You’re Too Sensitive – You Worry Too Much…

03 Sep

Every single time I see mom or talk to her on the phone – that phrase is uttered at least once, if not may times throughout the visit or call.  It is usually accompanied by words of *advice* that have been repeated every single time.  You need to relax.  Take things as they come.  Roll with the punches.  Worrying won’t a difference.  I don’t know why you can’t just relax, I wish you could get over this.  You can’t worry about everything.  And a million or two other versions of the same.   I just wish she could accept that is who I am, that it is a combination of my genetic makeup, and my life experiences.  Neither of which I can change, and I wish mom could accept that, but I also never expect her too.  She is who she is – just like – I am who I am.

I am too sensitive and worry too much – but I can’t change a core part of what makes me – me.  Sometimes my worry is front and center, and other times it is subconscious – both forms take their toll.  My friends get it and accept it.  It didn’t take long for my closest colleagues at work to learn that I stressed over everything but they accepted it as part of who I was.  That for me, my work needed to be perfect and any mistake made by my team or I was unacceptable, so I built-in controls into every facet so that the risk of a mistake was minimal.  Being able to control it – reduced my stress about it.  That was my only solution.  I was a pro at risk assessment…

Worrying is unhealthy, but I don’t have a magic way to fix it.  I have read books on it.  I have tried to consciously block things out of my mind.  I have tried, and tried, and tried.  The only method that works is control of the situation and outcome, and yet there are still things I cannot control.  Those things I stress over, either by putting them off, or waiting anxiously for the outcome to be known.  I can face known – that is the easy part.  What I can’t face is not knowing and someone else being in control of when I get to know the outcome.

I have been this way since I arrived home.  I think at it’s core it is about separation from my mother, and then from whoever, or however many whoever’s cared for me the first two and a half months of my life.  My transition home was horrible according to mom – when I was awake, I cried inconsolably for well over 6 months, nothing she tried worked for more than a minute or two.  Nothing was physically wrong with me.  I was just inconsolable – except with dad.  I attached to dad, but I don’t think I ever really attached to mom.  I don’t know that she could have done anything different from what she did, I just didn’t attach to her.  She will always be mom, but not in the same way as dad.  Mom and I don’t fit.  I don’t know why, but suspect it is a combination of being nothing alike, and a babies instinctual distrust of mothers/caregivers not being there anymore learned by reality.

Yet I don’t have separation anxiety and never have…it doesn’t bother me when someone leaves.  How messed up is that.


Posted by on September 3, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

13 responses to “You’re Too Sensitive – You Worry Too Much…

  1. Heather

    September 4, 2012 at 7:18 am

    I am sending understanding hugs your way


    • TAO

      September 4, 2012 at 1:49 pm

      Thanks Heather…I wanted to write about it because I think there are other adoptees out there that may feel the same but as always – we temper our words because that instinctual protect our parents from scrutiny by the outside world rears it’s ugly head. It certainly does get old (and stressful) being told to change who you are – and I *should* be old enough to stand up for myself – and yet I can’t with mom – anyone else – take me as I am or don’t bother…perhaps the gratitude meme rearing it’s head.


  2. Fran Whelan

    September 4, 2012 at 11:36 am

    I could have written this. Although I have to control relationships by being the one to end it before I get ‘dumped’, jobs I have resigned from before getting sacked. I try to avoid mistakes by developing procedures which are fail safe and even if I say so myself, I’m damn good at that. I struggle with managers who throw instructions out willy nilly and change their minds.
    I was the ‘good’ baby (shut down?)


    • TAO

      September 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm

      Fran – I was that way in romantic relationships for several years but one day that stopped – no idea why – but every relationship where I felt someone get too attached was done – no going back. As to the good baby – I have heard the shut down described in that way before. You are probably correct.


  3. shadowtheadoptee

    September 4, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    I don’t know if it is like this for you, but in my world, those that accuse me of being overly sensitive, and worrying too much, are usually those that rarely give any thought, or consideration, to others, the future, or taking care of their responsibilities. Then, when trouble comes, these same people expect me to “fix” it, take care of it, and, in general be responsible for them, so they don’t have to be responsible for themselves. That includes my mom. They don’t worry because, well, they don’t have to.

    We worry because, we have to, genetic or not. Who will take care of things for us? They call us overly sensitive, because, we are expecting them to be responsible for themselves. Maybe that’s just too much for them to do? It upsets them when we put expectations on them; the same ones they put on us.

    And, oh, yah, I sooo agree. Being an adoptee plays a major role in our being overly sensitive, and a worry wart. The first few months of our lives, who did we have to depend on in those most formative months? Why is that so hard for people to grasp when it comes to adoptees? Who will take care of us if we don’t?

    OH, and guess what? We have another thing in common. I didn’t attach easily to my Mom either. It was my dad. Actually, from what I’ve been told, I would go to any man, but avoided women. I was one of the “good babies”. Lol My mom has always said, “You were always such and independent baby. You always just entertained yourself. I never had to worry about you, but your brother…” lol Independent, self sufficient, hmmm, wonder why? Lol I did have separation anxiety from my mom, but that’s another story.

