I’ve been thinking about this recently, and I’m convinced that this is one area of life that I’m just never going to be normal about. I know that a touch is a very powerful, emotional connection. I touch and am touched by my wife all the time, for that very reason. I also know, in theory, that it’s truly a powerful connection even outside of a romantic setting. A comforting hug, a pat on the back, an empathetic touch of the arm, etc. is a much more affective way to communicate with someone in any circumstance.
But, for me, the act of touching someone, or being touched by someone is completely messed up. I consider myself normal in two situations. I love sharing a touch with my wife, and I’m not really comfortable with people I don’t know very well touching me. I don’t think those are unique to me, or in any way tied to being a survivor. But it’s the in-between situations that are a mess for me. I cringe at the touch of any male, and while I don’t cringe at the touch of any female who I’m friends with, it makes me feel somewhat uncomfortable, as if it was somehow inappropriate for them to touch me, even though I know, logically, that it really isn’t. Of course, I take that same level of uncomfort into touching people as well. There have been numerous times when I’ve really struggled to be a source of support to someone, to find the right words to say, when an empathetic touch could have communicated what I didn’t have words to say. I couldn’t find it within me to do that, though.
And here, we’re not talking about truly inappropriate touching either, we’re talking about the kinds of touching that people have been doing to their friends and loved one’s for centuries. I can’t seem to bring my logical thoughts on the subject to match the realities of what a touch makes me feel. I’m saddened by that.
I can’t help but feel like I’m missing something. Moreover, I can’t help but feel like I should get over this and see a simple touch as just that, simple. But a touch is never simple to a sexual abuse survivor, is it?