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Tag Archives: touch

Friendships

It’s not that I don’t care about this blog. I do. This blog has healed me in a way that nothing else has. But I haven’t had much to say on this front. So I haven’t been saying anything. I don’t believe in blogging for the sake of blogging.

 

But something happened and I just want to get it out of me. Potential Trigger Warning:

 

A few weeks ago, at work, a “friend” sexually assaulted me. I only use friend in quotes because up until that moment I had thought he was my friend. We have known each other for almost two years.

 

We were close enough that he knew some things about my past that I talk about on this blog. He knows, for example, about one of the times that I was raped. He knows about my abusive childhood and some of my abusive previous relationships.

 

For a short time he and I had a physical relationship. Which he ended. And I was more than fine with that. He is seeing someone now.

 

So he came by to hang out with me at my at work. I was alone with him in my office building. I did not feel unsafe. He comes to visit me regularly. We’re friends.

 

Until he made a joke about being allowed to touch me wherever he wanted to due to our previous ‘relationship.’ To which I very adamantly told him, NO.

 

He does not have permission to touch me anywhere. Not even as friends. I particularly did not feel like being touched that day. It happens.

 

I asked him to please not touch me. And he laughed a little. And that was the end of  it. Or so I thought.

 

We went to the break room to get sodas. As we were leaving he reached out and grabbed my ass. This is sexual assault. I did not want to be touched. I specifically TOLD him to not touch me. And he grabbed my ass anyway.

 

In the past I might have pretended to laugh it off and then gone home and cried about it. But I have come too far to let someone off that easily.

 

I yelled at him as I never have before. I told him he had no right to touch me. I told him that I had specifically asked him to not touch me.

 

He told me he had only been joking.

 

I got angry. Access to my body is not a joke. I have a right to not be touched. And I know he knew I hadn’t been joking when I had asked him to respect that right.

 

He did not apologize. I tried to compare my body to his young daughter’s body. How would he feel to have a man touch her after she said no? But to him, it was different, after all she was a child.

 

Apparently children have more right to body autonomy than an adult woman.

 

Besides, he told me, we’d had a relationship in the past. Again, I compared my body to his daughter’s. Would all of her ex boyfriends have a right to her body throughout the rest of her life? Even after they broke up? Even after she asked them not to? Would he be fine with them still touching her wherever and whenever they wanted?

 

Again, he told me it was different with us. See, he can’t be told no. He has to test boundaries.

 

I fail to see the difference.

 

He then asked me if I was still seeing my therapist. Because my reaction proved that I needed to be. I told him his inability to hear my ‘no’ told me that he still needed to be seeing his.

 

And then he told me he could tell how unhappy I was and he hoped I would find happiness someday. And I told him I was unhappy because one of my alleged friends had just sexually assaulted me.

 

He left. I did not report him. I still have not reported him. He never apologized in any way.

 

But none of that is the worst part.

 

Last week, another “friend” asked me how things were between me and the man that assaulted me. I gave him a very brief rundown of what happened.

 

This second alleged friend told me it was my own fault for still being friends with him. That I should know better by now that he would do that to me (though I am not sure how). That he hoped I would stop being his friend and had finally learned my lesson.

 

I don’t know if I have. The only lesson I am learning is that I still have terrible taste in relationships and friendships.  And I truly don’t know if I still see a value in either one anymore.

I hate to end on that note. But I feel it is a logical conclusion. A very small percentage of men are rapists or abusive or sexual predators. And yet, despite no longer being in relationships, I continue to find myself in friendships with them.

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Corporal Punishment

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I have told a few stories now about my father. But I felt like I really wasn’t painting a complete picture here because my mother was also involved in a lot of these stories. So here is another one:

My parents were both big believers in corporal punishment. Unfortunately, I just read a whole wiki article on child abuse that I probably shouldn’t have. But I wanted to get the terminology right.

I don’t want to get too political here and I know I don’t have children, but I don’t support the idea of causing physical pain to a child intentionally. And even if I did, I don’t know where the line is drawn between punishment and abuse.

Neither one of my parents particularly cared about responding to an offense in an appropriate or rational way. I certainly misbehaved on occasion, though not often. The punishment was always too severe to be worth it for me.

My mother was generally the one that ‘punished’ us. It just occurred to me that she may have been protecting us from my father’s wrath in doing so. But her punishments always crossed the boundary.

