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Archive for February 5th, 2008

Boy looking into camera (c) Lynda BernhardtAs I shared in my last post, Exciting New Way to Help Abuse Survivors, I have launched a new website, along with seven other bloggers, about adoption. My primary focus on that site is writing to adoptive parents who have adopted abused children.

I just wrote a couple of posts about the importance of teaching a child about making eye contact and safe touch. That got me thinking about how different my life would be today if I had someone in my life teaching me those lessons when I was a child.

To this day, I have a difficult time making eye contact when I am talking about myself. I hold eye contact very well in any other setting, and I am very good about it when someone else is leaning on me. However, if I share something about myself, I am looking at the ceiling, floor, or anywhere else other than into the eyes of the other person.

By forcing myself to make eye contact in those situations, I have learned the power of holding eye contact when another person tells me something positive, such as “It was not your fault” or “You are a good person.” However, it is really hard to get there. When I look into another person’s eyes while we are discussing me, I feel physically ill in my stomach, and it is as if someone is forcing my eyes away.

As for physical contact, I still have a long way to go to heal that, too. As I shared over on my other blog, the one place that has always felt safe for touch has been my hair. For this reason, I scheduled more frequent trips to the beauty parlor as part of my healing. It felt good to have another person touch me in a non-sexual manner. I could truly appreciate the feeling.

Most of the time, being touched in just about any manner feels safe when my seven-year-old child touches me. We give each other lots of hugs, and that is nice. However, I still bristle whenever another person touches me, especially if I do not see it coming. I wonder if I will ever fully heal that part of myself.

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Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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