I was reading something today about hugging, not general hugging, but actually the way people use hugging in therapy for Autistic children, it can seem quite a bullying technique. It made me think however, about how my dad used to force hugs on me, not the friendly fatherly kind, but the kind that pulled me close to him because he had an erection and he thought it was amusing to tease me in such a way so that I was squirming to get away from him in case he did something.
I don’t think I ever got a real hug from my parents. When I am looking to blame myself for childhood events, often people tell me that children crave affection and that they need love and hugs. This is one of those things I’ve tried to understand, because with my parents and their abuse, sometimes I went to my dad. When I have said this before I have been told that it was because I was starved of affection and it was the only way I could get any. I’ve never really believed that was the reason. I don’t remember being starved for affection, I know I didn’t get any, I just don’t remember thinking yep I want a hug, so I’ll go and let my dad sexually abuse me.
Today though whilst reading about this hugging therapy and that children need hugs for whatever reason, perhaps it’s just because I am nearing the end of Dear Teddy 3.5, but suddenly I remembered a child that would hug a wall or the door frames. At night when I didn’t feel very well I would hug myself up against the wall and cry and try to get some comfort from it. At school when no one could see me I would lean against the cold bricks and hug them too, putting my small fingers into the gaps between the bricks and closing my eyes, or when my mother couldn’t see me and I was in the dining room once again having been punished for whatever I had done, I would hug the wall between that room and the kitchen.
I realise I actually still do it now. When I am sad or upset I lean against the wall so the side of my face touches, I stand so that the frame of the door fits against my shoulder and I can lean my head against it. It’s always been soothing me. My children ask what I am doing when I have stopped hallway down the stairs and I’m just leaning against the post.
I guess I don’t remember being starved for affection because I found a way to replace it. The wall.