A Fine Line

I don’t know where to go from here. I desperately don’t want a radio silence to form between myself and my Mum. I don’t want to abandon hope that my relationship with her can be fixed. But I just can’t talk to her right now. Thinking about her instantly triggers my anxiety, with reactions ranging from tension in my stomach to a complete emotional breakdown or panic attack. So where’s the line between looking after my wellbeing and simply avoiding her to avoid stress? On the one hand, I know that avoidance only intensifies anxiety in the long run because you never face your fears. But on the other hand, I need to feel safe, and I need to feel that my children are safe. I look after them every day, and I’m afraid that by choosing to communicate with my mother I’m willingly signing up for an increase in anxiety, which would risk me not being mentally able to care for them. I’m finally starting to feel like my medication is helping me, but I feel like my stability is still incredibly fragile. I don’t want to unbalance myself.

I’m also afraid that telling her how I feel about everything she’s done would illicit a defensive response from her, or a dismissal of my perspective as inaccurate. I’m afraid that it would mess up my already shaky trust in those close to me. I’m afraid it would deepen insecurities I’m trying so hard to root out.

I honestly have no idea what the right course of action is. I would never forgive myself if I allowed myself to isolate her from my life and the lives of my children. But by the same token I’d never forgive myself if I knowingly chanced a heightening of my anxiety symptoms and something awful happened. What if I hurt myself? What if I hurt my children? What if I made some other decision I’d hate myself for?

There’s a fine line between avoidance for safety’s sake and avoidance because it’s easier. And I can’t for the life of me figure out where that line is.

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