My whole family is what we call “Cold-hearted.” We joke about how we don’t express our affection and are very awkward huggers. It’s all because of how my mom was raised. She never told me that she loved me and honestly it bothered me most of my childhood.
It hurt me mostly when I was younger. I was at the age where sleepovers were a thing, and I would hear my friends’ parents say that they loved them. It was so casual, they didn’t even have to think about it. Not only that, they were liberal with hugs too. I truly envied them. I wanted to be a person that could go around hugging people without feeling awkward. I felt lonely, like I was sitting on an island by myself watching everyone else have a party on the mainland.
My mom treated my brother the same way, once I realized that I started to feel better about it but I still wasn’t happy. I began to wonder if she didn’t love both of us. My brother took to her mentality much quicker than I did. Taking it one step further, he became reserved, rarely showing any emotions but apathy. I think it was easier to do that because we weren’t given a proper example of a “normal” loving family and how they handle emotions. On the plus side, we are both now great at playing poker.
As I finished high school, my families mannerisms and quirks had molded themselves within me, and I too disliked telling and showing people how I felt. I was embarrassed to express myself, whether it be if I liked someone or my affection towards my friends because my mom had made it such a big deal throughout my childhood. Yet, I gained a better understanding of how she felt and the type of person she was.
Being in her shoes helped understand her actions, her parents created a perfect analogy between her and then her to me. I don’t know why my grandparents were so cold but for my mom, it was more an unintentional naive sort of thing.
Hoping her assumptions about her parents that she made years before were true she believed that they wanted to prove their love rather than vocalize it. She didn’t think words meant anything more as a hoping thought reflecting her parent’s motives. She decided only actions expressed love properly.
She did not feel that she had to say it because she never grew up with it either. To most, it’s pretty obvious that a mother would love her children. Although a child doesn’t pick up on that, it’s a very warming thought as an adult.
If I ever had kids, I think I would act differently. I still feel awkward expressing emotions but I think I would push through my reservations and tell my kids I loved them at the very least when they were young. It’s too difficult to work with hang-ups while shaping someone’s childhood. Children have a hard enough time understanding everyday things, they shouldn’t have to dig through generations of emotional repression.
Even as a child I assumed my mother loved me it did shake my confidence, I mean I had to convince myself every day that my mother loved me. She wasn’t the warmest person, to begin with so it was hard to tell that even though now it seems so obvious. I definitely understood why my mom was insecure about saying it. It’s a weird cycle, weird but comprehensive.
Sometimes I wonder what I would be like if she had acted like other mothers do. She felt actions spoke for her and of course they did, she was supportive and helped me as much as she could.
Despite this confusion, I did become a stronger person. I learned that I don’t need anyone’s approval to be myself. I learned that just because someone doesn’t blatantly tell you something doesn’t mean they aren’t feeling something. Actions have more value. Saying “I love you” is like pledging money to a charity and the actions that prove love is like actually making the donation. Only one is truly valuable, though both have honorable sentiments.
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