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#465454 - 05/18/14 08:39 AM being touched
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 401
Loc: NY

When I was 9 years old, I remember coming home from school one days and telling my mother about something that really bothered me.

Every time someone brushed against me or touched me, I had to scratch that part of me. It was kind of resetting of my ability to feel.

When I told my mother about it, she walked me over to the liquor cabinet and gave me a drink. Her thought was that I needed to calm down my nerves.

Overall it worked. When I returned to school the problem was no longer there. It never came back.

When I was in my twenties, I began to get very fearful of my mother's touch. One day I lashed out at her for holding me in a way that felt inappropriate. For the next three decades, we have had an ongoing anxiety about physical contact.

While I don't want to lay all of my problems on her, unfortunately the role of one's mother in life is central. From what I can guess, one of the people with whom I've had an anxious relationship with going back to childhood is mom.

For a long time, I have not been able to drink socially. It feels uncomfortable to let go at all. Now I begin to wonder if the day she gave me a drink to calm my nerves was also the day that I forgot how difficult it was to be touched by her at times.

When I say how difficult it was to be touched by her, I am also taking responsibility for the fact that I could never say no to her to her physical advances. I only developed the ability to firmly do that a couple of years ago.

I think the condition I'm mentioning to might be referred to as sensory defensiveness, which is part of a sensory processing disorder. The senses have to go through the nervous system and if they are not integrated, other issues develop.

The treatment that I have found helpful is one where I sit with weights on my lap. This calms down my nerves and helps begin a process of integrating.

Without doing this kind of work, I tend to "float". I feel somewhat out of my body and above the ground.

Remaining grounded, there is a deep grieving. I'm not sure what it is all about, but I'm trying to get used to letting go enough to learn.

Wondering if others have had some experience with this.

FB
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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#465475 - 05/18/14 08:00 PM Re: being touched [Re: focusedbody]
newground Offline
Chatroom Moderator
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 10/11/11
Posts: 879
Loc: michigan
hey FB
I have had issues with touch but it is different for me I just get a very negative feeling and sometimes I pull back to get away. I have always been hypervigilant and I think that is a part of the issue.there is a lot of risk in touch. also I feel at times very triggered by touch. even the touch of my wife has caused me to yell for her to "get the hell away from me" of course then I have to go back later and apologize and try to explain what happened when I really don't understand myself. I have practices allowing safe touch over the years and now I can do "bro hugs" or safe type grandma hugs but it has taken me a long time. I dont know if that helps but I thought I would offer it
hope it gets better
Jeff


Edited by newground (05/18/14 08:01 PM)
_________________________
Either I will find a way, or I will make one.
Philip Sidney

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#465481 - 05/18/14 10:00 PM Re: being touched [Re: focusedbody]
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 401
Loc: NY
Hey, Newground.

Thanks for your reply. Glad to hear of your progress with this.

Would you be willing to share a couple of those safe touch practices? It would help me envision a way to handle my own hypervigilance sooner than later.

FB
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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#465555 - 05/20/14 09:13 PM Re: being touched [Re: focusedbody]
newground Offline
Chatroom Moderator
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 10/11/11
Posts: 879
Loc: michigan
hi FB
what I have learned to do is step forward as a person leans in to hug me. this way if I need to pull back I have leverage. I have learned that some people are more inclined to be close I find that in church a lot also if it is someone I don't WANT to hug I do the double handshake. so you just take their hand and then put your other hand over top of that one and kinda press its like a hand hug lol I think that the main thing is to get in YOUR head and figure out how you are comfortable starting. it might work to begin if you have someone you can be comfortable hugging to practice it
I hope that helps some man
just remember you are not alone
Jeff
_________________________
Either I will find a way, or I will make one.
Philip Sidney

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#465874 - 05/27/14 09:40 PM Re: being touched [Re: focusedbody]
gaatt Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 124
Hi FB,

Originally Posted By: focusedbody

When I say how difficult it was to be touched by her, I am also taking responsibility for the fact that I could never say no to her to her physical advances. I only developed the ability to firmly do that a couple of years ago.


