When I was about 20 years old I realized how numb I was all the time. I remember concentrating really hard, but being unable to feel anything in my foot. No sensation of cold or warmth, only a faint sensation if my skin was touched,  and literally no proprioception, no awareness of where my foot was unless I was looking at it. The same was true of most parts of my body.

I spent a long time learning to be grounded, which in my faith tradition is pretty important. We spend the first few minutes of any religious ceremony in meditation to connect ourselves with the sensations and energy flow of our body, something I was at first unable to do.

Now, 20 years later, I’m typing this with cold hands, something I’m easily able to ignore from lots of practice ignoring discomfort, but at least I know where my hands are and how they feel without looking at them or touching them.

Not all of my body is completely reclaimed. I still have a hard time feeling anything in the sexually designated parts of my body, which makes for lovemaking where the ‘foreplay’ activities of stroking and touching the ‘not usually seen as sexual’ parts of my body is particularly important. Most times I’m just grateful I can have sex at all, and with someone I love and who loves me to boot. However, although I’m a good ‘active’ lover according to reviews, I’m probably quite boring to make love to, since I have to be still and concentrate so hard to feel anything at all.

I understand where ‘stone butches’ come from – women who get their pleasure from making love to another woman and won’t permit themselves to be made love to. If you can’t feel anything, making someone else happy is much more interesting.

Dancing on my father’s grave won’t win me back my body. That’s something I have to do for myself.  However, it makes sense to me to renounce him in such a physical way, to use the tool he tried to steal from me to defeat him.

0 thoughts on “Numbness”

  1. I used to be in group therapy for incest survivors. (It was a teen’s group – we were all less then 21 at the time.) Anyway, one of the women in the group had disclosed about her brother’s abuse of her. She had already told her mother that if her brother was at any family function, she would not be there. Someone asked her “What if he died?” She said “I would dance on his grave”.

    There is beauty in her words and beauty in yours.

    – Butterfly

  2. I can relate to what you are saying about not being connected to where your body is or feeling how it is feeling. It took me a long time to understand that others did not experience that. At times I have had trouble walking, moving, and avoiding collisions with objects because I didn’t know where my body was. Still working on that, it is real hard.

    For the longest time I didn’t know what real emotions were. Most emotions I felt were a combination of shame, fear, and terror rather than the emotion that I thought that I was feeling at any one time. It took me into my twenties to start feeling real emotions, what a bizarre trip that has been.

    Thank you for sharing.


    1. I can relate to the clumsiness – some days I’d be so dissociated I’d have bruises on me from bumping into things and wouldn’t know where they’d come from. It *is* a hard one. I fall back into it when I’m sick or stressed and people get impatient with me sometimes. I also get really forgetful. All learned habits of dissociation. Apparently it’s a known thing that survivors do.
      Feelings, ditto. I remember learning to label physical sensations or facial expressions with feeling words. I also remember the first time I felt safe and relaxed, and noticing the difference. I was about 19, after an ACoA meeting, walking with some people from the meeting.
      It’s so helpful to be reminded that all these things are normal effects of surviving recurring trauma in an environment we couldn’t escape from. The more that gets validated for me the less I feel like a weirdo.

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