A New Look At Avoiding Physical Intimacy

I know that I’ve been uncomfortable with any form of physical intimacy (including hugs) for a long time, though as I’ve grown into adolescence I’ve quite typically come to desire such things more. For the longest time I’ve been assuming it’s just one of those little areas where general anxiety manifests itself in unexpected ways. But a new possibility has occurred to me. I was reading one of my books the other day, and this one was written by a Wiccan named Thea Sabin and I was going over some of the basic exercises when I came across one that I had done in counseling. Now this, in and of itself, is not unusual–there’s a lot of overlap between Wicca and counseling which given my experiences with a Jungian advocate in high school I’d be inclined to assume come from the Jungian roots of psychology. But you know how you’re re-reading something after several re-reading and you suddenly see it in a new light? While this happened here, and I’ll try to get the point across in this post though admittedly it’s difficult to do so. Now a big part of Wicca is energy work. The energy of Wicca is a lot like the Force of Star Wars–indeed Sabin usually uses Star Wars comparisons to get the point across–though admittedly the energy of Wicca has much more subtle manifestations than the Force of Star Wars. Anyway some of the very basic exercises in Wicca involve learning how to feel and furthermore how to recognize when you feel it. Generally this early stage involves approaching an animate or inanimate object and moving your hand slowly towards it stopping when you get the impression of resistance. This is a easier to do (for obvious reasons) when the object is holding still which is probably why Sabin advises starting with things like plants, twigs, and stones. But in Grade 5 I was taught it as a counseling technique–I can’t remember the exact reason why I was taught it but…anyway the point is humans have this energy around them too, and it’s fun to do as a partnered exercise, finding each others natural energy field. Then there’s another technique called shielding where you lay a more conscious level of defense from some of the distractions or even just negative emotions out there. I got taught this technique in Grade 9 so I could handle the overwhelming output of emotion and noise in the high school cafeteria. This adds another element to the natural energy field detection–you can partner up and try to find each others shield, same way you would the natural energy field. I hope you can see where I’m going with this but in case you can’t I’ll explain it to leave no room for doubt. I propose that having learned to feel this natural energy field at a rather young age instilled in me a respect for the personal space around a person quite beyond that of the elementary school rule of “hands off, feet down” and perhaps even a reluctance to breach this personal space except in the most dire circumstances. Now I know this sounds a bit crazy but I’m not saying I ever thought of it like that. I’m just trying to explain an irrational discomfort with even minor physical intimacy and I wonder if this might be a candidate for that reason. And if true it would mean that anxiety is not the reason for this particular behavior. Now I’ve had other situations where I’ve assumed something to have it’s foundations in anxiety when suddenly a new thought occurs to me, so it’s not that unexpected. However, I wonder now (as I have wondered the previous times) how many other behaviors I might have that I assume to have their foundation in anxiety when really they come from childhood or even early adolescent experiences.

Published by Devin Hogg

My name is Devin Hogg. I was born and raised in Carnarvon, Ontario, Canada. I moved to Guelph, Ontario, Canada in 2009 for university and lived here ever since. In my free time, I enjoy reading, watching TV and movies, going on long walks, swimming, and practicing Chen style Tai Chi. I love to write poetry and blog regularly about topics such as mental health, sci-fi/fantasy series, faith, sexuality, and politics.

2 thoughts on “A New Look At Avoiding Physical Intimacy

  1. Or roots in your own idiocy, an explanation which I have put forward multiple times. :)But more broadly, the suggestion is not to blame things unrefinedly on anxiety just because you feel you can. Thus I am glad you have eventually started to see light in this idea, to use your ever-favourite metaphor.

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  2. The light and dark metaphor does help me understand the world though I do seem to have to revise the definition of them every now. At first it was good and evil. Then it was positive and negative. Now it's accepting and combative. Who knows what it'll be next.

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