I am a trigger for my daughter's anxiety

(11 Posts)
miaows Thu 09-Aug-18 10:03:00

When I had my now adult daughter I was a young and single. My mam and dad helped me to rear her as I had to finish my education and then work. Her early years while stable with my parents - they were chaotic enough with me. Things did calm down I got a good job married and went on to have 2 more kids. We have a very rollercoaster of a relationship. When we are close we are great together when we fight it's hard core. She is stubborn and can go months not talking to me. She is settled and happy she finished college getting married has a lovely child and in a great job with a lovely son to be husband. She suffers very bad with anxiety and is attending a therapist. She has told me that I am one of her triggers. This has broken me but I can understand from the earlier years. She has wanted for nothing everything I did was for her but looking back I never gave her a normal childhood like my younger daughter's. I now thread on eggshells around her. When she visits (moved a good bit away to were her fiancee from) I try my hardest to make sure the visits go well. The last one went well until the last day and we had a stupid fight over nothing but she wouldn't let it go it's like she wants a big fight. She left with her family I didn't even get to say good bye to my grandson. I knew she would now not talk to me for months but I hate that carry on. So I kept up contact through social media. WhatsApp Snapchat Facebook just little bits here and there. We now okish but she has now cancelled a few things we had all organised. I understand her anxiety is very bad and this the main reason. I also understand I don't help her anxiety and tbh as a mother I just don't know what to do. I really make very little contact with her as is just casual stuff to keep lines of communication open. I think she wants to stop all contact with me and I'm afraid of that. If I thought she would be happy and it would help than I would do this. I understand she suffers with a mental illness and I don't know how to approach it for the best. She black outs with her anxiety so this worries me too. Any advice is welcome. Sorry for long rambling post.

OP’s posts: |
snowsun Sat 18-Aug-18 06:18:42

I'm so sorry that your relationship has been effected so badly.

Would it be an idea to suggest you go to a therapy session together to help you understand what you can do to change or help your relationship.

Perhaps get support yourself. To talk through your past.

Would communicating by letter to her help. Write that you love her. That you understand the part you played in her anxiety. That you are sorry and would love a relationship with her on her terms.

Letters are a good way to say how you feel and to not get too emotional. It gives each other to think about the words and the reply.

We may feel we are not provoking an argument but sometimes giving an opinion or trying to solve a problem can cause an argument. Things like - I don't go out much - don't reply. What about mother About toddlers or pta or joining a gym. They don't want you to solve the issue. Just acknowledge it. Yes I can remember feeling like that sometimes.
We can set something off with the best intentions of being nice or helpful and getting it wrong.

I hope you can sort it. So sad.

S0upertrooper Sat 18-Aug-18 10:53:00

Hi OP, I'm in a similar position to you so I can empathise. My adult DS suffers from anxiety and is studying abroad and when he visits it is a nightmare for everyone. I feel he blames me but if it wasn't me, someone else would be the target. We support him financially and he is very ungrateful.

Why does your DD feel you are a trigger?

I also have a niece who has a difficult relationship with her DM, blames her for everything and suffers from anxiety. Whilst her childhood wasn't perfect I feel some of her accusations are unjustified and in fact the root cause of it all was her DF's behaviour (my brother).

Incidentally my DM was an alcoholic who stopped drinking when I was about 15, so I've had my fair share of ups and downs but managed to live with it and develop a good relationship with my DM.

I feel the media is creating a culture of 'catastrophysing' for young adults, encouraging them to over worry, creating fear and anxiety and blame the generation before. It must be exhausting for them, but I also find it exhausting being criticised and blamed for everything.


miaows Fri 24-Aug-18 05:05:59

Thank you for your replies.

We are unable to go to councelling together as we live in different countries. She is attending a therapist and finds her good. She says therapy is helping her to get to the root of her problem. And someone I feel I must be the root. We are quite distant now though I refuse to stop contact. She has bad weeks and good weeks.

