Appropriate touch

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Appropriate touch
7
Tue, 07-08-2003 - 10:18pm
Input please.

I have a serious issue with touching. In my heart/mind all touched places (toes, ears, knees) lead to the other places, therefore all body parts are off limits to anyone but hubby. Even a hand on the back of my wrist causes discomfort. I know this is not truth, but I still feel this way. It causes me problems because I have a hard time hugging my kids (I do and always have hugged them, but it is forced on my side and I'm sure they know this - they know why too.) I would like to dismantle this wall. I don't want this wall between me and my grandson. He is a very affectionate little boy and I am finding I have concerns about how I'm touching him. Kisses anywhere but on top of the head feel awkward. Scratching his back, I'm okay with. Playing piggies with toes is okay. Patting his knee is not. Even changing his diaper causes discomfort for me. How to clean his dirty diaper up without touching private parts. Okay, I know this is silly, but, really, does anyone else deal with such angst over what looks so simple for everyone else?

Bear in mind I would never, ever in a million years do anything inappropriate to ANY child, I just seem to have a very long list of inappropriates that I would like to examine.

Deb

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-2003
In reply to: memedeb
Wed, 07-09-2003 - 5:37pm
Deb,

I never thought for a minute that you would touch anyone inappropriately. I can understand where your fears come from, though. I think your worry about touching your grandson is there out of a desire to protect him from what you went through. It's good that your children understand why hugging is difficult for you.

As far as breaking that wall down, I don't know. My answer to everything these days is therapy! Maybe setting little challenges for yourself, like kissing your grandson on the cheek as well as on the top of the head until it feels comfortable. As for the diaper changing, I'm sure that intellectually you know that cleaning him there is not inappropriate, but if it causes you a lot of anxiety maybe it would be a good idea to have your husband be in charge of changing him when he's staying with you. I do remember feeling a little uncomfortable about changing my son when he was a baby. I didn't know why back then.

I'm sorry I don't have more to offer. I think you sound like a wonderful, loving grandmother. Love, Heidi

HeidiRose

co-cl, Sexual Abuse Healing Board

Avatar for opal45
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-15-2003
In reply to: memedeb
Thu, 07-10-2003 - 8:33am
Hi Deb,

I think what you've described is extremely normal for abuse victims. And I agree with cl-breakingfree, I don't have one shred of fear that your grandson or any child is in danger with you.

Ya know, I was thinking about something. I know you're in therapy but I was just curious if your therapist specializes in childhood sexual abuse. I don't know you're situation but if she isn't then you may find tremendous value from moving to someone who truly specializes in abuse. It's just that I hear from your posts such a deep desire to heal and it would be great to find a therapist who could match your desire with their own expertise.

Oh, btw, how's the inner child work going for you? What's been your experience with it? I'm a huge fan so I like to know how other people feel about it.

**gentle hugs**

Gail

**gentle hugs**

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
In reply to: memedeb
Thu, 07-10-2003 - 8:48pm
It's a big help to me just to have a response to my ramblings. So often I think I'm the only person that thinks "strange things", even though the "strange things" I think are apparently pretty logical considering. Plus I get to see that people all over the world think some of the same "strange things" I do. Just an "I hear you" is a major good thing as far as I'm concerned.

I don't think my therapist specializes in childhood sexual abuse, she has mentioned before that that's not a specialty, but she's my fourth mental health professional person and the first I've felt comfortable with and able to share some of "strange things" with - in person anyways. And I may be wrong about that - the specialty part - but I think I'll ask next time. My first several years in therapy were spent on PTSD and anxiety. Even in my women's group I would find myself talking about something and realizing that no one understood, and shutting up. The other women in my group had not had early childhood abuse issues, except for one lady, and she frightened me, sometimes. Even now, I don't understand hatred of other people. Hatred and anger seem to be what makes things bad.

