I love my mother to death and she is a wonderful, caring person, who takes up so much of my heart. Which is why her anxiety disorder is so awful for me.
She’s been like this for years– doing things like suggesting that everything I do will kill or harm my baby. But now her anxiety over everything is giving ME anxiety over everything (and causing anxiety attacks).
I don’t know how to approach the situation to convince her to get real help and counseling. Does anyone have tips for dealing with a parent with severe anxiety? -Anna
Ooh boy do I know this one! I was raised by a grandmother who was deliberately overdosed on amphetamines by a doctor who got referral kickbacks from a mental hospital. After getting off the little green pills her body substituted adrenaline, which meant she needed to find any possible reason to feel anxious or angry.
Sometimes you have to accept people as they are and stop trying to fix them. Comfort her without trying to be logical–hug her, hold her hand, make soothing sounds, but don’t let her dictate your decisions based on her mental illness.
Trust that your judgment is better than hers. She cannot reason, and she can’t help it. Your instinct might be to turn to her for wisdom, but it’s not there, honey, so just love her without expecting more than she can give.
Above all, don’t let her backseat-raise your children! The poor thing is not competent to do that. The reason you feel so vulnerable to catching the contagion of anxiety from her is that she made some mistakes with you that you don’t want to repeat with your own kids. Yet, God bless you, you have the strength to protect your children from her illness, and you’re going to do a much better job of mothering than she ever could.
Sometimes that means mothering your mother as well, whenever anxiety reverts her to a pre-logic state. You don’t let a frightened child run screaming into traffic, and you don’t let your mother do harmful things while in a similar frame of mind.
My blessings go with you. You will do just fine!