The worst thing is getting pinned by men off-script. Each technique has its assigned pin: that's on-script and it's okay. But if my partner and I mess up a technique and suddenly nage comes up with a new pin that I didn't anticipate happening because it wasn't what the instructor had demonstrated--that's the worst. I hate everything, want to burn everything, know that I can't do anything. It's awful. Not very aiki at all.
If you do want to share your exercises I'd be very interested in hearing them. Even if they're not specifically for my situation they might provide me with some benefit.
Julia, what I'm going to write may sound dismissive but I absolutely don't mean it that way: you have found the key issue in your own training, the thing that really really pushes your buttons, and how you respond will determine whether you stick with aikido or leave.
Most of us who train end up having buttons pushed. It is how we respond that matters.
Some people simply cannot look at the issue and find other "acceptable" reasons to quit training. Others cannot look at it but keep training by spackling over it and a lot of them become skilled at the outer forms but end up being poor training partners because of the tension, fear, or anger that lurks under the surface each time they bow in.
You seem to be on a better track: you have not only identified the issue but are willing to articulate it to others. Being willing to go through some of "the awful" in the safe training environment of the dojo will give you a chance to experiment with how to change yourself (assuming you are in a good, safe training environment, which some folks are not, sadly)
The dojo is not a therapy center, but the nature of the training DOES give each of us a chance to confront and work on whatever our issues are. For me, I consider it my misogi.
Exercises for getting over fear of hitting......I suggest using weapons and you need a willing partner who can accept and absorb your strong strikes with his or her own weapon...start slow and soft as you need to, focusing on being as on-target at you can and on coordination of slow breathing with your movement. Don't strike faster or harder until you are able to be relaxed at the pace you started with. Accept small incremental improvement each time and don't try to do it in each and every aikido class - then it's a chore....and let's face it, we really do this because we enjoy it much of the time!
And yes, you can with a good partner also use this approach to fear of being hit, via practicing receiving slow, soft strikes from a good partner with your weapon, focusing on breathing and sinking each time you want to flinch....building new habits.