I am having trouble isolating myself from the anxiety caused by my young adult children’s life issues. They are 21 and 26 years old. I did what I could as a mom to raise independent adults. They are fine for the most part (youngest still in college) but we are close and they confide in me. This can really send me into a tailspin.
Our oldest son has chosen a lifestyle built around the outdoors, but his work can be sporadic and can be very dispersed. I believe he may suffer from depression and not always take his ADHD meds. But I’m glad he confides in me and I push him to take care of himself. Our youngest son has chosen an extremely competitive academic and career path. Looks like he’s built good options for himself, but recently had a bent fender in his car and I worry about it.
My anxiety about my kids really hits me on a daily basis and it’s not healthy. (My husband doesn’t care like that.) I worry about their future and their ability to become the people they want to become, have successful careers, and support themselves. Any words of wisdom?
First for the big shock: You will get excited about your children’s victories and worry about their defeats for the rest of your life. Relationships with your kids are the longest game of life, so you need to find healthy ways to keep up the pace, or else your heart will stop every time the phone rings and you’ll have a panic attack on every fender.
Mind you, the only thing worse than the phone ringing, is the phone NOT ringing, and in that regard you have an enviable relationship with these young people. The fact that they honestly share their trials and concerns with you means they will likely be good partners and parents if they choose that path.
When your kids share (or exaggerate) challenges in their lives, ask yourself: Do I need to take action? Am I being asked to do something? You should therefore focus on your anxious reactions. Talking to a therapist might help; I’d also suggest paying close attention to how your body feels when you’re getting anxious. Does your breathing quicken, does your heart quicken? Controlling your breathing can help you mitigate some of these symptoms and let go of some of these feelings.
Also remember: your children will fall. They will fail. Their paths to success may not seem familiar to you. Do they know how anxious you are? Being as honest with them as they are with you might inspire them to offer more voluntary reassurance and less reason to worry.
I live in a popular winter break area and have self-invited guests who stay for seven days. They don’t want to do anything but enjoy the sun, so he lets me cook every meal. I live away from restaurants so eating out every meal is not an option, plus when we do I end up paying for everyone. While I enjoy seeing them, I need a way to let them know that a three or four day stay is long enough. They don’t think they are a problem, but it’s too much for me. What can I do without hurting their feelings or making them feel unwanted?
I get so many questions about people inviting themselves for extended stays to other homes! I assume your yearly guests may believe they have a permanent invite because they’ve been doing it for so long. You’ve been waiting for them for ages now (and pay for their meals when you eat out)! They have no incentive to do things differently. You have feelings too! Maybe it’s time for you to honor your feelings. You have to tell him: a week’s stay is too much for me now. I also don’t cook for people anymore. I want to see you, but let’s talk about ways to make your visits easier for me.
Dear Amy: As a cleaner in Culver City, who was going through old letters, I started going through old photos. I gave them to the people depicted in them. I think we all enjoyed these trips down memory lane.
Dear Photo Sensitive:
As for old photos: Youthful looks are almost always eye-catching (or fun). Youthful thoughts often lead to discomfort.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at email@example.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @akinggamy or Facebook.)
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