While hugs and kisses are a common social gesture of affection, some people really don’t like to give or receive them.
And when it comes to family, they may really not understand why their relative doesn’t want to hug them upon greeting, admitted the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
But Redditor Evilregal2013 felt that her boundaries should be respected, even though she was from a family of huggers.
When her family insisted that she allow her sister to show her physical affection, the Original Poster (OP) wondered why they would only respect one of their daughters’ wishes.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for yelling at my sister not to touch me?”
The OP did not enjoy physical signs of affection.
“I (34 female) have always disliked being hugged. I’ll tolerate it for some people, especially kids, but I really don’t care for it at all.”
“My parents have accepted it and don’t force it on me, but my sister (29 female) either can’t understand or doesn’t care (I suspect the latter as she has never respected any of my boundaries).”
Her sister did not seem to respect her boundaries.
“We are not particularly close. In fact, I typically avoid spending any more time with her than necessary for various reasons.”
“The one thing she does that p**ses me off more than anything is constantly touching or hugging me, especially if I’ve already avoided it.”
“She’ll walk up and try to hug me, and if I pull away, she gets mad and says I’m hurting her feelings.”
“Then later on when I’m unsuspecting, she’ll sneak up and either hug me or kiss me on my head, which is another thing I hate, and she knows it.”
“For some reason, even though my parents don’t push me to hug them, they constantly tell me, ‘If you’d just hug her, she’d stop this,’ rather than teaching their grown a** child about boundaries.”
“The few times I’ve tried being nice on special occasions, she has taken advantage and squeezes really tight and won’t let go, to the point I have to physically pry her off of me.”
The OP decided to retaliate in public.
“Here’s where I may be TA. She had some friends over to my parents one day, and she went in to hug me.”
“For reference, these are friends she’s had for a while. I’ve met them, and they know I hate being hugged and have respected that and never try to hug me when I see them.”
“We had already argued earlier that day, which certainly didn’t make me want affection from her.”
“I snapped and yelled, ‘Stop touching me!’ when she attempted to hug me again.”
“Her friends just looked at us and told her maybe she should listen to me for once.”
“She got p**sy, and my parents said I’m wrong because I embarrassed her in front of her friends and should have just tolerated it.”
“I don’t think I did anything wrong, because it’s not like this is some new thing where I don’t like being touched, I’ve always disliked it.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some pointed out that the OP had the right to say no to what happened to her body.
“NTA. You’ve expressed it, more than once, and everyone else seems capable of understanding and respecting it.”
“Next time she tries to sneak up from behind, a quick swing of your elbow behind you should help take care of it. Or a donkey kick. Or stomp on her foot.”
“You can claim you’ve been learning self-defense and it’s now an automatic reaction when someone sneaks up on you and tries to touch you (watch a few Youtube videos or something for extra knowledge if needed).”
“It doesn’t matter that it ‘makes her sad,’ because it makes you uncomfortable, and it’s your body. You get to choose who touches it.” – Legitimate-Chart-289
“Oh, no. NTA. This has nothing to do with affection on her part. You didn’t embarrass her, she embarrassed herself.”
“Next time she or your parents bring this up just keep repeating, ‘I have a right not to be touched, and the problem here is that you/sister are not respecting me.'”
“If they try to bring up your actions, ignore it. They are focusing on how you react to being violated because it lets your sister do what she wants. Repeat it until you want to puke from saying it so much, if that’s what it takes. Ugh. I’m sorry you have to deal with this.” – daunvaliant
“NTA, and keep it up. Shout every time she touches you without your consent. By yourselves, around other people, whatever, just do it every time and don’t let yourself get talked down.”
“If you’re consistently loud and embarrassing about refusing her unwanted hugs, then hopefully she’ll start to back off.”
“Maybe also, if you can, be a little extra warm and friendly when she doesn’t grab you.”
