If you are an overprotective parent or a helicopter parent, and proud of it, PLEASE BE WARNED!
THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN OF OVERPROTECTIVE PARENTS!
As an only child, all my life my parents kept me locked up in the house so I never played with other children or talked with any people other than my parents. My parents were isolated socially, they had no friends so they never left the house either except to go to work and they never talked on the phone. The result is I never learnt how to talk on the phone and even today it’s hard for me to hold a phone conversation.
No one ever came to visit us and we never went to visit anyone. My parents forbade me from having any friends. They were against friendships, which you can see as they themselves had no friends either, through their own choosing.
When I was a child at school kids soon learnt to stop inviting me to playovers and parties, because they already knew what would be my generic response: “I can’t, my parents won’t let me.” I could have spent my entire childhood with that logo pasted to my forehead, and saved people the bother of asking me if I could go to their party or sleepover.
University was just as hard because for the first time I had the opportunity to talk to other people who weren’t my parents. But I didn’t know ANY social rules.
If I was in a group I didn’t know how to figure out when I was supposed to talk and when I was supposed to be quiet, or what were the appropriate things to say or not say. The only time I’d ever spoken in groups before was in supervised situations at school where the teachers chose the person who was going to speak, and gave guidelines as to what you could talk about.
I couldn’t understand gestures, looks and expressions, take a hint or understand hints or know what you were supposed to do or not do in different social situations, since my parents had always kept me locked up at home, so I’d never had any sort of social relationships with anyone except my parents.
Finding a job was just as hard. My parents found my jobs for me. They forbade me from getting a job by myself and if I ever tried to get one, they forbade me from going to work.
Need I say they didn’t let me study what I wanted, either. They chose the career I would study, and forbade me from studying anything else. The result is that I studied a career that I hated and could never find a job that I liked, because I always hated my career, since I hadn’t chosen it.
But as I was saying, it was hard for me to find a job as well, because I had no social skills and because if I did find a job and my parents didn’t approve of it, well, I simply wasn’t allowed to go to work.
My parents found my jobs for me, and made me go to work in the places they had chosen for me. Fortunately, I actually enjoyed one of these jobs and worked there for 3 years. After that I left because it was only a student job, and I finished university. I wouldn’t have liked to work at that job for the rest of my life anyway though.
Finally after university I left the country because I had the opportunity to do so. My parents idolized university professors, so a professor from my university took me abroad on an exchange programme. I never returned home, and that is how I found my freedom.
But even so even today sooooo many things are still so hard for me. Every time I have to make a decision, be it something as difficult as the next right career move or as simple as what to wear each day, I still look around expecting my mother to give me the answer, and I STILL feel lost even today when of course there is no one around to tell me what to do.
The learning curve for learning things at the age of 40, that you should have learnt at the age of 14, is just soooooooooo much steeper and it is just sooooo much harder than it would have been at the age of 14.
The saddest thing is no longer having my mother there right next to me telling me what to do whenever I don’t know what to do. Of course I hated it and it certainly is not healthy, to have a person constantly by your side constantly telling you what to do, but there is a strange comfort in it.
You feel like you’re always going to be taken care of and you never have to worry about anything. Even though it’s only an illusion, of course, because your mother doesn’t have all the answers and she is also certainly not always going to be right.
The hardest thing is still trying to learn all the things that I don’t know and I SHOULD know, because all other people know these things. It’s like the wiring in my head is all wrong and things are just not connected, that are supposed to be connected and are connected in other people’s heads.
As if connections that should have been made when I was a child simply weren’t made, and now I’m too old for those neural connections to grow. Like there’s a certain age in which the brain is prepared to learn certain things, and after that age, it just can’t form the right connections anymore.
Like the age for learning language, you must learn a language by the age of 5 and if you miss that window, you will never learn language. The brain changes somehow after the age of 5, something hardens in it so it is impossible to learn language if you haven’t done so by that age.
They’ve done studies with feral children so they know that the right age for learning language is before the age of 5. Feral children who hadn’t learnt language by that age were never able to learn it throughout their entire lives.
Or I’d read a study done with people who had been blind as children, but they received an operation that restored perfect eyesight to them as adults. In spite of the fact that their eyes worked perfectly, they were unable to SEE using their eyes, because their brains were unable to process or understand what the eyes were seeing.
They received lessons on how to use their eyes and identify the objects that they were seeing, but they were still unable to learn it. The neural connections just simply had never been made in their brains.
Connections that in seeing children went from their eyes to the processing area of their brains, in blind children, the connections were formed between the processing area of the brain and other senses, like hearing or touch, and the neural connections with their optic nerve never occurred, because they just couldn’t be formed as adults.
Well, this post is real. But if you’d like to read some of the ravings and imaginings of a mind that grew up in social isolation, I’ve written a few thrillers so, if you’re into creepy, scary, suspenseful novels, I’d love it if you’d check them out here: Thrillers by Moi.
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Yikes–that stinks. I’ve got a dad that thinks I’m 5 years old at random times and has never grown up. I have one friend and she lives over a thousand miles away now. Dad acts like I’m gonna live in his house when he dies, and he’s done his share of talking me down from things I’ve wanted to do. He’s never even considered the possibility that I may move out and live somewhere else. I never learned how to live by myself, so it’s gonna be a rude awakening when the day comes. I hate it. Hell, just got done writing about it today, actually.
Here’s to the hope that we socially inept can still find ways to get along and get by with others, even if it’s not our “natural state.” It certainly is hard to start when you’ve barely held the tools in your hand. Hugs.
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Hi ChattyIntrovert. Sorry I didn’t answer sooner, I’m not on the blog much anymore. I hope you’ve found a way to get around your dad by now, maybe even managed to move out. Moving out would be great, you’d get the chance to learn how to do things on your own and show your parents how competent you are, as well as get to do all the things you’ve always wanted to do. Sending you all my best wishes and also take care of yourself in these virus laden times! Hugs to you too!
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