I don’t like to be physically touched. There I said it out loud and admitted it. I hate to be touched. I don’t know why, it isn’t a painful thing, simply a quirky bit of my character. Could be the disease, but we blame so much on that sometimes it seems like a cop-out.
This can cause numerous problems, because most humans depend on the basic need of human touch. Did you know that babies who are not touched at birth (and I am talking at all) will die? They won’t die of starvation, nor of lack of breath. They can die because the human being needs the reassurance and the love of human touch.
I touched my babies often when they were very young. Running my hands through their hair, holding them, smiling at them, taking their hand, giving them hugs; and yet, part of me was almost pushing myself to do so. Not because I don’t love my children more than my own life, but because the act of touching, comforting, and giving of even a simple handshake simply isn’t comfortable for me. To this day, when my five-year old son wants to “snuggle” there is a small part of me that rebels. I usually silence that voice for the good of my child, but it is there.
My mother says that when I was a child this was the same. My mother would literally have to chase me down to get a hug from me. I didn’t snuggle on laps, I didn’t cuddle and read a book, I didn’t want to be held for long periods of time. While as a child I would talk to anyone, but I didn’t want to necessarily touch them. There is in fact “famous” pictures in my family of my mother’s hand touching me while others focused on me. I could stand my mother’s touch, but others were off-limits. It has been a quirk since birth.
For my husband, I imagine this causes some issues. The other night he came into bed, when I was already asleep, and touched me. He put his hand on me, and my immediate reaction was to wake. When asked what he was doing, he said snuggling. And it wasn’t until I was able to literally shove him off me (when he fell asleep) that I was able to sleep. Why is that? Why can’t I give comfort when someone needs it? Why is it that when others need something so basic as a moment of physical human connection I don’t want to do it? I bet you are wondering how I made two children…
For me, comfort does not come from touch. It comes from a place deeper than that, your heart and soul. It comes from understanding, and basic empathy. It comes from that ethereal place that everyone has, but does not often recognize. It comes from our ability to believe.
My therapist(s) never seem to understand the whole touching thing. In fact, the whole touching thing can bleed into other things. For instance, I don’t come home and share my day. Really who is interested in what I did today? What someone else said or did? For me, I simply forget it pretty much as soon as it happens and move on. But this one therapist decided that like my inability to handle the human touch, this was a problem. So she assigned me a task of coming home each night and “sharing” one aspect of my day to my husband. To this day, and I only did it for two weeks, I think my husband was simply waiting for his turn to talk and could have cared less what I was saying. Is this a symptom of the need to avoid touch?
The truth is, I am not anti-social. I sometimes avoid social situations, but when in them I can control and handle myself. The truth is, anyone who ever finds out that I hate to be touched always seems to feel bad that they have hugged me or been in any way kind to me. I certainly don’t feel that way. The truth is, like everything else you deal with things. Some people like to hug, some people like to snuggle; and some people need that human touch to survive. I am the same as everyone, I need love, I just don’t need the hug that goes with it.