“Punishment for bad behavior and reward for good just might have both the desirable result of conditioning her into appropriate behavior with the bonus effect of getting your parents off your back (so to speak) about it.”
“If that’s something you can’t or don’t want to do, though, then f**k it, it’s not your job to teach her s**t at her age.” – remindmeofthe
“When someone establishes a boundary, that’s that. If someone else repeatedly violates that boundary, then blames the boundary setter for the violator’s emotions, they’re stoking a fire that they cannot control.”
“The boundary setter has a number of options, but even that person will eventually lash out at the repeated violations.”
“It’s weird that she has friends that understand that, while she and your parents don’t. One would think she’d learn.” – toofat2serve
Others suggested the OP be louder and firmer with her “no” in the future.
“Please consider keeping a small spray bottle of water in your purse or just a rolled-up newspaper or magazine.”
“Whenever she tries to hug you or touch you without consent, you can bop her on the head or spray her and say ‘No!’ in a firm voice and threaten to put her outside.” – MotherTeresaOnlyFans
“Next time you see her, tell her this is her last warning: Every time you get hugged or touched against your will, you will hit her in her genitals or face, and you will report her to the police for assault. (But you gotta be able to follow up… at that point, it’s self-defense, though.)” – uberwookie
“As someone that also doesn’t like to be hugged, she is being disrespectful. She won’t stop until she gets popped in the mouth, and then she will play the victim like she is now.”
“I say, find a boundary of hers and start ignoring it. Then when she gets upset, ask her why you should respect her boundaries when she doesn’t respect yours.” – emmaheaven1
“I used to carry a modified joy buzzer type thing and zap people when they tried to hug me. I hate being touched by people I don’t know really well, and found that a small jolt of electricity is a good deterrent.”
“Of course, I never used it on a kid or an old person. But it helped those persistent ‘I’m a hugger!’ type people to learn not to touch me.” – Heliotropefox
Some also pointed out that hugging was seriously a power play for the sister.
“It is about the power she gets by pushing your buttons or boundaries.”
“The best way to deal with it is exactly how you did: by calling her out. The consequence for her was being embarrassed.”
“It is your body and you have the exclusive right to it.”
“Call out your parents cowardice, too. If you can’t deny a hug, then how can you deny sex? They’re setting you up for coercion from future partners.” – AbortionFixsMistakes
“When even her friends get it and back you up, you can rest assured the problem is not you. You’re NTA, but your sister needs to be taught manners and also be called out for assaulting you.”
“These hugs are not affectionate, they’re abuse, and she loves doing it because she thinks she can.”
“As an additional suggestion, you could consider taking self-defense classes, focusing on break-holds and tossing people.” – CaligoAccedito
“So this is why she does it. Your parents stopped her from ‘hurting you,’ so she found another way to do it.”
“She’s assaulting you in a ‘socially acceptable’ manner (in parentheses as unwanted touch is never acceptable, but older generations have a thing about family not being able to have boundaries).”
“She is doing this to hurt you in a way where it is hard to fight back.” – Unicorn_Two_Ewe
“Yeah, your sister has just found a covert way to physically abuse you.”
“If you are not able or willing to go no contact with your abuser, keep making things awkward in public, by rejecting her touch loudly and soundly at all times, stressing that you do not consent to her hugging and kissing you.”
“Remove her socially acceptable shield, and soon all her friends will see that what she is doing is wrong.” – KeyFly3
“So because your sister is using hugs to abuse you instead of her fists, your parents think you should shut up and let her abuse you? It seems like your parents are just as bad as your sister is.”
“They seem to want you to lay flatter and be a better doormat. I’d take a time out from all 3 of them for at least 6 months.” – jaksknitsandknits
While the OP’s parents were criticizing her for not letting her sister show her the affection she wanted to, the subReddit insisted she was right to enforce her boundaries. Family or not, it was her body, and it also sounded suspiciously like a disguised form of bullying coming from her sister.