Why Do I Not Like Being Touched By My Family? Does It Come From Childhood?

DEC 02, 2022 AT 06:16 AM

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Do you ever wonder why you hate being touched by those you’re supposed to be closest to? For many, being touched by family can feel uncomfortable and even deeply unpleasant. It can be a source of stress, guilt, and frustration that many people deal with on a daily basis.

This phenomenon can often be traced back to childhood roots. Understanding the psychological and emotional reasons behind not liking to be touched by family can help us gain insight into how to address and manage these feelings.

By exploring how family dynamics, individual experiences, and trauma can shape our relationship with physical contact, we can gain insight into how to create healthier and more comfortable relationships with our family members.

Reasons Why You Might Reject Familial Affection

There are a handful of potential reasons behind the aversion to being touched by my family. These reasons can range from childhood experiences to social anxiety and even trauma, so it's important to understand all of the potential factors to address them properly.

If you notice that you don't particularly like being touched by your family, it's important to explore the possible reasoning behind this so that you can better understand your aversion and work towards overcoming it. First, it's important to note that there is a difference between touching and being touched.

Touching is a form of communication, and being touched is the receiving end of that communication. While those closest to you may go out of their way to be mindful of your feelings and avoid any unnecessary physical contact with you, there are still instances where you might feel like you're being touched when you don't want to be.

Whether it be the way someone is sitting next to you, the way they're holding an object they're handing to you, or even their tone of voice, there are many ways you can feel like you're being touched when you don't want to be.

This can especially be true when you're feeling particularly uncomfortable and vulnerable. We can also look at both the psychological and emotional reasons behind not liking to be touched by family, as well as the social and cultural reasons. When exploring the psychological reasons behind not liking to be touched by family, it can be helpful to look at the role of family dynamics.

Family dynamics are the patterns and relationships between family members, as well as how these are influenced by the family environment. Family dynamics can often create feelings of restriction and pressure.

For example, if a family member is overly affectionate and tactile, there may be pressure for you to be the same. Or if they aren’t particularly tactile, there may be pressure to be more open to physical contact. All of this can lead to feelings of restriction, pressure, and anxiety when it comes to physical contact with family.

Another psychological reason behind not liking to be touched by family could be the role of past experiences. There may have been specific experiences that have led to an aversion to physical contact. For example, if a family member has hurt you in the past or has been abusive, physical contact may trigger feelings of fear or discomfort.

This can be described as trauma. If that’s the case, it can be particularly challenging to engage in physical contact with family members.

1) Early Childhood Experiences

Early childhood experiences can have a significant impact on the way we respond to physical touch as adults. Childhood is a time when we develop our first relationships with family members and begin to form our ideas about touch and family.

As children, we have very little control over who comes into our lives and how they interact with us. As a result, many of our earliest and most influential childhood relationships are with family members. The way we are treated by family members as children and the way that we are allowed to be treated can have a significant impact on our future relationships with family members.

For example, if a parent was overly critical and controlling, this may lead the child to feel anxious and pressured in their relationship with that parent. If a parent was not present or uninvolved, this can also shape the child’s future relationships.

These childhood experiences can set the stage for how we will approach and manage relationships with our family members as adults. Sometimes, when we're younger, we have negative experiences with being touched, which can leave us with a strong aversion to touch as adults.

These experiences could be anything from being tickled by a family member who goes a bit too far, to a caretaker who over-touches, or to a teacher who is being too hands-on while teaching and correcting you in a way that makes you uncomfortable.

When we're younger, we don't have the capacity to communicate our feelings and needs, so these experiences can lead to a negative association with touch as adults, even if it's coming from someone we love and trust. It can be as simple as having a parent who is always touching you, whether it's a pat on the back, a hug, or a hand on your shoulder.

This can result in a child who doesn't want to be touched as an adult, which can lead to feelings of anxiety and discomfort when being touched by family. 