    The moral of this story: I don’t think it’s you being overly sensitive, and worrying too much, even with your mom. You are just trying to do the right thing for your mom. She just doesn’t get that. Love ya, girl. Sorry for the long post, but you know how I am. I, now, call my over sensetivity, and worrying too much, just plain old common sense. Why wait for a problem, when you can avoid it with a little common sense, and preparation?


    • TAO

      September 4, 2012 at 4:21 pm

      Shadow – of course you are again right and brilliant. Mom always had dad to take care of stuff and now she has me to take care of stuff…I never thought of it that way but it is true. It is also true that worrying about the potential problems and stopping them from happening – rather than just waiting for whatever to happen is pretty much common sense. You are the best…

      You should talk more on this blog.


  4. shadowtheadoptee

    September 4, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    I think it was their generation. My mom never paid a bill, or even looked at one until my dad passed. I remember the first time, after his passing, that she opened an electric bill. It was only $100. She about had a heart attack. She called me up, completely astounded, “How could this be so expensive!” I had to explain that $100 was pretty dang cheap. Lol

    To be fair, my dad had never in his life used a washing machine, or dryer. He, also, until over 70 years old, had absolutely no clue as to how to turn on the stove. If the food wasn’t sitting on the table, he did eat it. I had to show him how to use the stove, wwhen my mom had to go out ot town to help her sister. She had precooked some meals for him. All he had to do was heat them up. I guess he would have just gone hungry if I hadn’t shown up. lol There was the microwave, but it was just easier to show him how to turn one knob, or two, than the microwave. they were married for 52 years.


    • TAO

      September 4, 2012 at 6:44 pm

      I came down to see dad once when mom was off on holidays – he was just finishing up canning peaches, and then made ME dinner, and the house looked identical to when mom lef on holidays weeks before. But mom did the vast majority (98%?) in the house when she was home but had never paid a bill or anything like that.

      Definitely a generation thing. I think now days it is reversed in many cases, my husband has never paid a bill since we have been together, even when I got sick. He does not have a clue, although true to my need to control risk, I have detailed instructions on how to do it just in case and we have gone over them multiple times to ensure he can figure it out.


      • cb

        September 6, 2012 at 5:21 am

        My parents both worked and dad did most of the cooking (he was the better one). Housework was mainly mum although I think they might have shared cleaning rooms that required mopping (bathrooms/kitchen). Dad did the bills because he was an accountant by trade (though he left that to become a cleaner at the uni which he enjoyed much more!) though mum has never really needed anyone to do the bills since he has been gone. In fact, for the last 7 years of dad’s life, mum had to do everything anyway since poor dad couldn’t do many things in the end. So, in some ways, my parents were pretty modern types of parents – mum was more into her job that dad was, he had no real ambition.

        Btw nice to see you posting, Shadow!


  5. shannon2818

    September 6, 2012 at 2:05 am

    I’ve been told all my life that I’m too sensitive – it’s true, but it’s still annoying to hear!


  6. Dannie

    September 6, 2012 at 3:05 am

    Trauma or life experiences can amplify one’s innate personality. My readings on personality and my readings on trauma (different kinds though not related to adoption) indicate that one doesn’t have to be trapped by our extremes (and everyone has them, whether it’s ‘sensitivity’ or whatnot), but one doesn’t have to ignore them either. Best way is just accept oneself whether the rest of the world does or does not, yet be mindful of our weaknesses and how they can affect ourselves first of all, and our relationships and then go from there armed with that knowledge. People that love us unconditionally will listen and know how to relate to us.
    My 2 cents worth, but then again….you wrote on a subject of interest to me. If you could see my bookshelf ha ha ha, self-help and personality books galore.


  7. cb

    September 6, 2012 at 5:22 am

    “Worrying is unhealthy, but I don’t have a magic way to fix it.”

    It seems from the paragraph above that you directed a lot of your worrying into making you a perfectionist so from a work point of view, I am sure your bosses really appreciated your perfectionism.

    As a person, I very rarely worry about myself and I know I should (my mum is worried about my retirement and I told her I’ll cope because I am able to be happy anywhere (I suspect I’ll end up in a caravan park near the water which I think would be rather nice)). However, when it comes to other people and to work, I do worry too much and can’t understand some others laissez-faire attitudes. One particular doctor I work for is probably a bit of a worrywart and is always making sure everything is done properly and I always think that because of his perfectionist qualities, the patients whom he is diagnosing (radiology) can rest assured he has done their best by him. There is another doctor who just mumbles and mutters and just doesn’t seem to worry about anything much at all and I don’t really trust his reports.

    Talking about sensitivity, I’ve also been told I’m too sensitive about things by my mum, usually just after she has been her usual fault-finding self (paraphasing a common theme -“Dear, I’m only telling you for your own good, you don’t want people looking at you out of pity and saying things behind your back”). I do listen to what she says but sometimes I suspect that she believes that I spend all day perpetually humiliating myself just by being me.


  8. nnkato

    September 9, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    oh how I relate. to my adoptive mother and I not relating! it hurts so much.



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