Haphephobia

by Meritxell Riera Prims

repulsion-1

Catherine Deneuve in a still from Roman Polanski‘s Repulsion (1965).

 

The fear of being physically touched is not just a condition, it’s much more widespread than we think.

As far as I can remember, there’s always been a lack of physical contact in the environment I was brought up. I don’t know if it’s just something cultural (us Catalans are not exactly a paragon of effusiveness), if it’s the fact of having lacked affection in childhood, or just the fear of being misinterpreted, but my family are not exactly… warm and loving when it comes to hugging, kissing, and such.

I have one of those bad childhood memories you try to bury somewhere in your subconscious, but which ocasionally come back to haunt you. I was at the beach with my parents. I suddenly felt an imperative need of hugging my mother. She pushed me away. She was probably even more scared than I was, ’cause she was a very sensitive child who was never loved as she deserved. That doesn’t mean I didn’t justly hate her guts because of that.

Somehow, out of the familiar surroundings, I’ve ended up getting surrounded by people who are equally unafectionate. They’re also sensitive, brainy people who . That doesn’t make it much easier.

Either way, you end up getting used to it, which doesn’t mean it is a good thing.

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