Anxiety and Depression Support
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Starting Over in My 40's

Hello all! I'm an early-40s female that because of emotional abuse growing up a child of an alcoholic, divorce and being the scapegoat of the family, I have pushed away relationships and am currently single and never had children. I love kids, but I'm sure because of all of my disordered thinking due to past abuse, I just pushed all of that away. That's just to give some background on me but anyway, I've been reading a lot and studying, seeing a couple of therapists and praying a ton! I'm getting more in touch with myself and getting to know myself and what I really want instead of losing myself in other people, and just trying to be what they want me to be. I've never liked the area I lived in, and I'm finally realizing I need to let myself be happy and go live somewhere that lights me up and actually has an environment/activities I enjoy! Here's the issue though....I am SO completely torn about WHERE to move to and I've gotten myself into a complete mental tizzy about this. I have narrowed it down to 2 cities, one in the Northeast which would be only a 3 hour drive from family, and the other is down in FL which of course is MUCH farther from family. Both are by the ocean :-) BUT one is so much farther away which TERRIFIES me. So basically, I am in complete mental torment about this decision and it's completely torturing me and causing me so much anxiety and frustration. Why the heck can't I just let myself be happy?? Why do decisions for other people seem like they come so easy and they seem to just easily pick something and stick to it?? Can anyone relate to this? Any advice anyone could give would be hugely appreciated. Thank you!

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I totally understand the torment of making decisions, but remember nothing has to be permanent. You can always move back or move again. Just think of it as a job...u have a year contract in one city. If you want to stay then stay, if not, move again. You’ve got this!!

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Thank you -- that helps me get perspective. I'm learning all about ACOA's (Adult Children of Alcoholics) and that they are usually perfectionists that are terrified to make a mistake in any way. I think that's part of why I have so much anxiety about this -- I'm afraid of making a "mistake." But I need to keep reinforcing that it's ok if things don't work out, you always learn from it. You either succeed or you learn. Thank you for your response, Jen :-)

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It’s never a mistake! It’s part of the journey. Every “mistake” that I thought I made left me with something great. Plus, you have an opportunity to CHOOSE where you want to live. How great is that! Make memories, gather experiences, meet new people. Enjoy your time and leave whenever you want. That’s the beauty of being single!! You will be just fine, promise.

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Thank you, Jen :-) True that I can just pick up and move, whereas that definitely would not be such a simple thing if I had some little ones. I do want to adopt someday, though. I think once I start taking more action that is based on my true authentic interests (instead of just what I thought would please other people) I think things will start unfolding. Thank you for the encouragment

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Pray on it and don't give up, ask the Holy Spirit to show which way to go💛

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Hi Susan, Yes! Totally agreed - I've been praying for God to make straight my paths, and I'm starting to think that God wants me to take more action before I get a clearer answer :-)

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YES! You got it 💛

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I am the king of indecision. It is always been an issue with me since I was a kid.

They were talking about this on the radio. Some people (like me) are so afraid to make a decision that they freeze because they don't want to make the wrong decision. We think that once a decision is final, it can't be undone or a that other paths are still available. The radio personality quoted Teddy Roosevelt who said something like - "The best thing is a good decision, the next best thing is a bad decision. The worst thing is no decision.

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Nothing is final!

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Hi Marshall - "king of indecision" -- that reminds me of the Police song "King of Pain" although I'm sure that would have been a lot harder to rhyme :-). I've definitely been the queen of indecision as well my entire life. It's been a great revelation to find out that it's a VERY VERY common trait of ACOA's (Adult Children of Alcoholics). There is a website I discovered recently which is a GOLDMINE of info on this, it's blown my mind and has helped me so much. It's called ACOA recovery dot wordpress. Also even if neither of your parents were drinkers, if any of their parents had an alcohol problem, they can still do the same psychological damage to their kids because they learned all kinds of toxic dysfunction that they carried on. The fear of making the wrong decision is ABSOLUTELY the thing that has been paralyzing me, but it's so true that it there are so many other options even if I determine my first choice wasn't the right one. Thanks for that Teddy Roosevelt quote, I love that.

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I don't think alcoholism runs in my family, but we do have plenty of other maladies. 😊

My indecision comes from my parents always making decisions for me as a kid. The other contributing factor is self esteem. I always figured other people know better than me so I would defer to others people's opinions.

