Incident that triggered me/on the constant verge of panic

Hi everyone, hope you’re well:)
The incident:
So yesterday, my brother messaged me, telling me that an old friend of mine was trying to get into contact with me and decided to find my parents on Facebook (he’s never met my parents before, literally doesn’t know anything about them) and asked them about where I was, what happened to me, etc etc…now when my brother told me this, I was very confused. This old friend of mine wasn’t the bestest friend and the last convo we had (which was like 3-4 years ago) kinda hinted at that was the last time we were gonna talk to each other, we were saying stuff like “wish you well” “have a nice life” that sort of thing. For him to out of nowhere try to reach out and be so desperate that he contacted my parents (who I have no contact with, for those who may not know my history) just freaked me out. Am I overreacting? Is it not weird for someone who I barely called a friend to find my parents and talk to them about me? It made me really uncomfortable. So I found the old friends instagram, said “hey, I heard you were trying to get in contact with me, hope you’re well. I don’t talk to my parents anymore, so please stop messaging them.” Which btw, the only reason I messaged the old friend and chose to partake in a conversation is because my brain got scared and started to think something bad would happen if I didn’t reach out to him. The old friend replied, basically saying that he had a dream with me in it and wanted to see how I was doing and said he thought I had died, cuz he hadn’t heard from me in so long. I asked if he was still messaging my parents, and he said he had been texting my mom, which was very triggering for me, since she’s the one I mainly cut contact with and this was all coming out of nowhere, so I was just freaked out. It would be fine (I guess) if he had met my parents before or if we were better friends, but it’s really weird that he was texting my mom, talking about me, when they’ve never even met and I haven’t spoken to him in so long. It’s also a very big trigger when I learn family is talking about me and worrying about me. I told him he needed to stop messaging her and he apologised and I forgave him cuz how could he have known I have problems with my parents? I let him off kinda easy but was still very wary of him. He gave me his discord and was like “if you ever wanna catch up, I’m on discord”. I immediately just got a really bad feeling about letting him back into my life, especially since I have a big habit of latching onto the past/people from my past, so I decided to just tell him that I can’t talk to him and let him back into my life. He tried to tell me that he didn’t think he did anything wrong, that he just cared about me, was lowkey accusing me of hating him, all of this was just so random and bizarre. I told him it was nothing personal, it’s just a boundary I have and kindly told him that I wouldn’t be talking to him anymore. All he replied with was “ok do what you gotta do” and that was the end of that. I blocked him and immediately felt better. The whole thing felt very sudden and stressful and I was trying to recover the rest of the day
The aftermath:
Now that that’s over, the reoccurring thought of my parents trying to find me and making me paralysed with anxiety. I tried writing what I was feeling out, trying to map out my reactions and emotions, but my brain just feels paralysed. I am afraid that him reaching out to my parents is going to cause my parents to try to find my husbands parents on Facebook, find me, worry about me more, etc. I keep trying to remind myself that I am in the UK, they don’t have my address or my phone number, they don’t know the names of my husbands parents, etc. but my brain just won’t accept it. I am triggered by the thought of them worrying about me, even thought there’s nothing wrong and I’m fine, because that’s been a reoccurring thing in my life with my parents. They’ve always thought I can’t take care of myself, have never tried too understand me or accept me for myself so they don’t know anything about me and worry about me, even though I’ve raised myself. It’s so debilitating. I keep thinking “oh my gosh, I keep thinking about my fear of them finding me, so it’s gonna happen” and it just starts this cycle of doom, it’s so frustrating. I wish I could get it into my head that I have control over my life. I am not a child. I am a full grown, 24 year old adult who can make decisions for myself. I can’t get it in my head that if I don’t want people in my life, they don’t have to be in it. I can’t get it in my head that taking care of myself is most important. I just keep thinking “what do my parents think” “what are they thinking” “are they trying to find me” “what’s gonna happen”…can I just chill? Can my brain just relax? I didn’t do anything wrong, why can’t I accept that? Why must I have these “I’m doomed” thoughts? Is this normal after cutting contact with parents? How do I stop caring? Am I alone in this? The fear I feel is excruciating. My husband has to remind me a lot that I’m safe, they won’t find me, I have people on my side, my parents aren’t welcome here, they aren’t gonna find me, I don’t need to worry. I just want to heal and not worry about the people who have caused me so much harm. Maybe it’s just cuz this incident is still fresh in my mind that I’m freaking out so much, I just need to be calmed down. Is it my own life? Can I control what happens? Can I please move on? I just don’t understand why that old friend had to do that. I was tempted to ask the old friend what he was asking my mom, but I knew that would make my mental health worse. Can someone please help me? I feel like I am going crazy again, worrying about this time and time again. It just doesn’t feel like I have control over my thoughts and that scares me. It feels like my brain/thoughts are walking me on a leash and I’m being held captive. How do you break the cycle of thoughts that try to trick you into impending doom?


Hi Nicole,

I would like to give you a very long reply but due to circumstances it will probably be a short one.

I think the former ‘friend’ contacting your parents would freak most of us out, as it is invading your privacy in a way you have no control about. I also wonder why they did not search for you personally, maybe you are hard to find online or something? Either way, somebody ‘using’ your parents to find out about you can be scary. And in your case because of not being in contact with them it adds to the fears and worries.

I think you have actually handled the situation as best as you could, by clearly stating your boundaries and blocking the person.

I personally think that person reaching out to your parents does not increase their chance of finding you even by 1 percent. If you are in another country with a partner whose last name they dont know and you are keeping your identify private online they won’t be able to find you.

I know having these thoughts can be very scary and feeling like it is taking over your life. I hope you can do some activities that force your brain to discontinue the stream of thoughts, even for a bit. Something like trying out a new dance routine on your favourite music, singing along to music and at the same time drawing something, or anything that requires full focus.
Please tell your brain that you got this, and maybe let your husband hold you extra tight tonight.

I hope this helps at least a teeny tiny bit, and please feel free to keep us updated.
You matter :heart: