I was talking to my boyfriend the other night and he ended up triggering a repressed memory of my mom pinning me to the bed screaming at me. As soon as I remembered I went into a full blown panic attack. Luckily my boyfriend was able to pull me out of it. I have gaps in my memory and the day after Christmas my mom attempted suicide. She threatened b4 to kill herself if I didn’t do what she said. But my mom has always supported me and been an angel. So here’s my question. Do you think my mom was putting me through some form of abuse?

A. It’s possible but memories are not always accurate and they can be difficult to verify. If possible, try to document them as you remember them. Journaling might also help you uncover past memories.

The fact that your mother is threatening suicide is alarming. Sometimes, threats of suicide are a form of manipulation. It’s not always easy to tell and all threats of suicide should be taken seriously. Call for help if necessary.

Her making these types of threats would suggest that she is unstable and may be suffering from mental illness. If so, you might try family therapy. If members of your family are willing to attend treatment together, that would ideal.

If not, you should try one-on-one counseling. If you’re attending college, they will likely have a counseling center on campus with free services for students. Counseling will help with your panic attacks and your therapist should be able to answer your questions about possible abuse by your mother. If longer-term counseling is needed, they will refer you to a local therapist. Good luck and thanks for your question.

Dr. Kristina Randle