A person's relationship with their parents and anxiety disorders. (An informal study)

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Regular Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 83
   Posted 6/21/2007 2:27 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello all,
I am relatively new here, so I don't know if this subject has ever been addressed.  If it has, I apologize.  However, I have been wondering if there is some sort of correlation between a person's relationship with their parents and the development of an emotional disorder such as anxiety later on in life.  I have gotten to know about 3 anxiety sufferers whom I met on the internet on a somewhat deeper level.  Two had less than stellar relationships with their parents and one had a good relationship.  I, myself, had a less than stellar one.  My parents did not abuse me.  They provided for me, clothed me and fed me.  However, they did not provide a lot of emotional support.  I don't blame them at all.  My parents were poor and uneducated and led hard lives to provide for their children.  However, I feel that it is important that parents instill in their children the emotional strength necessary to deal with life's struggles.  If that is not given to a child, it can lead to possibly devastating results.   
Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to perform an informal study to determine whether a person's relationship with their parents has anything to do with their development of anxiety later on in life.  If you feel comfortable in sharing, please elaborate.  If not, that is perfectly okay as well.  I fully understand that not everyone feels comfortable talking about these things.
Thank you for your participation.  :-)

Post Edited (happypills) : 6/21/2007 4:45:05 PM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 1345
   Posted 6/21/2007 2:30 PM (GMT -7)   
I just wanted to tell you that I do want to take part in this discussion, but I don't have the time, so I will be in later to give my thoughts!!!
Dealing with panic and anxiety for 8 years off and on...right now more on than off.  Major health anxiety as well!
New found issues with agoraphobia...working on that too.
I am NOT weak, I am just down right now.  I am doing what it takes to get my life back!!!
Best Wishes to all...Tammy

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 54
   Posted 6/21/2007 4:18 PM (GMT -7)   
I was adopted when i was 3. My parents (adopted) and i had a somewhat strained relationship especially my father and myself.. Everyone says it is because we are so much alike (personality wise). When i moved out at the age of 21 I started having anxiety/panic attacks. When i was growing up my mom handled all my problems and i don't think i ever handled anything on my own..i was what you would say Sheltered i guess. I grew up in the country and never really worried about much financially or otherwise. When i got out on my own i did not know how to handle things like finances or anything becuase my parents always did that for me i felt like i was thrown to the wolves when i left home. Eventually I wound up having a "breakdown" and landed in the hospital for a month. Since then i have been doing well until recently.. it's been a hard year emotionally..and now i am pg again and it is just draining me of all my resources..anyway that's my story with my partents and i guess i can somewhat agree with the theory that parental relationships can have an effect on anxiety becuase you miss the comfort level and safety that most people have....
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Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 510
   Posted 6/21/2007 5:20 PM (GMT -7)   
I grew up in an emotionally stunted household and have had anxiety since childhood. I also learnt a lot of OCD traits from watching my mum, those ones were easy to kick but then my own developed which I still have to fight against. I went down the anxiety /depression path, my brother turned to drugs.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 167
   Posted 6/21/2007 7:32 PM (GMT -7)   
I grew up in a fairly big - relatively happy family.  My Mom was and is my best friend but I had a very difficult relationship with my dad as he was a bit of a dictator and I was more than a bit rebelious.  Trust me headbutting at it's best.  I got pregnant at 16 and my dad made me move out and support myself (although my parents helped me a lot financially).  I had my son at 17 graduated from highschool and worked my backside off to go to college and support my little boy (who by the way is turning 13 very shortly).  My anxiety started after I had my daughter when I was 22.  I have no idea if my upbringing played a role in my developing a/p or if it's more a genetic gift that I received...  my siblings don't seem to be troubled with this problem so I've always suspected that it's probably because I took on a tremendous amount of responsibilty very young and have always had to "worry" about...  hmm basically everything lol.  I'm interested to read more about others experiences.  Good topic Happy!
Liz :)

