Feeling overwhelming anxiety and crushing fear

so, I’m finally taking the steps to cut my mom off. I know I’ve said the same thing in past posts, but a lot of people on here have made a lot of good points, one of the main points being there will never be a “right time” to cut my mom off, which is part of my procrastination in cutting her off. I keep waiting for the perfect moment. I’ve decided I will most likely send my dad a message telling him how I feel, how she makes me feel, stating I’m not talking to her anymore and am asking that he and the rest of the family respect my wishes and it going from there. This is the most terrifying, anxiety inducing thing I’ve ever done in my life. %10000000. She messaged me a couple days ago saying I needed to call her and said “we need to talk” (for backstory, I haven’t called in about a month) and I am still scared of what she means by that and what the talk would entail but I’m guessing it would have to do with me not calling in so long. She also sent me a message tonight, and I didn’t open the whole thing, but I’m just afraid of what the message will say, I don’t even know if it’ll say anything bad.
Here’s the thing. After this whole thing is said and done, I believe I’m gonna be terrified for a really long time. Even at 23 and in a different country than her, I’m afraid she’s gonna fly here, find me, and make me come back home with her. When I saw her message a few minutes ago, it just made my heart drop. I’m also afraid that when I say I’m cutting her off, my mom and dad will brand it as “manic” and “I’m my own worst enemy” and say I’m mentally ill, can’t take care of myself, need help, etc. I’m just afraid of what will be said afterwards. I don’t want anyone to be worried about me. But I feel that since I’ve never been open about her abuse or how I feel about it, it’ll all be new to them and they’ll view it as I’m awful and I can’t take care of myself. Does that make sense?
I feel very alone right now and this is very daunting and stressful for me. I’m very scared. I am 99% sure I will not have a family after this and that is very scary. I’m just very scared and am worried more trauma will come from cutting her off


Hey there~

I can feel the anxiety and fear in your post.
I imagine there’s some emotional pain under there as well. Thank you for taking the time to post here. It sounds like it’s not your first time, sounds like others have given you’ve input before.

I’m sorry that you were abused by your mom. Moms are supposed to nurture and protect. Humans are wired to expect it. It’s probably jarring everytime she is abusive.

I doesn’t sound like you take suspending/ending the relationship with your mom lightly. (It’s possible, with time and consideration, that you can be reconciled. It doesn’t have to be a forever decision on your part). But abuse is a very good reason to suspend/end a relationship. And there will be some consequences, at the very least emotionally. Do you have a support system and/or counselor? Do you have your finances in order if you’re dependent on your family. Having your life in order as best you can will show them you can take care of yourself.

I had a similar situation with my older sister. She wasn’t physically abusive, but she demanded that I agree with her and wanted me to live like she said I should. I used to get anxious when she’s call or text. I ended up not communicating with her for years. We are recently reconciled. I have boundaries and confidence that I didn’t have before. It’s been a time of great healing. But I wasn’t sure when I cut her off that we’d ever reconcile. Its something to prepare yourself for.

Do you have a faith practice? You may find support there. I am a Christ follower. My husband and I purpose to extend our home and family to others. We all need community. If you are cut of from your family you may find another that’s willing to take you into the heart of their own. (Please be cautious. You really need to get to know people, and them you, before entrusting yourself to them). This may be something to consider over time.

Keep in touch if you like. You can always post here.

“Cutting off” sounds drastic and possibly cruel, but I assure you it’s exactly the opposite. I think one reason it’s scary, is that you don’t know how she will react. You have been living with “emotional blackmail,” and that leads to a lot of anxiety, and in a lot of cases, guilt.

You are afraid of what she may do or say, and you also have the experience and wisdom to realize that her presence is very harmful to you. You can view it as you cutting her off, but you can also hold her responsible for the separation, as you find her unbearable to be around. In other words, her words and actions are the reason she is being cut off. There is no need for you to accept blame for her bad behavior.

One thing is certain, for now, having her around is very bad for your mental health. That you are as anxious and afraid as you are, is evidence that you are doing the right thing, because clearly those feelings are the result of emotional abuse. A decent, nurturing parent would not trigger those feelings in you, even if you did decide to part company with them. A decent parent would allow you to assert your independence, even if it meant not communicating for a while. A decent parent would take pride in your willingness to become independent. An obsessive and quite possibly codependent parent would be clingy, and want you to do things their way, including staying at home or close to home so they can monitor you, and enforce their rules.

