I Was Raised By An Anxious Mother & Now I’m Scared Of Everything, Including Men

My mother is a beautiful, strong, inspiring woman. She’s a chronic worrier and has been since I was a baby. She taught me to be afraid of everything in this world, including men, and it’s basically ruining my life.

I picked up on her anxious vibes.

Studies have actually shown that infants who grew up with anxious parents are more likely to be able to identify and mirror micro-expressions of fear on human models. That was absolutely me and still kinda is. My mom was eternally terrified that something bad was going to happen to me. She quite literally kept me on a leash. I also had to wear water wings in the pool until I was 12. Embarrassing much? My mother’s worrying undoubtedly set the stage for my own worrying later on in life

She was always generally afraid of my dad.

Kids notice a lot more than you’d think. There’s no doubt that my mom was super intimidated by my father. In her defense, though, she’s a very sensitive and shy person and my dad was pretty scary so I get it. Unfortunately, that gave me the message that men are intimidating in general and that you’d better watch out otherwise they’re going to get you.

She was overprotective to an extreme.

I know that it’s normal for mothers to be somewhat overprotective but my mom took it to an extreme level. I wasn’t allowed to go to sleepovers until I was 14 and I couldn’t drink any sugary soda or watch any movies that were remotely scary. I mean, come on, what kinda life is that? Because of all the things I missed out on, I’m now terrified of everything just like she was.

She made huge deals out of minor things.

If I misbehaved in the tiniest way or came home late or didn’t call her right away, I was in huge trouble. To avoid disappointing her, I would make sure I didn’t do anything bad and never broke any rules, no matter how arbitrary they were. This directly translates to a boring adult life where I don’t take risks like going on that date with that stranger because it’s just too scary.

I didn’t get the impression from her that being in a relationship was “safe.”

 Since my mom was always so twitchy around my dad, I guess I gathered that being in a relationship isn’t supposed to be comfortable and easy. It’s something that comes with a lot of grief and awkwardness. If my own mom can’t be chill around my dad then how can I possibly feel calm and secure around men?

I always felt like I was walking on eggshells with her.

I could never know for sure whether she’d be OK with something or totally blow her top, so I always kept a low profile. To this day, I’ll rarely share things with her because I don’t want to get her worrying for no reason. It’s just not worth the headache.

She ignited the fear of God in me and I’m worried I’ll pass that idea down to my future kids.

My biggest fear when it comes to having kids is that I’m going to pass on my anxiety to them. Mind you, I’ll probably do all I can to avoid being just like my mother, but I sometimes feel like I’m destined to be stuck like this forever. I don’t know life as any other way.

Our sex talk was super cringy.

To give me another reason to be wary of men, my mom’s sex talk made me never want to have sex, like, ever. She explained it fine, but I could SENSE that she wasn’t fine with it. She never came out and said it but it was pretty clear that she thought having sex would destroy my life, and it was hard not to internalize that.

I can’t talk to her about dating because she freaks out over it.

Now that I’m older, I don’t feel like I’m able to confide in my mom about dating because she’ll turn it into this huge thing like “make sure he has a job and if he ever shows these specific signs, get out as fast as you can.” She assumes the worst in her own dating life AND mine, so I try to keep quiet about that part of my life when I’m around her for both of our sanity.

I spend more time worrying about my dating life than actually experiencing it.

It’s sad to admit this, but due to my high anxiety level around men, I spend a lot of time thinking of all the worst possible case scenarios that might come from a date and then cancel instead of taking a chance and just going for it. I’m working on being braver with these things, but it’s going to take a lot of practice and patience to undo the fearful reaction my mom has programmed into me.

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