How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Selah R, M.S. LPC Your Own Question
Selah R, M.S. LPC
Selah R, M.S. LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 582
Experience:  Licensed Professional Counselor; over 13+ yrs exp working with adults, teens, & families/couples.
3241695
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Selah R, M.S. LPC is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Please help me. My son has become entrenched in fantasy life

Resolved Question:

Please help me. My son has become entrenched in fantasy life on the internet (19 yrs old) - over the past year has become "involved" with a man and now he thinks he is transgender. He has been depressed since high school and he just started seeing a new therapist this past fall. He told her he is transgender. He has never shown signs of being a girl in all his 19 years, now he is trying to emulate a female. He lies and does not participate in real life activities (except college, which he repeatedly fails classes). Barely showers, no friends and a barely part time job. He spends all his money on online Second Life activities. He has ordered hormone drugs online (we got him off of them, we hope) to begin the transformation. He is killing himself with this notion. I believe he very well may be gay, but has said that he doesn't "want to be gay". When I question himn about the transgender, it is evident that he is making up the answers as he goes because there are constant contridictions. PLEASE HELP - my husband and I do not know what to do to help him!!!
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Selah R, M.S. LPC replied 5 years ago.

Selah R, M.S. LPC :

Thank you for trusting JustAnswer with your important question.

Selah R, M.S. LPC :

It sounds like your son may be depressed and may had some social anxiety or difficulties that is making it much easier to escape into Second Life. The problem with escapism to virtual worlds is that it's not the real world. Yes, in Second Life you can be anything, and you can do anything. But that's not real.

Selah R, M.S. LPC :

But living life transgendered is not an easy decision, and he really should take the time to get to know other transgendered people in the local area or a nearby city. He needs to talk to people who are living this life for real to better understand if and when he's ready to take the leap. The medication and surgical parts of transgendered living really should come after a person has had a chance to crossdress and present themselves to the world in the other gender.

Selah R, M.S. LPC :

It's no different than a plastic surgeon recommending women wear breast enhancements before deciding if and what size breast implants to get. Live with it for a little while before you take steps to make it permanent. And to make sure it's not a fad, or not covering some emotional or psychological need (such as the false belief that life will be easier, or people would find you more likable if you had X).

Selah R, M.S. LPC :

Continue to be supportive, that you'll love him male, female, gay, straight, or any combination of the above. But keep encouraging him to meet real people, to meet his basic needs (like showering, proper food, a stable job), and to work on being a healthier adult. No amount of hormones, surgeries, or transgendered living will fix all the others issues. He can change his outfit, gender, and sexual orientation, and still have the need to take care of himself... which he isn't doing now.

Selah R, M.S. LPC :

I would recommend that he look on Meetup.com for groups nearby that interest him, where he can start having more social encounters with people who share his same interest. This can be a lot safer than dating or bars. He can also look for a local GLTB support group in his area to help talk about the confusion and choices he's facing now and in the future if he wants to pursue transitioning.

Selah R, M.S. LPC :

I also do not like the idea of a Second Life relationship because the perfect world doesn't have the pesky problems real life has: cleaning house, fighting over a budget, dirty laundry, fighting over your partner snoring, etc. It's the best parts of a relationship, with no real foundation because it's not tested by daily life. Second Life friends can be great resources, but dating relationships are usually doomed to failure in that world because it doesn't transition well to the real world. You also have no guarantee that you're talking to someone who is really available (i.e., is he really talking to a man, and is that man really single). Most of the people I've met and talked to in Second Life are dating in world, but married in real life. So he's really opening his heart for heartache by taking a virtual world so seriously.

Selah R, M.S. LPC and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

Related Mental Health Questions