How Vera Says “I Love You”

This post is inspired by all the kids I’ve met who do not show affection in a “traditional” way. I hope their parents can see and accept the way their children say “I love you” even if it is not the way they are used to.

Remember Vera, the cat who gets scared by strange things and has a special sensory corner in my house? The other day, I noticed something else that Vera does a little bit differently than the rest of our family.

When Armani, my husband, and I all snuggle up together on the couch, Vera prefers to sit in the chair across the room. She might smile at us, but she does not want to join the family cuddle.

Vera in her chair

When I’m working in my office, Vera comes in, lays on the guest bed, and watches me, but she does not crawl into my lap. She does not like being picked up, and if you pet her when she has not specifically asked you to, you might get nipped.

You might think that Vera is not a very friendly cat. But when I am under my blanket at night, she curls up on my back and purrs. When I come home after being away all day, she is often sleeping on one of my sweatshirts where she can get my scent all over her.

Vera snuggling my shirt

When Vera is ready to receive pets, she will nudge my hands with her little nose until I give her all the pets and scratches she wants.

Vera doesn’t say “I love you” the same way that the rest of our family does, but she says it in her own way. Maybe the way you say “I love you” is different from the rest of your family. That’s okay! I hope that they can learn to hear your “I love yous” and accept affection in the way that feels safe and comfortable to you.

Published by Dr Marschall

Dr. Amy Marschall received her Psy.D. from the University of Hartford in September 2015. She completed her internship at the National Psychology Training Consortium with specializations in assessment and rural mental health. Currently, she specializes in trauma-informed and neurodiversity-affirming care, and she is certified in telemental health. Dr. Marschall runs a private practice, RMH Therapy, where she provides individual and family therapy as well as psychological assessments across the lifespan. Dr. Amy Marschall is an author and professional speaker.

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