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Date Joined Nov 2006
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   Posted 6/22/2007 1:34 AM (GMT -7)   

  I think I had a pretty good childhood, we moved alot from my Dad being in the Air Force but later he went into sells, and as I grow up I feel like I had a pretty good life and spent a lot of time on my own in the woods and loved it, hunt and fishing all the time and racing motorcycles, 4 wheeling and the like and my Dad taught me how to live off the land and be very independent. Later joined the Army and deployed in south American and let put it this way I did my job as a Ranger. but I later started in autobody but was not afraid of a fight till I got overexposed to paint fumes as a painter and became sick from it and have been fighting this and other medical things as well, but I'm really feel like I'm beating this anxiety and now working on some off my other problems and feel in someway I'm winning but the going is tuff but I'm still not giving up.

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Forum Moderator

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 6/22/2007 5:52 AM (GMT -7)   

Ah a subject I have spent time talking thru with my therapist.

I had the "not so nice" stepmother who was verbally abusive to me so I know now that "my core values"  set in my younger years certainly affected my feelings about myself as an adult.

I always had a fair amount of anxiety and panic due to my believes that I was stupid, a pig etc that my stepmother told me so it was a case of low self esteem that led to feeling anxious or panicky about being good enough.

I have now learned that she was wrong and I am a good person, not stupid, don't need to feel anxious and panic because I am a screw up but that I was basically a daughter without a "mother".  My real Mother was killed in car accident when I was 18 months old.

Hope this helps answer your question.

Good Luck.


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Dx: Anxiety/Panic, Depression 
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Elite Member

Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 6/22/2007 5:53 AM (GMT -7)   
I grew up in an alcoholic home both parents drank continually
BUT us kids NEVER wanted for anything
Mom was not an emotional person till she beacme stricken with Alzheimers but Dad was always there for me .......still is but now roles are reversed ( he has Alzheimers)
I think the first time mom told me she loved me I was preggars with Cait and I remeber telling her I would NEVER do that to my kids

I do tell cait many times a day as well as 32 yr old son that they are loved

You never know if you will have the chance one day to the next
YES my a/p was / is from growing up emotionally defunct and having to " be the mom " to siblings

Good thread
Take care
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Regular Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 83
   Posted 6/22/2007 11:13 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you all for your responses.
When I posted this, I wasn't really sure if it would get a lot of interest.  I realize now that it is also therapeutic for people to talk about this subject.  I do feel that our relationships with our parents do have an effect on our emotional states as adults.  However, I also believe that we are all strong individuals and we can overcome any obstacles in our way.  With a lot of hard work and caring people around us, like all the people here at HealingWell, we can all get better!
Thanks again. 
P.S. If you want to add your experiences.  PLEASE DO SO!

Post Edited (happypills) : 6/22/2007 12:21:40 PM (GMT-6)

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 6/22/2007 11:37 AM (GMT -7)   
Great stuff here. I get mine from mom for sure. Both mom and dad were awesome, but did not let me handle my own affairs to let me learn that it is OK to make mistakes, and how recovering from the mistake is where the best learning and growing is.

Mom and I have recently connected on this topic, and it feels great now that both of us are on the same page.

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 6/22/2007 12:33 PM (GMT -7)   
Mine is from my mother. She relied on me too much as a child from the ages of 7 - 11 those were the years she was single before she met my step father. It was always like walking on eggshells round her, she had a very short temper and although we were never physically hurt, I think emotionally alot of damage was done.

As she was hurting so much from the seperation from my dad she took it out on us kids, we were made to feel guilty for visiting dad but almost encouraged to go at the same time ( not sure if that makes sense).

