Home » A Wasted Life » Being Touch-Starved

Being Touch-Starved

During a conversation with Sam the other day, he asked me if I knew what “touch-starved” meant.  I said that I imagined it was similar to a child who was diagnosed with “failure to thrive.”  He said “exactly, but do you know that people can actually die from being touch-starved?

I know my mama gave me lots of touches.  She touched me often with brutal, horrific, bone crushing blows but at least she did touch me.  I wonder though, if she ever touched me gently.  If she did, I don’t remember.  Technically, I guess that means that I wasn’t a touch-starved child.

Loser touched me with tenderness, when it benefited him.  He only slapped me once and only grabbed me and jerked me around twice but, like mama, at least he touched me.  I guess, technically, I wasn’t touch-starved but I was starving for attention and affection.

I would walk by and touch Loser on the shoulder or the arm and he would look at me like I had just called him a dirty name.  When we first got married, I would meet him at the door, put my arms around his neck and he would immediately try to get them off.  You would think that we were both touch-starved.

His few touches eventually became repugnant.  When he did want to touch me, he always smelled like beer.  I finally made a rule that he was never to touch me when he had been drinking.  It didn’t bother him…he wasn’t going to give up his beer to touch me or keep me from being touch-starved.

Of course, I found out years later about all of his WTCs and I knew they loved to drink, so why would he be bothered by a rule at home?  Honor and fidelity meant nothing to him, so all he had to do was wait for one of them to start circling him like a bitch in heat.  Neither he or they were touch-starved.

After I left him, he would always ask me for “a hug.”  I reminded him that when I had tried to touch him or hug him before, it seemed to annoy him.  He said “I know but now, I miss it.”

I know I was touch-starved and I know now that in spite of the fact that he whined about wanting a touch, he was being touched…regularly.  He wasn’t touch-starved.

Could I really die from being touch-starved?  I don’t know but what I do know is that I think now, I could actually die from being touched.


42 thoughts on “Being Touch-Starved

  1. This really hit me reading this. One, it repulses me that he “only” slapped you once and other such things. Argh. Then he had the nerve to ask for hugs afterwards?

    You were touch neglected and being touched is so wonderful. I’m sending you a big hug from here. Xo


    • That was a hard one for me to write. I don’t think I had ever thought about being touch-starved.
      I mentioned him wanting “hugs” to my oldest daughter and told her that he never wanted them before. She said “mom…you never know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.”
      Didn’t help me. When he was trying to explain to the court about hitting me, his response was “I’ll regret it for the rest of my life.” Even though he was screwing another woman at the time, he thought that would excuse it and make him look like a “good guy” who actually had remorse. He’s just a scumbag of the lowest kind. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your writing is exceptional. Your writing about your life, and your stories. Both evoke an understanding of moments and people and time that are helping all your readers grow. Just. Keep. Writing. And touch-starved? Simple and not-quite-so-complete concept, in my humble opinion. As you aptly write, there is Touch that gives life. There is Touch that wreaks death. You are demonstrating your strength at turning from death-touch and finding life-touch. Thank you for letting us be part of that journey. Here’s another HUG, dear Laurel.


    • You always have such wonderful words of encouragement and I hope you know how much they mean to me. That last blog really made me take a nose dive for some reason. I’ve been in such a funk, I haven’t been able to even start the next chapter of “the greeter.”
      But, you know…the “touches” I receive from my followers can be felt. They give me strength and a sense of value. I have felt so alone for so long, and now…I have people who care about me…and they don’t show it with a punch or a scowling, demeaning admonition.

      Liked by 1 person

      • With everything you have been through, no wonder you are wounded. But you are so strong, and so beautiful, and so talented…and I hope that you will begin to see yourself as we see you. That aloneness is a terrible thing, and you aren’t that way anymore. HUGS.


        • This blogging thing has been such a remarkable experience for me. I was afraid at first, that people would read it and think “what a weak person…why didn’t she stand up for herself?” It has been just the opposite… and such a wonderful thing….people offering hugs and warmth and love and support. For the first time in a long time….I feel hope.


