View Full Version : Don't want to be touched

02-14-2012, 01:01 AM
I've been in recovery now going on six months without engaging in any behaviors, and mentally/emotionally recovering as well without having ED there to lean on. I don't have the obsessive ED thoughts like I used to, and I've been maintaining a healthy weight now for months. I know that should all be good stuff, right? But I'm struggling so much with the weight gain and being "weight restored" as I've been underweight most of my life because of the ED. The trouble is that I cannot shake this f@t-feeling and hating my body so much. I'm living with my fiance and we're getting married next year. The problem is that I no longer like him to touch me - at all. Yes, we kiss, but we haven't made love in months because I'm so uncomfortable in my own body. I feel bad about this, and I miss our special moments together, but at the same time, I'm too disgusted with myself and don't want him (or anyone else for that matter) to touch me, not even a hug. :sad For those who are in recovery or who have recoverED, how do you do it?? How do you get past these feelings and go back to a relationship? I'm really discouraged that I'll forever be like this, and won't ever like my body enough to 'share' it again.

02-14-2012, 02:30 AM

Is there someone you feel safest about hugging you? A friend or someone? Could you meet them and tell them how you feel and let them hug you?

I'm in a different position as I did my weight restoration when I was single, and met a new man who'd never seen the old me - but I can see why you're worried. Can you and your fiance have an evening where you tell each other the things you love about each other, and do some gentle kissing and touching (eg stroking face or hair)?

02-14-2012, 06:09 PM

Thanks for your reply - it's much appreciated. I guess I'm okay giving my mom a hug, and I'll be seeing her Monday when we go out for lunch. She likes hugging so maybe that's a good place to start. I guess it just will take time to adjust to the 'new me' and learning to like myself that way. And with today being Valentine's Day, it really makes it hard. I know my fiance will expect a little romance but I feel like I can't do it. I will give it a try, though. I know I need to start "trying" more in this area or I'll never get over the hump. I like the idea about telling each other what we love about each other - thanks for the idea.

02-14-2012, 06:36 PM

Boy do I relate!

Tmi alert:

So the other day, we had sex with me wearing clothes. First time I've not wanted to crawl out of my skin. It really really helped. I felt much less vulnerable and self hating and self-concious. Could you try that eventually?!

I agree with starting small, like hugging your mum!
I don't hug anyone. Just cant handle it. But my friends invented 'hand hugs' for me. Left hand to left hand and wrap thumbs around. It helps.
I've come a long way. And am more comfortably hugging my sisters. And will allow the odd hug to m best friends if *I* innitiate it.

I've read of people getting massages to try to get used to touch. Could your F rub your feet maybe?

Could you get a manicure to get used to someone touching your hand?

02-14-2012, 11:50 PM
Sorry you can relate, but it does help to know someone else has "been there." Funny about having sex with your clothes on :muhaha. That would be a unique approach, for sure. I used to get massages but I won't go now because of the weight gain. I don't want anyone touching my body like this. I feel so ashamed and disgusted. My fiance keeps assuring me that I'm not f@t, that I'm beautiful and so on, but I can't accept it. I hate, too that there's this girl at work who is soooo thin. And it makes me sad (and jealous). I keep thinking "I used to be thin like that" - why can't I be like that again now?? I know I'm much healthier where I'm at, and I'm at a 'normal' weight but I just can't stand it. I like your idea of getting a manicure, though. I know I wouldn't mind someone touching my hands like that. Or yeah, my fiance could 'massage' my feet. Maybe it's starting off with something little and building on that. I just feel like I'm such a failure at anorexia now - because I'm weight restored and can't seem to restrict like I used to. I know that should be a good thing, but I'm struggling with it right now. I really, really miss being underweight, and it makes me so sad. My T asked how my depression was the other day, and I have to say that it's up a notch from where it was. I don't like feeling this way. I keep waiting for things to get better, to feel better about myself. After all, I've been at this recovery-thing for a long time now. Shouldn't I be getting more comfortable with my body?? I guess Rome wasn't built in a day, and so I need to be patient, but how long does it take to be comfy in your own skin, and not feel so much shame and disgust??

