Both my parents came from abusive households. One physical, one mental (or so I'm told).
I was never hit or verbally abused. I was spanked by Mum. It was what you did at the time. It was never idly threatened and it never happened in anger or with anything other than an pen hand to my butt or back of legs. Nice fleshy bits that sting but don't hurt.
Other than the Big Fight (tm) when I was 14 or so (Mum had been dead a few years, dad wasn't coping well with having a teenage daughter who wasn't going through puberty pleasantly. I wasn't coping with anything at all. End result was my sister, Nic, moved up from Sydney to look after me for a while, then I lived with other people until I finished school and moved out of Cairns) Dad never spanked or hit me at all.
Anyway, that's kind of the background to the fact that we are not a very demonstrative family. I don't really remember being hugged and kissed a lot when I was growing up. Even now, we aren't a very touchy-feely family. This is not to say that I feel unloved by my family. I'm reasonably certain they wouldn't have put up with half my shit if they didn't love me. Just that there were few physical outpourings of love. I think that it was a byproduct of my parents childhoods.
I still don't hug people often. Never quite sure how they'll take it. There are a few people in my life that I hug and kiss (nothing raunchy, usually top of the head etc) a fair bit. It's nice. It's needed. I'm just aware that not everybody likes physical contact and it's not inbuilt enough in me to do it anyway. This is a byproduct of my childhood
I now have a husband who likes cuddling and hugging and kissing and is very tolerant of my constant demands of 'tell me how much you love me'.
I now have a son who gets hugged and kissed and told that he is loved approximately every 3.7 seconds. Poor child.
In so many ways I had a good childhood (baring mum dying and the big fight (tm) and lead up to it). I was looked after and cared for and educated. I was given a lot of opportunities. I was not denied things as often as I probably should have been. I was given freedom and an idea of self-worth and the ability to host a dinner party for 12people.
The demonstrative love is my way of improving on my childhood in the same way that not abusing their kids is the way that my parents improved on theirs.
I wonder how Torby will improve on his childhood if he has kids?