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


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 355
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: 770
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)
_________________________
Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee. let me then tow to pieces, while still chasing thee, thou damned whale! Thus, I give up the spear!"
Herman Melville

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


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 355
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: 770
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
_________________________
Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee. let me then tow to pieces, while still chasing thee, thou damned whale! Thus, I give up the spear!"
Herman Melville

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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: 123
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


Registered: 04/10/14
Posts: 73
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: 355
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: 123
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: 263
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: 738
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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