02-15-2012, 01:09 AM
Are you doing any work on self esteem right now? You ask how long does it take to get comfy with your body and the answer is, it doesn't just happen in a set time frame of weeks or months. Its usually combined with exploring your identity and starting to value yourself as a person and having a whole mental shift in that direction rather than just being weight restored. The physical side of the illness doesn't necessarily fix the mental side but it does allow you to think a lot more clearly to explore those areas

02-15-2012, 05:29 PM
Body image is the last (but the most important!) thing to change in recovery. I know how you feel. I'm at a healthy weight after having gone up and down and up and down over the past couple of years. I've finally come to terms with weight maintenance at this point. Ever so slowly, I get more and more comfortable with my body, although there are still days when I want to crawl out of my skin. But recoveratlast is right, you definitely do need to be doing work on self-esteem, and I know it's not easy at all. I've cried in therapy when we talk about body image a couple of times.

One thing my T had me do which was helpful was to write a letter FROM your body to yourself. This was really hard for me because I realized how much abuse I had done to myself, when I should be appreciating how strong and lovely and enduring my body has been. Throughout all the crap I've done to it, my body has always managed to feel better after a binge, to help me run with friends, to gain muscle, to have clear skin, to see well, to digest my food well, etc. It makes me think about the function of my body, and that it doesn't deserve to be hated SO much just because I want to change the way my left boob (or whatever) looks.

There are plenty of other exercises to try out for body image work. The suggestions above about how to work up to being intimate again are lovely as well. :]

02-15-2012, 07:02 PM
Body image is the last (but the most important!) thing to change in recovery.

Its not always the last thing to change. I think you need to be careful writing a statement like this that is so black and white

02-16-2012, 12:52 AM
:hugonrecoveryatlast and pantherr:hugoff
Thank you for your support and suggestions. No, I can't say that I am working on self-esteem issues in therapy these days. We just seem to talk about how I'm so uncomfortable being weight restored. And I know that's only part of recovery: the weight and body image. I know body image is one of the last things to find acceptance with when you recover, and recoveryatlast, I do see your point about that being "the last thing to go" - but I do think it's one of the last things to conquer. I will ask my T about doing more self-esteem work and see where we go from there. I know it's not an 'overnight' process, and it's a long, paingful one, as I'm finding out. But I think if I did feel better about myself and got more involved in other activities, I will eventually accept my body like this. It's just so hard. I know that no one said recovery would be easy but wow, there are days when I want to scream! I really do want to learn to be comfortable in my own skin. I don't want to go back to the ED because of this stumbling block. This is the longest I've been in recovery and maintained my weight in my whole ED history, so I know it's important to keep pushing forward. Thank you both for the suggestions and feedback - it's really helpful!

02-16-2012, 01:51 AM
But I think if I did feel better about myself and got more involved in other activities, I will eventually accept my body like this.

You have to act despite feeling bad. You can't wait until you feel better about yourself before you get involved in activities. You need to get involved in other activities despite the distressing feelings

02-16-2012, 06:12 PM
Good point - thanks for bringing that up. I do need to branch out instead of playing the waiting game like I am. It's just so hard. But I'm determined to keep fighting. I don't want to turn back to the ED behaviors to 'feel comfortable' because I know it's only a false sense of "comfort". I need to start feeling good about myself "as is", and realize that I'm not a bad person for having gained this weight. Harder said than done though, but I'll keep working on it. Thanks for the support!

02-17-2012, 11:53 AM
Hopeful - sorry I am late coming into this but wanted to offer a couple of ideas

- firstly I agree that body image can improve with self esteem, and it is about taking the focus off your body and seeing yourself as a whole person. Do things that make you feel good about being who you are - as you've said above, trying new activities, write down the unique qualities that make you who you are, keep a journal where you make a note of compliments you receive.
- challenge the idea that you look worse now you have gained weight - that does seem to come across in your posts. To other people I am sure you are a hundred times more attractive now, than you were when you were underweight. Can you do any work around looking at pictures from history where a bigger body was valued, look at paintings by Rembrandt or whoever and challenge the thought that to be attractive you have to be thin - because it isn't true!
- think about the things your body can do for you rather than thinking of it as an object. Can you run around, play a sport, catch a ball, go for a nice walk in the scenery, ride a bike? Are you now reasonable healthy? You can write because your hands allow you to hold a pen and you have your sense of vision and hearing. I know it's a bit cheesy but thinking about all the things my body could do for me, really helped me to appreciate it as it is rather than trying to change it all the time.

