Hello and thanks for visiting JA I´m really sorry to hear about what you have been going through. I have several suggestions for you.
First off, your son needs to be confronted with your feelings about his behavior, and made to understand that while you care for him, his behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated, at least by you. We can stick as many psychiatric labels on him as we like, but the fact is that he is simply acting like a spoiled child.
He also needs to understand that that any continuation of this disruptive and anti social behavior will have consequences. They need to be spelled out to him very clearly, with clear emphasis on the fact that they will apply immediately. Missing a psych appointment means sanctions! You might, as well as withdrawing all financial support from him, advise him that if he ever steals from you again, you will involve the police, and ultimately, if he does not clean his act up, he can leave.
Remember, he is an adult and responsible for his own choices. That said, until he finds out that the world owes him nothing, and accepts that it owes him nothing, not all the drugs in the pharmacy will sort him out. They might help his behaviour a little, but it is grass roots change that is required here.
We humans only indulge in behaviour that brings reward of some kind. Only when that reward (whatever it might be) disappears, or the consequences of our behaviour promise to be unpleasant do we consider changing what we do. Right now, he has no reason to change - he gets away with whatever he wants, so why should he change? It is time to give him some reasons to alter his behavior!
Here is the clue to sorting things out. When you are faced with non-co-operation – give him choices, and make sure he understands the consequences of his choice – and always follow through. If you don’t he will continue to take treat you the way he is doing just now.
Ask him too, what he is prepared to do to change his behaviour in future – tell him to research what might help him, what professional help he might get, and even consider a ‘contract’ between you. In other words, involve him in his own change, with a prospect of a small reward for success and dire consequences for failure.
However, don’t get angry, stay cool and in control, matter of fact and stick to the facts. Avoid drama.
There are difficult choices to be made ' if you take you take too firm a line, you may alienate him completely, and if you are too soft, nothing will change. Try to find a middle way.
Finally, I feel sure you would benefit from some supporting therapy for yourself.
I’m going to suggest that you would benefit greatly from a course of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It is a form of therapy that addresses problems in a direct and targeted way and is brief compared with most other therapies.
CBT is based on the fact that what we think in any given situation generates beliefs about, and reactions to that situation, and also cause the behaviour and feelings which flow from those beliefs and reactions.
These ‘automatic thoughts’ are so fast that generally, we are unaware that we have even had them. We call them ANTS (automatic negative thoughts) for short.
If the pattern of thinking we use, or our beliefs about our situation are even slightly distorted,
the resulting emotions and actions that flow from them can be extremely negative and unhelpful. The object of CBT is to identify these ‘automatic thoughts’ then to re-adjust our thoughts and beliefs so that they are entirely realistic and correspond to the realities of our lives, and that therefore, the resulting emotions, feelings and actions we have will be more useful and helpful.
Cognitive therapists do not usually interpret or seek for unconscious motivations but bring cognitions and beliefs into the current focus of attention and through guided discovery encourage clients to gently re-evaluate their thinking.
Therapy is not seen as something “done to” the client. CBT is not about trying to prove a client wrong and the therapist right, or getting into unhelpful debates. Through collaboration, questioning and re-evaluating their views, clients come to see for themselves that there are alternatives and that they can change.
Clients try things out in between therapy sessions, putting what has been learned into practice, learning how therapy translates into real life improvement.
Please visit this website for much more detailed information on CBT:
One final word – you have not failed him. He is an adult and is responsible for himself, and has been for the last few years. Please, therefore, do NOT be hard on yourself.