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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Support Groups » How can I overcome my fear of affection?

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Author Topic: How can I overcome my fear of affection?
Dice
Neophyte
Member # 44951

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First off I'd like to say I'm very horrible with forums and usually post one thing, never read the responses and forget. Hopefully that won't be the case this time.

I'm also new.

Anyway I've always had this unimaginable fear of being touched by anyone. Let's see how I can explain this properly...

When I first went into middle school I was into the jeans, the purses, everything girly. For some reason the one comment my first friend made who was a boy said, "You shouldn't have a purse, it isn't you." has stuck with me for my entire life and ever since that moment I rebel anything girly. I'm extremely anti-girly unless the situation absolutely calls for it for some reason. I wear baggy cargos, I wear sweaters, I do what I want, wear whats comfortable. I play video games, I do all that. I mainly had guy friends growing up in middle school, a giant group of them. I was just like one of the guys and I felt so at home. When I got to high school I acted the same, still had my old guy friends but my group eventually got larger and had more girls in it than ever. Now my girl friends would hug. A lot. They would give greeting and ending hugs and I would be completely frightened of those moments. I would flinch or try to get away from one and say I had to go, jokingly of course.

Then that first friend who had given me that one comment had asked me to be his girlfriend in, I believe it was freshman year of highschool. I was told he liked me for 3 years. Well this was a shock because he asked me in person, and I did not have time to think. I thought I had liked him at the time so I just quickly said yes because he looked shy, nervous and was avoiding eye contact and I didn't want to see him suffer. After that we went to visit our middle school teacher as usual on those days and just continued as normal. The next day at school he attempted to hold me from behind while we were sitting on a bench, you know, like all couples do I guess. Well I felt really awkward, like I was in a cage. I tolerated it because it was normal I suppose. Then at lunch he tried to do the same. Instead of tolerating it fled as soon as I could and went to hang with my girl friends at the time. Everyday he would get disappointed and I could not handle it. Immediately I called off the relationship but he was very persistent and still tried to show his affection. Then a year passed and he finally moved on.

During my high school years I was also comfortable with touching my girl friends. Not in the perverted way but just like, poking, tickling, grabbing whatever. I didn't mind if they did to do, sometimes they would grope the wrong item and I would flee, but it wasn't as bad as when a guy would touch me, even just poking. I managed to poke my guy friend in the stomach once, it was like an epic battle I had won but it still felt weird.

Sophomore year I made more guy friends and we hung out and played MMORPG's all day, which was fun because I would beat them at the game they showed me how to play. I hung out with my girl friends during the morning and I hung out with my guy friends during the lunch break. The girl friends still hugged me and I eventually grew used to it and sucked it up. But even though I got used to receiving hugs, I can't, even now, feel comfortable giving hugs. It's not that I'm heartless I just can't do it, it seems to impossible and feels so uncomfortable.

Now I also had another boyfriend but he was more understanding, he would accept my fears and leave me be. We'd hang out like best friends, do all that kind of fun stuff. Then once he asked to hold hands while watching a movie and I said sure and we held hands. I can't tell you how uncomfortable that felt, my god. I was ticking away the seconds to when it would end. It's not that I didn't love him, I loved him dearly but I couldn't handle the affection/touching. As we were holding hands my father had called and for once I felt extremely relieved to answer it, even though I really dislike my father and that is a whole other story. I also had to break that relationship off but for other reasons.

I dream so much to snuggle against someone but I know in reality I can't ever do that. Now I have my best friend again, who I can tell at the very least likes me, if not loves me. He gives hints every time he can and I'm just reluctant to say anything back I just smile and enjoy it. I'm mostly scared I'll disappoint him, I can't even hug my own mother, I managed to once when she lost her job it really seemed fitting and I wanted to cheer her up anyway I would, let alone hold hands with someone I love.

I'm wondering if there's anything I can do. I mean I want to in my mind to even hold hands with someone but my problem is I get so nervous, so anxious and uncomfortable. I'm wondering if this also has something to do with how my father raised me, I'm not sure. If someone thinks that matters I'll add that story as well.

If anyone can help me figure this monster out I'd much appreciate it.

And by the way, I'm 18 now and in college.

Posts: 5 | From: California | Registered: Dec 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
orca
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 33665

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Hi Dice. I'm sorry to hear this has been so difficult for you, but I'm glad you decided to come here and open up about it. I saw your post in the Venting Room thread, and from it I gather your home environment isn't the best (to say the least). Do you feel safe there? You mentioned here that there's some complications with your dad. Would it be possible for you to move out or live elsewhere? From all you've written, it sounds like a rather toxic environment, and I'm wondering if you might be happier/feel better about yourself and more comfortable around others if you were living somewhere that felt safer and more supportive.

