Guilt Hugs and Kisses

My husband isn’t big on hugs and kisses.  He’s not an affectionate type of person but when he really gives hugs and kisses; it’s the best thing that I ever felt because he really means it.  Thankfully, I’m not much of an affectionate person because I would probably starve emotionally if I needed hugs and kisses all the time.  But for some people, they need hugs and kisses to emotionally sustain a relationship otherwise; they will feel that the person doesn’t love them because of the lack of affection they give.  If they don’t get that affection, they will guilt trip the person into doing what they what them to do in order to get the affection they seek.

I have seen this happen with my mother in law and my husband.  My mother in law would guilt my husband into hugging her by saying, “Oh, you’ll wish you would have hug me when I’m gone, “ or if another man my husband’s age hugs her, she would causally mentions how her own son wouldn’t hug her to the stranger in a later conversation with my husband.  Or if my husband reluctantly hugs her, she’ll say, “I must have been a terrible mother for you not to hug me.”  Total guilt tripping. 

I mention to my husband that I didn’t like that she does that to him but he doesn’t really see it as a guilt trip and she doesn’t make him hug her it’s that “I want to be a better son to my mother.”  In my mind, he’s thinking that he’s not a better son because he doesn’t hug his mother every time they see each other.  When he said that, it broke my heart.  My husband is a great son to his mother and for him to even think that he’s not because he doesn’t hug her on cue is ridiculous.  He may not think that his mother guilty him into someone that he’s not, I see that her guilt tripping worked.  I vow not to emotionally guilt trip my children.

Bam Bam is very similar to my husband in that if he doesn’t want to hug or kiss mommy or dad, he doesn’t want to.  My husband and I don’t make him either.  I do it because I seen what guilt trip done to my husband with his mother and I don’t want that type of relationship with my son.  When he doesn’t want to kiss, I say, “Its ok. You don’t feel like kissing mama.  Maybe next time.”  Sometimes I don’t say anything at all because it’s his right if he wants to give me a hug or a kiss or not.  I don’t want Bam Bam to grow up thinking that every time he comes by or comes over for an event that he has to hug and kiss me to avoid a guilt trip from mama.  I rather my son not hug me at all than to force him to hug me and kiss and not mean it.

No Hugs or Kisses for you

I stress to both my sons that you have to set emotional boundaries with people including family.  Although they don’t really understand at their young ages but with respect that my husband and I give as far as not forcing them to do something that they are emotionally uncomfortable with should set the foundation with anyone they come in contact with that they have a say on who they want to hug, kiss, or touch them and it’s their right to say no if they don’t want it. 

No doesn’t mean that Bam Bam never wants to hug or kiss me, it usually means he doesn’t want it right now…just like my husband.  When we ask for hugs, it’s usually for us, to make us feel better, to feel loved but what happens when the person we want to hug doesn’t need you to make them feel better or loved?  Making them feel guilty doesn’t help us, it hurts us in the long run because while their hugs and kisses make us feel better, they’re secretly resenting us for guilt tripping them and making them feel worse. 

So when Bam Bam pushes me away or turns his head and shake his head no to a hug and kiss, I just remember that when he actually is ready, it would mean so much more because it will the be best hug and kiss a mother can get.  It’s worth the wait.

Bam Bam and Mama