My mom loves telling me, I’m just like her.
Yep, she’s right in many ways.
As a grown up and having become a therapist, I now know that my mother has anxiety. She is definitely the quieter and the shy one. Growing up, I didn’t notice it as much, however, now that I’m more aware – I see that.
Anxiety is something that can run in the family and there are chances that one of you parent has anxiety as well. They may not label it as anxiety, and that’s OK. Labels can help only to a degree.
Here’s some ways you can tell if one of your parents has anxiety.
Your parent had or has few friends
One ways anxiety shows up is through what’s called social anxiety. People with social anxiety have a hard time being around people. There can be variations of this and one way that it manifests is they have a hard time building friendships.
Some might just be introverted.
There is a difference between being introverted and having anxiety.
Introverts prefer fewer friends. People with social anxiety may want friends, however, they get dysregulated around people and so it becomes hard for them to socialize.
Your parent constantly worried about small things
If you notice your parent is constantly worried about everything, that’s a big sign that they might have generalized anxiety disorder. It just means they feel anxious about everything, not just one particular thing.
Did you go to the dentist, when are you going to fill your car with gas?
Did your friends see the laundry was not done?
What are people going to say when they see your hair?
You see the pattern.
Your parent engaged in OCD type behavior
This could be a parent who is always trying to control the situation.
They might obsess about very small details to control a situation. For example, if friends are coming over for dinner everything has to be perfect and there is no room for error.
They may want to control your life and try to manage your life by making sure everything is done in a particular way.
Control can often be a sign of anxiety.
Why? Because control is a way for the person to reduce their anxiety.
Any uncomfortable situation can increase a person’s anxiety and discomfort.
So the more control, the less anxious they feel.
Your own anxiety increases around this parent
Another way to tell is noticing your own anxiety around them. You might notice you are more calm around one parent and more anxious around the other parent.
We tend to subconsciously trigger each other, we sense our energies automatically.
So when you are around an anxious person, and you yourself have anxiety, most likely you will feel it more.
Do any of these resonate with you? Do you see your parent in these?
To your success,
Musarat Yusufali LCSW