I ask about your father because you mentioned history there, both here and in that other thread, and because the way we're brought up and the experiences we have early on can shape a lot of who we are. So since you're having trouble now with intimacy and physical contact, it might be good to talk about your past a bit and see how that fear came about. Do you feel comfortable talking about that? Obviously you don't have to write anything you don't want to.

Another thing that might be beneficial to you is talking with a counselor about your fear of physical contact. You said you're in college, so your school likely has counselors you can see for free on campus. I know the winter break is coming up, but they may still be able to fit you in their schedule before school lets out, or at least see you in January when school starts up again. Would you be interested in doing that?

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Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.--Monty Python and the Holy Grail

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Dice
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I plan to move out as soon as possible. My only problem is money (which when I get a job, my mom will help pay) and finding an apartment that is chow-mix friendly. So far, I've found no apartments that accept that breed of dog even though he's the sweetest thing in the world.

I don't really mind living here it's just the constant stress that gets to me. I've been having headaches everyday, but then again it has been finals lately. I'm usually an extremely happy person because I have my friends, I just get dragged down when I get home, but usually I'm in my room and chatting with my friend over ventrilo so I have human contact to keep me going. I also have my homework to do, it really takes my minds off things.

I've been to counselors before, usually school provided and I honestly don't like them. I like tackling my problems usually without real-world help. I mean, like, face to face help. It bothers me for some reason, I can't be open when it comes to that.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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With the previous counseling, had you asked about this issue specifically? And seen someone besides a school counselor?

I ask because given the depth of this, it really sounds to me like this is just not something you're likely to be able to work through without qualified, in-person help. I know you say that's hard for you, but I also feel like getting over THAT hump will not only hep you get past this one, I just don't see how you can work through something like this without a professional doing a sound assessment of the situation to help you find out a) why this is an issue for you and b) how to work through it.

Can I also ask if this has always been an issue for you, even in childhood? By any chance are you perhaps also sensitive to sounds or tastes (especially loud or strong ones)? Any other social issues, like a tough time making eye contact?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dice
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Member # 44951

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The previous counseling was forced on me to ask why I wrote a certain poem in high school. I wrote it because everyone in the class were dumbasses and wouldn't let me learn. lol

Maybe I'll see one next quarter during school but lately finals week is way too stressing to waste any time at a counselor when I could be working on studying or finishing up projects, we'll see after the break. I'll probably feel better then.

Always been an issue since childhood. And I'm extremely sensitive to taste and sound as well. I'm very picky with my foods and I can taste the difference between different types of waters (everyone I've told that too thinks I'm crazy.) I also can't stand if anyone opens a bag of chips in class, I feel like punching their face in. Chewing bothers me too, lots of noises usually in quiet places bother the hell out of me. Usually depends on the time but sound is an issue too. I make eye-contact all the time though, I can't stand not making eye-contact.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I asked what I did because sometimes what you're describing is about certain types of autism, like Asperger's. have you ever talked in depth to even a general healthcare provider about how you feel about touch, but also about sounds and tastes, and other potentially related issues?

To be clear: this isn't something I am saying must be so, nor are we in the position to be able to diagnose anyone with anything. It's just one possibility that came to mind.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Dice
Neophyte
Member # 44951

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I've never talked to anyone about it except my friends. Most people just think I'm crazy or weird. It doesn't seem like that big of a deal.

Well, does it matter that my uncle (moms brother) has a form of down syndrome/autism?

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Well, that's not what we think. [Smile]

And autism (Down's is a different form of disability) does tend to run in families, yes.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Cian
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I'm sorry for butting in all of a sudden, but I could identify with a lot of things you wrote and I just wanted to holler that you're not the only one who feels weird about physical contact. For me, it mellowed out with age, but I must've been about 15 or so when I simply couldn't stand anyone touching me. It wasn't so bad if I initiated, say, a hug, but if someone attempted to hug me without my permission I'd feel hugely upset about it and try to get away from the situation. I felt like I should be in total charge of my body, and if I don't make it clear I want to touched, no one should touch me. I still feel I should be in charge of my body, but I don't take it as a personal attack should someone give me a hug. As long as they don't touch my hair, I hate when people do that, haha.

I just want to wish the best of luck to you in overcoming these fears. I'm afraid I have no marvellous cure, or even helpful tips to give, since my fear just slowly died out by itself.
But just so you know, you aren't the only one who feels this way.

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