Adult children: Anyone here care to... - Anxiety and Depre...

Anxiety and Depression Support

68,944 members67,018 posts

Adult children

Needtovent profile image

Anyone here care to engage in a discussion about adult children being a source of anxiety. This was the case for me 10 years ago and my first downward spiral. The youngest went off to college and made a series of poor decisions. Most things were those that many parents would chalk up to rights of passage but for me it set me off to a state of depression like i’d Never experienced. With meds and therapy i recompensated but Now all these years later, i still find that both of my children and their life decisions are key triggers to anxiety and panic, and i fear that the depression will return. Anyone else experience this? And why is it so hard to separate their choices from my own reality?

11 Replies

This is really not isolated to our children. The root of the problem is called irrational self talk. Things that we say to ourselves are a major cause of distress.

There are some basic rules that help us to avoid the irrational. Things like the shoulds and oughts of obligation. Other things like always and never, are rarely ever rational. We commonly say/think things like “my boss always yells at me”, that is very different than “my boss yelled at me twice this week”. It is all about the view that we wish to take of things and how those views affect us emotionally.

Dr. Albert Ellis was the founder of Rational Emotive Therapy, which deals this type of self talk. It is amazingly effective.

Needtovent profile image
Needtovent in reply to gerg

Interesting. My irrational beliefs are usually something like.....if he does (cause of my concern), then this will happen (perpetuating my concern). Then the ruminations begin. That's what I need to get in check.

gerg profile image
gerg in reply to Needtovent

Correct, the ifs are really shoulds or shouldn’ts farther down the line.

Thank you for your post, now I want to get out that material and freshen up a bit.

I know just how you feel. While I love my daughter to death, she is a big source of stress and depression. She's been making very bad decision since she was a teenager and hasn't stopped. Her actions affect more than just her and has adverse affects on her children, her husband (her 3rd), my parents, me. She has a knack for ruining everything and thinks nothing of it. As harsh as it sounds, but it's true, she sucks the life out of everyone around her. I know she suffers from depression, anxiety, panic attacks and some days I have wonder if maybe she's bipolar. She'll go to the doctor and get on meds for a little while then she'll stop taking them and never follow through with treatment. If it was just her then I could accept it and not stress about it, worry, yes, but not stress. But I have two granddaughters and all of this affects them and they need all of us to be there. I keep hoping that things will change and get better but it gets harder and harder.

Needtovent profile image
Needtovent in reply to Lolly56

Lilly while you are the support system for your grandchildren, I hope you have your own supports. The distinction of worry and stress is noteworthy. But regardless, they both result in anxiety at least for me. Best wishes for you all.

Needtovent, I find myself in the same position as you. Having an adult child who continues to be my trigger with anxiety is so wearing. Easy to say, once they over the

age of 18, their decisions should not impact you. She affects every corner of my life

by her refusal to get help for her eating disorder. Nine years now. She is barely hanging

on. So her life style of not eating and medication abuse falls on my shoulders each and

every time. The doctors turn their backs on her. I can't do that. And so we both are

feeling the affects of her life style.

I know we aren't the only ones going through this. xx

gerg profile image
gerg in reply to Agora1

When your child is in a real time of need you don’t have a lot of choices. Age really doesn’t matter, they are always your child. Identifying what is a real time of need vs normal life is the key. I firmly believe that there is wisdom in the cruel to be kind concept, in the right measure...

I can relate to that I cried non stop for 2 weeks when my daughter moved out at the age of 18. They stressed me out all through high school and beyond . Now I get stressed and have anxiety about the grandchildren. But I do love them so very much

oh my goodness yes....for years it is our responsibility to tell our children what to do and how to live, then to guide them in doing that and then....hands off as they feel they are now "adults". It's hard to separate ourselves from our kids but, as adults, their choices are THEIRS. They may not be the choices we would make but, hopefully they will learn from those choices - the good and the bad. They trigger your anxiety and panic because you love them BUT keep in mind, because you love them, no matter what they will always have a safe place to land if need be.

When I had a significant anxiety and depression episode 10 years ago, I often told my therapist that the pain was like a physical separation- his (my adult son) ripping away from me and nothing I could do. Guess that’s where the term separation anxiety comes from though it’s often used in reference to a young child. I’ve also said that if I knew as a young mom, that being a parent meant becoming a parent to adults (who thinks of that?) I’m not so sure I’d have signed on. Oh well no going back now going back now!! :-D Remember - it's our job to give them wings -- so try to let them fly....

You may also like...