At 11 she re-married to a total bully, mentally not physically, my brothers went to live with my dad whilst I stayed home. My step-father never gave me a break, he was on my case every single day and my mother never stood up for me. I was made to feel like I was at fault all the time.
When I think about it now I was always anxious as a child, I never knew what I was walking into at home & I could never make mistakes.
At 18 my step father died, please don't judge me but I really did not care at all, infact I felt nothing but relief.
My mother fell to bits and once again tried to almost reverse the parent/child relationship but by then I was older and I had been looking out for myself for so long I was not intrested, so I moved out and went off the rails for a few years.

Now I have my own family and am happily married, my relationship with my mother is still quite strained at times. She never got over splitting with my dad when I was 7 and I think it has made her bitter especially towards me (she had an affair and I was the result) I think she believes that me being born practically ended her marriage but she did that all by herself.

We never talk about when I was a child as we both seem to have different views on what it was like.

Stress is when you wake up screaming and realise you have not slept.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 167
   Posted 6/22/2007 1:02 PM (GMT -7)   

I've already replied to this but I have more to say.  I was extremely rebellious when I hit about 14, my Dad and I used to argue ALL THE TIME. (We have a great relationship now) But I was always referred to in conversations amongst my family members as the "wild one" I became pregnant at 16 and was forced (by my Dad) to move out.  My Mom was and still is 100% supportive of me, and my Dad is now also (I think he feels a lot of guilt now for reacting so harshly) but anyway everyone in my family (really high achievers) always made comments about how bright I was and what an amazing future I "would have had" if I hadn't decided to become a parent so young.  Since then I have spent my life trying to "prove to everyone" (but mainly to myself) that I will still accomplish everything any of them have and still be a fabulous mother.  My son is almost 13 now and he is an amazing young man... no one in my family could imagine life without him.  My Dad actually thanked me a few years ago for not listening to him!!!  I put a tremendous amount of pressure on myself and never feel completely fulfilled in anything that I do because it's just not good enough.  So tell me where do u think my anxiety comes from???  


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Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 1345
   Posted 6/22/2007 1:27 PM (GMT -7)   
WEll, now I have a few minutes to sit down and type this all out. I had a good feeling this topic was going to be long for me, so if you are reading, sit down and get a drink too, you will be here a while.

My childhood was very messed up, and very hard, and confusing for me. Now, I could sit here and write a book on my childhood, but I will just give you the fast details here. First of all, I come from a big family. 3 brothers, and 2 sisters, so including me, we are The Brady Bunch!! Anyway, growing up, my one sister was in and out of the house. I never put it together as to why she would move out so much, and why she never called my Dad, Dad. Well, when I was 13, my Grandfathers girlfriend informed me that all 5 of my brothers and sisters came from a different man. I was my Dad's only child, and they were just my half siblings. They all shared the same father though. For reasons I will never understand, my parents felt it was best to not be honest with me about that. I was angry with them the day we had the talk. I will never forget that day, and I find it hard for me to even forgive them for their actions. They said their psychiatrist felt it would be best that I don't know about the kids being from another father. Uh, I don't think so. What psychiatrist would ever suggest that stupid line of advice? Ugh.

So, that was a bad story. Growing up, there was some abuse, my Mother abused my siblings mostly. Very rarely would she even try any on me, but watching it hurts too. The one I remember the most was my oldest sister was laying on the couch, and my Mother was continually beating her with a belt. My sister was screaming, and my Mom was screaming, and it was just HORRIBLE.

My Mohter and Father split up a lot. They were both alcholics, and often times my Mom would throw my Dad out of the house. I was closest to my father, so it always hurt me when this would happen. My Mom use to bring me home with her from the bar. I found out when I was 13 that those men were my fathers brothers, so these men were my uncles and I had NO IDEA until years later.

I dealt with molestation from the time I was around 4 up until the 4th grade...it was 2 different family members. Years later, it started to really bother me, so I wanted to talk about it. I wrote a letter to my frined in the 6th grade and confessed it to her. My Mother snooped, and found the letter, and told me I was a liar, and I was giong to be in big trouble for making such things up. I didn't make it up though, and have never been able to talk about it since then. I also dealt with a form of molestation in the 6th grade. It was my gym teacher. He was touching me and several of my friends in bad ways during class. That was a hard time for me. THen, in the 9th grade, I was dating a boy much older than me, and he pushed me around a lot, and often forced himself on me.

