Any strategies to stop feeling terror when my phone rings.

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Rosie67, Dec 28, 2015.

  1. Rosie67

    Rosie67 Member

    Hi all,
    I expect that I am not alone here but when my mobile rings I feel instant terror. I have blocked my daughters number so she can't contact me but she now has a 'silent' number. When a unknown number rings on my phone, I can't answer it. I feel terrified. Terrified that it will be her, sobbing, begging to come home, telling me that she is scared, cold, hungry etc etc. how can I help myself with this? Any ideas?
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I am up late like you. For me it was too much caffeine too late in the day. For you it is terror and I get it.

    If I were you I would put the phone in a drawer in another room at night. nothing she has to say can not wait until morning.

    During the day if she calls let her leave a message. If it is more begging or pleading or abuse then you can decide whether to call back or that you are not up to another round with her. Answering is a choice.

    Others will come at a saner hour. Try to rest.
  3. Rosie67

    Rosie67 Member

    Thank you. I am in Australia, so late afternoon. Hope you sleep soon.
  4. Kalahou

    Kalahou Active Member

    Hi Rosie,
    Yes, we know that sick feeling. With me, it’s not so much the phone ringing as after no contact for days or weeks, then getting a text at any hour of day or night that says only … “mom” … (What is that “introduction” supposed to mean to me? Is it an attempt to soften the blow? ) When I see it, makes my heart start to race. I have to breathe deep and then deliberately wait and breathe and tell myself all the “detachment” reminders to get calm again. This physical reaction is bad for the health. I need ideas too. I’ll be following along.

    Welcome to the forums, Rosie. This is a safe and supportive place to be. It's my bedtime now, so "G'day mate ...
  5. Rosie67

    Rosie67 Member

    Exactly how I feel as well lKalahou! Have a good snooze (sleep). Wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed
  6. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Don't answer any numbers you don't recognize. If this is not possible make a list of answers to help you, if it is her.

    1. I love you, you have great potential.
    2. You can't live at home
    3. We have been through this before, we are not doing it again.
    4. Your brother deserves to grow up in peace.
    5. You are smart and resourceful
    6.There is a shelter, where you can get warm
    7. I will help you go to rehab ( research rehabs)
    8. No, we will not go back to that
    9. No, I will not give you money
    10. I could meet you for lunch at....(neutral ground, place of your choice.)
    I hope you are able to find some resources to help you. As time passes, it will get better.
    What I have learned is to slow.....way.....down. This applies to texts and phone calls. Voicemail is awesome. Turn the phone off at night, it can wait. You are not at her beck and call, this is about healthy boundaries and respect. You are not a rug, to be tread upon. Value yourself. You matter.
    Take deep breaths and take some time to build yourself up. It will be okay Rosie.
  7. compassion

    compassion Member

    texting can help. Once my daughter called me 80+ times in a short time. Boundaries can help bring calm to you.
  8. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Rosie, I understand the feelings of terror and heart ache. It is probably the most difficult part of all of this, untangling ourselves emotionally, from the web of our children's addiction. Once we go through the angst of being in the center of their drama, then they are out there, fending for themselves, we can go into a tailspin ourselves. It is a time of grieving and soul searching. Take time to feel what you feel, and get it out.

    I am still hard at work, dealing with the intensity of it all. The holidays have created this feeling of being stuck. Not heartbreaking sadness, just stuck. I find there are good days and bad.....each day is a little better.

    My two, have gone no contact with me, so that is not a problem, and yet it is?

    So, I let myself feel what I have to. Then, I try to just do busy work, put on the music and breathe.

    It takes time, and understanding how far we got sucked into the drama of it. It is hard to break free from.

    I think the years of desperately seeking solutions, the years of concentration and focus on our d cs, take its toll on self care. It is not selfish, to care for ourselves. It is of utmost importance.

    It is okay, for you to go no contact for awhile, until your have strengthened yourself, to deal with your daughter.

    Do you have hobbies? If you have given up something you enjoy, it is good to start over, find out what your interests are, what brings you joy.

    Reminding ourselves that we matter, we have a life to live, helps.

    Also, our d cs are adults, they are resourceful, there is help out there for them......we do not have to continuously deal with the consequences of their choices, that is what it is all about for everybody, consequences, good choices and is life. The sooner our d cs learn, the better for them.

