AIBU to hate “hug mugging”?(34 Posts)
I don’t know why but I’m feeling really upset because this evening a complete stranger (a woman) approached me to give me a compliment and basically forced a lot of physical affection on me which I didn’t want.
I grew up in a household that was abusive, emotionally and physically and I wasn’t shown much love or affection. For that reason, I’ve always found hugs quite scary and I am physically often quite awkward. My friends and loved ones understand when I explain “I don’t really do hugs” and I am able to be physically affectionate over time once my walls come down. It’s hard to describe but I feel suffocated and like I can’t run away when someone forces a hug on me. I get very panicked. It is something I am trying to get over and like I said, I’m fine with people I trust that I know I’m safe with. I’ve also had counselling and my counsellor says it’s normal for what I’ve been through and that it’s great that I am able to be physically affectionate when I feel safe.
Anyway, this evening, I was stood against a wall talking to my friends. A woman I have never seen before in my entire life, who was a lot older and bigger than me (probably mid to late 50s, taller and about 5 stone heavier), came up to me to give me a compliment, in the process grabbing my face in her both her hands and kissing me very sloppily on my cheek, then holding me hard as she was very strong and forcefully rubbing my back over and over. I completely froze and panicked. I’m sure she meant well but the feeling was so very, very awful. It felt horribly intimate and I hated having her spit on my face.
I’ve come home and I feel really horrible and keep replaying it and wondering what I could have done differently. She just came out of nowhere and blindsided me and got me in a strong grip. I know it sounds ridiculous but I feel quite tearful and nauseated. I think it’s triggered an anxiety as I’ve realised this could happen at any time. I have had two similar experiences before which led to sexual assault and maybe I’m also scared that this could happen again and I’ve no idea how to protect myself. One of the perpetrators was a woman of a similar age and type to the woman today.
Is it U to think that people shouldn’t force hugs and kisses on people, especially strangers?
Has anyone got any advice for how to get out of unwanted hugs/kisses?
I’m so angry at myself for clamming up and saying “PLEASE STOP KISSING AND TOUCHING ME!”.
I mean not saying. I wish I’d said something.
Of course no-one should force a hug or any physical contact on a stranger - or anyone, for that matter. Not surprised you hated it.
Are you sure that she wasn’t trying to actually mug you? The hugging tactic whilst simultaneously removing jewellery or pick pocketing is quite common round here (NW London)
This sounds awful. Sorry this happened to you. She surely should have asked your permission first.
@recreationalcalpol I wasn’t carrying a bag or wearing a coat or anything so I don’t think she was actually trying to mug me. That’s good to know though that it can be a tactic.
What? You say this as though it's a thing OP. Who the fuck does that? If there is a next time scream and if that doesn't work head-butt. What you describe is assault.
Yanbu that is downright weird. Was she like really drunk or something. Not that that is an excuse or anything
I’ve never had that happen to me but would feel uncomfortable if it did. She was weird. It shouldn’t be likely to happen again.
She's lucky you didn't knee her. Normal People don't do this, it's very intrusive, and unwanted grabbing and kisses deserve a full on push away.
Oh I’m sorry that happened to you. Take some time. Do you find relaxation meditations any good (body scans on YouTube are great).
I love hugs etc with loved ones and I would have absolutely hated this. I really feel for you.
Hindsight is fine, it’s not easy in the moment.
What? You say this as though it's a thing OP.
I was thinking that!
You do not have to "get over" a dislike of being handled by people. People need to get over themselves and realise it's not their right to handle you without consent!
I HATE being hugged, touched or kissed by people, even ones I know. There is no particular reason for this, I've just always found it really awkward and uncomfortable, even with my own kids I get 'touched out' and internally seize up without showing them.
Anyone else that knows me knows this and seem to respect my boundaries as they should, if I initiate or they ask fair enough. If not, give me my space!
With that said, I've never encountered a random stranger do this. I think I'd either seize up or instinctively shout/lash out at them. That's not ok!!
Thanks everyone. I guess I thought it might be a thing. I had an aunt who did this to everyone, complete strangers etc so maybe I normalised it in my head.
She was totally sober.
@Corcra I like yoga videos on YouTube but feel too wired now to do one. I’ve just scrubbed my face three times to get all her spit off me.
Glad to hear I’m not BU though. Thanks for reading and not thinking I’m crazy.
This is not a thing, at least, not in the U.k. I haven’t been hugged in the street by a stranger. Or anywhere else for that matter.
Incredibly bizarre behaviour on her part - not at all surprised it upset you, especially as physical contact is a trigger for you. Hope you’re ok
Not a thing here and I'd absolutely hate it
Was she drunk? I notice this happened in my uni days when everyone was a few sheets to the wind.
Other than that it's most certainly not a thing. I don't even like shaking someone's hand when greeting them.
This instance aside, I do think it might be an idea to seek further counselling and therapy particularly to regulate your emotions to your anxiety as it can't be at all healthy living your life anticipating the next stranger who'll invade your personal space.
@Yabbers I am in the UK too but it wasn’t in the street it was in a church after Easter service. Maybe that’s why I didn’t start shouting...too polite.
@HBStowe Thanks so much. I’m not ok and feel like I’m being ridiculous so I am angry at myself for not being ok. I put a film on, made myself a cup of tea etc but can’t switch off. Arrrrrggggh .
I’ve done so much work on all of this “stuff” I have going on inside from the last and I think I’m totally better and then this happened and it’s like I’m stuck in a horrible flashback or something. And all because of a person behaving totally inappropriately.
She wasn’t drunk. I’ve had loads of counselling and done SO much work that I’m tired. I don’t feel like I do go around worrying a stranger will touch me, any anxiety around hugging etc is generally very low and ok considering. But now I feel like I’m going to be on alert or something. Like the anxiety was about a 1.5 and now it’s 12.
To be truthful, I find this woman’s behaviour very strange, it never happened to me and I am 64 and reasonably attractive. This was unfortunate for you, try and put it behind you and move forward.
I’m with you on this. I don’t do hugs or touching, except with DH and DC. I used to be really awkward about it, just avoiding the issue. I am now really upfront and make it clear to people that I absolutely don’t do hugs early in any interaction. Friends and work colleagues joke and say “virtual hugs!” when things arise for which a hug might be the thing to do. Which is absolutely fine by me. Being upfront about it regularly has helped me be much readier to fend off the weirdo strangers who do this in public, but I’ve still been caught out by the occasional stranger stroking my tum when pregnant. Urgh.
I'd think she was either drunk or mentally unwell! This is definitely not a common occurrence, OP!
UGH - this isn't respecting normal boundaries. Can't believed she hasn't been shoved back as a normal reaction to uninvited grabbing. Sounds like 'born again hytrionics'.
Thanks again, everyone.
Not “born again”, a very traditional, restrained, stiff upper lip congregation. So it made it all even weirder!
Totally agree about being clear up front and I generally am. This woman literally just grabbed the sides of my face and planted one on me out of nowhere. I was disgusted.
Have calmed down a little now though.
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