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Thread: I've never felt close to my parents

  1. #1
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    I've never felt close to my parents

    I don't really know where to begin with this but, I just have never really enjoyed my parents company. You would have figured that after I aged out of my teens this would have changed, but really all that is different is that I'm not bitter and angry around them anymore. Even now into my twenties, I still don't like spending time with them. I cringe at the thought of "bonding" with my parents. It's not like I don't feel grateful to them, it's just like there's never been an emotional connection. I grew up seeing other kids express their love towards their parents (taking selfies, going on "dates" with them, doing activities you'd also do with good friends) and I have since wondered what's wrong with me to not feel that way towards mine. It feels like a forced relationship, and I'm just trying to make the best of it because I can't escape. They did not abuse me; you'd consider them to be generally "normal" parents. Obviously, no ones perfect, and my dad does have anger outbursts (always has since I was a child), and most times my mom would shrink back and let him express this anger towards me (never hitting, just yelling).
    An example of this is when I was still learning to drive, we took a trip to see my older brother (via the freeway). My dad insisted on me driving to gain experience, and he essentially expected me to do whatever he said (to simulate a driving test). Well I felt really uncomfortable pulling to the side of the freeway and eventually he made me by yelling, got out, went around, tried the driver's door and banged on the window (I thought it would break) because it was locked. I looked to my mom for reassurance and she stayed absolutely silent, just let my dad continue to berate me as I cried the rest of the way. I think that was the time I felt the most disappointed in my mom.
    Also when I was in junior high/high school, the internet/social media was booming and my parents severely restricted my access because they thought I was going to give strange men my address. I understood the concern as valid, but tried to explain that I am aware of these kinds of situations, and I'm old enough to not be so stupid as to do something like that. I told them I would never let myself become persuaded to give my information. What I said didn't matter, they put parental locks on the computer for years. I felt like a baby. None of my friends had these limitations. I think what bothered me the most about this part was that my parents didn't trust me to make good decisions, even though I clearly showed competence.
    As a little kid, my dad made me cry on Christmas eve because he had me convinced that a gift I had gotten was a hamster/kitten/etc. when in reality it was a teddy bear. I opened it and started bawling when I should have been excited to receive such a nice present. He did it for laughs, and my mom did nothing to stop him.

    Anyways, I'm kind of just rambling at this point. I don't know if these examples have anything to do with me not feeling emotionally close to my parents or not. Like I said, they didn't abuse me, and outside of situations like these ones things were pretty normal. They've done/still are doing a lot for me.
    I guess my "question" is really just, has anyone else experienced these feelings or, I guess, lack thereof?

    Sorry this is longer than I expected it to be...

  2. #2
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    I am in the same boat as you. Christmas Day was really trying because my brother is at the other end of the country with his family and I'm an hour from my mum, so I kinda have to spend it with her even though there is such a lack of connection. It is like spending the day with someone I've just met at the bus stop. My dad lives abroad and treats me like the black sheep of the family. I dread him calling because I find it so hard to have anything to talk about. My parents used me as the go-between for messages after their acrimonious divorce, I've never had the help or support I'd hear other parents give their kids and I totally get the disappointment over your present because I had a similar experience. I have had counselling for childhood emotional neglect - you might want to look it up to see if it resonates with how your parents were with you.

  3. #3
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    Just because you're related by blood doesn't mean you're going to bond in any particular way. I was never really close with my father other than when I was very young and that was because he had a mental illness that affected the way he interacted with me (and others) and had very poor social skills. I felt a great loss when the closeness ended when I was young (I guess at that stage we connected and maybe his mental illness was less severe?). But into my 30s I really grew to love and respect and admire him even though I didn't feel connected to him (neither did my sibling). I also of course was able to understand the role mental illness played (which I did not as a child). The love/respect/admiration was a positive force that helped me feel less "guilty" about the lack of connection. the other huge thing - I knew deep down how much he cared for me, loved me, and wanted the best for me.

    Your parents showed they cared with the internet restrictions (even though you did not agree). And yes the other examples of course aren't going to promote bonding, I get it. But again blood doesn't mean bonding. I am extremely close with my mother (who is alive- my father passed away 2 years ago) so it might happen that as you get older or have different life experiences be open to the connection changing. And of course keep your distance from abusive/toxic behavior.

  4. #4
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    Thank you for bringing this up, I've never even thought that I had experienced CEN, but now that I think about it, I don't remember getting a lot of emotional support from my parents. They cared for my physical needs just fine, but that's about the extent of our relationship.

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  6. #5
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    I can relate. My dad was a good and kind man and I loved him a lot. But he would never stand up to my mother's bullsh1t. She was domineering and mostly miserable to be around. I hated her from the time I was a little kid. My dad worked shifts so sometimes I'd go a week without seeing him because of that. So I had far too much mother interaction those weeks. She was a yeller and a hitter.

    I moved out at 18, my dad died when I was 27. I left home because I couldnt stand her any longer. She never believed anything I said, kept me on a short leash, I didnt do a lot of things other kids did. My brother had much more freedom than I did.

    Here I am now, she died 9 yrs ago. We never did resolve anything and I gave up on her years ago. I have my own grown children and have done my best to not be like her.

    You may find you just need to keep your distance the older you get.


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