I'm just now feeling strong enough to try to "work on" my "inner child". I'm drawn to the work, I just don't understand. I have a book to read with questions to write about, a therapist to ask questions to and no clue what questions to ask her. I read alittle, write a little, space out a while, look at the book a while and think I need to do more, then don't. I read through the part about infanthood. Didn't do a thing for me. I guess either nothing there or it's more painful than I can do right now. Started the toddlerhood, find lots of strange feelings and thoughts. Don't really have the right words to describe. Probably a combination of having my toddler grandson and working on my own toddler "stuff" Having strange kid dreams, my adult self caring for a little kid while a whole room full of kids went out of control was the last one. I guess it's a good sign I'm caring for the little kid. But, I feel very self absorbed. In reading the book and writing about the questions, that's almost all there is right now. That and writing about the questions here, but I feel bad because I don't know what to say to help anyone else out, here. I feel like when I try to respond to someone elses ramblings, it probably is not a good thing. Even though a response, an acknowledgemnt of being heard make me feel better, I don't think a response from me would be a good thing. Does any of this last make sense??

Deb

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-2003
In reply to: memedeb
Thu, 07-10-2003 - 11:21pm
Hi Deb,

What you said makes perfect sense. Often I feel at a loss for what to say to someone else's pain. I do think that you have a lot to offer, though, so please don't feel like you can't respond to others' posts. I think a lot of us here probably feel that way at various times, and sometimes we're so burdened down by what we're dealing with that we don't feel like we have anything to give others.

I have had times where I've felt like I'm being self-absorbed, particularly with my family, because my recovery work takes everything out of me at times. There are days that I don't have much to show for myself, because some days are just being able to survive and make sense of my feelings.

Don't be afraid to talk more! Hugs, Heidi

HeidiRose

co-cl, Sexual Abuse Healing Board

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2003
In reply to: memedeb
Fri, 07-11-2003 - 12:25am
Here's an idea I think will help--I think that this is a perfect opportunity to practice positive self talk. I think that so many times when I have adverse, unwanted kinds of reactions to things it's because of an old tape playing in my mind. I don't always even hear the old tape, but I still know it's there. Perhaps physical contact with kids gets one of your old tapes playing--maybe something like "This is dangerous." If that's the case, maybe something you could do is to dub a new tape the next time you're changing a diaper or giving a hug. Say something in your mind like, "This is not dangerous. I'm a loving grandmother taking good care of my grandchild so that he is healthy and loved." Or whatever new tape would work for you. You get the idea.

I find this technique to be very effective, especially if I repeat it often enough! I practice this with my compulsive eating/dieting stuff. What I crave are things that aren't good for me. But as I am preparing a vegie soup or a salad for myself, instead of thinking what a pain in the butt it is to do all that food prep, I tell myself that I'm taking good care of my body. I find that when I practice this, I take care of my body in other ways, too. It's like the good tapes just take over if I play them often enough. :o}

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-28-2003
In reply to: memedeb
Fri, 07-11-2003 - 8:52am
Oh yes Deb, you make perfect sence to me. I'm a very new "newbie" and I wanted you to know how much I related to you thoughts. I to think I will have nothing to offer others,or what I do say may be "wrong". I can't believe how much I relate to just the few posts I've read. it's really blowing my mind.And I thought what happened to me wasn't such a big deal! I guess it was much more important than I thought. Please keep posting Deb, so will I.

Hugs, Patti

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
In reply to: memedeb
Fri, 07-11-2003 - 7:10pm
I also agree with or really, really understand exactly what a lot of the posts I read here are talking about. It helps me to feel beter that there are other people in the world that feel the same ways I do, even though I don't personally know any of them. Not in my daily life anyways.

I think what I like about this board is --- the questions. Thank you CL for that. I think putting my thoughts out there for all to see is being healing. I think having input and questions about my thoughts is being healing. I think seeing the similarities between my thoughts and those of others is being healing. I also didn't think about what had happened as being a big deal. Everybody has a challenge in their life, so this is mine. I feel bad about not weathering it as well as I think I should. Knowing that should is a bad word, too.

Anyways. Thanks for responding and I look forward to reading more.

Deb