Also I wonder if your identity is still wrapped up in being 'thin' since you have issues with the thin girl at work? Not judging that at all because I have been there, but can you recognise how incredibly far you have come in your recovery, and see your body as a positive product of that fight for health and well being?

You will get there. Just try to remember that no matter what you think, your bf obviously finds you very beautiful - and he is probably seeing the situation as it really is, rather than through the distortion of ed thoughts.

02-17-2012, 05:10 PM
Sorry, I didn't mean that in black and white terms - you're right, body image isn't always the last thing to change, but I really do believe it is one of the hardest parts of recovery from an ED, and so maybe in that sense it takes the longest.

You bring up a good point about playing the waiting game to do stuff. I just was having a conversation with someone else on the site about this (but I forget who, shoot! I'm terrible with names!). You wait to do something until you feel more 'comfortable,' but you won't be comfortable until you start to do it! Funny cycle we get ourselves into. Honestly doing stuff outside of your comfort zone is scary, but it will help you. A couple weeks ago I went to a "tease dance class" at the gym...I felt so dumb at first, but by the end I was having a lot of fun!! Even made a friend in the class and now we go every week. Just wanted to encourage you to try new things so that you can love your body for what it does for you now that you're in recovery. :happy

And I think Alethea makes some very good points, especially reinforcing that it is about taking the focus off your body and seeing yourself as a whole person. Do things that make you feel good about being who you are. This is something I definitely need to work on too. It's so easy to get hyper-focused on my body (since that's what I see in my periphery all the time) but there's so much more to all of us to celebrate. :balloons

challenge the idea that you look worse now you have gained weight

YES. I absolutely agree. You already know that your self-perception is skewed. What can you do to negate the idea that gaining weight is unattractive? Because in my opinion, healthy is beautiful. :lubdub

02-18-2012, 12:40 AM
Alethea, thank you for sharing so much with me! And I do need to challenge the idea that I look "worse" now that I'm a healthy weight. I just feel like it's a bad thing for some reason. I will have to work on that. I like coming up with ideas and/or writing them down about what I value in myself, and how it's not related to weight. think about the things your body can do for you rather than thinking of it as an object. I like that too - thank you for that reminder. I am fortunate that I have my physical health because many people do not have that luxury. I see handicapped people and my heart goes out to them. I am able to 'do' more things now and be physically active, as compared to just "existing" when I was knee-high in the ED behaviors and underweight. I think some of my identity is also wrapped up in being thin, as I've been underweight for so many years of my life. It's "who" I was in a way, but I have to break out of that thinking. Thank you again for the ideas and suggestions!

pantherr, thank you for your support as well, and no, I didn't take it to be black-and-white thinking. I knew what you were getting at. I also agree that body image and acceptance is one of the hardest things to deal with, but I'm hoping it gets easier with time. I'm a very impatient person and want things "now", as I'm sure we all do...and I want to be recoverED already, you know? That's great that you went to a dance class and had fun at it. I've gotten back into bowling but I'm not that good at it. I'm trying to have fun at it, but it's hard when I don't bowl as well as I'd like to. My fiance wants to join a league or bowling club so we can 'mingle' but I don't feel comfortable enough with my ability. Maybe if we keep practicing, I will get better? It would be an outlet to get more involved in something. Just wanted to encourage you to try new things so that you can love your body for what it does for you now that you're in recovery. Thank you!

