Triggered by touch? Am I just taking things too seriously? TW***

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DecimalRocket

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Triggered by touch? Am I just taking things too seriously? TW***
« on: February 18, 2018, 02:32:47 AM »
It doesn’t always trigger me, but at times, it does for some reason. I woke up after a nightmare from a nap and felt deeply disturbed by these memories.

I thought the stress from touch was only from Sensory Processing Disorder — where I have a certain subset of it that makes my sense of touch overly sensitive. But looking closer, I . . . remembered things too.

I guess I’ll start from the uncomfortable to the deeply disturbing,

One of them was tapping — like tapping my shoulder for my attention. My mom back then would often do this in one of her rage panic fests with me. Depending on how stressed I am, friends who may do this can be . . . disorienting.

She’d often ask for some kind of physical affection to thank her “kindness” for some reason. She’d often make a pity party for herself about that — especially about hugs, and now something about hugs scare me somehow.

Another was how I was often grabbed by the hands by my mom to go where she wanted. I was physically smaller, and she was big. That terrified me about my sense of control. For some reason, I can remember this when I brush sides with a stranger while passing by in a crowd.

The worst was when I was dragged. I remember a certain reoccuring memory where I was tired and depressed one day — I just wanted to rest on the bed. My mom would shout at me to do some everyday routine, and she’d feel so enraged at my inaction that she shouted at me until I cried. And dragged me by my own smaller legs off the bed.

I remember that last the most. . . where I just feel scared, tiny and helpless.

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Libby183

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Re: Triggered by touch? Am I just taking things too seriously? TW***
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2018, 08:55:33 AM »
Decimal Rocket,  I don't think you are being over sensitive or over reacting or anything.   What I wondered was whether you were ever touched by your mother in a nice,  caring,  comforting way? I ask this because I know that I was not,  ever. Consequently,  all touch felt threatening. 

No wonder touch can trigger these emotional flashbacks. 

I don't have any great advice to offer,  other than to accept that it is normal to be triggered like this.  It's the usual thing, I think, that understanding and acceptance can lead to healing. Yesterday,  I hugged my daughter's boyfriend for the first time.  A while back, I would never have done that.  I am finally realising that I am not under threat and am not going to be ridiculed.

All the best to you.

Libby

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Blueberry

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Re: Triggered by touch? Am I just taking things too seriously? TW***
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2018, 10:46:56 AM »
I don't have any great advice to offer,  other than to accept that it is normal to be triggered like this.  It's the usual thing, I think, that understanding and acceptance can lead to healing.

 :yeahthat:

And no I don't think you're being overly sensitive (whatever that is exactly other than something our abusers and neglecters came up with), this is the way your body is reacting. It is telling you something and you are having flashbacks.

I can relate. I used to have a lot of problems with innocuous-seeming physical touch. As Libby wrote, touch felt threatening.
 :hug:

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sanmagic7

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Re: Triggered by touch? Am I just taking things too seriously? TW***
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2018, 02:17:44 PM »
i agree with blueberry that 'overly sensitive' is not a term of our own making.  i read a post someone wrote saying 'i'm sensitive enough for me, thank you very much'.  that was her response to people telling her she was overly sensitive.

abusive touch over and over again - like libby mentioned, do you remember kind, caring, loving touch?  when i was working with adolescent girls, i introduced neck/shoulder massages while they worked in art class.  several of them did not trust being touched at all and refused.  those that accepted enjoyed it, and even encouraged the others to try it.  because they were familiar with me as their therapist, most of them eventually joined in.  it may have been the first time they'd ever been touched in any but a violent way.

i don't think there's anything overly sensitive about that.  it's an automatic response from your brain warning 'danger danger'.  i believe that as you continue to grow, realize these things in your past, and place them where they belong, your recovery may begin to include non-abusive touch as being ok.  i don't know, but maybe. 

i do know that i give you a lot of credit for continuing to explore your inner self.  well done.  a gentle, non-invasive, caring hug to you.

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DecimalRocket

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Re: Triggered by touch? Am I just taking things too seriously? TW***
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2018, 10:29:44 AM »
San, I’ve been thinking back to this post and was wondering when you used the phrase abusive touch. Does any of this count as physical abuse? Sorry if that’s a stupid question.

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sanmagic7

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Re: Triggered by touch? Am I just taking things too seriously? TW***
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2018, 02:20:11 PM »
not a stupid question.  to my mind, any touch that is forced upon you, that makes you uncomfortable, that hurts you physically or emotionally is abusive.  tapping you in a rage?  dragging you out of bed by your legs?  hugs with conditions attached?  grabbing your hands to make you go somewhere?  (don't get me wrong - i've had to grab my daughters hands at times, but i've never heard either of them tell me they had flashbacks about it.  there are different ways of grabbing that are backed up by different kinds of moods, and kids can feel that.) 

if you're flashing back to these types of touches, and they still spark some type of fear or discomfort, i'd say it's because they were abusive.  we don't normally react to neutral or positive touch with fear unless our history with touch has been tainted.  some people don't take gentle, positive touch well, even without a history of abuse, and that could be because of neural misfirings or something.  i don't know cuz i'm not a doc, but that would be my guess.

this is just my take on all this from personal and professional experience. 

hope that answers your question.  maybe someone else sees it differently, i don't know.  no stupid questions here, d.r.  how do we find out what we want to know without asking?  love and a warm, gentle hug to you.

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songbirdrosa

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Re: Triggered by touch? Am I just taking things too seriously? TW***
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2018, 02:44:50 PM »
Decimal, you're not alone here, touch is something I have difficulties with too. Especially when I'm not expecting and/or haven't initiated it. It's nothing to be ashamed of, just the way your upbringing programmed you. I hope you can get to a mind state where it doesn't feel so triggering for you.