What can I do to better cope with the mounting stresses of completely cutting ties with an emotionally abusive Mom? I have severe depression, anxiety and other issues. I'm seeking help, but currently inbetween doctors. When things get stressful, I start to crumble. Suggestions very much appreciated.
Big wall o'text, sorry:
My Mom and I have never gotten along very well, and she has been emotionally abusive towards me for the majority of my life. She has a pattern of harshly criticizing my body, my looks, my weight, my intelligence, my maturity, my earning ability, etc for as long as I can remember. Tells me I'm fat, has said I'm ugly, a loser, a pig, won't amount to anything, worthless, never wanted me etc.
Naturally, when I've confronted her in years past she claims she doesn't remember saying anything like that, and usually makes me out to be attention seeking.
I've come to understand that it doesn't benefit me to vilify her and think of her as a monster, even though the things I went through hurt me profoundly and affected my life in a very negative way. I see her as somebody who has had a rough life herself, who is very likely struggling with undiagnosed/untreated mental health concerns, and I try not to take it personally. But I decided a long time ago that the best thing was to just stay as far away as possible, unless and until she seeks treatment for her own issues. She hasn't, so I try to keep a distance.
But even though I support all of my own living expenses, there have been a few big expenses I unfortunately couldn't quite cover alone. These were always car repairs, only car repairs, and I was always very thankful towards her for this because I honestly couldn't afford a solution myself, so I was stuck relying on her. Many times, her money was a saving grace, and allowed me to have a car so I could get to and from work. She'd always offered up front to help me with the car, and I truly appreciate everything she did to keep it running this long.
But my past with her is so bad that when I have to be around her, my throat closes up, my chest gets tight and I get knock-kneed. I have panic attacks leading up to having to see her, or when I see or hear her name or anything that reminds me of her. I fear her yelling at me again, making me feel suicidal and feeling that level of self-hate well up inside me is just very overwhelming. Her moods tend to flip on a dime and I get very anxious having to call her, be around her or be in contact with her in any way.
I also become really depressed after being around her because there will inevitably be quite a few backhanded insults and my low self-esteem dips even lower as a result. Then I'm in a dark funk for a long, long time. I feel a lot of really deep, horrendous guilt that I am not earning enough to pay for these things and that I have to occasionally rely on her to help me out.
I usually feel like a total loser and like I'm worthless, and these feelings are amplified 1000 times in her presence.
I have a history of severe depression and anxiety, as well as an eating disorder and behavioral issues like cutting. I've attempted suicide twice before, once at 14 years old and once just last year. I'm in the process of getting treatment (see below), but I am scared that this contact with her will reignite these feelings and send me into a tailspin.
Here's what I'm doing to fix it:
- I was seeing a psychologist regularly until very recently, but realized I was only getting "talky talky" therapy, rather than goal-oriented therapy. After a few months of this, I was not learning skills or feeling better. So, I will be trying out a new therapist (CBT this time) likely within a week. I also will be seeing a psychiatrist next month to discuss the possibility of meds.
- Between therapy appointments, I engage in creative outlets, do whatever helps me calm down when I feel the walls closing in, and reach out to my boyfriend for support when the anxiety / depression is spiking.
- I have been building credit steadily and responsibly, so I don't need her financially.
- I am going to be buying a new car very, very soon to help eliminate the need to call her for financial help.
- My boyfriend of 2.5 years will be moving in with me in the next few months, which will ease up my budget a bit and halve my bills.
But these things don't always work, and that's when my emotions can fly out of control and end badly.
What can I do to survive these next few months of occasional contact with her? What methods can I use to control my anxiety/panic attacks and deal with any depression that may spike as a result? How can I push my way through the challenges and come out whole on the other side?
Any and all suggestions truly appreciated - thank you!