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Am I bad for feeling so distant from my parents at age 20?

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This isn't a new thing, I remember once when I was younger, I used to tell my parents that I loved them right before running up to bed, but then one night I distinctly remember my dad saying 'you don't have to say that anymore' - he said it not in a 'we know you love us' way, but in a 'you're a big boy now and big boys don't waltz around being emotional like a sassy' kind of way (hyper masculinity has always been present, and although i'm confident with my masculinity, especially now that i'm older I enjoy art and music and reading and Its always sat weirdly with my family, not overt disapproval, but like when i was younger it was 'why aren't you doing what other lads your age are doing?' 'don't you want to be a professional footballer?')


Since then I can't recall one time where I'd say I've been close to my parents. We don't hang out or laugh and joke, the only time I really talk to my dad is when we're arguing about politics, heck if we didn't argue about politics I don't think we'd really have anything to say. like, I talk to my parents, but never anything of substance; I never tell them about my personal life, what my friends are up to, we never share our feelings and they rarely reach out to discuss these things. we don't spend good, quality time actually getting to know each other and it bothers me but I feel so responsible. Sometimes my mum will ask if i'm seeing anyone and i'll just freeze up completely, I can't help it! the thought of discussing it with my mum or my dad just makes my stomach churn and I know that it isn't supposed to be this way. They know so little about me on a personal level that they got my sister to come into my room and ask if i was gay. (i'm not & it's not as if ive ever done anything to imply otherwise.) sometimes my mum will ask me when i'm drunk because she knows it's easier to get an answer.


It's at the point now with my dad where I don't really feel like i'd enjoy the process of becoming closer (if that makes sense) we're such different people that it feels like when you're hanging out at lunch with a boring, distant colleague at work, making small talk about the weather and football. And plus the idea of being emotionally close is so alien that it makes me so anxious and uncomfortable.


On a physical level, we never hug or kiss, even at christmas I can feel the discomfort when I hug my dad to thank him for my gift or vice versa. All of this is made worse by the fact that i'm at University now, and whilst we speak less and less, it's like the kids around me, their relationships with their parents are shifting from paternal and maternal to like being 3 adult friends; mutual respect and stuff, It makes me so jealous.


My sister and I are just as distant, if not even more so.


That being said they're not absent parents, they've shown their love for me through the continued support of everything I've wanted to do, they'd sacrifice anything to make sure I get all the opportunities I could ever want, and this is something that i'm eternally grateful for! But deep down I feel like something is missing, I wish I could have what my friends have, where the laugh and joke and go for pint with their dads or hang out with their mums - but I feel like its almost as if its not a possibly and I feel so awful and responsible because I know being this was isn't what they want either.

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we don't spend good, quality time actually getting to know each other and it bothers me


As you mature into adulthood, you can recognize your own responsibility for voicing what you want and proposing ideas to get it. So raise to your folks, "I would really like for us to spend some good, quality time actually getting to know each other. Can we make a plan for next weekend to [...insert something you'd enjoy doing with them...]?"


The way to get what you want is NOT to complain about not getting it, but rather to raise ideas and negotiate those. Offer something they value and would want from you in exchange for something specific you want from them. If you don't know what they might want from you, ask. Put an idea on the table, and ask what you can do to make it worth their while to give that to you.


If you suspect that Mom may want to see you form more relationships in your life, propose to her some of your positive observations about how other students interact with their parents, and tell her it might be helpful to you in learning how to form new friendships if you could receive some encouragement from her and your Dad in those ways.


Consider also that your tuition covers mental health counseling on campus. Since you've already paid for the service, why not use it? Ask the counselor for some help with forming friendships and feeling less lonely. They deal with this all the time, and you'd be surprised how many others feel as isolated as you do in the face of contrast with more outgoing students and the families that raised them.


Head high, and write more if it helps.

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No, you are not bad for feeling what you feel. I have not been close to my parents as an adult. I kept in touch, the basics, but have never felt close to them, never felt fully accepted by them. I still love and care about them and am there for them when they need me (although my father passed away a few years ago, this was true until then), but we are very different and just not very close, and that can't be forced.

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