I have had roughly similar experiences to your own. I've had a great deal of trouble in many social situations with women who show more affection than I'm completely comfortable with (one way this happens is to have hugs imposed on me in ways that I have found very difficult to say "no" to). In the end, I dealt with this by leaving the social situation completely. Fortunately a better one is now appearing after a long period of isolation.

I would say that my overall pattern though is touch deprivation and disempowerment. My family of birth wasn't into touch much at all so the sensation of being loved was weak. I was more aware of the unexpressed emotional turmoil (anger, jealousy) going on around me and the taboo (for me) against expression of any anger at all. My later efforts to date women who were strongly attractive to me were highly disapproved mostly by my mother. Saying "No" to the culture I grew up in has been a major change that I am just now getting stronger in doing. The culture of my youth was sick sexually, politically and emotionally. It was also sick spiritually. Saying "yes" to health is a big change for me.

I've talked with my mother about my need for loving touch and she flatly refuses for reasons that aren't particularly clear to me. She is, however, quite generous financially so I can afford to hire a Cranio-sacral therapist. This approach to healing and Quantum Touch have been particularly helpful to me. I also find that paying attention to my body's sensations and making efforts to discover what it needs (so that I can fulfill that need and hence love my body) has been helpful to me. Really focussing on loving myself has been a major reversal in my thinking in the last year. It's reflecting a deep change in my spiritual understanding: How can I love anyone if I can't love myself? How can I love anyone through sexual intimacy if I can't love myself? So loving my body and my mind while paying attention to their signals and meeting their needs as much as possible is becoming a much stronger theme in my healing journey.

I hope this helps.

Cheers,

GAATT


Edited by gaatt (05/27/14 09:45 PM)
_________________________
"Love yourself and watch...Today, Tomorrow, Always." Buddha.

My Story: http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=468661#Post468661

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#466090 - 06/01/14 02:14 PM Re: being touched [Re: focusedbody]
Nothing Man Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/10/14
Posts: 408
Loc: Ohio
Hi FB

I too am uncomfortable being touched, unless I initiate the contact. It makes life interesting when my wife touches me, whether it is sexual in nature or not. The woman who gave birth to me also sexually abused me over several years, and it (combined with the abuse from others) has made me skittish around people in general. Fortunately, the woman who gave birth to me about 15 years ago so at least I do not have to deal with her anymore -- and I also do not have to worry about her having any kind of contact with my kids.

My therapist suggests deep breathing exercises to calm me down. It has evolved to the point where if I know it is coming, the touch from my wife does not startle me so much. However, I still hate to be touched by co-workers or strangers.

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#466203 - 06/04/14 10:20 PM Re: being touched [Re: focusedbody]
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 401
Loc: NY
Gaatt:

Including oneself in the idea of love seems powerful. What there is to share comes from oneself after all.

Nothing Man:

Yes, breathing exercises are really the best thing for getting calmed down.

Sometimes I wish I had more ways to address the vigilance, but this kind of thing is difficult to go at directly. I suppose that finding ways to more safely experience life and intimacy involves a little loosening of the reins of fear.

It's strange that I have so many good memories of being touched, but that once the more difficult memories emerged, I had to question things a little more. This is a new learning process that engages heart, mind and body with more earnestness than I ever remember having. I'm hoping this is another thing I can get used to.

Thanks for your replies!

FB
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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#466402 - 06/09/14 01:40 PM Re: being touched [Re: focusedbody]
gaatt Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 124
Originally Posted By: focusedbody

Including oneself in the idea of love seems powerful. What there is to share comes from oneself after all.


Thanks FB. Yes, I get the sense that looking outside for love is what gets me into trouble. Invariably, I'm either frustrated by the response or in some way used by it. Recently, I've started a mantra practice that helps me generate the energy of "I am Love" within my body. It's a sanskrit mantra: Aham Prema. It seems to be helping.

Cheers,

GAATT
_________________________
"Love yourself and watch...Today, Tomorrow, Always." Buddha.

