While I understand that you have to take responsibility for your own issues if you are to begin correcting them, I feel their lack of guidance and positivity has deeply affected how I interact with others and how I function as an adult.
They never corrected bad habits or encouraged good ones. Self-care was never enforced and continues to be an issue I struggle with daily. They didn’t give a shit if I showered every day or once a week. They never checked if I was brushing my teeth. Am I getting mental stimulation? Exercising? Picking my nose? Eating cake for lunch? Sleeping too much? None of this was monitored.
I was never really shown the proper way to do things, and I had to figure most things out on my own or learn them at school. There are a few real-life things I remember being taught by my Dad, like how to ride a bike and learning to drive. I remember buying my first bra with Mom and a very brief, uncomfortable “birds and the bees” talk with my Dad. For everything else, it was trial and error. Was never taught how to style my hair or put on makeup. Had to figure out what to buy when I got my first period and how to use it. There are a few basic human functions that I still don’t do right.
They weren’t adept at expressing emotions physically or verbally. Hugs or saying “I love you” were very rare. Having a conversation expressing our thoughts or feelings just never happened. We weren’t interacting or connecting. If I had a question about life, I would ask a friend or look it up in a book, or just not have it answered at all. Sure, I would venture out of my room every now and then for a board game with them or to watch a tv show together, but that was the extent of it. I tried to stay in my room as much as possible because Mom was an alcoholic and for a few years when she was at her worst she was unpredictable. I couldn’t stand the sight of her most days. I’ve been told I have PTSD because it was an unsafe environment. It was a constant state of tension.
As a result, I’m having great difficulty interacting and connecting with others as an adult. I don’t feel comfortable carrying on a conversation or expressing my opinions. I don’t get this connected world that everyone else seems to live in. I will never initiate a hug. I don’t get the feeling of closeness others experience. When I see how easy it is for others it makes me feel like I’m an alien trying to blend in and clearly failing.
It is damn near impossible to learn how to feel and express emotions when you’re in your late 30’s. Trying to stop bad habits and create positive ones? Not making any progress there, either. It’s like trying to wipe off an engraving.