Guys, the case for space is legit (and helps you feel safe).
After entering my office, people have always given me this kind of crazy look like, “Matt, really?” Why? Because after they come into my office, a room that I’m in, I ALWAYS ask them to shut the door.
If you’ve ever met me, you know I’m an outgoing, people-centric person.
But bottom line, that open door leaves me feeling physically vulnerable and unsafe.
Surely this is an impact of childhood sexual abuse, where the only safe place was a door with a lock on it.
Maybe you feel a similar way.
You’re uncomfortable being touched unexpectedly or in certain ways.
Sometimes you feel trapped in spaces with other people, or anxiety kicks in until you can get to your own space.
This can be a sign that you’ve experienced physical or sexual abuse. It’s the impact of that trauma — you want to make sure it never happens again.
It’s ok to protect your personal space.
In fact, it’s incredibly important that you feel comfortable. You get to decide what’s comfortable for your body, and what isn’t.
Maybe someone violated this personal space in the past. They were wrong to do that. Today, touch might trigger those memories for you.
To loved ones of men who have experienced trauma: understand when he needs his personal space. Your instinct might be to talk to him, or to want to be close by. But sometimes he just needs space, in order to feel safe again.
Give him that space.
This might look like closing a door or window, or keeping himself within the safe borders of a room.
And if you’re a guy in need of that space: it’s nothing to be ashamed of. You deserve to do what helps you heal.
What have you done, or what do you do, to feel physically safe?
By Matt Burton