The first time I received constructive parental input

I cried.

It was not the response I expected from myself; in fact, it took me awhile to realize why I was reacting so strongly.

It was because I found genuine comfort in the words I was reading from my unclethey acknowledged my feelings, provided an alternate assessment of the situation, and affirmed the route to recovery from setback. More than that, I was reacting so strongly because it felt like the first time I received an appropriate reaction from a parental figure.

Growing up, nearly all conversations with my parents felt forced to a small, if not large, extent. I never had a real conversation with my dad. As for my mom, I could get hugs from her; but she’s just not wired in a way to provide mental support and instead defaults to freaking out. So it was never an instinct to discuss personal things with my parents. If hard conversations were unavoidable, it usually escalated to an emotionally volatile situation that ended in psychological harm. And over the years, that became what “normal” meant to me in the context of dealing with parents.

The takeaway for me? Talking with your parents should not equal being emotionally slaughtered. I’m glad that I wrote my uncle candidly about the bumpy start to employment I had this week, and grateful that he could be such a supportive sounding board for me.

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