2) Social Anxiety

If you struggle with social anxiety, this can result in an aversion to being touched by your family. When you're experiencing higher levels of anxiety, you may find that you're more sensitive to touch. This can lead to an aversion to being touched by your loved ones, especially if they're being particularly affectionate.

This can result in feelings of anxiety and discomfort, which can make it difficult to be around your family. While it's important to acknowledge the feelings of anxiety that accompany being touched by loved ones, it's also important to remember that your loved ones don't intend to make you feel uncomfortable.

Whether you're experiencing higher levels of anxiety due to a specific situation or you have a social anxiety disorder, it's important to seek out professional help to deal with the anxiety and regain a sense of control.

Working with a professional can help you determine the best ways to deal with your anxiety and regain a sense of comfort when being touched by those you love and are closest to.

3) Trauma

A traumatic experience, such as physical or sexual abuse, can result in a child feeling unsafe and uncomfortable whenever he or she is being touched by a loved one. If physical contact has been associated with trauma or negative experiences, it can be particularly challenging to engage in physical contact with family members and you may find that you're particularly sensitive to touch, regardless of who is doing the touching.

This can lead to a strong aversion to being touched by those closest to you and can result in feelings of discomfort, fear, and anxiety. Working with a therapist can help you process the trauma and regain a sense of control over your feelings of anxiety. This can help us engage more fully with our family members while reducing the risk of feeling overwhelmed or triggering negative emotions.

How to Overcome the Aversion to Being Touched by Family

If you notice that you don't particularly like being touched by your family and you've explored the possible reasons behind this, you can attempt to overcome this aversion. There are a few steps you can take to become more comfortable with being touched by your loved ones.

First, it's important to acknowledge the feelings of anxiety and discomfort and remind yourself that those you love don't intend to make you feel this way. Next, you can take steps to regain a sense of control over your feelings of anxiety. This can include breathing exercises, meditation, or even grounding exercises when triggered by touch.

You can also work towards building a stronger sense of trust and safety with those closest to you. This can include having honest and open conversations about your feelings and needs when it comes to touch. When you're able to have these conversations, you can let your loved ones know how you feel, and they can do the same.

1) Identifying the Source

If you notice that you don't particularly like being touched by your family and you've explored the possible reasons behind this, you can begin to address the issue by identifying the source. For example, if you don't like being touched by your mother, you can try to pinpoint why you don't feel comfortable being touched by her.

This can help you determine what you need to do to address the source of your feelings. For example, if you feel like she tends to go a bit too far and feel hands-on when she pats you on the back, you can let her know that you would prefer a lighter pat and a more open-palm pat.

This can help you feel more comfortable being touched by your mother and can help you address the source of your discomfort.

2) Developing a Comfort Level

Once you’ve identified the source, you can start working on building a comfort level with said person or situation. Having open and honest conversations with family members about your boundaries and what makes you uncomfortable is an essential step to take to overcome feelings of discomfort.

When you're able to have these conversations, you can let your loved ones know how you feel, and they can do the same. This can help you develop a stronger sense of trust and safety with those closest to you, which can help you address the source of your discomfort with being touched.

3) Creating a Support System

By creating a support system, you’re able to let go of any unresolved problem. This can help you cope with any underlying issues that may be causing your discomfort with being touched.

For example, if you don't like being touched by your sister because you feel like she's hovering over you when you're sad and need a hug, a support system can help you cope with this pain and discomfort. This can involve creating a support system of friends who can be there when you need someone to lean on. 

Conclusion: Building Healthy Relationships

The best way to overcome any problem is to deal with it and dive in to find the source, headfirst. Taking the first steps towards recovery from any trauma or past issues, potentially stemming from childhood, is the best way to resolve any pending problem causing you discomfort and stress.

While not all familial relationships are “fixable”, some are. It is important to remember that those who hurt you in the past are - maybe – not the same people wanting to show love and offer you support.

Keeping an open mind remaining consciously aware of the situation, and talking about it with either a professional therapist or the family members themselves will help you break the cycle of aversion.