My Story: http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=468661#Post468661

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#469022 - 08/16/14 02:44 PM Re: being touched [Re: focusedbody]
learning2remember Offline
Member

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 294
Loc: Europe
I'm not sure how I received touch before I started to recognise my childhoood abuse for what it was. I think I was ok. I know I was able generally to receive touch from my wife. When I started to deal with things, though, that got harder. I think for most of my life I probably tensed up without realising it when I was touched. Now I'm wishing I could be more normal about it. It is sometimes hard in bed, and then I get self-conscious about it. My wife says I "freak out" whenever I am touched. I don't think that way, but who am I to judge.
_________________________
"This is not my shame, this is their shame." Mona Eltahawy

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#469029 - 08/16/14 04:24 PM Re: being touched [Re: focusedbody]
don64 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 900
Loc: St. Croix, USVI
Hi FB and everyone,

I was in a bio-energetics workshop when I was 20 or 21. In a bathing suit, I bent backwards over a high stool and began saying No, repeatedly, getting louder each time. At a certain point, I couldn't continue any longer and lay down on a cot. My two therapists, man and woman, held me, and the woman was softly stroking my head. I screamed "O my God! My mother has always told me she loves me, but has never been willing to touch me!"

I've felt, over the years, that touch hurts. It's not painful physically, but there is a sense that psychically it burns. I now know, at age 65, that my mother hates to touch and to be touched, but was sexual with me very young, and made it clear at times over the years that she would enjoy being sexual with me again. I freaked whenever her covert signals were given, and also freaked out when she put her hand on my leg much too close to my crotch, but sufficiently dissociated to keep myself from either killing her or run screaming from the room. Her early terror conditioning remained strong.

I guess what I want to say is I have no clue what touch means to me, or how I may react to it if touch comes into my life again. Being touched meant sex, and there was NOTHING pleasant about those experiences. The emotional material of the specifics are still locked away. I am so much more conscious than I have ever been. If physical intimacy is ever in my life again, it will have to be with someone who is verbal, because I will have to be able to talk about my feelings. Talk about them so my history does not determine my present.

Once trust is broken, it somehow feels like I have to find trust in myself before I can embrace sharing my trust with another. It feels like that is happening with me, but this topic is sensitizing me to the likelihood that I will have issues if another man is ever interested in getting to know me better.

Love and good will to all of us who have had trust broken.

Don


Edited by don64 (08/16/14 04:28 PM)
_________________________
Divine Law is not judgment or denial of self truths. Divine Law is honoring harmony that comes from a peaceful mind, an open heart, a true tongue, a light step, a forgiving nature, and a love of all living creatures. Jamie Sams & David Carson, Medicine Cards

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#469135 - 08/19/14 09:53 PM Re: being touched [Re: focusedbody]
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 401
Loc: NY
Thanks everyone, for your responses.

Recently I came across something in a book recommended on this site, Sexual Anorexia.

One of the definitions of healthy sexuality in a family is the distinguishing between different kinds of contact: nurturing, affection, and erotic.

For those of us who got an unconscious mix, it may be helpful to go through a process of understanding and feeling the difference.

This reminds me of the years I spent teaching young children. At the time I was probably in pursuit of distinguishing between nurturing and affection.

Erotic contact, on the other hand, often lacked some conscious resonance for me. Perhaps because it got thrown in with other kinds of contact. That may be one reason why I always got the signals confused.

Peace, kindness, and hope.

FB
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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#469172 - 08/20/14 12:37 PM Re: being touched [Re: don64]
gaatt Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 124
Hi Don,
Originally Posted By: don64
mother has always told me she loves me, but has never been willing to touch me!"
Same here. She also told me that no-one would be good enough for me, which effectively made it much harder for me to find the kind of intimacy in which I do well.
Originally Posted By: don64
If physical intimacy is ever in my life again, it will have to be with someone who is verbal, because I will have to be able to talk about my feelings. Talk about them so my history does not determine my present.
I've found this too. I've bailed from three "healing touch" practice groups because effective communication was lacking. I've also bailed from 4 men's groups and a healing circle for similar reasons (men's groups had no interest in healing touch, healing circle wasn't really interested either). Currently I'm looking into the asexual community. Hopefully things will work better there.

