Posted by: Marie | January 11, 2012

(619) Healthy touch

Post #619
[Private journal entry written on Wednesday, May 11, 2011]

A couple of weeks ago, I asked Edward if we could reschedule my summer therapy sessions from Wednesdays to either Mondays or Fridays. My students favor Wednesdays during the summer because it is the day furthest from the weekend. I always block out about four hours for my session – time for the session and travel time (30 minutes each way) and time to recuperate emotionally after the fact. Having the therapy sessions on Wednesday was really creating a schedule conflict for me.

Edward was very willing to do that, but he didn’t have any one Monday or Friday spot that was available on a regular basis. So, we piecemealed together an irregular schedule. Two of the sessions (next week’s and the week after) were only a few days apart – and I prefer to space them two weeks apart in the summer. But, we couldn’t make that happen with the irregular schedule.

Photo by Martin Chen

Edward had made a note that I had requested next week’s session moved up to this week if a spot opened up. His assistant called me today and told me there had been a last-minute cancellation. She asked if I was available tomorrow morning . . . which would move next week’s session up a week and would restore the every-other-week spacing I like. I jumped at the chance . . . so, I have a session tomorrow.

—–

I’ve been getting my summer teaching schedule established. I had planned on about a 50% load over the summer. However, enough students have signed up to continue over the summer that it looks like I’ll have about a 75% load. It would be nice to have the free time to work on some of my “to do” projects; however, having enough money to pay bills is even better.

—–

On Monday, the mom of my most advanced student called me “love” tonight as I left their house. That got me . . . it feels really nice to have clients who care for me that much. I guess the emotional connection I feel with my students goes both ways. That’s neat.

—–

Yesterday morning – very early – I woke up thinking about touch. I’ve been thinking a lot about touch now that touch has become an option within therapy – now that hugging my therapist has become a reality.

I have often wondered why I am so terrified about someone walking in when I’m teaching a young student and accusing me of doing something untoward. I know I never would hurt a child, but I am terrified of someone accusing me of that.

I have struggled many times before with trying to figure this out. I think it is because, as a kid, when I would say something about what happened, or try to act it out with my dolls, people (mostly adults) would respond in horror. I didn’t know I was doing something worthy of that horror, so I got very confused about why they were horrified.

Then, when I started wanting the attention of boys/men, men would either respond with disgust at my desperation or they would take advantage of it and then brush me off abruptly. This confused me because I had no concept of healthy touch . . . affirming touch was absent in our house. My dad couldn’t tolerate touch (was he sexually abused as a kid?) and he was afraid of touching us kids (maybe for the same reasons I am now afraid to touch?)

My mom would touch us . . . it is weird that, when I think about my mom touching me, I most clearly remember lying on my side with my head in her lap so she could clean the wax out of my ears. I guess that is the most comforting touch from her I can remember.

Once I left home, she would hug me when I came back to visit . . . because she missed me. But, before that, I don’t remember any other form of affectionate touch. I wonder if affirming touch was absent in her childhood home. Maybe the only touch she received was corporal punishment. I don’t know.

When guys wanted to touch me, I went along with it because I was so desperate for touch and because I had no concept of healthy boundaries. I thought it was a good thing to allow touch. It provided “feel good” short-term results, but it got negative long-term results. This always confused me.

The whole touch issue still confuses me. In my present life, I’ve just stopped allowing touch, especially within the context of dating. Well, I’ve stopped dating so there is no opportunity for touch within the context of dating. And, I shy away from touch in general. That is why hugging my therapist is a big deal to me.

I guess there is a lot more processing and healing to be done around touch. It feels overwhelming to me.


Responses

  1. I hope you have managed to get some healthy touch in your life. I know how scary it can be.

    • Hi, Evan –

      Yes . . . some of it through teaching, which is a safe place for that . . .

      – Marie

  2. i can’t even handle a hug from my therapist, that’s how freaked out i am about touch. when i finished my 4 month intensive group therapy, with a group of women i got to know very intimately, i shook hands with them at our good bye ceremony! everyone else was hugging, but shaking hands was as much as i could manage. i am glad you are starting to break down the barriers. i will keep reading with interest, c.

    • Hi, Catherine –

      Touch is really a strange part of healing . . . I find I want it so much yet it fills me with so much fear . . . but, when I allow it, it is healing . . . thanks for your interest!

      – Marie

  3. Appreciate you sharing on this. Gives me some things to think about.

    • Hi, JBR –

      You are very welcome! Thanks for reading!

      – Marie


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