My ex-wife couldn't figure out why it took so long for me to decide to get married. I could stare at a McDonald's menu for an hour and still not figure out what to get. Considering the marriage ended up in divorce I guess I made the wrong decision. 😊

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That was basically what was done to me -- growing up, I hardly even knew who I was. I was made to feel that my opinions and interests weren't important, so I just tried to stuff them down and this taught me to think that I had to get "permission" from other people to do anything! Now I'm finally learning to get to know ME, what do I like, what do I not like, and what do I want, what do I enjoy, etc....instead of being blown every which way by the winds of other people's opinion. I'm learning to look INWARD now for what I want and what rings true for me and trying things out, instead of waiting on the approval of anyone else before I take an action. Definitely a skill I'm now learning.

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Hello Horizonwatch! I completely understand your dilemma; I did not really even realize how bad my childhood abuse was (Ritual Cult Abuse) until just a few ago and I am 32! Sometimes it takes awhile for us to realize these things and then try to find and define ourselves. It is perfectly OK to be where you are at even in your 40's. I am so sorry you never had children; it sounds as though you would be a really wonderful mother. Did you want children? Have you thought bout working at a Daycare? I used to and it was SO much fun! Have you thought about sponsoring a child though a place like Save The Children? You get letters and pictures, get to pick the child and get to introduce yourself and send presents for birthdays and holidays. You can even go visit your child! It is SO rewarding! I have a sponsor daughter who is very poor, she lives in the Appalachian Mountains in TN. She is 8. I cried when I found out where she lived. The area is known for extreme poverty.

I also have a birth daughter. She will be 13 in August!! I cannot believe it! She is the ONLY thing that has kept me over the years!

As for the where to move, I highly recommend Florida! I am in Orlando and there is much here and so many jobs. My husband got two job offers our first few days here! There is Universal Studios, SeaWorld, Disneyworld, etc. Lots of malls, I live near two. It is wonderful here. I think you would be happy here and hey you already have a friend here! It is a happy state and the economy is pretty good. I live 3 miles from Universal. There are also a lot of resources here. Only drawback is heat in the summer; just make sure you have a killer AC in your vehicle. And the drivers here are crazy LOL. As far as your family goes, can they fly to see you or vice versa? (If you chose Florida.) This really is a wonderful place!! I have been here 5 years. It is so beautiful!! You could make it here for sure.

I hope that this helps. You can always move again if you do not like it but this is a great place to move to. Here is a site: stateofflorida.com/moving-t...

Here is another one:

visitflorida.com/en-us/flor...

Look we can NEVER know for sure if we are making the right decision. You just have to CHOOSE and TAKE ACTION. Indecision is pure torture! All we can do is our best. Why don't you make a list of the Pros and Cons of each location. Being close to family is not a deal breaker because you can always fly out to meet them or they can fly to you. So taking away that issue, which stands as the best place FOR YOU? Which place is more practical? I am not trying to push you or persuade you to move here but since I live here I thought Id share what I know with you and give you some tools (websites) to help you get to know FL better. If the other place is best for you then go there. And think about what do you WANT to do? For YOU? Not for your family or anyone else. Deep down I think you know the answer and I understand that it may not be Florida. Meditate on this issue for clarity and I think the answer will come to you. Best of Luck!

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Wow, thank you SO much for such a great thoughtful and helpful response Diviny! Thank you for the info and encouragement about FL, I DREAM of living in coastal FL and have my eye on St. Pete/Tampa. Yes family could definitely fly out and vice versa but I guess with all of my abandonment issues I am freaking out feeling like I'm abandoning them or something? Feeling guilty because I can't be right there quickly if someone needs me...all this 'what if' 'what if' 'what if' stuff, it's so maddening. But I'm working on my issues as a child of an alcoholic as that's a common trait to 'catastrophize' and be in confusion/indecision. I even have an appointment tomorrow with a counselor via Skype. So where did you move from? Glad to hear you say it's a happy state -- I'm realizing that HAPPY is my top priority now, whereas in my past, I would never, ever let myself be happy because I thought that I didn't deserve happiness!! I am in the process of de-programming all of the toxic psychological junk I was raised to believe. I am sorry to hear that you were the victim of ritual cult abuse...thank God that you survived and I can tell you came out of it with a heart of shining gold!

