Tuesday, May 23, 2017

I Want To Be Held But I Keep People Away

Being a trauma survivor of child sexual abuse, I struggle hard with being touched.  Like every human, I do crave touch.  Yet for me, touch is not easy.  After you've been violated in ways beyond imagination, touch is just not safe.

I want to be held but I keep people away.  Unfortunately, I'm my own worst enemy.  I beg for touch.  I long for it.  I long to be held.  Yet, I'm like "keep the heck away from me.  Don't come near me.  Don't touch me.  Don't get close."

Seems odd, doesn't it, to want both things.  I mean they compete with one another.  There's no way for people to support you and touch you while keeping them away at the same time.  I'm not talking about unsafe people or bad people or ones you don't trust.  I'm talking about those close intimate and personal people in your life.

I go through periods of time where I'm okay with touch and then I go through horrible moments where the pain of the past still haunts me and I want nothing to do with it.  I feel like I make progress and then some other memory tries to surface and get my attention, and the next thing I know - I've got the "Don't Touch" sign posted for all to see.

When I first met the love of my life, I was so scared to be touched.  In fact, a hug could often make me puke even though I trusted this person and felt safe with him.  You talk about making yourself feel lonely in life - this will surely do it.  We had to have rules that we could say, STOP at any moment and we would just stop.  It was the only way I began to get past it.

Is A Hug A Good Thing?

Sometimes people just automatically assume a hug is a good thing and they should just come up and hug others without asking permission.  In my case if you do that, you'd better hope it is a good day because you might invoke an automatic response from me that will be less than good for you.  People need to consider this instead of thinking that hugs and touch are good to all people at all times.

I find myself feeling lonely and like an outcast during these times, struggling to endure life.  Yet, I realize much of it is my own making, but I struggle to get past it.  I struggle to be touched.  The thing I need the most is the thing I most hate and fear.

I know my body was violated in horrible ways and for so much of my life, but that knowledge does nothing to quench the fear that bubbles up inside of me.  I become angry that some days, I just have so much difficulty in getting past this.


Yes, I've made it a long way in my recovery and probably went through more healing than anyone could have ever expected of me.  I know I have walked through so much, but things like this still take me under at times.  They hurt from the deepest layers.

More than likely, I'm not alone.  There's a good chance others experience this, but it just doesn't seem to be discussed.  Please feel free to share and leave a comment below if you struggle with this.  I'd love to hear your story.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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1 comment:

  1. You are not alone in this, and I am so grateful to you for sharing these things. I struggle with this almost every day. You express so eloquently... exactly how I feel. Some days I can feel safe with it, and others I subconsciously avoid anything that would bring any kind of intimacy, whether it is the closeness of a friend or the love of my partner. It can be equally confusing and frustrating for the person I love the most, as it affects him deeply. I hate it for so many reasons, because it leaves others feeling rejected, all I can do is continue to heal with this process, and hope that someday I can overcome this. It is probably the thing that affects most other areas of my life in varying degrees as it is so insidious. It took many years for me to even become aware of it, and now to admit it...Thank you for opening up the discussion...it is good to know we are not alone in the struggles we face as survivors.






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