't initiate, or be comfortable with myself.

I have one incredibly close female friend, ---- who's virtually my sister, who I am happy with pysical contact with, ---- in fact on the one occasion my dad saw us meet up, he said he could tell how close we are on the basis that we greeted eac other with a hug, and I was quite okay with this.

the only weerd thing is, that as a Vi person, physical contact from random people is something I have to deal with on a very frequent, everyday bases, sinse people have a stupide idea that asking me if I am alright getting somewhere automatically gives them the license to grab me by the arm or shoulder, put their arm through mine etc. I've even had people who only talk to me and start patting me on the shoulder or hand. this is bloody annoying, especially as I have to be bloody nice to them, sinse they are vaguely trying to be helpful, even if in an absolutely stupid way!

My usual response is to shrug people off, or move away, though on occasions, ---- depending upon how uncomfortable or scared I am, I've had slightly more extreme reactions, ---- brushing their hand off me slightly roughly and then walking off and turning my back.

I then feel really guilty.

I'd love to be able to be more happy with physical contact, from various people, this is something I'd really like some help working on.


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#195007 - 12/12/07 05:49 PM Re: Touch [Re: FormerTexan]
frost Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/15/07
Posts: 1377
Loc: Eh?
Andy,

I totally identify with what you're saying. I am often jumpy even with my wife. When I used to work in office settings, I dealt with very similar things. Oftentimes you can't rearrange a cube either to not have your back turned to the outside world. One thing I did which helped a lot is to have one of those rounded mirrors (like a security mirror in a store, but smaller) hung high on my cube wall. That enabled me to keep an eye on what was going on behind me so that at least I can brace for the incoming pat or tap.

As for helping you through hating touch -- I haven't found a way around that one yet. -- if you find a way let me know! I have days where I can't even hold my wife's hand without wanting to crawl out of my skin and hide under a rock.

All the best,
~Brian

_________________________
I farted so huge, my ass exploded. There was poo everywhere and it got into the fan too. What a fucking mess.

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#195009 - 12/12/07 06:11 PM Re: Touch [Re: frost]
OKIE MIKE Offline
Member

Registered: 02/13/04
Posts: 978
Loc: HULBERT OK
i have problems with people touching me . I just do not like it
But that is just me .

_________________________
MICHAEL

"I HAD NO SHOES THEN I SAW A MAN THAT HAD NO FEET"

"All I can do is be me, whoever that is"

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#195011 - 12/12/07 06:49 PM Re: Touch [Re: Still]
learn2livefree Offline
New Here

Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 1
Loc: Ohio
I was raised in a family that was very mush physically affectionate and hence, am very much the same - but only with women. I don't have a problem with handshakes, or even forewarned hugs from men, but I recently had an incident at church where a very good friend of mine grabbed me while I had my eyes closed praying & hugged me tighter than I've been hugged in a very long time. He wanted to pray for me & his intentions were completely above board. My reaction,however, was to pull away, which made the whole thing that much more uncomfortable & I think hurt his feelings. I feel bad that I react that way, but cannot comfortably show affection to men physically without feeling like it will lead to more..... \:\(


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#195015 - 12/12/07 07:31 PM Re: Touch [Re: learn2livefree]
sabata Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1948
Touch--------Not For Me--------------


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#195039 - 12/12/07 11:37 PM Re: Touch [Re: sabata]
LandOfShadow Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 684
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
I know what you guys mean, because sometimes I'm very uncomfortable with any touch from some people. My family almost never touched. I remember going to men's groups a lot when I was in my twenties, and incredibly uncomfortable with any hugging or touch, which was kind of difficult. Guys did it ALL THE F***IN' TIME! I eventually got used to it, but older men I feel on guard and tense with. Younger guys and women especially I'm OK with. I just don't feel the predatory feelings like with older guys (my abusers of course).

Still I'm glad I got (more) over it. I think it's helped me some with boundaries. Because, with clear boundaries, I don't need to be afraid. And touch just kind of calms my nervous system down which always wants to get on alert and jumpy. Assuming it doesn't feel unwanted-sexual. I try for my part, to be very cautious if I'm attracted to someone, to not touch. It's hard to hide and I hate the thought of making someone feel uncomfortable that way.

I wouldn't dream of touching someone I know has been sexually abused, unless it was very clearly OK.

_________________________
Et par le pouvoir d’un mot Je recommence ma vie, Je suis né pour te connaître, Pour te nommer
Liberté

And by the power of a single word I can begin my life again, I was born to know you, to name you
Freedom

Paul Eluard

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#195139 - 12/13/07 07:50 PM Re: Touch [Re: LandOfShadow]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1862
Loc: durham, north england
Land of shaddow, what you say about not wanting touch from someone your attracted to, sinse you did not want to make them feel uncomfortable, is something I can really identify with. also the stuff about boundaries and feeling safe. I've always assumed that anyone I like catagorically will not feel the same way about me, as a given fact, and it has been something that's bothered me quite a lot. one really helpful thing my friend said wen we discussed tis though, is that he's fairly certain all the people I've liked have! actually felt something for me.