Her childhood was never settled. She only got to know her Dad when she was a teenager. My mam and dad really took on the main responsibility with her while I finished my education and then worked full time. We moved alot in those early years. I do think I did my best for her as in provide for her and I wanted to be a role model for her regarding career etc. I worked and continued my education but I guess that always meant less time with her. I am a very independent mother now to 3 girls and I have a good job. I encouraged her through her education and supported her through her degree. I feel I in my own way i raised a very independent woman and I am very proud of her. However not always being there for her is now causing problems i think. I really dont know.

This is true snowson definitely setting off with great intentions and getting it wrong.

I am glad soupertrooper that you and your mother have maintained a good relationship. Myself and my own mother where very rocky she was very angry and physically abuse. But now as I'm older I understand why she was and I have let it go and we have a good relationship ourselves. I hope that my daughter gets to a good place and we can eventually work on our relationship. It's just never ending - even when they grow up and move out parenting never gets easier. Thanks again for replies.

OP’s posts: |
Flashinggreen Fri 24-Aug-18 05:21:24

I have moderate anxiety and when I was 21 suffered a breakdown. I know that my mum plays a part in why I am the way I am but there’s also a genetic predisposition from my father, and his mother!

Please don’t blame yourself for your daughter’s mental health issues.

I’ve had counselling and part of it looked at my family background and how my mum is not my rock. But in reality she is, and I would never tell her she sometimes triggers my anxiety. She knows me so well, can tell when I’m getting anxious and will always be on the end of the phone for me. Just be there when you can- when she’ll let you but please don’t blame yourself for her illness.

HVstar Sat 25-Aug-18 10:23:17

I totally agree with all replies. I have a son and daughter, both adults, doing well enough in their own ways but have suffered anxiety and low mood on and off for some years. My son went through the parent blaming phase, but has acknowledged some years on that we have been good parents and very supportive. My daughter has always acknowledged our support.
I say always keep communicating, always be kind. Emotionally it can be hard on you but never give up on the relationship. Be kind to yourself-don't blame yourself. Most of us do the best we can as parents.

miaows Sat 01-Sep-18 06:56:15

Thank you flashinggreen - your post has helped me a great deal. It is like seeing it from her side. Great advice.

OP’s posts: |


miaows Sat 01-Sep-18 06:58:40

This is it HVstar we could spend our lives blaming ourselves - I know what I need to do to keep my relationship with my daughter going and hopefully if will improve over time.

OP’s posts: |
KataraJean Sat 01-Sep-18 07:14:02

Has she explained why she/the therapist feel you trigger her anxiety? And how she would like you to address it? Her fight/flight response sounds like she has not got to the stage where she is able to.

When I was ill, I asked my mum just to leave me alone. To her credit and I thank her for this, she did. I grew up in a high conflict household, with an alcoholic father, fairly emotionally neglected. My mother was highly controlling and angry whilst not being able to leave the situation and forge her own life. She is still very angry with my father, in a way that is -in my opinion- emotionally abusive. But that is their business now.

It was over eighteen months before I contacted her again. I cannot say we are close but we don’t argue, we talk occasionally on the phone and she sees DC occasionally.

You say you hate the not talking phase, so you keep sending stuff, which is triggering your DD. How is that going to fix it? Tell her you love her, your door is always open, and you will be there for her and then leave her to make the next step.

I agree with getting counselling yourself. You have been through a lot too.

Paperdolly Sat 01-Sep-18 07:52:24

How about asking her if it would be helpful to travel to have a couple of sessions with her and her Counsellor o try and get some common ground. Putting yourself out like this will show her you are not the enemy but the loving mother you always were?

DorisTrellis Wed 03-Oct-18 16:52:20

Dear Miaow
I empathise with you as I have similar issues. A message in the thread says, 'leave them be' - that's what I find so hard, I miss them so much. But this thread has helped me see that I might be a trigger for their anxiety, rather than the safe place I always seemed to be when bringing them up. Thanks to all.

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