Cheers,

"GAATT"
_________________________
"Love yourself and watch...Today, Tomorrow, Always." Buddha.

My Story: http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=468661#Post468661

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#469246 - 08/22/14 01:58 AM Re: being touched [Re: focusedbody]
learning2remember Offline
Member

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 294
Loc: Europe
I'm sure my mother would insist that her touching me was only affectionate, nothing erotic involved. I never questioned that for years. Then, as an adult, I realised that I had been uncomfortable with her touches. It was also true once that I saw a couple on a train, and the woman was "affectionately" touching her boyfriend/husband. There was nothing inappropriate about it, other than she seemed like she couldn't keep her hands off him and there were in public, but what I mean is they were fully clothed and she wasn't touching him between the legs. But something about the way she stroked his shoulders, his side, and had her hand on his hip...all of this reminded me of the way Mom touched me. Also there is a larger picture (Mom sometimes watching me get dressed, Mom giving me pornography, asking about my sexual experiences, etc.) that help me see her touchign in a different way. I'm not as receptive to my wife's touch as I wish I were. I'm ok if she lays her hand on me; it's if she starts stroking that I'll just take her hand off of me and increase the distance. This is a natural reflex for me, and it took some time to realise she found this hurtful.

I found an illustration in a book once, and I really wish I'd bought the book at the time. It was about how comfortable men and women are about being touched in certain places. IT was based on some kind of research, and it broke the body into different sections: shoulders, torso, thighs, upper arm, lower arm, calf, etc. (I think it was that segmented.) The interesting thing was that there were some real differences, and, if I remember right, guys were much more averse/triggered/whatever to being touched on the torso and hips and maybe even thigh. (I think there was also something about who did the touchting: parent, spouse, male or female friend.) Anyway, when I saw it I was interested that there were real differences between teh genders, and that my own preferences fit the male pattern.

Anyway, I'm not great about being touched.
_________________________
"This is not my shame, this is their shame." Mona Eltahawy

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#469336 - 08/25/14 12:40 AM Re: being touched [Re: focusedbody]
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 401
Loc: NY
Learning2remember:

The issue here seems to be about the state of the person doing the touching. When someone I know is not fully present, but acting on an impulse that doesn't involve me or recognize me, that is when I feel something going wrong.

When I look all the way back to my childhood, I consider the fact that some of the physical contact in my family may have started to have an unspoken amount of anxiety involved. When I experienced that in my family, it's possible that I then transferred that to what was happening one day at school.

What seems important here is working towards some repair and healing. For me, I think I have been looking for moments when touching might feel safer for me. There is some risk involved in remaining open to this, but with awareness, I can work through the feelings.

It also seems important to focus on the question of what touch is communicating. Like anything else, one would hope that there was a feeling and conscious acknowledgment that communication is two-way. Even the one touching must have some concern about the experience of the other person. This would hopefully be true for both men and women. Both people must be present enough to share the experience with a sense of trust, even if new feelings are being explored.

It can be difficult to separate out the difference between a wife and mother in this regard. In any case, I wish you the best in your process of considering the subject.

FB
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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#469349 - 08/25/14 04:27 PM Re: being touched [Re: focusedbody]
gaatt Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 124
Hi Focused and Learning2Remember,
Originally Posted By: focusedbody
When I look all the way back to my childhood, I consider the fact that some of the physical contact in my family may have started to have an unspoken amount of anxiety involved.

This is very likely in my case too. There was little attention placed on the emotional, sexual and political aspects of relating in my youth. My mother's emotional world was going through hell when I was born and she undoubtedly experienced male touch as being sexually charged.

Originally Posted By: focusedbody
It also seems important to focus on the question of what touch is communicating. Like anything else, one would hope that there was a feeling and conscious acknowledgment that communication is two-way.

