Shying away from touch after past assault... how to move forward?
September 14, 2013 6:15 AM Subscribe
I'd like to try dating... if not for the flashbacks. Difficulty: poor college kid. Snowflakes inside, trigger warnings all the way down.
posted by anonymous to human relations (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I was sexually assaulted as a kid. That was a solid fifteen years ago. Male assailant. Since then, I've... pretty much managed to completely avoid any physical contact with men. I've ducked away from camp counselors, well-intentioned neighbors, and, embarrassingly enough, one guy who I'd asked out on a date (I feel terrible about this!). My parents always chided me for being "frigid", which isn't an inaccurate description of how I was coping (we weren't the kind of family who talked about stuff like that, so they didn't know why I was so unfriendly).
I can't so much as brush hands with a guy without having flashbacks and getting panicked. I can hide this well enough to get by in most social situations (for example, I'm not going to start hyperventilating and crying if my boss goes in for a handshake), but it'd be pretty cool if I could pursue romantic relationships with men one day. Right now, I can't even think about being touched (even by perfectly kind gentlemen who want nothing but the best for me and who I could definitely take down in a fight, if I hypothetically had to) without feeling sick. I'm also worried about burdening a future partner with this -- I'm especially worried about being broken up with if I'm unable to talk myself into sex after a reasonable amount of time (which is, like, three dates these days, right?) and ruining a perfectly good potential relationship because of something that happened over a decade ago.
I realize that this all sounds like a job for a therapist, but I'm a senior in college, and money's really extremely tight right now (and my geographic range is limited because I don't have a car or any friends with cars, and public transportation in my town is not so great). I'm not really sure what to do. Does anyone have links or book suggestions about touch avoidance this severe? Is this the kind of thing that anxiety medication can help with?
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