02-20-2012, 02:22 AM
hi, i was reading posts and i didn't write cause i am kina at the same place - hating my weight, especially in last month or so when i gained a bit eventhough i am eating healthy and exercising. but i remember desgust i felt no matter how much i weighed, and now i realise it doesnt really have much to do with how we actually look.

i bet people that love us just love us and would hug us no matter how we looked. why you have a problem with hugs? you dont want to hug ppl? or why u dont want them to hug u? is it scary, threatening, humiliating, uncomfortable,..? you know that hugging releases so much dopamine like eating chocolate? :)

i agree with posts up, i did ana book based on act therapy - acceptance and commitment. it is amazing thing. you do things u want to do despite thoughts. u dont wait but live ur life. that's hard in the beginning, with practice becomes easier. i became pretty good and that and then suddenly i relapsed in therms of not acting again. so it is a constant challenge.

i feel so sorry for you and your fiance, of depriving yourselves of touch. i used act last night and i wanted to share and maybe you could see insipiration in that: so my bf came over last night and we kiss and touch and hug for a long time but i was uncomfortable taking off my clothes. and it hurts me when he asks me to take off my tshirt for him and when i want to but i get scared so i dont. so i thought and decided to let go of fear disgust and all that and just do what i feel like. and i was just trying to feel his kiss and his touch and not to evaluate it or think how i look or what should i do at that time. and it was amazing. i think when you concentrate on the feeling you dont bother with thinking. for example, me i managed to close my eyes and still be kissing and i was not able to do that for so many years. i took of my shirt and i was not thinking about my waistline or my stomach so much, and actually i liked that "f*t" cause i felt more present, i could feel better then before and enjoy touch more then before. but it all has to do with overcoming your fear and trying. please, do try. it is just wonderful experience.

02-20-2012, 11:14 PM
nefretiti, I'm sorry you can relate a bit to the situation. It's so hard. I've never been good with intimacy even before ED. I just don't feel really comfortable with it, so it makes it extra hard now that I'm a healthy weight. I feel so big, like my fiance will find disgust in my body if he really 'knew' what it looked like now. I barely can get changed in front of him without being disgusted or ashamed. It really is sad. Thanks for sharing with me about your own experience. It's always good to hear how others manage and get through similar things. Hugs for me are kind of awkward these days because I also feel so f@t. I know, though, that just because I have a bigger body, it doesn't make me less of a person - I just need to BELIEVE that now. Hugs ARE a good thing. I will practice that, mabye that's a place to start with the whole touching thing. I just know right now I don't like my fiance even patting me on the butt as a tone of affection because I feel so gross. But you're right: it's a "feeling" and f@t is not a feeling, so I guess something else is probably going on behind the scenes. I just wish I felt comfortable in my own skin, and I wonder when I ever will. I find such self-disgust and loathing right now, even though my bf assures me that I'm still beautiful. I just want to be thinner, like that's going to make things all better somehow. But the logical side of me knows that's bullcrap too. So I have a battle going on, and need to get past it somehow. Thanks for reaching out and providing me with some feedback :sly

02-23-2012, 01:49 AM
oh, i feel so sorry to hear that what ur going through in your head. i know how is that. i have similra thoughts and feeling and i guess i am lucky cause i manage to get rid of them from time to time. i really wish you would make an effort and just try things except thinking about them. so you can actually feel how it feels to be touched. and of course you will still have haunting thoughts of "oh, my gosh, he is touching me and he is feeling my f*t...or whatever of a sort" but i think the first step is to allow yourself to BE touched. and then the next step would be to try and concentrate more on touching and forget about thoughts, ignore them, and engage with touching. i think it is possible. maybe not so often and maybe it takes time but it is possible....

and you know just last night i was thinking - what if our men "know" actually how we look like and we are once that don't? you know what i mean? cause in the end we hate our bodies so often no matter how they looked like. and last night my bf pickes meup from work in my hated uniform that emphasises my curves or whatever. and he is just amazed, and me - i just wanted to hide and change cause i hate him seeing me in it. and he just loves it and i think he must have problem since he doesn't realise how awful it looks. anyways at one point he startes telling me how he loves my hips and he is touching my hips and telling me how amazing and beautiful they are (?!) what the...?! hello, guy, are u blind?! i thought.....i have such a HUGE problem with my hips. but maybe he really likes them. you know all of us we like different things. and maybe you also like in your bf something he doesn't really lik. youknow what i mean... try challenege your thoughts. we all need to do one step at the time and need so much patience.