The only approach to healing touch that I've come across that seems to address this issue in a satisfactory way with non-paid partners is Quantum Touch (see:http://www.quantumtouch.com/) . The "recipient" in this model is very much in charge and is the primary driver as the "healer". It is often done sitting or standing which empowers the person on whom the treatment is focussed. The intention of the method is to support a high quality level of Love.

An infant can't take charge or communicate much to adults. It takes very sensitive (and well supported) adults to understand the touch needs of a newborn.

Thanks for writing about this important aspect of relating. I've found it very challenging to secure safe non-sexual touch. Men, in my experience, typically are very averse to touching other men at all (with the exception of punches to the shoulders, hand shakes, and perhaps a hug). Women can be challenging for me in other ways. They tend to stir up feelings of sexual attraction in me and relate to me in ways where my feelings aren't welcome.

I hope this is helpful.

Cheers,

"GAATT"


Edited by gaatt (08/26/14 01:42 PM)
_________________________
"Love yourself and watch...Today, Tomorrow, Always." Buddha.

My Story: http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=468661#Post468661

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#469362 - 08/26/14 05:43 AM Re: being touched [Re: focusedbody]
learning2remember Offline
Member

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 294
Loc: Europe
It helps me that we are talking about this. It is hard to pinpoint, but I think Mom touched me in ways that focussed on my masculinity, sort of stroking my shoulder rather than just patting my back. There was something about the way she touched my legs. (which she also commented on.)

I'm sort of thinking these things started when I got as tall as or taller than her.

It could be that with a different mother and son, where everything else was normal, some of these things would be ok. BUt in my case it is part of a bigger picture.
_________________________
"This is not my shame, this is their shame." Mona Eltahawy

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#469376 - 08/26/14 01:51 PM Re: being touched [Re: learning2remember]
gaatt Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 124

Hi Learning2Remember,

Originally Posted By: learning2remember
It could be that with a different mother and son, where everything else was normal, some of these things would be ok. BUt in my case it is part of a bigger picture.

I haven't identified much of anything in my mother's touch that was inappropriate other than she currently is unable to provide me with loving non-sexual touch at all. I'm not sure it's so easy to see. An infant needs loving touch. I'm pretty clear that that didn't happen in my very early youth. I once did a hypnosis session in which the practitioner asked me to visualize my mother's energy. I was terrified of what I saw! The energy in her lower body (1st and second chakras) was horrible! I'm sure that an infant would pick up on that and feel it, regardless of how he was outwardly touched.

I hope this helps as you explore your own history of touch.

Sincerely,

"GAATT"
_________________________
"Love yourself and watch...Today, Tomorrow, Always." Buddha.

My Story: http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=468661#Post468661

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#469427 - 08/27/14 06:47 PM Re: being touched [Re: focusedbody]
learning2remember Offline
Member

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 294
Loc: Europe
Thanks for the thoughts.
_________________________
"This is not my shame, this is their shame." Mona Eltahawy

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#469508 - 08/30/14 10:19 AM Re: being touched [Re: focusedbody]
learning2remember Offline
Member

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 294
Loc: Europe
It happened again. We were at the movies with my family, and innocently enough my wife just placed her hand on her leg above my knee. I really hated how that felt. I know there was no "pain." It was harmless, but it felt terrible. I've learned not to take her hand off when that happens. There was a time when I did that, and I still hear, "You freak out whenever I touch you" and "I know you hate to be touched" (Not true...is it?) So I let it stay there, sort of gritting my teeth. I see it as progress that I could put up with it, but I wish this wasn't so difficult. And, yes, it's Mom's fault. VERY her fault.
_________________________
"This is not my shame, this is their shame." Mona Eltahawy

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#469537 - 08/31/14 08:17 AM Re: being touched [Re: focusedbody]
newground Offline
Chatroom Moderator
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 10/11/11
Posts: 879
Loc: michigan
sometimes when that happens and the touch is uncomfortable, I just take my wifes hand off and then just hold her hand. she likes that and it gets stares and even comments sometimes because its so "cute" but in the mean time I can not crawl out of my skin.
I don't know if that might help man, but its worth a try
_________________________
Either I will find a way, or I will make one.
Philip Sidney

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