Posted by: Jeannie | February 5, 2010

Learning Safe Touch

I was searching some websites this afternoon on the issue of touch and trust and came across this image.  It really speaks a strong message.  I think when it comes to working through abuse related issues you can’t really compartmentalize things very well.  OK, this week or this month we’re work on trust; next time we’re work on understanding what love really is and not the screwed up definition you were taught by your abuser.

Here are some definitions I learned as a child:

Love:  be good, be quiet, do what I want you to (including stealing for, or giving into being molested) and I’ll love you; don’t, and I’ll hit you, shove you, smack you, act as if I never even knew you, and make you feel ashamed of who you are.

Touch:  a sensation that could just as easily hug you as rape you; something not to be trusted.

Safe:  only when you’re alone and no one can get to you; an extremely rare occasion.

Trust:  something I’m learning as easily as I learned Latin in high school.

You can’t break these down and re-learn them one at a time.  I’ve learned THAT JUST DOES NOT HAPPEN!  Some things are just too intertwined and have to be worked on as a whole.

The last several months God’s been encouraging me, pushing me, nudging me, whatever you want to call it, in dealing with both physical and emotional touch; the physical touch is what’s referred to as safe touch in regards to abuse.  Thanks to God being busy in my life, I’ve had to rethink some of my definitions and I’ve made the decision to stop holding some of the people in my life back at arm’s length.  I’ve had the offering of a close friendship made to me and decided to try to stop being so afraid, to welcome the physical contact that’s being included, to try to let how I really am show through instead of some facade, to trust that not everyone close to me is going to hurt me.

It’s a step towards healing.


  1. alternate definitions that i had learned as a child:

    love: only offered if you are family and you belong there. . .pretended amonst strangers to the household but shown for what it really is when no one else is around. cause not problems/ have no problems and we’ll love you

    trust: you can tell me anything or tell the counselor anything and everyone else in range of talk will soon know of your problems too. any biological child is given the right of secrecy when they confide in me, while others in the home will have everything be told to all

    touch: only to be accepted by some people. if some touch then they mean to do you harm and nobody is going to do a thing to prevent it and will in fact turn a blind eye to it all

    safe: no problems at the moment. safe places: church, neighorhood, school, basically anywhere where i didn’t have to be in the exact same place at the same time as anyone else living in the same household or if i did, they couldn’t say anything at the moment

    thankfully i am learning alternate definitions as i grow older

    love: unconditionalnot based so much on who you are or what you’ve done or not done, but is a commitment, a choice

    trust: watch people to see who can be trusted then share with those who “know” what you’ve been through. comes from knowing the person and spending time (through difficulties) and seeing they are real. i must admit this one took years of living around certain people to see and believe

    touch: i love you and care about you i want to see good things for you (though there are still some that i will not accept touch from because they send red flags to my mind –warning in it only for myself)

    safe: being with people who care for me whom i trust. knowing that my secrets are not going to spread all over creation because i trust enough to share them

  2. Praying for both of you, Ladies. God cried when what happend to you occured. But I can assure you, as bad as it was, His angels WERE there protecting you from much worse. I can’t imagine these kind of things being done, but I know that God is a BIG God and His Grace and love covers both of you. His love, His trust, His safety, His touch…those are the most comforting things in the world. I know what it’s like to be a bruised reed..and He said a bruised reed He will NOT break. He is there and He loves you both. I see strength, not in strength alone, but in your struggle to relearn what the true meaning of those actions are.
    Love ya, Jeannie! 🙂

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