To preface this; my mother was severely mentally and emotionally abusive, and probably physically too when I was younger but I’ve blocked that out. She has narcissistic personality disorder, and schizophrenia. I was rescued by my brother and sister in law, and they’ve been raising me for the last 4 years. My brother proposed to sister in law just today, and I’ve been very anxious about it.
From my mom came a multitude of mental issues, but one of the biggest is abandonment anxiety; I’m afraid that when my brother and SIL get married, and eventually get kids that I’ll simply be forgotten.
Now obviously not in the literal sense, but now that they’re engaged my brother will be her sole priority and infatuation, and vise versa, and then they’ll have kids before that can pass. They already haven’t shown much love to me (lately. When i was a cute little 10 year old i was showered with affection and cuddled and comforted constantly, but now that I’m a teenager I’m expected to want to be independent), and with this next step in their relationship i fear that that little wisp will fade away completely.
I don’t know what to do, this could just be my abandonment anxiety kicking in, but I had a similar fear of my mother having kids when i lived with her, and it just feels so concrete and real. My love language is physical touch, and now that I’ve started to grow up everyone in my life is suddenly “not a fan of touch”. I don’t know what to do, I don’t know how to fix this, but I want to feel loved again.
- Thank you for telling your story to the Teen Central community. We appreciate that you are willing to share painful and vulnerable feelings.
- You have a really good awareness of your thoughts and feelings, which is awesome! There are always resources out there for you to connect with if you ever feel like those feelings are becoming too overwhelming, no matter what time of day or night. One is 1-800-273-8255, and the other is the Crisis Textline (just text HELLO to 741741).
- Do you have anyone in your life that you can talk to about your family and your fears about how things will change? Having someone listen, even if there’s no way to “fix” the problem, can feel really good and give us a much needed sense of relief. Consider guidance counselors, teachers, other family members, friends and their families, community or spiritual leaders, or even a trusted neighbor. You never know who may be that next source of support for you.
- Change, even good change like your brother and SIL getting engaged, can feel like loss and be scary. You have been through tough, really unstable situations with your mom that may be causing you to feel extra scared that you may have to leave again. You already refer to your brother’s (now fiancee) as your sister-in-law, so that tells us that not only have they been a couple for a while, but also that they have both been committed to caring for you. Taking the next step in their relationship doesn’t automatically mean that they will no longer care for you. Consider how you can find “evidence” to support, or dispute this thought and use our SUPPORT PLAN ( in LEARN, under ANXIETY) to map out a way to deal with these thoughts as a clue that you’re not feeling well and need some help.
- Consider letting your brother and SIL know that you miss the physical touch you used to share with them. Some people feel very comfortable sharing and receiving physical touch as a way to connect and show affection, but others are not comfortable with it. Choosing to talk with them about your need could open up a conversation that may show you their comfort with physical touch as well. If you’re not comfortable saying these things to them, consider writing them down and sharing your writing with the. If you end up on opposite sides of this issue (you want to be more affectionate and they do not), there’s a chance to find a compromise that you can both accept.
- Consider also what it would be like to tell your brother and SIL that you are feeling worried they will not love you as much if they have children of their own. These types of thoughts can build in our minds because of our past experiences, rather than things happening right now (like you guess might be happening). Bringing these thoughts out in the open and talking about them can help put those fears to rest and create a plan that you can all have a part in to keep feeling connected as a family going forward.