  3. Laurel, the lioness in you won’t let you waste away. Touch comes from so many places, friends, children, grandchildren, not just our parents or significant others. I so hope that you recieve touch from one of those avenues, whether it’s now or later. For now, a virtual hug is all I can offer. Love and hugs to my fellow warrior. 💙💙💙💙

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You own your story and you own your words…..no one can take them away unless you allow it. Tell Sam to pull his head out of his ass and get with the program.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Laurel, I liked it but I don’t. I had a lot of those times, where my ex didn’t/wouldn’t touch me, but my son always has been a hugger, and my friends are all huggers, thank God. S was not touchy feely but he would hug, he would touch. I have a friend whose childhood was so horrific, she couldn’t let anyone touch her. No hugs, nothing. But she worked on it…in her 30’s she had her first boyfriend, and when she got pregnant, those of us who knew her past, were so happy for her, beyond just the pregnancy, but because it meant she had conquered her fear of being touched. So…here’s a cyber hug…. (((((((Laurel)))))))

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the hug. It has always been difficult for me to hug or be hugged. It is very unnatural to me. I allow (allowed) my children to hug me and they did it often to tease me because they knew it made me uncomfortable…sort of like trying to get me to say “white” with my Southern accent to their friends…and then they’d all laugh.
      It’s really something I’m going to have to work on but right now….it’s just too raw, I guess….still.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much. This one really made me sad to write. It’s horrible to think that you’ll never enjoy the warmth of another human being again but I don’t think I could stand it. I can’t even stand for Sam to say the word “love.” It literally makes me cringe.
      I wanted to stick to making up stories.
      One thing Sam told me today (after I was bragging that none of my stories had one iota of resemblance to Loser)…was “yes, they do. You just don’t know it.” I was crushed.


      • Sam will be the first one to tell you that you control your truth. Just because mister brain boggle feels threw all sorts of hidden webs doesn’t mean that has to be the way it is to you. Your ultimate goal is to tell a story. So tell the story. Of course your life will influence the language, the tone, the nuance, and the overall grit of the story. Sure, that means ex is in there somehow. You know what? Fuck him. So is the donut you ate last week and the southern comfort you smelled in the breath of a cop, and the penchant for whimsy from an older librarian when you took your kids there every Saturday. Yep. Your writing is built on you, on who you are. So… Yeh. It’s AWESOME.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Even our friend “thelonelyauthor” asked me if Loser was the criminal (in the ? blog.) I told him that Loser never entered my mind when I was writing it. I really thought that the one thing Loser was kept out of, was my stories. I still don’t think Sam’s right (and I told him.) Maybe he can unlock whatever part of my brain (whether creative or otherwise) and get pig-shit Loser out of it. I have to say that it really bothered me. NOTHING about the greeter is about Loser….the firefighter inclusion is because of my children….not Loser. (Remember he called them “just fucking firefighters) so there’s no warm and fuzzy connection to him.
          It kind of makes me not want to finish the story….may sound crazy but…..


          • I was referring to what creativerational posted. In short we are the sun of all of our experiences and that of our imagination. Who needs to bother with details of where that starts and where that ends. You are wonderful at what you do. No need for dissection. It’s yours, pure and simple ❤

            Liked by 1 person

            • Thank you for telling me that I’m wonderful at what I do. It’s been such a long time since I heard that. When I sent Loser his goodbye letter, his response was “you’re a really good writer.” Now that I think back…the “husband” I wrote didn’t respond….the newspaper editor did. How sad is that?

              Liked by 1 person

              • Indeed, but they are not that great at personal touchy feely thinks unless they have to be as your post showed.
                Just follow your heart. It’s about your truth now and the benefits the rest of the world receives from your gift. you are the blessing ❤

                Liked by 1 person

                • You are so very kind. The sense of value that everybody makes me feel like I have, is such an almost alien feeling. It’s difficult to adjust, after having been treated like I didn’t matter for so many years.


                  • And so is the journey back into the light…and back to your self. Your love of self. We can see it…believe its there, embrace it and you will see it every moment of everyday through the eyes of those who truly see you. For they are but mirrors to your overall beauty. Those that do not see through the eyes of love cannot truly see others; only their ugliness reflecting back at them. ❤


                    • My love of self is almost non-existent and it stems from childhood, I think. Loser did nothing to reinforce that self-worth…except believe that I could give him intelligent, beautiful offspring…(at least that’s what my youngest daughter said.)
                      Even the compliments I get for my “writing” are suspect….in my damaged, worthless opinion of myself, it means people are simply being “kind.”
                      Sam (my therapist) was telling me about an interview with Picasso. He thought people were insane for thinking his art was so beautiful….but….he kept on painting….and I will keep on writing. LOL

                      Liked by 1 person

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