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Is this separation anxiety, or something else?

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Is this separation anxiety, or something else?

Postby JackM678 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:00 am

I'm not sure exactly what separation anxiety really is, because from what I've read, most examples talk about babies being separated from their parents.

For me, it used to center around my youngest brother after my parents adopted, but now it is around another child that I've become close to.

When I was almost 15, my parents took in a couple foster children that we ended up adopting two years later. For a year and a half, we kept being told they probably were going to be taken away and put with another family, because at the time my parents were not able to adopt their siblings in addition, and their primary goal was reunification with their birth mother, and the 2nd priority was placing them all together. My youngest brother was 5 months old, and my oldest was nearly 2 when we first met, so their memory with their biological sisters was very little, but they lived with us temporarily. We kept making our case that we felt taking them away from the only family they knew to put them with siblings would be more damaging than separation from siblings they only lived with a short time, but the agency rejected that and said they had to do it that way because it was the procedure in writing. Their plan was to put them with a single mother who was planning on not letting us have visits once she adopted them because she was told lies about us from someone at the child welfare agency.

There was date set for them to be removed, and then we were informed the woman changed her mind because she didn't feel adopting them was the right thing to do. However, it was still hanging over my head that any day they could be taken with less than a few weeks notice. I was going to ask my parents not to bring them to say goodbye the morning they were leaving, because it seemed too much like a funeral to me, and I couldn't deal with seeing how they'd react around me if they knew they'd never be seeing me again. I was even considering kidnapping them after they were moved to another home as I felt it was the only way I could save them from being scarred for the rest of their lives. It wasn't until about 2 months later that we were told by the agency that they approved the plan for us to adopt them without their siblings.
However, nearly every week I'd have a panic episode of memories of what I was feeling when I thought they were being taken away from us.

This ended up turning into more of a separation anxiety, mostly with my little brother, because even though the adoption was legal, I kept fearing losing him in other ways, and wondering how I'd ever cope if I didn't have him. I was overprotective of him, and depressed if I wasn't around him for an extended period of time, such as went they went on vacations I couldn't go on because of other obligations. I would at times have nightmares that something happened such as him being in a building that burned down, losing him in a public place, etc.

As time went on, this faded away a little bit, and after moving out of the same home, it wasn't as much of a fear an anxiety as he had grown more independent, and he is almost an adult now as he'll be 17 in November. I feel he has autism like I do, and doesn't contact me much by phone or text anymore much because we have different lives now.

I'm guessing mostly that the anxiety centers around children more than anything. I posted another thread about how I get depressed if not around kids on a regular basis.

Now, similar anxieties shifted towards an 11 year old boy I'm not related to, but have developed a family relationship with him and his brothers over time. We met at summer camp, and I finally moved into this area from out of state after coming here five consecutive years for camp, which I wanted to the first year, but it just wasn't possible. I lived with them temporarily until I found an apartment, but I get crushed when I'm not around him. I see him mostly every weekend, or used to before camp this past year.

Him and his brothers all have split custody agreements and they are with two families each week. He often stays overnight at my apartment when we spend time together a couple weekends of the month, and I drop him off at his dad's on Sunday. I'm usually in pain as soon as I'm separated from him. He tells people in public I'm his dad sometimes, or step dad, because he has a hard time explaining our relationship to them. We're basically close family friends, and their mom trusts me with them and is glad they have a good male role model in their lives, as their relationship with their dad is kind of spotty even though he is good with them at least half of the time, and he says from time to time he wishes I could adopt him. His little brother says that too as I'm close with him, but not as close. I'm not sure if they want me to be their dad because they feel I'd really make a good father, or because I'm a bit easy going, as I do discipline them but I don't punish them much, although I have a couple times for severe mis-behaviors when I lived with them, as the mom told them when I was there, I had the same parental authority, but mostly since I don't have the same extent of responsibilities as their parents, I'm a bit more easy going.

The point is mostly, I fear losing him, I get a broken heart when not around him, and I fear something happening such as them moving out of state, which likely will not happen due to all custody arrangements as the mom cannot move until the youngest is 18 unless the entire group of shared custody between her kids and her significant other's kids all move to the same area.

After summer camp, they all went on a cruise, which I couldn't go on with them as I couldn't afford a 2nd week off of work in addition to the expenses. I was depressed for a few days over that, because for one summer camp just ended meaning I was not with my kids I was taking care of and lonely again, and two, I want to be there with them when their doing activities as a family.

I have known him for awhile, so the attachment is stronger than when we first met, but for some reason, my emotional attachment to children gets very strong after a couple days of getting to know them to a level I don't think is normal. It's not harmful to them, as I'm good with them and a good companion for them, but for me it seems as if it causes self harm, because I don't feel I want to do anything else in my life but spend time with them, and feel wrong as a human being when I'm not either a camp counselor, babysitter, or mentor to kids.

I don't want the feeling of all attachment to go away, but just the feeling that I cannot function during that separation.

I'm not romantic, and my sexual interests are very minimal, so I cannot replace loneliness with dating or that kind of relationship. As far as socialization is concerned, I do enjoy socializing with other adults sometimes, but that's when it involves some kind of activity, and not just going to a bar or restaurant to talk.

I don't know if this is separation anxiety or something different. I think I'm beyond fixing or minimizing the anxiety when away from the kids I take care of, but thought maybe if someone else had dealt with something similar, I would have some ideas.
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