Having trouble making physical contact with my mom...she is so hurt. Any advice?

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I am not a touchy feely person by nature (take after my dad) and it is compounded by the fact that my mom used to rub her hands up my inner thigh when I was a teenager, which made me feel violated. Now my mom, 91 with dementia, wants me to hold her hand and kiss her and touch her. I cringe every time. Best I can manage is a quick peck on the cheek. My brother is willing to sit by her, hold her hand, stroke her arm, etc. My mom keeps saying how much it hurts her that I won't touch her. I am guessing I need some sort of desensitization therapy. Anyone else have ideas?

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I was never molested by my mother (which it sounds like what she did to you), but as I grew up, I became less and less physically affectionate with my mom as well. I would dress her at her facility when I had to, but I was very uncomfortable doing it. I reduced my physical contact to a brief kiss and maybe a gentle hug. But, I brought her many things to make her stay at the facility easier.
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Thank you all! I can and do comb her hair, but whenever we are in the car (I always have to sit next to her in the back so the tall men can have the front seats) she is grabbing my hand, or putting her hand on my leg. When I try to reposition myself, she always makes some comment about how I won't even touch her. I have run out of deflections. I really appreciate your permission to feel what I feel. The people here are just amazing! Hugs to all (that I CAN do)!
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As an adult I could not bear to touch my mother even though she insisted on kissing me i would slip sideways and just go cheek to cheek.
The stroking the thigh of a teenager is really quite disturbing and one wonders what she was thinking. It makes you shudder.
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My family were not huggers and kissers. I had a hard time dealing with Mom losing her mind and being so frail. One time years ago she was in the hospital I kissed her good by and she asked if she was dying. I tried kissing her good by in the Home but I was not comfortable with it. I really can see where ur coming from. Weird thing is Mom loved us and was a good Mom but just not a huggy feely one.
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Hello Judy,
I am still stuck on the “rubbing hand up my inner thigh” statement. What possessed her? I say this gives you a pass for the type of physical contact she is wanting now.
I was raised in what I would call a war zone (alcholic dad and bipolar mom), but during the cease fires, we were all very demonstrative with each other (my mother is Latina). There was a lot of hugging, kissing, and “I love you’s” going on. Of course a day later it could devolve into chaos and violence. It’s a wonder I’m not screwed up any more than I am! Anyway, I tell you this because my parents who because of age, dementia, infirmities, and good medication, are no longer causing a ruckus. They are still affectionate but are not demanding that we children be so. And it’s not because we are slathering them with kisses and hand-holding either. Your mother seems to need this from you, but again I say you get a pass.
      I have done many things physically for my aged, infirm parents that made me cringe - toileting, changing diapers, tending wounds, etc., and I would pray for the grace of God to help me becausr I definitely did not want to! But the cringing you are describing comes from a different place and I would be very loathe to force myself to go against it. 
What about indirect contact, like brushing her hair? You could do this without actually touching her.
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I was "snuggly" with my dad, but I have zero memories of my mother even holding me, which I am sure she did.

You don't have to change who you are and what you feel to make her feel better. I don't hug and kiss my mom, never have, never will. It's just supremely uncomfortable, although I am a very affectionate person by nature, but just not a big "hugger"--only my DH and my kids and grandkids (and oddly, my Sons in Law, whom I adore beyond measure.)

I DO massage my mother's very stiff neck, she can't stand up straight and she cocks her head to one side to "see" anything above her. That I can do, since I am a self trained masseuse (lots of kids, lots of sports injuries) and I have strong hands and can really work the knots out of her neck. She is very appreciative.

CWillie's idea of the gloves is a great one!! You still have physical contact, but it's not skin to skin. For many of us--that is just too much.

I was molested as a child by an elder brother--I am sure that had a lot to do with my inner battle to physically be near some people.
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My family was never touchy feely either - I can't ever remember many hugs or kisses from either of my parents - but I was never touched inappropriately either. I know early on in my caregiving having to take care of the physical needs of my mother was very difficult, but fortunately I was able to grow into it slowly task by task. If you are wanting to try I'm going to suggest a little trick that worked for me, wear latex gloves and put some lotion on her arms or legs, or maybe do a manicure... the barely there barrier combined with a meaningful task can help shift the focus.
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We're not cuddlers as a family, either.

Practise on a large teddy bear until you find contact postures you can imagine being reasonably comfortably with. Until you do, try to worry less about what your mother *says*, exactly. She has dementia. Any reassurance and kindness you are able to offer her is fine. Nothing you can do is going to make her little world okay. It's very sad, but her complaints about your not wishing to touch her are so much fluff - great if you can, really not a huge problem if you can't.

And don't forget, there's not much solace in being hugged by someone who is rigid with tension about it! Virtual hugs from me, I really sympathise.
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Therapy is a good option when needed, but, I wouldn't do anything that I felt uncomfortable with just to make her feel better. If she is safe, cared for and getting affection from your brother, then, I would abide by my own sense of what is comfortable. Perhaps, take her some flowers, card, treats, to show your love.
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