    You will go through good days and bad. Keep posting and sharing, it helps.

    I think creating boundaries has to do with our own integrity. Truth, respect. We must have respect for ourselves. Through building up our self-respect, it helps others around us, including our d cs, recognize there are lines we draw, that they are not allowed to cross.....

    The more we break free from the entanglement of our d cs addiction, the stronger we grow. There is much to live for. I mean really, really live.

    It is unfair to ourselves, if we allow our d cs choices, to take us down with them. By setting boundaries, and learning to live well ourselves, we are giving the BEST example to our d cs.
    In the end all, I think this will have much more meaning, than any "help" aka enabling we do. Living well, and praying the same for our d cs.

    Showing them, by our example, all the goodness life has to is up to each individual to find their purpose and meaning......

    My New Years wish, for those of us in these circumstances, is to finally break free from the chains of our d cs choices, and live our lives to the fullest.

    This happens, one day, one step at a time.
    Take care dear Rosie.

    Be very, very kind to yourself, you matter. You are not alone.

  9. Rosie67

    Rosie67 Member

    Thank you New Leaf. I really appreciate your comments and support. I hope you are OK. Xx
  10. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Thanks Rosie, I will be alright, thank you that is very kind of you. Concentrating with the time off I have, on getting my house tidied up for the New Year. Son is off skateboarding with his friends, so I have some oldies blasting and setting to take the tree down.

    I hope you are feeling better. It is hard, but it will get better.

    We are going to be alright....

  11. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    For me that terror never leaves. Years after we still worry when we see our daughter's number on the caller ID. When my husband comes home from work and I tell him she called his immediate response it "uh oh"
  12. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    My son usually texts, but when he calls and I see his name on the screen,my heart just sinks because it's always some crisis he's calling about and its no fun trying to talk him off the ledge. If it's a crisis, it's always a phone call, not a text.

    I wish there was a way to desensitize one's self from experiencing this heart pounding reaction every time he calls.
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  13. Coping11

    Coping11 New Member

    When my daughter was away at her first inpatient program, she would call me and say similar things - she was being abused, she was miserable, she blamed me for "damaging her for life", etc. etc. Needless to say, she was not abused in any way.
    It is not the same situation, because I knew where she is and that she was in a safe place, but the phone calls were painful. At some point, I asked the staff to limit her to only 2-3 calls a week (the kids there were allowed to call their parents once a day). I just couldn't take it. Every call like that would leave me drained. She knew how to press my buttons.

    i totally sympathize with your situation, and I suggest you take steps to limit her access to you and your, for your own sanity. Take care.
  14. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I have set very strong limits with my son on the phone. Finally. I will not listen to him go on and on complaining. I will not listen to conspiracy theories. I will terminate the call with disrespect. I tell him the rules and I tell him why:

    I will not listen to his distress that he chooses to do nothing about.
    It hurts me that he suffers unnecessarily.
    I will not listen to him frighten himself about things he cannot control and are probably not true.

    At first he got mad. Now he is listening intently. He is appropriate. He asks for my advise. He does not as much tell me stuff that will worry me.

    The calls are going better. But I am still afraid when the phone rings. I always worry that something has happened. I do not know why.

  15. JMom

    JMom Member

    Hi Rosie, I too, have felt the terror. I decided this week to set some boundaries for phone calls. It's usually a pay phone as my son is homeless.

    I now let it go to voice mail and deal with it the next day when I'm feeling stronger. He sent me a text from someone else's phone so this is what I texted back:

    "This has been hard on me. I'm am learning not to control you and find solutions for you. I am a slow learner. I want you to know that you are never far from my thoughts and I am very aware of the comforts you are going without. I miss myvson, my friend, my little survivor. I applaud your self preservation skills.

    I too am a survivor and need to take care of myself. I have neglected to care for myself so I am going to do that now.

    Some days I will be able to pick up the phone and see you, other days not so much. Just remember I love you dearly and I'm always in your corner."

    After that it has been easier to walk away from the phone. I tried not to shame him and to speak from the heart. Now when I don't answer he will know why and I'm ok with that.

