If you have an anxiety disorder, or the symptoms of one, like 18% of adults in the United States, there could very well be a reason behind it. Many experts believe that while there are a few who struggle with anxiety for no reason at all, most of us if we thought of it, have roots of our mental disorders that extend deep into our past.
And if on top of your anxiety, you had a deeply traumatic childhood, check out the below-listed things that lead to adult anxiety.
1. Your parents/caretakers invalidated your feelings and opinions regularly.
When we are younger and developing, our emotions are what guide us in understanding ourselves. If we feel sad, and our parents tell us ‘to suck it up and stop being a cry baby,’ when in reality, there is a real issue that is bothering us, it teaches us that our feelings don’t matter. Then, we worry constantly if we are just overreacting.
2. Constantly being away from your parents.
While it’s normal for parents to go to work, or to leave their children with other caretakers for small windows of time, when our parents are constantly missing from the picture as children, we may believe they are never coming back. This separation anxiety doesn’t stop when we hit age 18, instead, it follows us into adulthood.
3. Witnessing violence.
If you are a child, you come into this world with a way of viewing quite innocent things. However, when violence enters into the picture, whether it is violence against us or someone we love, we learn to fight or flight behaviors quite young, and get stuck in a loop of anxiety and terror.
4. Parents who are too obsessive.
Do you remember seeing children who aren’t allowed to get dirty, or take risks at all, because their parents are afraid they will shatter? Many children who have parents who are constantly obsessing about potential harm can rub this behavior off onto their children. According to a 2011 study, taking small risks as we develop teaches us how to handle dangerous situations as adults.
5. Unaffectionate parents.
Affection shapes us into confident people, who are assured they deserve love and respect. When this is lacking, we doubt ourselves and start to believe we aren’t worthy. This can lead to serious anxiety as we grow older.
6. Witnessing your parents freak out due to anxiety.
We teach our children how to react to life by how we react to life. When we react in a way that isn’t mature, such as screaming or becoming overwhelmed and giving up, we teach our children to do the same.
7. Our parents reassured us of our abilities without truly teaching us.
Learning to problem solve and push through stress gives us confidence and motivation to push through some of life’s hardest situations. With that being said, when our parents give us false reassurance without actually coaching us, we may become confused, angry, aggravated, or worse.