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Hate being touched when upset or in distress.

Community Member

I hate being touched when I'm angry, anxious, in pain, on my period or have a panic attack. It causes me stress and makes me anxious.

I've recently noticed I flinch when someone touches me, or I think they are going to when I'm in one of the mentioned states.

I have level 1 autism and think it could be that, but I loved hugs and could handle people comforting me when I was younger.

I also think it could be because I've been isolated for years and had no one to comfort me when in the mentioned states.

I'm quite confused on why and I never fully noticed it until I got a room-mate recently.

Does anyone else experience this?

3 Replies 3

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hello Bluna & welcome to the forums

We can't tell you exactly why you flinch at the touch of someone, during the times you mentioned. Whether one or the other, or both or maybe some other reason can be quite difficult to figure out.

Knowing why could help you towards how to manage the response.

It might be easier to have a chat with your roomate & explain how touching you at these time affects you & ask them to please, do their best to not touch you when you tell them, perhaps by giving a warning when they may not see when its best not to touch you.

I would hope they could see when you are angry & agree to not touch you then.

Other times it may not be so obvious, so I think some sort of warning signal,or word from you could be helpful.

Another idea is to gradually allow touches, very brief & gentle at first & later more often & firmer, like a handshake, long before any friendly hugging. The whole process of desensitizing you might take months. Or you might surprise yourself at how you could become more comfortable if you decide & plan how & when you may be touched.

If you want more help than we can offer here, maybe your GP can find someone who can work with you to figure out the cause & therefore the treatment options you might consider.

(Virtual) hugzies


Thank you mmMekitty.

I already had this conversation with my room-mate, but she has OCD, so she has repetitive and unconscious actions. She has unconsciously touched me when I have warned her not too. It also seems more likely to happen when I tell her not too.


That would work if it's just from touch starvation, but not if it's the Autism. The reason autistic people don't like to be touched is because it causes overstimulation, humans send signals when we touch and this can be overwhelming for an Autistic especially if they are upset. But I will try it, as it would be a good way to rule out Autism.


I'm already seeing a psychologist, but we are currently concentrating on anxiety management and I have a few things i need to work out with her, but I will ask to concentrate on this next.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Bluna


It's definitely interesting, the things we start to wonder about that we've maybe never really considered before. Developing self understanding is so important in the way of our own evolution and worth the time in a lot of cases.


My 18yo son has also been diagnosed with level 1 autism and, like you, used to be a hugger when he was younger but is definitely not these days. I asked him if he simply didn't feel the need to hug or be hugged. His answer was 'Yes'. I asked him if he'd only hug people or be hugged under extreme circumstances. His answer was 'Yes but only in regard to specific people'. So, if he felt deeply compelled, he'd hug me or let me hug him (for example), which is something I can relate to. I'm a gal who's all about quality, not quantity, when it comes to hugs. 


I think there can be a number of different reasons for the 'I'm not a hugger' factor. A handful

  • Having learned to adapt: Going without hugging for a long time and then realising we can live without it unless we or someone else is facing overwhelming circumstances that creates a deeply felt need for physical connection
  • Enjoying our space and not liking anyone to come into it
  • Being hurt by people in the past and becoming more discerning when it comes to who we let into our space
  • Wanting to stand alone in a challenge can mean wanting to feel the courage it takes to manage independently, without others interfering in our work up to feeling courage
  • Whether we're talking from a spiritual view point or one of quantum physics, either way it's said that we humans are comprised of a lot of energy. Sometimes it can be about not wanting to feel another person's energy combined with our own. It can be too uncomfortable and overwhelming, especially for people who able able to feel their own and other people's energy really easily

As I say, just a handful of reasons amongst many.


I think we can express deep support or an extreme shared sense of joy in a whole variety of ways that doesn't always involve hugging. Of course, this means getting creative. I typically hug my son with my words. I'll either describe exactly the kind of hug I want to give him and he can feel that hug through my words or I'll embrace him with words such as 'Okay, lets sit down and work this out together'. Personally, I'm someone who deeply feels the embrace, support and love from someone who will guide me through what feels depressing and anxiety inducing but will feel nothing but agitation from someone who will hug me while saying 'You'll be right' without expressing a way to make it right. Maybe you could challenge your roommate to express support in ways that suit the both of you. I always feel deeply supported and loved by my son when he sets out to make me laugh during really down times. Him leading me to laughter is my hug from him. I feel the joy and relief he leads me to feel. He's a great emotional leader.