She does not have the power to make you come home. She doesn’t even have the power to make you answer your phone or the door if she shows up. Her mouth is her only weapon, and you don’t have to hear it.

Your mom sounds a lot like my mom. My mom had a lot of mental problems, including schizophrenia, bipolar, and borderline personality disorder. She was obsessive, manipulative, turned the use of guilt into an art form, and was relentless in her nagging. I left home, and didn’t see her for six months, and even then, for just a few minutes. After a while, I got into a pattern of making short visits, and walking out the door whenever she started acting up. Although her behavior didn’t change a lot, at least she was a little bit more respectful.

I hope that’s not what happens. Another possibility is that the rest of your family will realize that you have set appropriate boundaries, and think enough of yourself to not let yourself be subjected to further abuse. If the only way to be around your family is to accept abuse, it might be better to spend your time around people who treat you better.

Dearest @nicole_kaley,

Rest assured that you have a family right here, a chosen one. You are not alone and you can 100% lean on us as you are navigating this distressing transition in your life.

Everything that you have said here makes sense. It makes sense to be scared of the outcomes, it makes sense to feel nervous about what her messages would imply, it makes sense to fear an unwanted reaction from them. This is something new, something unknown that is likely to create unknown reactions too. But through it all, none of what they would do or say would be your fault or responsibility. You, on your side, only need to focus on you right now, on your needs, on your heart. Everything else will belong to them exclusively. I know it’s easier said than done though. As I find myself in the midst of these mixed feelings with my own parents, reminders of what belongs to me personally from what doesn’t are very needed during those times.

You are doing something healthy for yourself, even though it’s absolutely frightening to make decisions like these. You are not crazy, you are not unable to take care of yourself. On the contrary, you are putting yourself first, which is a brand new territory, and a beautiful mark of strength.

It’s been a little while since you’ve posted this – how are you doing, friend? How is the situation going? I’d love to hear some updates from you, if you are willing to share of course. You are not alone. I’m rooting for you, still. :hrtlegolove:

I can relate so much. I am not connected to any family, I cut off my whole fathers side at 18 and my mom and I drifted apart slowly over a variety of issues. If you’re making the leap it can feel very unstabilizing and scary to not have support. What I have learned though is that there is still support, you can build friendships and connections with new (or old) people in your life that you CHOOSE. You get to choose people who make your life better. If you arent already attracting these kind of people to you, you can by focusing on viewing yourself with the same type of kindness you’d like to feel from others, and giving it in return to them as well. I have created a chosen family out of my friends.

It can feel really painful to realize that your parents and other people very close to you are not actually healthy for you, but know that you deserve the best and you do not owe them anything, especially if they are harmful to you. I know you are only focusing on your mom, but I say “they” because I want to point out that you may need certain boundaries with your dad even though you plan to stay in touch with him. More specifically, holding the internal boundaries of not taking in anything they say. This can be especially hard when you grew up, as any child does, taking in everything their parents say as gospel. You may need to communicate external boundaries with your dad about the feedback he is allowed to give you on it, and further reinforce that if he tries to push it. You deserve to move forward from this feeling liberated and lighter, not guilted and scared by words flung from people who do not underrstand or respect your decision. If his words are getting to you, make it so he temporarily cant send words to you, block him for a month at a time and let him know why, and give him a chance to do things differently each time you unblock him until he realizes he has to respect your decision. Or, perhaps you could try instead to communicate more transparently and vulnerably with him about the whole thing, if you think there is a chance of him being understanding. You might be surprised what true vulnerability and honesty can do when expressed from a loving place. It sounds like on a certain level they care about you in the way the worry for you, but their worry is not your problem, especially when it is coming from their own toxic misperception of you that is actually harmful.

I cant guarantee you more trauma wont come after cutting her off, life has its twists and turns, and the initial flare of boundaries will be intense, but what I know from my own experience is that the real healing in your own life truly begins when you have substantial space from the people who caused you trauma or confusion in the first place. The leap you are making, my friend, is a gigantic and essential step in your own becoming, healing, and self discovery. Blessings and strength to you.

1 Like