One of the most significant challenges with respect to stress reduction has been figuring out how to approach the parental unit problem. My mom is a compulsive worrier. Possibly the worst I know, and being around that energy hugely impacts my levels of stress. In light of the relationship between pain and stress and depression and all that, this is a very significant issue, and one I can’t afford to avoid if I want to improve. Figuring out ways to deal with it is challenging though. More or less, I feel like I have four options.

1) Move out. I like this option in a lot of ways, but I don’t know where I would move. I feel like one of the things I have the most trouble with is finding times and places to be by myself, really by myself, to process things. While I have a lot of trouble dealing with my mom, having certain times during the week when I have a house totally to myself can be incredibly relieving and cathartic. I don’t know that I could manage that same level of By Myself-ness in any other arrangement. I’ve done the group house thing, and found it difficult, though granted it was in a terrible neighborhood and I’m sure that didn’t help.

2) Stay, and avoid the parental unit at all costs. Leave early, stay out late, whatever. A challenge, and something that I think might be difficult for my mom as well as me. She doesn’t like being avoided and I don’t like having to avoid her.

3) She stops worrying all the time. I’ve often thought my mom could’ve benefit from some cognitive behavioral therapy. It’s certainly shown promise for me. This would be a lovely solution if it could work, but even if she did go into therapy, there’d be no guarantee, and I would really like to have nipped this in the bud to the point that I can realistically work this summer before summer starts.

4) Find a way to not react to her the way I do. I wish I knew a way to do this. I don’t. Open to ideas, though.

Navigating this issue has been tricky for both me and my mom. It’s another of those things that I’d love to be able to figure out a way to grin and bear it, or some way I could configure my life short of winning the lottery and buying my own house that provided an easy, obvious, workable way out. Any ideas anyone has to contribute are definitely appreciated, though.


4 comments on “Conundrum

  1. My mom can be a stressful person, too. She’s a worrier. She will wake herself up in the middle of the night, realizing there’s something she forgot to do. She can’t help it, but I do know that kind of energy can really rub off, and start to stress other people out, too. At least, it can sometimes really stresses me out.

    I think when things get like that, it might just be time to retreat to your room or private space. Don’t avoid her and stay out late and leave early, but potentially, just remove yourself when things get too stressful. Or you could at least make her aware that she’s giving off really stressing energy, just so she knows she’s doing it.

  2. Re #4, here’s a question for you. What does it mean to you / for you if your mother is worrying? How does it impact your life (other than just that she is someone you care about and therefore you don’t like to see her worried)? I could hypothesize but I don’t want to seed responses that are inaccurate.

    • I think it’s mostly just the energy–she always seems exhausted or stressed about something and that rubs off on me.

      • But why does it rub off on you? Or, maybe a better question is: does this happen when you’re around anyone who’s exhausted or stressed, or just with your mother? (Is there something special about her stress?)

        Here’s why I’m asking — My adult life greatly improved when I realized that sometimes, my parents are dumb, just like all people. They could be wrong, they could have crazy opinions, they could overreact. And, well, I did know that as a kid, but when I was a kid their opinions mattered in a way they don’t anymore. I don’t need my parents’ constant approval of every decision I make, so if something I want to do stresses them out, that’s too bad for them. Which is exactly how I’d respond to some stranger on the street who was freaking out over some aspect of my life or our world. Seeing my parents more as peers than as authority figures lets me shrug off their craziness.

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