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Anna, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1945
Experience:  Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 29 years in addictions and mental health.
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I have a 36 year old son living with me. He is a nightmare

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I have a 36 year old son living with me. He is a nightmare to live with since he was born. I suspect he has ADHD but has never been diagnosed. He totally controls me and punishes me when he doesnt get his own way. Example: I went to a wedding last week and he phoned me at the wedding saying, 'where is my dinner - you made breakfast for my brother and his wife but no dinner for me! Then he sprayed weed killer on my favourite roses to get me back.

He doesn't work - just borrows money from me or his brother - I buy all the food and pay all the bills - He stays in his room playing games on the computer most of the time. He has 17 cats and won't get rid of them and I feed them too.

His father died last year ( we were seperated for 10 yrs.) His father treated me the same and was an alcoholic.

I have two other sons who are very good, married and gone from home and sympathize with   

Please help! I would appreciate any advice

Thanks,   Sue
The relationship between you and your son certainly sounds like a painful one that has gone on for some time. Is there any way that you can move out? Could you walk away and leave him? Maybe move closer to one of the more functional sons?
Situations like this don't respond to the usual stuff you hear about "just say no" and "become more assertive". That certainly needs to happen, but not at the cost of violence, which it sounds like you may fear from him.
What would happen if you involved the law?
Has he ever received any mental health treatment?
How far are you willing to push it?

If I can understand a bit more by you answering those questions, I'll be able to give you some ideas that might work for you.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Hi Anna - thanks for response! I would not involve the law as it would hurt me too much. He has never received mental health treatment as he won't go to a doctor. I did think of moving out to flat but the cost would be a problem as I pay a mortgage on the house we live in.also. I am willing to do almost anything but not involve the law. Thank you.
Do you think that you can get him out of the house without involving the law? Would the other children help? Perhaps you can set him up in a flat for a month and then let him sink or swim. far are you willing to push it?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

There is no way he will leave the house. I set him up in a flat before and i had to end up paying for it and buying his food. We live in a small town where everyone knows everyone and I feel ashamed because of him and I try to keep him happy at all costs.

Years ago I threw him out (when his father was alive) and he went and slept in the back garden in a sleeping bag for days til i could not stand it anymore.

So, you've pushed it pretty far before and it didn't work. At this point, with someone in such a severe state of inability, there really isn't much you can do except to try to carve out a life for yourself.

First, you start to do that emotionally. Read some books on Codependency and things for families of alcoholics. I'll put some links below. As you start to gather information, you'll feel an inner strength which will begin to open up doors of power inside of you that you weren't able to access before. With that new found sense of self, you'll see your situation with new eyes and then maybe some more solutions will show themselves to you.

There isn't going to be a magic key to this problem, I'm sorry to say. It sounds like your son is seriously impaired by some problem: if you can't force him to get help, and don't want to go to the law (which would be temporary anyway), then you'll have to look at accepting what you cannot change. That doesn't mean you accept defeat or unacceptable behavior, but it does mean to accept the limits of the situation you're in.

Search online for others in your situation and get hooked up with support. It will save your sanity to talk to other women in your situation- and there are plenty of mothers with adult children who are impaired with various disorders.

I would draw the line with becoming a victim of his threats and abuse at home, though....even if that means you get to the point of involving the law. Sometimes people in his situation go further than what they can imagine and don't really want to harm people, but they do. If you think it's becoming truly dangerous, call the ambulance or the law.

Good luck in your journey. Carve out a place in life for yourself somehow - you're worth it.
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