It's a pysical contact thing, with someone I liked that brought all this up again, and made me realize I'm not as fine as I thought I was, which is wy I'm here now.

thinking things out, I also realize that while I'm not happy being touched by either gender, girls or women actually bother me more, wich is (as you say), to do with wat was done to me. On the occasions when I've ad really serious trigger reactions, it has been involved with a girl touching me in certain places.


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#195197 - 12/14/07 08:22 AM Re: Touch [Re: dark empathy]
LandOfShadow Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 684
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
dark empathy, about the boundaries, I feel so much the same. I recently read in an Alanon daily reading, that boundaries are not concrete walls meant to keep us away from everyone, barriers. Rather, they are somewhat fluid, adjusting to the current moment, with awareness of ourselves and others. That's really helpful. All my childhood and adult life, I've had fantasies of protection: turtles (the thick shell), space ships (shields, boxes) and hiding places. I craved safety. But, I've learned to be very alone. And any touch, reaching out, especially with women or younger men, I see as an aggression. Breaking their walls. So I'm afraid of it. Even terrified, which kills the awareness of myself and others, and creates a blind reaction of fear.

In Alanon, they talk of the 3 A's. Awareness, acceptance, and action. For this case, I try now to be more aware of my boundaries and feelings towards others and their signals of boundaries toward me. I try to accept the fears I have of being aggressed and being the aggressor, and my overactive tendancy to only see it that way. And simply accept other's boundaries. But our boundaries can keep us and others very, very safe. It's hard to believe. I am not at all "aggressive" like this. And so, I am free to take appropriate action. Which sometimes means pushing people away and distancing. But sometimes, it means touching people and risking being close in some way, but not all ways. And sometimes, people tell me they want to me be kind of aggressive! Yikes!!! Really now!!! Sometimes I try to just ask or tell about the feelings in some touching. I need not be alone. I am safe.

It's seriously hard for me though. Lots of the time, I have so much fear, I just seem to unconsciously react. It's getting slowly better I think.

_________________________
Et par le pouvoir d’un mot Je recommence ma vie, Je suis né pour te connaître, Pour te nommer
Liberté

And by the power of a single word I can begin my life again, I was born to know you, to name you
Freedom

Paul Eluard

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#195219 - 12/14/07 11:33 AM Re: Touch [Re: FormerTexan]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Andy,

Originally Posted By: FormerTexan
I don't mind touch, in fact in many ways I welcome it. A good hug, a hand reassuringly placed on the shoulder, those kind of things. But I like to see them coming and not catch me off guard. Though I like to feel accepted by coworkers and such, this one caught me a bit off guard.


This is interesting, because it shows that your problem probably isn't with touch as such. So what's up? I wonder if the particular way in which this guy touched you set you off: the idea of coming to your cube from behind and patting you on the shoulder 3-4 times.

That sounds a AWFUL lot like a trigger based on something similar that happened when you were young. For example, I still can't bear to be around anyone who is using an aftershave that smells like the stuff the abuser used to wear. The associations are still too much for me.

So does this kind of gesture involve alarming or painful associations for you? It could be something very general: that is, being in your work space and having someone come up from behind and touch you in a personal way when you cannot easily withdraw out of range may be connecting to similar feelings of being "cornered" (and touched?) when you were a boy.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#195376 - 12/15/07 12:00 PM Re: Touch [Re: roadrunner]
DannyT Offline
Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 402
Hi Guys,

Touch is a such a fascinating subject. There's a great book on it: Touching: The Human Significance of Skin, by Ashley Montagu.
http://www.amazon.com/Touching-Human-Significance-Ashley-Montagu/dp/0060960280

He has great way of putting so many of the issues of human touch into context with other the experience of other animals as well.


Danny


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#195443 - 12/15/07 07:56 PM Re: Touch [Re: DannyT]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16263
Thanks for the link Danny. Interesting Topic Andy. I've often thought there are times when someone touching me is startling just because it is startling and for no other reason. You're not expecting it. You're off in la la land somewhere and some dude comes along and touches you and you jump. Scares the pee outa you just because it does, not because of any triggering thing that happened in the past.

Now this may or may not be what happened in your case, but when such things happen to me I do take that option into account along with all the others that may flash across my mind.

_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#195460 - 12/16/07 01:06 AM Re: Touch [Re: WalkingSouth]
MusicMan Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/23/03
Posts: 144
Loc: Elmira, NY
You guys have so validated my feelings on this subject. All of my life, I've cringed whenever a male was going to touch me or if I had to touch a male. I never put 2 and 2 together that this phenomenon was due to abuse. You put everything into perspective and it has really been an emotional revelation for me, as strange as that might sound.

Because of that, I am making a little progress. I don't look down and give a very sinewy handshake when I am forced to shake a man's hand on my job. I don't really feel like I am going to disintegrate when I have to do that anymore. It is still a problem for me, but I am trying. I give hugs occasionally if I am forced to do so by the circumstance.

I just want to thank everyone who has ever approached this subject here because I really makes me feel like I am not alone and there is a reason behind it. This is very significant for me to know and feel this. You guys are great!

God bless,
John, The Music Man.


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