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#442482 - 07/29/13 05:50 AM coping with groping
focusedbody Offline

Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 541
Loc: NY
Having just returned from seeing my family of origin, I am filled with a mixture of good and bad feelings. Perhaps this is natural. What is frustrating, however, is the memory of what I go through each time I see them.

At some point during our family history, we began to engage in wordless form of communication: a physical massaging of each other meant to convey some kind of closeness. While this unwanted affection may seem to reflect a familial bond, it can be excruciatingly frustrating at times, not to mention creepy and strangely arousing.

Having spent years considering the origin of this behavior, I have concluded that it began as a result of my fatherís open sexual relationship with my mother that created a lot of unspoken and unacknowledged sexual anxiety. The behavior may also have been exacerbated by sexual abuse experiences endured by all of my family members. My mother was abused by her brother when she was young. My brother was molested by a stranger. My sister was date-raped by a friend.

This last trip was good because my reactions were not as explosive when these uncomfortable boundary crossings occurred without any warning. Nonetheless, it feels important for me to reach out to others when with each visit, I remain overwhelmed with the realization that this familial anxiety has hounded me all of my life. It can put me in a state of hyperarousal that can take me days or weeks to shake off.

Now that I am stronger, I feel an embryonic need to ask for more verbal exchange from them in addition to the physical. Sometimes this helps but I feel terrified in doing so. By and large my family doesnít have the emotional skills to give words to whatever is causing this. They seem more comfortable with a kind of groping affection to replace genuine, direct and engaging communication. If I ask for more, I fear it would only make matters worse.

I would appreciate hearing from anyone who has gone through something like this with a family member, close relative, or other loved one.

Focused Body
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

#442484 - 07/29/13 08:35 AM Re: coping with groping [Re: focusedbody]
newground Offline
Chat Moderator

Registered: 10/11/11
Posts: 1134
Loc: michigan
hey focus
My sexual abuse was not withing my family so I dont know that feeling, but I know that many unwanted touches have and do occur from people at various times. it is hard for us to say how we are feeling and what it is that we need but you have that right man. I know that I never told about the abuse in my life and felt like I couldnt do that and that has robbed me of my voice as an adult as well even when the advances/touch was clearly sexual. I think that you are right about it being importatnt to reach out and not let those feelings rule us , but you have the right to say in a gently way .Please dont do .... whatever that is. it may not feel right but it is none the less. I hope it helps
Either I will find a way, or I will make one.
Philip Sidney

#442521 - 07/29/13 04:27 PM Re: coping with groping [Re: focusedbody]
focusedbody Offline

Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 541
Loc: NY
Hey, Jeff.

Thanks for your message and support!

Part of the reason why this trip was good is that my family members have heard from me that I don't like what they do with me physically. I have told each of them at some point. So at first, they do not behave in a forward manner. They seem to be aware to take their time interacting with "anxious and jumpy" me. Yet strangely enough, this all changes when I become strong and relaxed. They return to the old ways, the rubbing and the reaching without anything else being said. Since my father was frequently not emotionally present enough to handle strong emotions, it feels like I am filling in a space that never got completely filled in. So in some ways I see the attention as a sign of my ability to handle things. I breathe as much as possible and let the discomfort go.

What you say about being "robbed of my voice", makes sense to me. When these interactions predominate, something inside me closes down and waits for it to be over. I try hard to remain fully conscious, even while experiencing a brief loathing and slow contemplation what feels like a horror that we may have all lived through. It's an everyday process of inching along, that actually has moments of true recognition. I keep telling myself that it is possible to be present and emotional without having to deny some part of my experience, but this all comes a lot of patience.

It would be easier to go back blissful ignorance and float along in a bit of dysfunction and denial, but with the help of people like yourself something more tangible feels like a better choice.

Thanks, FB
Lose the drama; life is a poem.


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