Physical contact & panic & relationship?

Nice. He is pretty empathic too so talking about it is easier than in other non-empath relationships I think. We already talked about it and it went great. I mean I cried a lot because of all the hurtful feelings I'm experiencing but he is very understanding and I love him very much.


Yeah that sounds exactly what I'm experiencing every day
It's a curse and a super power.

It’s also probably worth reading up on micro-expressions & mirroring.

Microexpressions last for 1/5th of a second, or less, and are too fast for most people to consciously recognize without training... except for one group: trauma survivors.

Mirroring, meanwhile, is just the human trait of monkey-see, monkey-do. Someone smiles at you? The impulse is to smile back. Someone charges into a room raging and angry? The impulse is to either leap up and rage back, or cower as far away as possible. The bigger the emotion being displayed? The more urgent the impulse is to rise to meet it. Most people can ignore someone smiling or glaring at them in passing, if they’ve got other things on their mind... but someone bursting into the room full of rage? Or Just. Cant. Stop. Laughing? Yanks everyone present like they’re on a rope to respond.

As a normal person? You have to have really, reeeeeeeally strong boundaries to not react to someone having big emotions... or highly trained dissociative skills. (Think both professional distance AND trauma dissociating away... how people who work with something day in and day out can remain calm, happy, self possessed whilst everyone around them who isn’t used to it is sweating bullets at best or just adding to the chaos... as well as how trauma victims can just blank out terrible things going on).

As someone trained to read micro expressions in the crucible/by fire (read; abuse and other kinds of ongoing trauma), one has to have boundaries just as strong, for the teeny tiny 1/5th of a second emotions people aren’t shouting the roofs down with, but are actively trying to hide.

Having strong boundaries doesn’t mean you don’t still see how profoundly SAD the smiling laughing woman is. You still see it. You just aren’t suddenly gutted with despair, mirroring the emotions she’s expressing.

Almost everyone learns some degree of how to do this... or we’d all be like toddlers. One kid sniffs, the whole room suddenly looks distraught, then one kid cries, and the whole room is suddenly filled with screaming, bawling, inconsolable tears.

But when your very survival depends on keeping those walls down/permeable? So that you can more accurately judge the moods of those around you? As most people learn to build walls between themselves and others, to maintain their personal integrity; abuse -and certain other kinds of trauma- victims do the opposite. They make the boundaries between themselves and others as porous as possible. Retaining, or recreating, the sponge-like quality of little kids. As a survival mechanism.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that empathy, telepathy, telekinesis, pyrokinesis, etc. doesn’t exist. More often than not, though? If a room suddenly floods with light? Rather than magic, someone has just flipped on the light switch. So, before deciding that something super common for trauma victims (a kind of hypervigilance) is magic? Might be a good idea to see if your hand is on the switch.

Lots of disorders with sensory components (particularly too much sensory input; ADHD, Aspies, etc.) read micro expressions. The problem wih disorders that see those expressions just as clearly as macro expressions? Is that people don’t “make sense”, and one has to learn which to listen to. Takes years and years of practice, with thousands of screwups, to seperate out what you’re “supposed” to see, and to what degree. (Most people appear fairly schizophrenic shouting opposite things at nearly all times, in totally different tones... worse, lie almost constanty, so you can’t trust their answer if you ASK them, and if you do ask? 4 times out of 5 the tone unites... briefly... to being pissed off at you. Great. Lose/lose/lose. >.< So, as a kid? You just dive in “oblivious” to the tenor of the group of people (Nope. Just picked the wrong subcurrent to pay attention to. Yes, everyone was excited. About being first to know grisly horrible gossip about something terrible. Oops. Kill the happy face and congratulations, kill the happy face and congratulations... f*ck f*ck f*ck) Because it’s soooooooo NOT intuitive. But trauma victims tend to intuitively know what they’re supposed to be seeing, what’s actually going on, and any blended mix of the two. Learning in a crucible will do that.

