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#426351 - 02/24/13 08:45 PM Touch
Still Around Offline


Registered: 01/22/13
Posts: 22
Loc: Pennsylvania
Some events this weekend have made me realize I have a real problem with touching and being touched---and it feels like it's killing me. I hate to be touched by others---anybody touches my back and I get really triggered and panicky. But at the same time, I yearn to be held, to be touched, to hold another's hand. I only trust a few people enough to even allow that, and my neediness and longing to be touched may have driven a wedge between my female best friend and I, who was getting, to put it mildly, uncomfortable and upset with my asking her to hold me and allow me to hold her---not in a sexual way at all, mind you, just for mere creature comfort in a bad episode.

But it's this lack of touch that's killing me, even though I can't stand it most of the time. I've never had any pleasant experience with intimate touching, ever, and oh god I don't know what to do. It's so bad I've never even been able to hold someone's hand or give or receive a back rub, let alone more intimate touching, without feeling like I'm back in the abuse. I feel so terrible, and even more so that I have no one willing to help me overcome this or even give me any kind of comfort at all. I asked a friend once for advice, and he said to visit a prostitute. Needless to say I am no longer friends with him.

What can I do? I'm so lost, and it's tearing me apart.

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#426365 - 02/25/13 12:34 AM Re: Touch [Re: Still Around]
Letourski Offline


Registered: 03/15/08
Posts: 302
Loc: Canada
I do feel your pain. I do not realize how badly I miss touch until I actually touch someone. It feels good, but at the same time reminds me how little healthy touch I have had with others that are not family members. It is also a scary thing because when others touch me, I feel like I am not in control and I hate that feeling. It's a push and pull of wanting touch and avoiding it all together. Thanks for posting this.
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#426379 - 02/25/13 03:53 AM Re: Touch [Re: Still Around]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1937
Loc: durham, north england
Yep, this sounds incredibly familiar, indeed I've posted questions hear about the same sort of thing myself. Touch is difficult, yet at the same time safe touch is exactly what I want, just miner physical affection indeed much of the communication I desire with another person that goes beyond friendship would be none s/xual, affectionate touch.

I've got a couple of suggestions, but these are only slightly miner.

1: none triggering but absolutely genuine physical affection and communication is something you can! experience with animals. Myself, I am and have always been hugely tactile, ---- just not with people. Not quite 18 months ago I got a guide dog, and I have really! noticed the difference, since for her, physical proximity and affection is quite a casual thing, plus of course because (as she is a guide dog), we're together literally all the time and have! to have a good working relationship. I've actually noticed that with animals, my ability to express myself through physical touch has often let me make connections that other people don't, even with animals who don't tend to trust humans normally (I suppose they recognize a kindred spirit). So, I'd strongly advise getting a dog, ---- or perhaps a rat or ferrit if you prefer (yes, both rats and ferrits are hugely physical and unlike other rodents such as hampsters can really! form an emotional connection with you).

Cats in general I've found hit and miss, I've met some cats that are hugely! physical and love to be around people, indeed when i was in egypt two years ago I met a small jouvenile cat who decided he absolutely loved! me (i wanted to bring him home with me, since i got the idea that while he wasn't misstreated, he was primarily a working cat not a pet and so was rather lonely).

2: Join an activity where physical touch is regularly part of proceedings, but in a very strictly regulated manner. For me, this is light opera and performance, since physically dancing with other people is a necessity, and holding hands, dancing and even embracing is all part of things, yet is utterly and strictly regulated by the director's orders. Similar activities might be different forms of dancing, indeed I've considdered trying ball room myself, or exercises like Yoga. The important part however is that you experience!" touch with another person, especially a female other person, but as part of an activity and to another purpose, rather than going for the big emotional bit straight off.

I have had people suggest massage, (no, this doesn't mean a prostitute but a professional therapist), though myself I've not really been comfortable with that option, indeed the thought of submitting to that sort of ministration from someone else (particularly fi the someone else were female), is really! unpleasant.

