Health phobia is worse while in contact with PD parents

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MarlenaEve

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Health phobia is worse while in contact with PD parents
« on: July 02, 2021, 09:04:11 AM »
Hi guys.

I don't know if you have the same issues while interacting with PD parents. Whenever I'm around them, my health anxiety goes through the roof (meaning all those fears of disease and death that I buried deep down come to the surface; I know PD mom talked about diseases a lot with me as a child so I developed the fears she was talking to me about :(

My brother has a worse form of health anxiety (he checks his health very often and still doesn't believe he's normal) and I got a milder form.

I went on SSRIs a while ago and that helped my panic attacks and anxiety but the health phobias and narcissistic abuse syndrome remained intact.

Anyway, I noticed that whenever I'm around my parents, my body becomes an issue and I observe the slightest changes and aches in my body-and of course I make a huge deal about it. I think this is my survival mechanism: focusing on my body is easier and safer than focusing on grieving my parents or accepting their behavior or dealing with them.

I've actually grieved lately but that was so painful that I couldn't finish it.

Anyway, I think anxiety of any kind is a normal response to an interaction with PD parents, right?
Do you have similar issues or symptoms when your mind goes haywire to cope with PDs?

Just want some reassurance to know that it's normal and I shouldn't beat myself for it.
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing:
the last of the human freedoms-
to choose one's attitude in any
given set of circumstances, to choose
one's own way.
-Viktor Frankl

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Sidney37

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Re: Health phobia is worse while in contact with PD parents
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2021, 10:22:50 AM »
Yes!!!  I havenít seen this talked about here before.  I have health anxiety.  My PDm mom and possibly PD grandmother dragged me to doctor after doctor as a child.  My therapist thinks it was to get narcissistic supply.  All of the trips to specialists for tests left me fearful.

I ended up with health anxiety.   A number of years ago, I was running to doctors constantly about every lump, bump, ache, pain or normal aging symptom. I was in my late 30s and early 40s. 

Then I went NC for unrelated reasons and the health anxiety nearly stopped.  I was stunned that things that would normally send me running to the doctor, I generally ignore, try to ignore or give it a month to see if it resolves on its own. 

It was clearly the stress of interacting with my PD family.

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Hazy111

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Re: Health phobia is worse while in contact with PD parents
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2021, 11:04:33 AM »
Yep totally relate.

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JustKathy

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Re: Health phobia is worse while in contact with PD parents
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2021, 03:24:32 PM »
I'm so glad you started this thread. Yes! In addition to having GAD I have severe health anxiety. I've always been terrified of death and dying. Every little symptom I have, I always fear the worst.

The health anxiety has gotten worse now that I've reached my sixties, an age when doctors are constantly warning you of how susceptible you might be to certain illnesses. Last month I took one of those home stool sample tests and they found occult blood, which is just a trace amount, but I have to have a colonoscopy in a few weeks. I'm absolutely paralyzed with fear over this. First, I'm terrified of sedation and anesthesia, no idea why. Then I'm terrified that "if" I wake up from the sedation they'll tell me I have terminal cancer.

My Nmother is deceased and I'm NC with my enFather. Their absence hasn't made this any better. I do think my generalized anxiety disorder has gotten better with them out of the picture, though it does flare up whenever there's a hoover attempt. Part of the problem may lie in not having any family. The health anxiety prevented me from ever having children, and my siblings went NC with me as a result of my mother's smear campaign. The thought of getting seriously ill and being alone is truly terrifying.

I'm sorry if I'm making this about me, but please know that you're not alone. It sounds like this is fairly common in children of PDs. I just wish I knew how I developed that particular anxiety. I don't remember being taken to the doctor a lot as a child, but my mother did scare me by telling me any behavior she didn't approve of would kill me. Sex would kill me, childbirth would kill me, certain foods (foods she didn't like) would kill me, and so on. When that stuff is put in your head as a young child, it's pretty hard to ever get it out.

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MarlenaEve

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Re: Health phobia is worse while in contact with PD parents
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2021, 11:50:19 AM »
Yes!!!  I havenít seen this talked about here before.  I have health anxiety.  My PDm mom and possibly PD grandmother dragged me to doctor after doctor as a child.  My therapist thinks it was to get narcissistic supply.  All of the trips to specialists for tests left me fearful.

Yes, this is my case as well. They dragged me to family doctor appointments my entire childhood (I had heart tests because they found an extra beat which wasn't serious), put me through those terrible EKGs as a small child. I'd get into so much panic before doing EKGs.
Your therapist is right, I think narc parents DO enjoy scaring their children by taking them to doctors.