02-23-2012, 04:46 AM
Have you ever tried just doing a beginners follow along yoga DVD in the privacy of your own home? I would suggest a class but then you have to go with other people and that might be too much. My thinking is if you can get an appreciation for your body and the strength a healthy body has, then maybe you can learn to love your body that way?

Serena for Serenity
02-23-2012, 09:57 AM
Hey Hopeful,

Sorry to jump in later in this thread but I can relate to how you have been feeling lately. I have been weight restored for a while now and was doing alright with my weight, but within the past few weeks I have been feeling really "fat." I know that is not a feeling and that it just means I am not comfortable in my body and I have similar thoughts that maybe I should just lose a little weight. Maybe that would make me happier or more comfortable in my body. What I do know is that those statements are lies and a way for ED to try and creep back in. I am much healthier and happier now that I have been in stable recovery for months and I realized that I have to fight this body image portion of my ED even harder. I can feel really depressed, anxious, and uncomfortable in my body, but I also don't see myself clearly, at all. When people tell me I look beautiful and have an amazing body part of me thinks, yeah right, I am ___, but that is the unhealthy part of me. I also have another voice that just says, "thanks" and smiles.

Part of my homework from my T is to look in the mirror and start seeing my body as a whole and accepting it. I have not been able to do this very well, but I am going to keep on trying. I was almost giving in to my ED thoughts but then I 'woke up' yesterday and realized that this was just ED coming around in some other form. My ED is very simple and black-and white and the real me is complicated and can think in shades of gray. I know that I just have to keep trying harder to turn my mind to the positive and reality. I like to go for walks and really focus on how my body feels. I also do yoga every morning and do the same thing and whenever I hear ED tell me my stomach is big b/c I am stretching or some other b.s. I just yell at it to shut the f--k up! I was being to "nice" to my ED and that was a way for it to try and take control.
I recommend not giving those negative thoughts you have about yourself to even have a second in your mind. Be harsh and immediately do something that is good for you. I know that is easier said than done and sometimes we can get caught up in our 'old tapes' playing in our heads, but there is nothing wrong with having a body! Maybe try telling yourself that it is okay to have a body and try to start looking in the mirror with clothes on and seeing yourself as a whole. You could also look at yourself and tell yourself things you like about yourself, that have nothing to do with your weight. You deserve to be at a healthy weight and I really do understand how uncomfortable it can feel at times to not be underweight. But just remember, you deserve to take up space in this world, eat and enjoy food, and to have a body.

02-24-2012, 12:30 AM
nefretiti, but i think the first step is to allow yourself to BE touched. and then the next step would be to try and concentrate more on touching and forget about thoughts, ignore them, and engage with touching. i think it is possible. maybe not so often and maybe it takes time but it is possible.... I hope you're right - that it IS possible to get through this. It just seems like I've been struggling with it for months now and not getting any better. I just don't know how to "like" my healthy body, and be comfortable with being touched. I feel badly for my fiance but he is really being patient with me through this hurdle. Thank you for sharing about your situation with your uniform, and yes, it's most likely I don't look as bad as I think I do. But it's the "feelings" which I'm struggling with these days. try challenege your thoughts. Thank you - that is what I really need to work on right now.

recoveryatlast, thanks for the idea about yoga. I've never really thought of it. I'm not sure I'd be comfortable doing that, even in the privacy of my own home though. But my T is trying to get me into doing things, so maybe that would be something to try. I could do it when my bf isn't home so I wouldn't have to worry about him watching me (lol).

