I'm haphephobic

I'm haphephobic, meaning I'm afraid of being touched. If my friend hugged me, I'd stiffen. I was nervous to shake someone's hand when just meeting them. If someone directly touched me with their fingertips, even lightly, it was the worst and I'd panic. Sometimes if someone tried to touch my shoulder or my arm, I'd cover it with my hand. Once after a fight with my mom, she tried to force me to hug her and I actually screamed. Sometimes even if someone just came near me, I'd get scared and watch them to see if they were going to touch me. And if I saw someone else being touched, I would be scared for them. It just scared me to death to be touched. I'd feel trapped, unsafe, and sometimes violated. This has been happening, and worsening, since I was seven years old.

So, with all of this, you might think it would be poisonous for me to get into a romantic relationship or ever have sex. But, ironically, being in a romantic relationship was practically the cure for me. Even when you're afraid of being touched, you still want it because you're still a normal human being who craves intimacy. I wondered why, really, my haphephobia seemed suddenly gone after I got together with my boyfriend but I looked online and apparently haphephobia subsides when you meet someone you deeply trust -- I guess you need someone like that to show you that touch is a good thing.

In the past, I've tried to get over my phobia by letting people touch me and hoping that would make the fear go away, but it hasn't worked. The overwhelming terror still remained (until now). I've let my boyfriend touch me anywhere he wants (except for places like my chest, etc.) and I haven't felt afraid. But for some reason I still get chills if anyone touches my face or anywhere near my face like my neck and even my shoulders sometimes. I don't know why -- my cousin punched me in the face when she was four years old, which didn't bother me much, and I've only been slapped once in my life. Nothing traumatic has ever happened to my face. Maybe my face was mutilated in a past life or something.
I've been too embarrassed to ever tell anyone that I'm afraid of my face being touched, even my mom (especially my mom, actually) or a therapist - for ten years.

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