She would slap us in the face, even from a very young age, if we said something she didn’t like. Especially if we hurt her feelings. She would force our heads under running water and wash our mouths out with soap if we said something offensive. She was vicious and inconsistent in these areas. One day she didn’t care if I cursed and the next she was dragging me by my hair into the bathroom.

She was big on hitting us with things. Her hand was only satisfying if she was hitting our face. And not always even then. I think she wanted more leverage than her arm could give her.

At dinner she would hit the backs of our hands with wooden spoons for something like playing with our food. Or not wanting to eat something (which with my pickiness was all the time). When we didn’t want to take a bath she would hit us with a yardstick. I actually remember she had to replace several old wooden ones that she had broken on us. The new ones had a metal spine that would cut our bare skin.

Once we got a little bit older, she stopped hitting us with things and starting throwing things at us. I can’t tell you how many glass coffee pots my siblings and I have had broken over us. Dozens.

She would get so angry at us. Or in general. That she would pick the nearest object and throw it as us. Or hit us with it. Sometimes, if I was quick, I could avoid it. But other times, she would catch me off guard. Or my back would be turned.

She suffers from severe depression and that probably actually helped us. Some days she was too depressed to get out of bed. Or care what we were saying or doing. Or hurt us.

There was never any real rhyme or reason to her violence. That was one of the scary things about it. My father was almost always angry, always volatile. But my mother would seemingly choose random things to lash out at us.

There was always a catalyst. A minor argument, saying the wrong word, laughing at the wrong time. I think she always intended to be violent and abusive, she just like to have an excuse. And if we hadn’t done anything wrong lately, she would find an excuse.

I think this casual, ongoing violence in my home is one of the reasons why I have touch issues. Even to this day, if I am arguing with someone and they move their hands or move towards me, I flinch. I am mentally and emotionally preparing for them to hit me, or find something to hit me with. I don’t know if those instincts will ever disappear.

Touch

Despite all my complaining. I still know I am not ready to meet someone on my own. This guy today was hot and interested and I wouldn’t even look in his direction. Because I am not ready to test myself. I’m not ready to choose someone. I am not ready to see if I am better.

For all my big talk, I am still not ready to trust myself. It’s like a Catch-22. I can’t trust myself to make good choices because I haven’t in the past. But I can’t prove that I’ve changed because I’m afraid I’ll keep making the same dumb mistakes.

If I don’t check, I won’t know where I stand or if I am better. I’m letting myself get paralyzed by the fear of making another mistake. I have to keep reminding myself that not making a choice is still a choice. But it’s also living my life by default. Things may be happening, but I am not really living or participating in my own life.

And I wanted to bring up the idea of waiting too long. I feel like I always have such good self control, that I don’t properly care for my needs. I wind up neglecting myself for so long that I latch on to someone that is nearby and isn’t actually worthy.

I’m so ashamed of needing someone, of needing sex. That I let it go and let it go and then it all comes pouring out inappropriately. And that poor person can’t always handle it.

I’m trying to take care of things myself. But I can’t give myself physical intimacy. It just builds up inside me and every little touch just twists the screw tighter. Until I become this tightly wound bundle of energy with no outlet and then I find some horrible guy and have horrible sex.

And I don’t even know why I waste my time because it only barely relieves the tension. Because I am not craving sex, I am craving intimacy. And I’ve only recently learned the difference between the two.

I didn’t and I still don’t know how to get physical intimacy. But I know I have to stop settling for sex. I need to start figuring out which one I need, being able to tell the difference, and making sure I am always getting the correct one.

That also may be part of the reason why touch is such an issue. I only let people touch me for sexual reasons and it turns every kind of touch into a sexual thing. Especially with men. Though I also think the sexual abuses made touch sexual. And I think my parents not touching me growing up turned touch into a ‘thing’ with me.

If I am only ever getting hit or molested, then touch is bad. But I also crave touch, because all humans do. I think I can only get it via sex. Which makes platonic touching even more awkward. Then I want people to touch me even less than I already do because it causes inappropriate thoughts about the wrong people.

So, touching has become a source of abuse, awkwardness, bad feelings and confusion. No wonder I don’t like people touching me.

But I also feel like I am getting to the intimacy breaking point. I need physical affection so badly it hurts in the pit of my stomach. I don’t know what to do about it.