I got some good comments on this post and I wanted to share some thoughts still rambling around in my head.
We have worked with M on “proper” hugs. It has really been since my relationship with him has deteriorated that it has been more noticeable. He hangs around me, very physically uncomfortable, eyes shifting back and forth. Wanting a hug but going through the list in his head. Is this a good time for a hug? Is she busy? Do I want a hug? All these things he analyzes instead of just getting the darn hug!
We have followed the “hug rules.” Parent initiates. Parent is always dominant (arm position). (Thanks, marythemom.) With an abused boy who is growing by leaps and bounds, it becomes even more awkward.
I’m a firm believer in hugging children of all ages. I don’t get as many hugs from my oldest daughter because she has a fiance and we don’t see each other as much. My oldest son is a big hugger and that is one of the things I will miss most when he’s gone to college.
With M it is a perception thing. I am so tuned into him that I “sense” when he’s not genuine and he just “feels” creepy. Barb G says to trust my instincts, which I agree with wholeheartedly. My problem with M is that it hasn’t gotten better with time. It will only get better with attachment. Just as I have moments when I feel we make a connection with conversation and eye contact, there are moments when I feel a connection with our hugs. I guess the good thing is he’s not comfortable hugging anyone else, either. He’s not making the effort to triangulate so that’s not an issue with hugging. He got years of “normal” hugs that did not penetrate his hardened heart. I just hope there is enough time left for healing before he is no longer our physical responsibility. He needs love poured into him and I continue to wait for that glimmer of hope.