Please be aware though I will not be going into specifics this could be a trigger for some of you. Read with caution!
Please remember any abuses that you have suffered were not your fault. You are a survivor! If you were able to survive the abuse, you can survive the emotions that have been left behind. You are not alone. There is someone out there who can help or listen. *hugs*
How did I choose what I wanted and didn't want out of a relationship? Well we actually had to make a list for that in Massage school. It was actually pretty amazing to put down the things you know that you want, the things you know that you don't and then to see how the people in your life compare to it. I don't know if other schools teach the same skills as the one I attended but I am ever so grateful that I chose to go to school there.
Another thing that helped in school was the massage itself. We have a saying "The issues are in the tissues". The body fibers hold onto patterns from habit of use. Some people say they hold onto old emotion or energy. We are taught to just observe and be there for the client. Sometimes they may have an emotional outburst or release and you don't comfort them, you just continue to massage, maybe bring them tissues and the trash can unless they ask you to stop or something. I had such experiences myself.
The first time I had to get on the massage table at school I dreaded it. I didn't want to at all but I had to. It was required in our program. From the moment I got on the table and the person touched my back the tears started pouring from my eyes. The tears didn't stop for almost 3 hours even though the massage was only 3o min. My teacher actually asked was I sure that I would be able to continue with the program, or that I wanted to. I would and I did. Every time I was on the table I cried though it got better with time. Massage school helped me learn to be touched in a non sexual non threatening manner. I am now able to get a massage with out crying, though these days I do talk to the therapist because it helps me to stay calm so that I am able to get work done for my pain.
Now I am not saying that I think everyone should go to massage school. What I am saying is that its a good idea to decide what your boundaries are. It is also a good idea I think to work on touch therapy if you have the strong aversion to it like I did and it interferes with your day to day life. As a massage therapist I was able to work with a few people doing this type of therapy. For some I started working on them fully clothed in my massage chair because to lay on a massage table was too much for them. Gradually over time we were able to remove some layers of clothing, though always at the clients comfort level. Even though clothing is being removed while I was not working in an area I would drape the area with a sheet or towel to keep the person feeling safe and secure. On another person I worked on her hands and gradually worked my way up her arm to her shoulders. You just need to find someone you feel you can trust to work with you at your personal comfort level. If your therapist does not listen to you they are not the right person to go to. to