Social ostracism, on the other hand, is a far gentler teacher. Most of the time. (Why the HELL are you all so happy her dad died in a car wreck?!? Ghouls! Jerks! Bitches! Go the f*ck away!!! This is a SAD thing, not a HAPPY one) >>> Will maybe earn you a friend, but more often the honestly sad person just gets mad at you that you chased all their “sympathy” away, and no matter what there’s going to be an angry/embarrassed new group of enemies who didn’t like you calling them out in public. Shrug. If you don’t have enemies, you’re not doing it right,

There was a pretty fun little series a few years back with Tim Roth called Lie To Me based around reading micro-expressions... similar to BONES... about a world class Deception Expert, his psychologist partner, his team of quirky sidekicks, and teenage daughter. The science wasn’t bad. Not perfect, but not bad, either.
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That sounds very interesting. I didn't think about that.
I'm fleeing from all that loud noise in the restaurant right now even though it is a warm and happy situation. It's just too much. Reminds me of an autistic person, but I'm not. Urgh it's just way too loud
Thank you everyone for all those tips and tricks and advice.


I have broached subjects in this vein a few times here - but with intimacy not any touch , My DH and I remain very tactile in other ways - as I reply now in the middle of my night he is asleep next to me and our legs are touching , But because I cannot sleep I have twisted away for space to read here without the light disturbing him.

Something that you say is that the touch you had initially was something you found problematic - so it’s not just touch , your partner is working through the knock of your improved communication and that he might have some reflection to do about that and how he feels about it .

Your ‘it’s just touch’ could be turned around and said to you - it’s just touch! It’s important! You deserve not to be touched if it’s a firm boundary for you . Similarly if it’s something that is going to cause him harm or feelings of deprivation then he also deserves to be in a tactile relationship .

Still Standing

I initially wrote a long reply to your first post here, "N", but I had to erase it and simply "like" what you were writing instead. Your concern about touch is something I relate to and it is one reason I sought out therapy. Every fiber in my being screams hysterically when hubby touches me. His touch actually hurts me, physically, even though he may only lightly be touching my arm. It is like an electric current has suddenly zapped me. It's jarring and it hurts!!!! He thinks I have rejected him because I recoil even with an innocuous hand on my shoulder or an attempt to hold my hand. Why this reaction after being married for almost 45 years? To be honest, it has to also do with trust. Because of certain behaviors, I don't trust him with "me" anymore. I am protecting myself from getting hurt. And like you, I don't know how to overcome this. I know that I have not liked people touching me or hugging me since I was a kid. This I have always related back to an abusive childhood. It has been a subject for soft teasing within my husband's family and our friends, that I would prefer them not hug me. And being at church?....that about drives me crazy because everyone hugs everyone there. Through the years, I have learned how to hug and be hugged, but it still makes me cringe inside. So, I get how you feel. The only insight I can give via my own experience is that there is an element of distrust towards those who wish to touch me or desires that I touch them.

And I believe that Friday's last response in this thread plays a huge bit of insight concerning boundaries. I also relate to the teeny tiny changes in people's eye and body movements. This I learned at an early age in order to avoid conflict or danger. I have called it my survival technique. Because of it, my reactions to others and situations can seem a bit out of place because they don't see what I see. I pull back or "hide" my real thoughts and play the part that normal society expects, but inside me I am reacting or seeing something entirely different. Again, this is about trust.

Sorry that I have no real answers for you. I just wanted to let you know that I think I can relate to you and understand the emotional upheaval touch causes you.
Thank you. That was really kind. I feel better when I get such understanding and kind responses.
Yeah I have talked to my boyfriend but he doesn't seem to understand as much as I thought he had. He is still hugging me and coming really close when I tell him that I'm feeling bad because of a close contact before that. Doesn't make sense to hug me then, right? I think he is just very unsure about things.
We never had any problems in our relationship before, except the traumas and all the bad stuff outside our relationship...
I don't know how to tell him about all that and I'm still unsure where those feelings are coming from. Trauma? Sensory stimulation?
Sometimes I totally can not work. I just disfunction. I break down more lately.
I am more easily triggered and I am still waiting for my therapist to call and say that I can go to therapy. I am going nuts