As I said I'm not fully sorted with this myself. I have noticed recently with my latest production group I do not flinch quite as much with physical affection, and get included in affectional displays among group members more readily than previously, though I've not really got there yet and know I still have along way to go with this.

Hope some of these suggestions are usefull.

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#426381 - 02/25/13 04:07 AM Re: Touch [Re: Still Around]
DavoSwim Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/06/13
Posts: 315
Loc: Iowa, USA
Still,

I understand completely your situation. If I'm touched, especially by surprise, I jump and get very agitated. It could be something as simple as a pat on the back and I flip out. In the middle of a crowd, I get anxious, fearful that I'll be accidentally touched, or pushed. It takes a while, like up to an hour, to settle down. And yet I long to be held or be hugged. A backrub is out of the question, for I wouldn't be able to tolerate. I long for the security of being held, yet cannot be touched. Thus, I am alone.
DavoSwim

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#426390 - 02/25/13 06:52 AM Re: Touch [Re: Still Around]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1937
Loc: durham, north england
Agreed davo. It is like an electric shock and crowds are horrible, indeed since my abuse was very much in the middle of a crowd (I can't remember a single incident that involved fewer than three people), I hate crowds especially. it also doesn't help that having a visual imparement people seem to think that I have no rights to physical bounderies at all, indeed in the guize of so called helping I've had some people attempt to literally man handle me and have occasionally responded extremely badly, ---- I've never actually hit anyone, but I have forceably wrenched my arm out of someone's grip while telling them to get their f///ing hands off me!

Yet I also feel the real physical need for affection, like an absolute ache sometimes, which is why i'm trying the above methods to try and deal with this. it is not fun in the least, though I do have hope that it is something that is changeable with enough time and work.

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#426391 - 02/25/13 07:24 AM Re: Touch [Re: Still Around]
LazyPirate Offline


Registered: 01/03/13
Posts: 106
Loc: Ontario
Dark Empathy makes some good suggestions... I whole heartedly agree with the dog idea. I have 3 of them & they are loyal & affectionate. All they want is a good petting. I also have a cat & I find that time spent just sitting & petting her lowers my blood pressure & makes me feel at complete peace. Massage is also a good thing to try if you are able. In my case, I feel ok with women touching me, so a massage by an RMT is fantastic. I also see a Chiropractor on a regular basis. If you've never tried one, it pretty well requires them to almost hug & lay upon you as they manipulate your body into the different positions. My first Chiropractor (many years ago) was a very small lady. She would literally have to lay on me & beside me to do all the different moves. It was actually very pleasant. Now I actually have a male Chiropractor! For me, it's a big deal to be able to be touched by a man... Just a couple of years ago, that wouldn't be happening.
_________________________
The Bluebird of Happiness long absent from his life, Ned is visited by the Chicken of Depression. - Gary Larson

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#426464 - 02/25/13 07:18 PM Re: Touch [Re: Still Around]
Still Around Offline


Registered: 01/22/13
Posts: 22
Loc: Pennsylvania
dark empathy,

Those are really great suggestions. I can't have a pet at the moment unfortunately, owing to my lease and financial situation, but I've always found comfort in them. I wish I had a dog, but I suppose that must wait. I never thought about team sports as therapeutic, but then again I've my own long-standing issues with them that I'm working on as well. Maybe my insurance will cover massage therapy (a great idea!) but I understand when you say such ministrations are unpleasant--I admit the thought of having to pay/beg to be touched makes me very upset.

Maybe a chiropractor is what I need, as you hit on there LazyPirate. I am always incredible tense. No surprise, really. And Davo, I understand all too well.

I'm curious, though, does anyone else have problems touching others? I mean, a big part of why I'm terrified of dating and intimacy is that it means I have to touch others, and it's the same situation--I long to, but even that makes me uncomfortable if there is any sense of intimacy.

