I wasn't raised in a home where you could just share your feelings. I wasn't born into a family where being affectionate towards each other was a natural thing. We didn't hug ever, we didn't even express that we cared about each other.
When I started getting mental health problems I couldn't tell anyone, simply because it wasn't an option with the mindset I was brought up with. It was always "don't let your emotions get in the way of your success, just push them down", "they're just in your head". With this in the back of my mind I was sure something was fundamentally wrong with me, because I felt things, and they did get in the way of my success at times. I felt weak.
On top of that I was raised catholic, and I knew from the time that I could understand what religion and catholicism was, that I did not believe it. I carried the guilt of being a huge disappointment to my parents for 16 years before I told them, because I couldn't lie anymore. And they were disappointed. Suddenly I was both letting them down and a sinner doomed to burn in hell, I don't believe in hell, but it still hurt a ton that they said that to me, it was the fact that they believed it.
Because of their beliefs I of course wasn't allowed to have a boyfriend. You know where I'm going with this. I got a boyfriend when I was 17. This is the real issue I've been building up to. In the beginning of our friendship, I used to flinch every time he hugged me, because it didn't feel normal to me. When he started saying that he liked me I cringed and I couldn't say it back. Don't get me wrong, I feel all of it. I just can't say it. It's like there's a block in my mind.
I've had friends saying they love me (platonically of course), and I couldn't say it back, and they got annoyed. I feel like I'm letting them all down. I still can't hug people without tightening up, and I can't believe how missing affection in my childhood has messed me up this much.