I love hugs so much! But I didn't always, as I've mentioned before. What happens when you are visiting with family? What happens when an aunt/uncle/cousin/grandparent wants a hug?
I had a conversation with a mother today - two of her three children are special needs. We were talking about the shifts that have happened in her family since my time with them back in the latter end if the summer. I thrilled to hear how well things are going for them and how much progress has been made by her children - the more steady and calm atmosphere. Her husband told me a couple of days ago that even the teachers at their daughter's school had commented on how different she is now. Such wonderful things to hear!
As we spoke, she mentioned a particular dilemma. The children often visit family members who want to hug the kids. When the children do not want to be hugged, it hurts feelings. She doesn't want to force her children to hug people they don't feel like hugging, but she also doesn't want to hurt family. She's explained the situation to the family members, but it still seems to come across wrong or misunderstood.
As she was speaking to me, I remembered my own frantic clinging to my mother's leg when other people were standing there with us - whether they were known to the family or not. Their energy was still foreign to me because I didn't live with it. Even if I saw them once a week or so, the energy about them was hard to deal with. My mother's energy would shift when she was around them. I found myself holding on tight, as if my holding her leg would help her stay "mom" and not become JoAn. Does that make sense? It was like I wanted the energy I was accustomed to.
I remember being told to give someone a hug and I would dutifully obey, even if I didn't want to. Then I would hurry back to my mother and latch on all the more.
Now, looking back, I can tell you exactly what was happening. First of all, mom was not quite the same and so my "safe space" was already a little off. Then I was required to enter into someone else' physical space - and thus allowing them into my space. Their energy was foreign - not necessarily good or bad - just foreign. Unless a person was unusually safe, I would cringe at the interaction and rush back to my mother.
When I was back in contact with my mom, her energy would exchange with mine and I was able to let go of the energy I had picked up that made me not want to interact with that other person in the first place. Once the energy exchange happened with my mom, I felt much better and was able to be calm and might even venture out into more of the space we were in and not cling quite so tightly.
I expressed these thoughts to this friend. I suggested she offer a hug to her children after they interact with the other people. She is going to try it. I hope it helps. I hope the uncomfortable hugs from others are swallowed up in the hug-aliciousness of mom. :)