Day 82: Nonsexual Nurturing Touch
The biggest struggle for me is the ache I feel because of the absence of nurturing in my childhood. This pain begins with my mom, who could not hold me and who was overwhelmed by my intensity. I have recently started to tell myself that nurturing is a need, not a want. I don't just deserve nurturing, I need it. But, what is it, it exactly? In order to heal this wound caused by lack of nurturing I need to better define what nurturing means to me:
- Nurturing is a type of touch combined with deep emotional connecting.
- Nurturing is non-sexual touch.
- Nurturing touch is gentle.
- Permission is asked before touch occurs.
- There is a deepness of relationship and mutual awareness of need.
- There is trust between the people involved.
Level 1: Public Touch – formal touch as in handshakes
Level 2: Professional Touch - such as from doctors and dentists
Level 3: Social Touch – touch exchanged with acquaintances at social events such as a tap on the shoulder, small talk
Level 4: Friendly Touch - hugging, playful touch, comforting among friends
Level 5: Family Touch – among members of one’s family, such as kisses on the cheek, hugs, arms around the shoulder
Level 6: Special Touch – Touch between friends that communicates more affection, such as [holding], eye gazing, and long hugs
Level 7: Personal Touch – getting in touch with oneself as in meditation, bathing, and time spent in nature
Level 8: Sexual Touch – Arousing, consensual erotic touch between consenting adults or with oneself. Sexual touch needs a higher level of consent than non-sexual touch.
When I think about nurturing, it is Level 5 and 6 that I mean (in addition to the characteristics I listed above). In my present family level 5 is abundant. But, Level 6 remains totally absent from my life. Level 8 (from any other person) is also absent, by my choice. I'm not at all comfortable with anyone approaching level 8 with me. I think I need to resolve Level 6, along with my sexual orientation question, before I can begin to consider Level 8 again.
I have considered making an appointment with a massage therapist in order to gain access to safe touch, but I realize, while this is a form of healing touch (and could reduce pain as well as stress), it would lack the emotional connecting at the center of nurturing. It probably won't meet my need.
The idea of being held means the most to me. When I say I need nurturing, I am saying I need to be held. This need pains and confounds me because it was denied from the start. I just don't understand how this happens for people. It seems impossible to me.
I don't know what to do about this. The first step is admitting it. I have achieved step one. I think the second step is understanding it. I'm on this step right now. Perhaps I am experiencing progress today.
I don't know what comes next. Somewhere down the way there will be meeting someone who might be a nurturing friend. Then, when I think about it, I just shake my head at the idea of ever broaching this topic.
I once had a friend who was close enough emotionally to possibly be a nurturing friend. And, I did admit to her I had this need for nurturing. She was not comfortable with that kind of touch between us. So, we didn't go there. She admitted later she was in love with me. So, it could not have been the touch of a friend for her. I was very thankful to her that she kept that boundary because it would have been incredibly damaging to me if I was expecting nonsexual touch and she went in the direction of sexual touch. It would have been devastating to me as it would have felt like all of my abuse. For a while I thought I might actually be in love with her as well. But, eventually I realized what I felt was not love. I just wanted nurturing. She also turned out not to really be a friend at all and betrayed me several times. I have cut off all contact with her some years ago, but I have forgiven her.
This experience with her, however, has created incredible hesitance in me to trust another person. I can't help but believe when there is emotional connecting, people make touch sexual.
Emotional connecting = sex.
All of my male friends have done this. In many cases I went there with them. But, even females go there. I never went there with a female.
This brings me back to the need downgrade process I have been learning about recently:
Need -> want -> not deserved -> not wanted -> does not exist
- There is something about me that makes people respond to me sexually, no matter what I do.
- There is something about me that makes people not want to touch me in a nurturing way.
- People in general do not want to share nonsexual nurturing touch, except in a sexual relationship.
- These things must mean I don't deserve nurturing touch.
- Nonsexual, nurturing touch doesn't exist in the world for me.
- I don't want nonsexual, nurturing touch because it is too difficult to find.
- I don't need nonsexual, nurturing touch.