    Not sure if this helps, but it certainly stopped my panic attacks over the phone ringing.
    (Hugs)) JM
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  16. TheWalrus

    TheWalrus I Am The Walrus

    Any contact from my Difficult Child instantly makes my heart race, my stomach turn, and a panicky feeling takes over. The only time she ever contacts is 1) she has drama or a crisis she wants to suck me into for me to "fix" or "resolve" in some way or 2) she "needs" something from me. If I deny either, I get a hateful verbal assault on everything I ever did wrong, how I don't love her, guilt trips and manipulations - you name it.

    Before she was diagnosed, I had no clue how to handle it bc I couldn't understand it at all - such overreactions filled with vulgarity and hatred. Now that I know and I have "educated" myself, I give myself permission to not engage. Whether that means walking away, hanging up the phone, ending the conversations...or not answering her calls/texts. Sometimes that makes her worse when I won't "play" and she will literally scream and curse and make the biggest scene you can imagine. "If I can't get you to engage, I will at least embarrass you to no end," seems to be the thought process.

    I still get that "pit of my stomach" feeling and every conversation is a battlefield, but I feel more control and better equipped to protect myself now that I know what I am up against. I also recognize certain "warning signs" of escalation, watch for triggers, and no longer engage in circular conversations. I end them immediately. I still sometimes falter, make mistakes, accidentally get myself "obligated" into things I didn't catch - but she teaches me a new lesson every time she gets something over on me, and she keeps having to change her game. I keep hoping I will become too much work and she will focus on easier targets. God - that makes me sound awful!

    Before, I exhausted myself arguing, justifying, defending, pacifying, and trying to make HER feel better. Now I know I cannot, so I limit everything to what I feel comfortable with and what I can live with. You know your limits and what will let you still peacefully sleep at night. I know you "blocked" her number, but you could also change your number. I don't know if that would be more than you are willing to do.
  17. Rosie67

    Rosie67 Member

    Your description is perfect. Thank you for taking the time to respond. This is our daughter as well. She honestly believes that we "owe" her the life she deserves.
  18. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am a member of the club, too. My heart races at the thought of any contact with my daughter because I know it will be bad news. I finally got to the point of blocking her calls and texts and deleting voice messages without listening to them. She finally got the message and stopped trying to contact me.

    My husband went so far as to get new phone number and uses hangouts to call her so she can't see his number. He restricts the calls to once a week and only talks to her when she is appropriate.

    We went to see her a couple of days ago thinking that she was doing much better. She had a good job and was saying all of the right things about taking personal responsibility. We paid in advance so when we got the news a week before we were supposed to go that she lost her job, we went anyway.

    Big mistake. I am convinced she is using again and she kept trying to talk us into letting her come back home which we made very clear was not going to happen. Holding our boundaries is so much harder when we see her in person. We even left a day early. All of the stress and anxiety of dealing with her issues came back in full force.

    I had unblocked her before the holidays but blocked her again when we got home. I felt myself getting sucked right back into her chaotic life choices.

    Knowing the phone won't ring and that I won't get any texts is the only way I can have peace at this point.

  19. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Kathy, I am so sorry for this, it is hard when we think our kids are doing better, then, same ole same ole......
    This must have been so tough, so sorry for your hurting heart. It is like starting all over again. Good thing you are so strong, and set your boundaries. I haven't really seen my two, or heard from them, so I have not had that test again........just keep trying to kind of play it out in my head...... Take care Kathy :hugs: leafy
  20. SeaGenieTx

    SeaGenieTx Active Member

    I was putting my phone on silent when I went to bed at night as I had gotten to the point if something bad happened at least I would have gotten a good nights sleep and could deal with it in the morning. Now I've blocked my son completely. After the way he recently treated me - I don't want to hear from him again. He's not my son, he's a mean hateful, untrustworthy, evil, sadistic mean little boy (can't call him a man because he is far from it).

    Yep, these kids will give us glimmers of hope then suck us right back in to their chaos. I've spent a year dealing with my son and nothing has improved, it's just gotten worse each time I've reached out to him.

    I've felt like an abused dog. I've been kicked and abused, still I've trusted. And everytime my son contacted me, I desperately hoped for affection and ran back only to get beaten down again and yelled at. My spirit is broken and I've finally snapped. Only way for me to survive is to stop trusting, escape the abuse, run far away and focus on protecting myself.