Serena for Serenity, thank you for your input and feedback - always good to hear from you! I know you've been a big supporter of me and my struggles and I appreciate that very much. I can feel really depressed, anxious, and uncomfortable in my body, but I also don't see myself clearly, at all. I couldn't agree more, as I feel the same way. I know I'm not fat but geez, it "feels" that way. I need to start appreciating my body for what it is and what it can do. I'm glad that yoga is helpful for you and that you're able to stop 'the voices' when they start harrassing you. I recommend not giving those negative thoughts you have about yourself to even have a second in your mind. Be harsh and immediately do something that is good for you. I know that is easier said than done and sometimes we can get caught up in our 'old tapes' playing in our heads, but there is nothing wrong with having a body! You're right, that when I feel myself being hard or 'down' that I need to DO something about it and fight those voices. I am an okay person. I just have to come to terms with that. Thank you for your support and wise words!

02-24-2012, 12:38 AM
If it helps at all yoga was about the last thing on earth i thought i would ever consider but i found it does give you an apprecation for your body and how you move etc. You dont have to take on the whole spiriitual dimension of it, if thats not your thing.

Who knows it might get you going on doing things outside your comfort zone which would thrill your T and have a spin off that you get more in touch with yourself so others can touch you!!!

02-24-2012, 06:20 AM

Is there anything physical you enjoy doing, that requires a degree of strength? I have no problems with my restored weight (apart from the occasional gripe when my depression is really bad - but that tends to be more of a habitual comment, rather than a real belief) - and I think it's partly because I really see the value of having a healthy and strong body, because I need that strength for my floristry, which I love doing but is physically demanding. I know that there is no way I would be able to cope with the physical demands of the work if I was still underweight and poorly nourished. I'm also able to do more gardening and housework, because I'm stronger.

02-24-2012, 11:11 PM
recoveryatlast, yes, yoga would definitely get me doing something else, which you're right: would thrill my T! I may look into doing it. I need something to appreciate my body and that might be what I need to do it. Thanks again for the suggestion.

Hyzenthlay, my fiance and I have gotten into bowling lately, which as you know is very physically demanding. I never used to be able to do that when I was severely underweight and sick with the ED. Now I do have the strength needed, even though I'm a semi-crappy bowler (lol). We have been doing this now for a couple months and for the most part, I really enjoy it. So I guess that's something else I can focus on. I have to remind myself that I have to be healthy to be able to roll that bowling ball down the lane. Thanks for the reminder and helping me focus on the positives of recovery.

I just wish I didn't feel so "big" in this body, and that I was more comfortable with it. I know recovery takes time and patience, but I just feel like I've been at this weight for such a long time now (several months), that I should be 'used to it' if you know what I mean. I really just hate my body so much, and I hate my fiance touching me. I know I'm back to the beginning of my thread with this, but I just am having such a hard time. I have to see my T tomorrow, so maybe we can work on self-esteem and body image somehow. I don't know. But thank you, everyone for your wonderful feedback and suggestions. I really have come to appreciate the bowl more and more!

02-24-2012, 11:39 PM
If you are waiting to get use to your body then you maybe going around things the wrong way. You need to actively use your body for things you couldn't use it for when you had an ed to get a full appreciation of what being healthy means

A body isn't just a visual thing that you observe and assess, it has functional elements you can apprecaite it for too!

02-25-2012, 10:38 AM
yeah, I seem to be "waiting" to do this-or-that, instead of actively working on doing things now already. I do the waiting game pretty well it seems, always have. I had a pretty decent T appointment this morning. He knows I'm uncomfortable with my weight and feeling awful about it, but we're working on getting me 'used to it' and so I can learn to appreciate it. He's proud of the accomplishments I'm making and that I'm really working hard in recovery. I've been at (and beyond) my goal weight now for several months and haven't been "into" the ED behaviors, or thoughts for that matter. Well except for having issues accepting my new body and the f@t feelings. But I'm really doing it, so I guess I need to be proud of that. I wish I were able to 'just be' and go on with my life, you know? Not have to constantly worry about feeling so big like I am now. I suppose it will go away. My T said I need to be patient, that's the key to getting through this. He gave me the okay to start exercising again so maybe that will make me feel better about things. Recovery really IS hard, but it is worth it. I don't want to go back to the ED behaviors again and be stuck in that ugly cycle. I only wish I could appreciate my body so that my fiance and I can be intimate again. I guess that too will come with time (and more patience).