I’ve learned over the years that I have difficulty expressing my emotions. As a child, if I were to ever show anger, I’d be punished instead of taught how to manage my emotions. In my marriage, if I ever showed that I was even just mildly upset, I would be manipulated in the cruelest ways as a way of controlling me. So whenever I feel anger or frustration now and don’t have a way to express it, I tend to have anxiety attacks.
But this goes the same way with positive emotions. My family has never been big on expressing emotion or affection towards each other. We rarely touch and I have a hard time even expressing to my sister (who’s my best friend, by the way) that I love her. Even just typing that out made me uncomfortable.
But I'm a mother now. And as a mother, I’ve tried SO HARD to teach Allie healthy ways of expressing emotion. She's such a sensitive little girl and she can get easily frustrated and worked up, letting little things feel like big things. Having two parents with anxiety issues must be tough and we're trying to teach her different ways of looking at a problem and responses we can have that might help the situation. And just as she can feel very strongly in a negative way, she'll turn around and have just as powerful positive emotions. She's constantly swinging her arms around me in these gigantic hugs and telling me how much she loves me. She very openly expresses her emotions and it makes me happy to see that she's so comfortable doing so. And yet it’s still very hard for me to verbally tell her how proud I am of her and how much I love her. I try and push through the awkwardness and the self-loathing because of how important it is for her to hear. But this is why I love our little notes. Anytime I’m having a hard time expressing something to her, I’ll just write it down. Our little love notes are my absolute favorite thing.