I'm just having a bad time these past few days. It makes me so very sad to find myself so cut off from what makes life bearable.

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#426522 - 02/26/13 01:02 AM Re: Touch [Re: Still Around]
crazy gecko Offline


Registered: 10/04/12
Posts: 309
Originally Posted By: Still Around
I can't have a pet at the moment unfortunately, owing to my lease and financial situation, but I've always found comfort in them. I wish I had a dog, but I suppose that must wait.

Hey, I just had an idea. I don't know if it would be feasible for you (there could be logistical barriers), but could you perhaps volunteer at a local animal shelter? That way you could get to interact with dogs regularly without actually owning one, plus your doing something good... Anyway, just a thought.
_________________________
I guess what I'm trying to say
Is whose life is it anyway because livin'
Living is the best revenge
You can play
-- Def Leppard

My Story, Part 2

My blog

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#426548 - 02/26/13 10:29 AM Re: Touch [Re: Still Around]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1937
Loc: durham, north england
I agree with Geckoo, you don't actually have to own and live with a dog for that to help provided you can see said dog enough to develope a relationship. Perhaps you could look around the for the opportunity to do sme work as a dog walker, either for friends, for an organization or just straight out as a job.

I'm not sure on competitive sports, since touch as part of a competitive activity where your actively opposed to someone would for me be far too triggering, especially if the touch involved were of a rushed or violent nature as in martial arts or rugby (that probably goes for American football as well), or of a full body opposition as in wrestling of one sort or another. Then again I admit I'm not a competitive person and so only tend to view that sort of competition negatively, even when touch is not involved as in football (socker), heck the only sports I've ever been interested to do as an adult have been the go out, get around sort such as cycling, cross country skeeing, kyacking, rock climbing, swimming etc, and even then, i do them more for the experience and the journey than to try and beat other people.

Of course there is the other! fact about sports and touch which also applies to stage performances, that people engage in such activities naturally! show a lot of physical affection, but that depends very much on the dynamics of the group and couldn't be something you could be assured of, plus of course from what I've seen of sports teams inferiority or actual bullying is a real risk.

If something physical I was thinking more something personal like Yoga or Tai chi.

As to the massage end, I've heard that about chiropractors, indeed since my mum is a physio she's fairly familiar with a lot of that sort of thing. Again though having to lie down and basically submit to the ministrations of someone would just feel far too wrong to me.

the closest I've got to this is with my singing teacher who, because singing is itself a very physical and muscular activity, will quite freely show me exercizes or explain her points with reference to my actual body, for example asking me to pull in my diafragm then push out while she places a hand against my lower sternum.

Being the professional she is though, my teacher picked up my tactile defensiveness very quickly and got into the habbit of asking my permission first. The fact that she is also distinctly not a young lady helps as well, as does the fact I know her to be amazingly honest and straight forward as well as being a frighteningly professional teacher.

All this however does pay off. Last night at my rehearsla, not only did the staging actually involve a lot of physicality (at one point myself and one of the other principle characters have to literally lift up the principle girl to shoulder hight), but afterwards two girls separately gave me spontanius hugs, which is quite unheard of, and I didn't instantly panic as I would've done two or three years ago, so something is obviously working right somewhere.

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#426610 - 02/26/13 09:26 PM Re: Touch [Re: Still Around]
LazyPirate Offline


Registered: 01/03/13
Posts: 106
Loc: Ontario
I tried wrestling in high school & found it very unsettling. The thought of being entangled with another male was bad enough for me, but when I actually did it, it was too much. I have come a long way, though... With now having a male Chiropractor. I found that I never had an issue with touching by females, although I must admit that when in the MOST intimate of situations I sometimes have fear... & that is with my wife. I'm by no means cured/rehabed completely.
_________________________
The Bluebird of Happiness long absent from his life, Ned is visited by the Chicken of Depression. - Gary Larson

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