16 May 2009

Affection

I was asked recently from where I receive affection. My response: *blank look* When discussing this later with someone who I shall call The Unnamed Expert, I expressed my abject confusion over the question. The Unnamed Expert asked me to describe, in my own words, what affection means to me. So what did I think of first? Chimpanzees! (Please put on your Sir David Attenborough hat and walk this way.) The way they touch and the sense of belonging and acceptance within the group. But when The Unnamed Expert asked me to extrapolate the question to humans....I couldn't! What seems completely natural in chimpanzees seems alien in humans...alien to me anyway...

Affection is a basic human need, which is not the same as a requirement for life (like food & water, shelter and warmth); it is not a want. Humans require attachments with each other for their emotional and psychological development; nature and the quality of early development permit a child to develop various templates (e.g. for affection). And these templates govern our unconscious reactions; they fit together, kind of like a jigsaw puzzle, to make up the sum of who we are.

And what does all of this mean? *deep breath* I have come to the realization that my template for affection is....warped, for want of a better word. The affection that is second nature to so many is completely alien to me...but more than that, it feels wrong. I don't like to touch others...not do I like to be touched...and yes, that means everyone. (So yes, that impacts on oh so many areas.) I no doubt come across as awkward, standoffish and cold at times because that innate affection is absent... And why am I like this? The current theory is that I have suppressed my need for affection. If affection is a necessity, when you don't receive it as your template is developing then you have to adapt...suppress the need and learn to live without it...and after a while you become conditioned...and affection becomes alien, and you avoid it.

So where does that leave me? On a very long road. But....I'm walking, even if it often feels like two steps forward and one step back. I just hope that, if I'm ever lucky enough to find the other half of me, I'll have walked far enough to have made a difference.

9 comments:

  1. You are walking and that first step? It has Ialready made a difference.

    Be patient with yourself, orannia. All change that will last takes time.

    *hug*

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  2. ((((Orannia))))

    At least you have taken the first step! That's more than some people. Hang in there.

    And you have lots of virtual affection from your fellow bloggers! (no touching required ^_^)

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  3. How brave and amazing you are, Orannina. Not only have you made that first step, but you have reached out to your virtual friends. We may not be there to lay a hand over yours or touch your shoulder in affection, but we definitely are here to provide that emotional connection; one of a willing ear, comfort and support. Take care, sweet. ((((HUGS))))

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  4. ((hugs kechara))

    And oh *my*, do I understand the concept of a template for affection that has been completely warped.

    WTTW - me

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  5. Since everyone has said most everything already, I'd like to point out that two steps forward and one step back still means you're going forward. It's so, so hard to forget that, though. I always do where it concerns my own journey(s). (My memory? Made of fail.)

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  6. ((((orannia)))) <--Even though these are the virtual kind across cyberspace, they are heartfelt and genuine. I think you know this.

    You deserve to experience the physical and emotional joys that affection from the right person at the right time can bring. Deciding to embark on your walkabout was an incredibly brave and beautiful thing to do. You are a very special person and I know you will reach your goals.

    Have I told you that I feel so honored to be a witness to this special journey through your blog? Because I do. Think of me as a walking stick of sorts.... you can lean on me any time you need to during this walkabout. ^_^

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  7. Thank you libritouches! Maybe I need to write 'two steps forward + one step back = 1 step forward' on my wall :)

    Thank you Christine! I'm honoured that you're here :)

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  8. Hi Orannia! I don't "know" you very well, but your post made me think of a couple of things -- first off, affection doesn't have to be physical. You can get true affection in a conversation, a glance, a thoughtful gift -- any number of interactions.

    Second, I don't know what you've been through, but an aversion to touch can have other root causes besides, say, traumatic physical experiences. Have you ever heard of Sensory Integration Disorder? Give it a google and see if it resonates, there are some coping strategies.

    Luck (and affection) to you...

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