How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Dr. L Your Own Question

Dr. L
Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1168
Experience:  Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist
63993671
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Dr. L is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I am not sure how to stop myself from fixating on the safety

This answer was rated:

I am not sure how to stop myself from fixating on the safety and well-being of my adult daughter who has been in an abusive and controlling relationship for a while now. She has no job and any money she receives is controlled. Her every move and phone calls are monitored. I am constantly afraid for her which has led to me now having panic attacks and depression. It has taken over almost every moment of my life. I cannot function throughout my day without wondering where she is and if she is okay. My personal and work life has been affected and it has become my daily purpose. She knows that she is not in a good situation, but seems to keep going back. She has often asked me for help and I drop everything at anytime to do what I can. I know she has to be the one who knows when she has had enough and leave for good, but it doesn’t stop my constant fear. I have been a single parent her entire life and have been there for her. We are very close. I’m afraid that it will be that moment when I did not help, that something drastic will happen. How can I help her and how can I regain a life for myself that I can’t remember having? I want to be able to enjoy my life with a purpose without constant fear and panic for her. I feel hopeless.

Dr. L :

Hello,

Dr. L :

I would like to help you with your question.

Dr. L :

I am sorry that your daughter is living in such a destructive relationship. It is understandable that you are distraught and upset and that you want to do all you can to be there for her. However...if you are not healthy - emotionally and physically - then you will not be able to be that support person she needs...and that you want to be.

Dr. L :

You wrote that you have seen a therapist for your panic attacks. That's good...yet I think that you also need therapy to deal with the tremendous pressure you have put on yourself to care for your daughter and the fear you feel about her life.

Dr. L :

And absolutely...you need to be able to enjoy life...and that is a goal you deserve to pursue.

Dr. L :

It is important for you to set some goals for yourself...and then to take steps to meet those goals.

Dr. L :

I see that you are offline...when you come online I will be notified.

Dr. L :

I await your response.

Dr. L :

Thank you.

Customer:

Thank you for your response. Hoping you can lead me into a new direction in my life. So hard to concentrate on what my goals would be. I think I am searching for a way to distract me form this situation and I need to let her take on the responsibilities of her choices. As a mother, who has dedicated the majority of her adulthood caring for her, it has been extremely painful for me to let her go, especially to the hands of someone so destructive. I want her safe, independent and confident, but I know I need to let go for my sake. I just hope that me wanting to let go is not selfish and she will not feel as if I am no longer there for her. Feeling like I,m stuck between a rock and a hard place. I love her so and not sure which way to go.

Customer:

This may be too long and complicated, but I needed for someone to hear me because I am at my wits ends.

Customer:

Looking forward to your suggestions and advice. Can not focus.

Dr. L :

Hello,

Dr. L :

Yes...you are between a rock and a hard place. You want to protect your daughter from any harm the world might visit upon her and that's the goal you have worked toward her entire life. But now she is an adult and you must trust that you equipped her with all the skills and smarts to lead a rich and fulfilling life. She will never become the woman you raised her to be...if you keep holding on to her. She needs to make her own way in life now...with the knowledge that you will "have her back" when and if she needs that.

Dr. L :

At the same time...you need to pursue YOUR life...the one in which your main focus is not parenting but living for you. Your daughter needs to see this side of you as well. She needs to know that parenting is an important role..but that there is more living to life. Without showing her that you are able to transition from mother to person...she may struggle in her own life with these changes.

Dr. L :

And absolutely this "letting go" process is painful..it's lonely..it's confusing...it's down right sad! Most parents do have a difficult time with this phase of life...that's why we call it "empty nest" syndrome...

Dr. L :

Here is a link to a good article by the Mayo Clinic on this:

Dr. L :

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/empty-nest-syndrome/MY01976

Dr. L :

The one thing you must realize is that what you are feeling is normal and natural. You devoted your life to your daughter...what are you going to do with the time and energy you put towards that "job"? Truly you are grieving...and that process is quite painful at times. You do need to find other ways to direct your energy...doing those things that you put on a waiting list while you raised your daughter...or finding new interests or hobbies.

Dr. L :

In a way...you have the wonderful opportunity to re-create yourself. To follow long ago dreams, to return to pleasurable activities, and to see life with a wiser set of eyes. I imagine that your daughter will be thrilled to see her mother happy in life doing things that she did not have time to do before.

Dr. L :

Here's another helpful article to read over:

Dr. L :

http://www.oprah.com/relationships/The-End-of-Empty-Nest-Syndrome

Dr. L :

Please let me know if there is more I can help you with...

Dr. L :

Thank you!

Customer:

Thank you doctor for your time and advice. It was much appreciated. It is indeed a struggle, but I will work each day to change my focus toward me.

Dr. L :

I wish you the best!

Dr. L :

Take care!

Dr. L and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

Related Mental Health Questions