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Avatar universal

Anxiet caused by family member

What do you do when the anxiety is caused by a family member?  I love my dad so much, look up to him but today I was reminded of how anxious I was throughout my entire childhood because of his "moods".  He is depressed again at the moment and I'm scared to open my mouth in case I say the wrong thing, his fuse is so short and he gets cross over the slightest thing.
It made me feel sick, panicky and I struggled to hold the tears back, I don't want to feel like that again, the scared and worried child, I'm a grown woman with children of my own.  I struggle daily with being bipolar (plus other things) and I can't cope with any kind of stress right now but its not his fault that he is being like this.  He is depressed following the death of his mum (my gran) but I don't know how to cope.
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Avatar universal
I also have anxiety and am working with a therepist for this.  My mother was very controlling when I was a teenager.  If she got mad at me....and she did...she would not talk to me and pretend that I wasn't even the house or room.  My dad would never step in to help me.(even if he knew what was going on) because then she would not talk to him.  This has gone on all my life, in fact...to this very day.  When I was young..I would go to my room just to get away from the emotional abuse.  I was very much alone.  No one would ever take my part because they did not want to get involved

So, I have been struggling with anxiety for many years..I am 60 years old.  She has taught me one thing....how I did not want to be!!  But now I stuggle with stress.  Its hard to deal or cope with things because of something very deep inside of me.  I am working on getting this out.

Good luck....I understand.  Its very hard.  I find it so hard to believe that my mother did this too me.  It makes me very angry.  So .....my answer to you is YES...it sure can be caused by a family member and way back in my childhood.  Nana
480448 tn?1426948538
Meaning NO disrespect...I LMAO when I first read the title of your thread.....and thought..."Isn't pretty much ALL anxiety caused by a family member?"....lol

OKAY now, in all seriousness.  You pretty much answered your own questions...you are a grown woman with your own children and responsibilities.  It is ONE thing to be supportive of your father and what he is going thru...and it is quite another to put up with certain behaviors just because "ooooh, that's how Dad is".

That being said...you're likely not going to change him right?  So, maybe you need to work on changing YOU.  If you aren't already...get into some therapy...find out what YOU need to do to be able to help your Dad without sacrificing your own sanity!  These kinds of situations are very difficult, I understand...but remember....when all is said and done....you aren't going to be in a good place to help your Dad if you are a stressed out mess yourself.

I think once you start looking into this stuff with a therapist....you'll get some GREAT ideas on how to handle this.  With SOME people you can sit them down and explain to them how they are making you feel, so that they can make some changes...with OTHERS you have a better chance of having the opportunity to tell (~insert very hot celebrity's name here~) IN PERSON that you would love to have a no-strings attached one nighter with them.  ;0)

FOR SOME REASON...I have a feeling that with your Dad, the latter is true.  Meaning, you'd prolly have better luck discussing how he makes you feel to your morning bagel???

I'm not sure any of this was helpful...just know that family dynamics can be so complicated and while you want to be there for your Dad and help him get thru what he is going through.....you have to take care of YOURSELF in the meantime...however you think you need to do that.  

Coming HERE is certainly a great start....you can cry, yell, vent, swear etc etc...and most of us (if we've already taken our Ativan) won't bat an eye at it...and will hug ya anyway.  ;0)

Hang in there, hon.
Avatar universal
Thanks for your replies.  Also thanks for the hug!!  It is daft, I know its daft and yes I know I should get some therapy to help learn not let him have this affect on me, afterall I have enough to contend with having 4 children!!  I suppose the reason I don't say anything is because for all these years nobody has ever said anything to me about my bp moods and I've kind of been allowed to behave how I wanted because "she's a bit unstable/fragile/neurotic/mentally ill" etc etc.  However, I don't want people making excuses for me and I know that when I'm being horrid its not fair on others and I'm making a conscious effort to take control of my moods with the help of medication, so I s'pose I should expect the same of my dad.

Yes nursegirl I have answered my own questions, LOL! Funny how when you write stuff down it becomes clearer than when its floating round my head.  My first step will be to suggest he goes back to see his doc, then at my next pdoc appointment I shall ask to see a therapist.  There decisions made - still feel sick tho!
Avatar universal
Would it sound bad if I added to not let your father begin to depend of you today. As you said, he controlled your life as a kid / growing up, with his mood swings. Now you are older and have a family of your own. That is the most important thing to remember. You are a mother to 4. The last thing you need is a 5th person to look after. His mood swings will be the exact same now as they were over the years. But put your own life and family life first. It sounds like I am suggesting that you ignore your father. I am not saying that. Have a talk with him. Tell him he needs help. But make it clear that so do you. So you will have your problems to deal with and won't always be there to deal with his problems too. I'm sure you know what I am getting at. Let him know you are no longer that young kid. Because to me part of your problem is all about how you felt over those years of growing up. Talking about all of that. There will be a lot of tears. But tears are good for the soul. You probably have so much you need to get out. So don't be afraid to vent here at any time at all. That's what we are all here for. Each other.
Avatar universal
I know exactly what you are saying and you are right.  He is a bit like a spoiled child at times, he thinks that we should all stop what we are doing when he comes round and give him our undivided attention.  If I try and get on with washing or stuff or if the kids get on with playing he says we are ignoring him and he might as well go home.

With my gran (his mum) I used to visit her every week for 6 years, when my BP got bad I found this difficult yet he used to comment that she missed me etc, thing was he rarely went over until the last year.  Then when she was admitted to hospital and I was going over daily he turned round and said "this isnt your place, your not one of her children, its our (meaning him and his siblings) place".  That cut me to the quick, I thought well I was good enough to go over every week and help her with cleaning, washing etc but I'm not good enough to be with her when she is dying.  I was also left out of organising the funeral or taking part in it, whereas my cousin was asked to do a speech.  It was as if everything I'd done was irrelevant because I was only a grand child.

Boy, sorry, don't know where that came from, something else I needed to get off my chest.  

Yes I think my childhood has a lot to do with how I am, I'm sure a lot of my mental health issues would be resolved if I could get to the root of them but the pdocs are so intent on cbt and not looking into the past and I keep saying I need to go back to past issues and work them out, she did mention a psychotherapist a few months ago so I shall ask if I can be referred and then maybe in time I can use cbt to help with the anxiety and panic attacks.

Thanks for your support and advice.
Avatar universal
You know where I would begin? I would begin by writing everything down you ever wanted to say to your father. Good or bad. I'm not saying you have to hand it to him. Like a letter even. Telling him everything bad he has ever done to you. How it has effected your life. How you viewed him when you were a child. How you view him today. Once you have this letter written? Try answering it from him. May seem a bit odd. From me everything is odd. ( LOL ) But it's like an exercise to help yourself. You are a brave person and you know where the answers are hidden.
366811 tn?1217422672
Anxiety caused by a family member? Unlikely. The family member may create conditions which you react to with anxiety -but you could just as well react with anger and a murderous intent, were you wired up that way. Cutting to the chase here, anxiety is a product of YOUR brain. And therefore, some work on that brain can make it go away. You've got as better shot at that then changing daddyo's noggin, that's for sure.

Given that our parents are, well, our PARENTS, after all, this is not an easy fix. But it is the fix that needs to be made. Discuss it with your therapist, asking what you can do to lower the  "YIKES" factor. You won't get rid of all of it, but you WILL find some parts of your own thought process that can go in the trash.

Bottom line: focus on what you CAN change.

Fair 'nuff?
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