Nature and Nurture

Anxious, (somewhat) introverted, quiet man, meets anxious, (definitely) introverted, quiet woman. They date, fall in a love, have an anxious, introverted, quiet son, then eventually get married. Anyone who goes to therapy can tell you, as you begin to dig into various situations and happenings, a lot of them stem from childhood. It’s no different for me. Of course I love my parents, they did their best, but looking back, I can tell how I acquired some not so positive traits from them. From poor communication skills, to issues with confidence, and of course the kicker – anxiety.

Communication deeper than surface level stuff never really happened. From what I can remember prior to high school, mom worked an evening shift and dad worked a morning shift. I’d get picked up from elementary school by someone from KinderCare Day Care Center and I’d stay at their facilities till dad picked me up once he got off. I’d rarely see mom during the week. Dad was a bit of a hot head too, getting ticked at the silliest stuff; anger was the only emotion he expressed well. I remember writing notes to my mom about him getting upset and not liking him. I’d leave them under a kitchen table mat, she’d read them once she got home, and write something back, leaving her note under my pillow. That happened for a little while, till dad found one my notes to her and deaded that secret communication. Dad didn’t want to be bothered too much, he’d check homework, get on me about cleaning up; typical dad stuff, but no conversations about growing up, becoming a man, what do you want to be when you grow up, girls (*giggles*), or other typical “boy” things. I hung with mom on the weekends, tagged along with her to her bowling league. Again, not much conversation with her either. I was a lowkey kid, no major issues at school (outside of being a cry baby), so I guess they figured I was fine.

As high school came around, there was a shift. Dad had lost a job, found a new one, but now both parents would be working nights. Mom left around 3pm and dad was leaving around 9pm; I’d be home alone till mom got back around midnight and sometimes 1am, if she had to stay later (thank God never ever happened). As I got involved in things in high school, and had stay after, she’d be gone and dad would be in the bed resting up for his shift by the time I’d get home. I’d eat an already prepared dinner, do my homework, then watch TV. I had a few friends, but I was never much of a pick-up the phone and talk person (that hasn’t changed much; yikes). Pleasantries would be exchanged with dad when he woke up, but that’s it. He’d leave and I’d head up to bed. This was the routine throughout high school.

Now trust, I know my parents were doing what they had to, to provide a good living. I’m totally thankful for that. I just wish there had been a little more concentration on the child/teen development piece. We didn’t talk about feelings, how to process different kinds of situations kids may experience, and not a whole lot of pep-talks or conversations about the future. Of course I obtained some social skills from teachers and schoolmates, but that foundation was missing at home.

I’ll get into the confidence and anxiety on a later post…

Published by GillySJ

39, born and raised in the Chicago area. I like to call myself an introvert with a twist; enjoy being out and about, but love my time at home the most! Lover of food, music, performing and visual arts, travel, financial wellbeing, and philanthropy!

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