Unable to feel love for parents, moral compass faulty?
I knew I'm definitely extremely odd for thinking this way but I really can't "love" my parents.
I grew up in a loving, supportive, relaxed and super warm family with extremely caring parents. However, I realised to my horror that I don't "love" my parents. Sure, I have never done anything bad; no temper , no tantrums, no eye-rolls,no slamming of the door, no raised voice at my parents. I haven't done a single thing that proves I'm cold, callous and heartless towards my parents but I don't "feel" the love towards them.
Sure, on the surface, I am the perfect child. I give them a lot of cash from my internships and jobs, I dutifully do all the cleaning and cooking, I help them with 100% of the chores. But I do household chores the same way a conscientious student does her homework: because she "should", not because she "feels like it".
I know for sure I won't cry when my parents die. Here's how I found out. They go to bed earlier than I do. So there'll be a long stretch of time where they are sound asleep while I'm still up. I don't feel intense, deep sadness when they close their eyes and sleep? Like really. Instead of feeling sad, I feel super at ease and even peaceful when I'm the only one up at night and they're just motionless and quiet in bed, not talking to me at all. Isn't death the same, just longer? Somehow I'm not that clingy for parental affection.
I tried imagining them dying, and what I would do when I hear the news. My only reaction would be "so? Die? Errrrr ok. When is the funeral then?" What can possibly happen if they die? I wouldn't have to so dutifully and diligently treat them like a king and queen in order to "prove" I have filial piety? I would be relieved of this obligation because they are have already passed on? Why bother crying?
Of course I do not "want" nor "wish" my parents to die; I'm just saying I probably won't sob endlessly if they do. For example, my mum fell ill last year and I used up almost all of my personal savings and even spent all my after-school time preparing medicine for her. Why? Because doing this HELPS her recover from her sickness. Crying when parents die, however, serves no purpose in HELPING them return to the living world. If I really want my parents to die, will I have sacrificed so much to help them recover from their illnesses? No right? I just don't see how tears are beneficial to them if they are already gone.
I used to stay in a NUS hall, and I liked being free and independent. In fact, I don't "feel" a sense of sheer warmth and love when I come home on the weekends. When I saw my parents after a long week in school, I don't feel my heart beating faster, I don't feel palpitations, I don't feel butterflies in my tummy, I feel nothing. I just know that I absolutely need to carry out the "duty" of being helpful, being filial, being gentle and caring towards my parents because it's a strong moral obligation.
I live my life ethically. I have extremely firm moral principles, the first and foremost being filial to one's parents. So I really give a lot to my parents while they are still living (both financially and emotionally). I want and strive to live my life with a clear moral conscience.
But how can my conscience be crystal clear when I don't feel "love" and "butterflies" whenever I see my parents? How can I still call myself "ethical" when I don't see why I should cry when I watch my parents fall asleep and subsequently die (this day will come). How can I still be a morally upright person if I don't feel sadness when I move away from home and choose to stay on campus? Is there a way to make myself sad on purpose when my parents die so I will remain a morally strong person with ethics?
This post first appeared on NUS Whispers (Confession #28527). You may wish to share you thoughts with the anonymous soul who poured her heart out.
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