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You reach out a hand to introduce yourself to someone new. “I’m a hugger!” the person exclaims as they swat your hand away and open their arms to pull you into a hug- without your consent. For many people, this is an act of crossing the boundaries of human discomfort- in a positive way. Instead of being formal and disconnected, many people feel it is better to break the barrier people put up between one another and make a physical connection.

Hugs are a form of physical intimacy. Some scientists have suggested that 8 hugs a day is one of the keys to happiness. People who have experienced physical trauma can be triggered by many parts of this equation when someone opts for a hug instead of a handshake. The swatting of the hand, the lack of consideration for personal boundaries, the firm embrace of an unwanted hug- all of these parts can set off the nervous system and activate mental trauma, causing an extra uncomfortable moment. It might seem peculiar at first that someone would have to ask someone else if they want a hug. We might not consider that when someone reaches out a hand, they are not just being formal or courteous. They may be telling us “This is the most I can offer you” because they have strict personal, physical boundaries in place to protect them from triggers. Unfortunately, as a society, we are prone to telling ourselves and others that when someone wants a hug, we are obliged to reciprocate.

This isn’t true.

Your body is your body. When someone gives you a hug, they are giving your body a hug and coming into contact with your physical sense of self. Disconnect between the mind and the body is a common problem for people who have encountered trauma in their lives. Recovery from trauma includes many different therapies, healing methods, and practices which reconnect the mind and the body. A simple innocent, if not ignorant, hug can quickly disrupt that connection, if someone is caught off guard.

You do not have to hug anyone you do not want to. If someone decides to offer you their unwarranted opinion on the matter, you are not obliged to inform them of your trauma. As an autonomous individual, it is within your right to be selective about who you let into your physical space, as well as how you let them in.

The Guest House Ocala welcomes you with open arms to our private, concierge style treatment programs for trauma and related issues. There is no time like the present to seek treatment and change your life. Everyone has a story. Change yours today.

Call us today for information: 1-855-483-7800