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We moved here from Colorado. I lived there for 4 years. We got sick of the snow because sometimes we couldn't get out the driveway LOL. I was near the Four Corners area. Was in Cali before that (where I was born) and I was in Tennessee before that and NC before that and Arizona before that. LOL. One reason I lived in all these places was 1) I married a Marine at a young age (18) and moved to NC where he was stationed. And 2) Then I have 3 parents, my stepdad (who raised me and is now deceased for 3 years now) lived in TN, my mom lives in Colorado and my real dad lives in CA. So I kinda parent-hopped LOL.

You are doing such a GREAT job working on your issues! Keep it up! And yes, distorted thinking and indecisiveness ARE symptoms of abuse (especially deep-rooted and ingrained abuse) And YES; it follows you way into adulthood! People who say that you are too old to still be affected by all that don't know ANYTHING. It will ALWAYS affect you but as you get better, the effects won't be as bad. Mental Disorders are a disease and so we have to treat it just like any other disease: find relief and treat the symptoms to feel better. We have to become our own Life Manager. Ever wish you had a Life Coach? Well, you do; It's that little voice inside!

I'm going to tell you an INCREDIBLE secret: There are NO "What-if's! They DO NOT EXIST AT ALL IN REALITY. They are a figment of our wild and anxious imaginations.

"What if's" are just thoughts and they are just our imagination, I mean what if an asteroid hit earth? You can "What if" your whole life away. You need to stop torturing yourself. You also need to free yourself of guilt, this is YOUR life and trust me, if you live it for someone else or make a major decision (like moving) for THEIR benefit (I know some benefits will be yours too) then you will be unhappy. You have to take care of yourself now. That is a necessity!

Here is another tip: When you are feeling all these What-if's and catastrophizing and you are anxious and upset and have negative thoughts, WHAT VOICE IS TALKING TO YOU AND IS IN YOUR HEAD? Is it Anxiety doing the talking? Depression? Guilt? Do NOT listen to them; those are the wrong voices! Change the Narrative. Listen to voices of peace and hope and clarity. Be very aware of WHO OR WHAT IS ACTUALLY DOING THE TALKING when you feel bad. Take CHARGE and control of your life. I know you can do it!

I'm so glad my post helped you and Thank you for writing me back! I am so happy that I was able to help you!

PS-I'm going to recommend a book for you; it is called "Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life" by Dr. Susan Forward. ValoreBooks.com has it for a penny, you just pay shipping. Please check it out; I have it and it is a great book.

PM anytime! ; )

-Your friend Diviny (aka Ayla)

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I would chose Florida. The weather in the northeast is cold in the winter.

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I'm happy for you that your getting in touch with your abuse, and knowing you deserve to be happy. One thing I will tell you from my own experience...it's called doing a 'Geographical'...meaning....where ever you go...so too comes your baggage. So if I were you, once you decide where you want to live....make sure you start your new life off with getting in touch with your childhood issues of emotional abandonment and abuse from growing up with an alcoholic parent, and learning to be comfortable in your own skin. Being a chameleon so we think people will like us does our self esteem no good, it's a short term fix for the emptiness that comes from isolating our inner kid from the potential hurt of a one on one relationship, by becoming something else. Often we live our lives through other peoples relationships so we feel safe being on the outside, then we think we are not so lonely because we get some of our needs met. It's a lot of work in therapy to learn to validate who you are as being loveable and deserving love for exactly the person you are. As kids we didn't understand why we were treated the way we were....we thought something was wrong with us, we thought we did something wrong, or that we were just not loveable, or good enough....all of that is BS.....just tapes that play in our heads from abuse as kids......and it's time to learn to shred them...one by one....these things can be put in their place and you will become the person you want to be.....happier....

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Hello, horizonwatch! I am a (kinda) middle-aged woman myself (will be 33 this year) and divorced also but am now remarried but I do have mixed feelings about it sometimes. We are more like friends than romantic partners but he is a REALLY good man. I can definitely tell you that they are out there. I have read your other post as well so I kinda know a little about what you have told us about yourself. I am so sorry for the deep psychological scars you must have! It must have been so hard and pushed you so deep inside yourself, since you had nowhere else to go, and that must now seem like you are kinda stuck there? Unable to move beyond your "frozen" zone (The fight, freeze or flight response that you probably developed as a child) Now is when you need to come into your own, I am working on that as well! Because of my deep abuse, I lost myself somewhere along the way and sometimes I do not know where I begin and another person ends. It seems that you have a lot of issues like I do: low self-esteem, low confidence, passivity, etc. I know what it's like to just "wake up" and suddenly find yourself in the middle ages and think "Where have I been all these years?" The truth is that I think we have been dissociated for many years. I am so very proud of you for the steps you are taking! It sounds as if you are doing a great job!

