I feel like I am emotionally constipated around the people I love most
January 13, 2014 8:39 AM Subscribe
Whenever I see one of my close friends or family members, as soon as we part company I kick myself for not being more demonstrative of my love and appreciation of them. Am I Doing It Wrong, or is this a cognitive problem?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (6 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Example: I might visit my sibling for the day. They tell me about their life and plans, I tend to be interested, involved and encouraging (I hope), but I can also lean towards somewhat judgmental and wet-blankety (I think it's a bit of oldest-child syndrome and I try and curb it when I notice myself doing it). Almost as soon as we've said goodbye, I start to feel sad, worry that I wasn't as supportive as I should have been. I wonder why I didn't take a moment to tell them how proud I am of them. I could have done it at any time but instead I felt like I had to be sort of chummy and keep things light.
It's the same with my parents - every time we say goodbye I immediately regret not having told them more often during our visits how much I appreciate them. I feel like the potential for awkwardness because of the sort of heavy subject has somehow stopped me from doing it.
One or two close friends have told me that I can be a little closed-off at times. I've previously chalked this down to depressive episodes going on at those times, but I have started to wonder whether I might be a bit closed-off all the time. I believe my depression to be under control at the moment.
I do wonder if this is a cognitive trap that I need to think my way out of. But I'm concerned that it isn't - I don't want to be a stiff-upper-lip friend/sibling/offspring who can't show appreciation and love where it ought to be shown.
Therapy - yes, when I can afford it and get time off work to go (I'm in the UK). But can anyone offer advice/suggestions for approaching this problem in the meantime?