In my case, they wanted to make sure I wouldn't die and they'd be left without their drug of choice. There was no comfort and no communication after each dr's appointment or test, everything was done for their own benefit.

BTW, I'm glad you're over your health phobia. :)
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing:
the last of the human freedoms-
to choose one's attitude in any
given set of circumstances, to choose
one's own way.
-Viktor Frankl

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MarlenaEve

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Re: Health phobia is worse while in contact with PD parents
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2021, 12:00:20 PM »
I just wish I knew how I developed that particular anxiety. I don't remember being taken to the doctor a lot as a child, but my mother did scare me by telling me any behavior she didn't approve of would kill me. Sex would kill me, childbirth would kill me, certain foods (foods she didn't like) would kill me, and so on. When that stuff is put in your head as a young child, it's pretty hard to ever get it out.

JustKathy, the stuff you wrote shows HOW you've developed your health anxiety. No wonder you're afraid of having children.
Thanks for reassurances. But I wanna ask: have you tried exposure to what scares you? I know that CBT helps with this.
This is embarrassing but, in my mind I avoid reading about diseases or terrible symptoms because I'm afraid I will develop those symptoms later on (this is basically mother's gaslighting campaign as a child that said I am so frail that anything I do might hurt me or any disease is lethal to me).

I think if you try exposing yourself to your worst fears you'll end up laughing about them.

I don't want you to miss on wonderful experiences because of your mother's cruel gaslighting campaigns as a child.
Also, remember that health anxiety is just anxiety, it doesn't mean you're truly sick. Just because you worry about your dr telling you there's something wrong with your colon it doesn't mean there's something wrong.

When I went NC the first time, I still had health anxiety. I don't think it goes away so fast and some form of therapy might be needed to fight this.
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing:
the last of the human freedoms-
to choose one's attitude in any
given set of circumstances, to choose
one's own way.
-Viktor Frankl

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JustKathy

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Re: Health phobia is worse while in contact with PD parents
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2021, 03:30:42 PM »
I don't want you to miss on wonderful experiences because of your mother's cruel gaslighting campaigns as a child.
Also, remember that health anxiety is just anxiety, it doesn't mean you're truly sick. Just because you worry about your dr telling you there's something wrong with your colon it doesn't mean there's something wrong.
When I went NC the first time, I still had health anxiety. I don't think it goes away so fast and some form of therapy might be needed to fight this.

Thank you so much for your reassuring words, MarlenaEve. I have talked to therapists but never did have children. By the time I realized I had be been the victim of gaslighting I was probably forty and decided against it. There was the age issue, plus I was still in contact with my mother and knew I would have to move far away in order to keep her away from my child. I guess there were just too many complications to consider. I don't regret that decision, though. I was very happy being a career woman. Plus my anxiety is so severe, and my fears so paralyzing, I'm not sure that I could have been there 100% for a child.

I probably do need to return to therapy for the health anxiety. You're right that going through an experience and coming out of it okay does make a huge difference. Five years ago I had appendicitis. I knew what was wrong but stayed home for a day in agony hoping I could wish it away. I finally went to the ER and had an appendectomy. I was in the hospital for three days and was treated so well by the doctors and nurses. I went from being terrified to feeling very safe. Of course, I would have preferred that it never happened, but it did help to ease my fear of surgery.

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nanotech

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Re: Health phobia is worse while in contact with PD parents
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2021, 03:32:21 PM »
Iíve noticed the same. My UNPDdad has health anxiety, and when I call,  itís his favourite topic. Heís so doom and gloom itís unreal.  Iíve a theory on it. If he can worry me, it seems seems to ease his feelings of anxiety- thatís what I figure anyway. 
Anytime I responded worriedly, which in the past was often, he would seem to relax and become happier!
Now I just medium chill, which of course frustrates him.
Now that I donít mirror the worry back, heís  moved on to seeking  a lot of reassurance from me about his health and his safety. Some of his questions stray into the realms of superstition and irrationality.
I do reassure him atm,  but really when I think about it- itís the same old dysfunction.
I also feel my own health and safety issues  re emerging after speaking with him.
Iím NC with my Nsiblings, and I have improved so much.
My FOO are fearful people who want me to be fearful too. 

Our posts crossed- Iím sorry you have been ill. Iím glad though that there was a silver lining in it for you. It just shows that the prolonged fear of ill health can be worse than actually going through something, getting support from health workers and coming out the other side. Well done 👍
« Last Edit: July 03, 2021, 03:46:43 PM by nanotech »