I started having sex way sooner than I was really ready, because in some ways, it gave me attention and affection taht I wasn't getting at home. I know we aren't really sposta talk about drug use here, but in the 7th grade, I started smoking both cigarettes and pot, and in the 8th grade, I started drinking.

My brothers and sisters were in and out of my life, because that is how my family has always worked. I never had all mysiblings in my life at the same time, and my one sister I haven't had a relationship with in about 5 years.

My Mom is pretty ill and has been since September, and this is the 3rd time she has dealt with a serious illness like this. The first time I was in 7th grade, the 2nd time was like 5 years ago.

My father is my best friend, always has been and always will be.

My entire family is disfunctional, and has been for as long as I can remember. I know this story gave a lot of detail, and I hope I didn't get too graphic here. I just knew on a topic like this, I could go on forever. Infact, there is PLENTY that I have left out!

I don't like to blame my family for my issues, but I know that they could have eased a lot of things. GOOD EXAMPLE....my parents moved to another city when I was 15. It was a pretty bad neighborhood, and so I didn't want to go to school there. I moved in with my one brother. Things were crazy there. He is only 5 years older than me, so he was immature too. I would skip schooll, and no one would know, adn I eventually dropped out of school, (when I was 18 actually) and NO ONE even knew.

I felt abandoned in some ways when my parents decided to move to that city. My Mom wanted to be closer to her one cousin. I think that was pretty selfish.

OK. See, I can go forever, I am going to end this now. Thanks for reading...if anyone still is!
Dealing with panic and anxiety for 8 years off and on...right now more on than off.  Major health anxiety as well!
New found issues with agoraphobia...working on that too.
I am NOT weak, I am just down right now.  I am doing what it takes to get my life back!!!
Best Wishes to all...Tammy

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 83
   Posted 6/22/2007 2:27 PM (GMT -7)   

Hey Tammy,

I read your entire story.  WOW!  You really had it tough growing up!  Yet you appear to be such a compassionate and loving person.  Not bitter at all.  You care about your son so much and will do anything to protect him.  To me, that is a sign of strength and selflessness. 

I hope that you can find the help that you need to overcome your anxiety and hypochondria.  I know it's hard, especially with hypochondria.  Sometimes I feel that I will never be completely cured of it.  I just need to find a way to cope with it the best I can.  I hope that your appointment to see the doctor will go well and that they will not find anything wrong with you physically.  Then you can be on your way to healing, mentally. 

BTW:  I come from a big family also.  I have 7 brothers and sisters.  I am the youngest.

Wish you all the best.... yeah




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Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 1345
   Posted 6/22/2007 2:45 PM (GMT -7)   
I too am the youngest of all my siblings!!! And yes, I also hope my appointment goes well on Tuesday, and I will give you all updates the minute I get home...provided they don't wanna throw me in the hopspital for some terrible disease...(yes, sadly, that is how my mind works!) I will update the minute I get home!

Hope ya have a great weekend!

Oh, and I think that my childhood might mess with my head now a bit, cuz there are times I think about it and I do feel angry or sad, but overall, I know it has made me a better mother. There was often times I didnt' feel much love from my Mother, and I NEVER want my son to feel that. You know what I am saying?

I wasn't able to talk about all this until recently, I'd say within the past year when I opened up to my boyfriend about all this, now my ability to share inforamation here. I think you had a good question!

Dealing with panic and anxiety for 8 years off and on...right now more on than off.  Major health anxiety as well!
New found issues with agoraphobia...working on that too.
I am NOT weak, I am just down right now.  I am doing what it takes to get my life back!!!
Best Wishes to all...Tammy

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