As far as children-it sounds as though you were wise not to have any, especially if you did not feel ready-I know you'd would be a great mom, however! But I do understand about not wanting to bring them into this world. There are ways to connect with them, however! I used to work at a daycare and I loved it! And maybe one day you will find a good man (have you tried eharmony?) and maybe foster a child who is already here on this crazy planet? Or have you thought about sponsoring a child through Save The Children?

I had this same inaction for a number of years. My life situations led me to a very unhappy place; I hated the people (not in a personal way) the weather the location and the extreme boredom (blink and you'll miss it town.) I WAS MISERABLE! I am a big city girl and was unhappy for so long but I had a good paying job and family around and even a best friend! Looking back (hindsight is always 20/20,) I wish I'd had gone ANYWHERE and just done something. I have studied this and what I've come across is that ANY action is better than NO action. I was waiting for the right time and place, but any place is better if you are unhappy and it is ALWAYS the right time. Do not worry about the PERFECT place, all that matters now is that you get to a BETTER place. Have you thought about writing a list of pros and cons for each location? Or have you thought that if you moved to one and it did not work out, you could just move to the other? The more options you keep open and the more possibilities, the easier it will be to narrow down where you should go. Can your fam fly in to see you or you them if you move farther away?

I am also so very proud of you for getting out of that job as well, you did the right thing and the reason you stayed so long is DIRECTLY related to your abuse for sure! Sometimes we feel so low about ourselves, we think we can't do better but we CAN! You can and you DESERVE to!

Well about where to move, I cannot tell you that! (I'm no psychic lol) I can tell you that Florida is an absolutely wonderful place to live. I live in Orlando and have for 6 years now. There is a lot to do here! And a lot of resources as well. It is generally a very happy place! I know I am being partial LOL. The pros are great weather (although very hot in summer,) great shopping, fairly nice people, a pretty decent economy and cost of living and LOTS to do. (Theme parks, clubs, attractions) The cons are the drivers suck here, and the humidity. That is pretty much it!

Id also like to recommend a book to you called You Can Heal Your Life by Lousie Hay. It is about self-love and it is based on the theory that most of humanity's ills are caused by the opposite: self-hate. (Bullying, violence, Interpersonal conflicts, etc.) I think that this book's content kind of perfectly matches up with what you are trying to accomplish. Self-hate usually stems from abuse. We also may not FEEL like we hate ourselves, but deep down, we really do. We self-sabotage, self-berate and self-condemn.

I hope that my advice helps you and most importantly lets you know that someone is here for you!

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Hi Ayla, YES -- I definitely experienced dissociation for most of my life. I learned about dissociation a few years ago, and it was such a relief to know that it is a typical trait for adult children of alcoholics. It was a relief to know I wasn't crazy for having that. I have really worked on my dissociative tendencies and it's so much better now. But I remember about 5 years ago, I was with a group of work colleagues at an after-work dinner and these were people that were extremely judgmental and I felt SO uncomfortable around. I was dissociating bigtime and ended up being completely embarrassed because I totally repeated something that someone had literally just said. It was humiliating. But then again, just being around those people was constant torture. I finally left that toxic environment after allowing myself to be mentally tortured there for 6 years!! I got very sick in one instance and in another instance I suffered a bulging disc in my spine because I was not only working all day, but I would bring my laptop home every night and work more hours every night. All of the constant sitting working in front of a computer caused my disc to bulge and it was incredibly painful. I still have damage from it 3 years later. I barely ever got any appreciation at that job, despite practically destroying my health and bending over backwards working hard for them. Now I know I did that all because that kind of treatment was "normal" for me so I thought it was what I deserved! Now I know I need to be around people who I feel loved by...I need to be around people who lift me up, not tear me down!! I can't believe it took me so long to learn this (despite the library worth of self help books I've read), but I finally know that now. Just as you said, I definitely stuffed all of my feelings growing up because my parents never wanted to hear it. My needs, opinions, worries, etc. never mattered to them and they were just a burden to them. I internalized that I didn't matter.

I definitely do want to adopt someday -- I would love give a child or children who were abandoned a great life. Kids who are already here on this crazy planet. Perhaps that was God's plan for me all along? I really do feel that love is thicker than blood and the bond between can adopted child and adoptive parents can be just as strong and in some cases, even stronger.

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