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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5762
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I am suffering from severe anxiety because of my adult son.

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I am suffering from severe anxiety because of my adult son. He is 27 and has been diagnosed bolar and narcissistic. He refuses to take meds or see a therapist. He terrorized us so much that we had to throw him out at 18. He is incapable of keeping a job and is currently unemployed. We pay his bills to keep him from having to live with us. He has emotionally abused and blackmailed me for the last 10 years. I have had many nervous breakdowns because of it. My husband is fed up and threatened to leave me if I continue to be a wreck. He got so mad at me that 3 weeks ago when my son started his usual bullying me for money that he blocked my son from my cell phone. I have not spoken to him in 3 weeks. He now has to call my husband for money and my husband doesn't give in to his outrageous demands or bullying. I am sad, scared and somewhat paralyzed with fear for my future and his. My husband won't let me see or talk to my son until he gets a job and stops being abusive. I feel hopeless that things will get better And I'm not sure him not being able to talk to me is a good thing.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your problem.

Setting limits on your own child can be very heart wrenching and difficult, especially if your child is dealing with a serious mental health issue. It seems as if you are hurting your child by not being there for him when he seems to need you the most.

However, your son is much better off with limits than without, even given his situation. When he was allowed to have contact with you, a majority of the time he really hurt you. And by accepting his behavior, it hurts him because he feels it is ok to keep hurting you. This may also encourage him to hurt others. Even those who struggle with mental illness need to know there are limits to their behavior and that hurting someone else is not ok.

Your anxiety around not being there for your son is understandable but your son was not benefiting from the contact with you. He was escalating in his behavior and acting out. But by setting limits, your son now knows that he has to control himself. It is very healthy to have boundaries. Most people respond much better when they are given parameters to their behavior.

It can be hard to accept that your child is ok without you. But as I mentioned, he was not benefiting from the contact. It may be that with these new limits on him, he will learn from the experience and control his behavior. ANd when he is able to do that, he may be ok interacting with you and you will both benefit. But until then, his contact with you is creating a worse situation for him.

To help you cope, try to change your thinking. Instead of thinking that your son is out there hurting without you, recall what he was like when he was in contact. He hurt you and was not coping well. Remind yourself of his words and actions. Loving your son can also mean letting him go for a while so he can get better. And that is what you are doing. Just like when you prevent your child from touching a light socket when he was little, you are preventing your child from hurting himself worse by limiting his contact with you.

You may also want to get more involved with ways to help your son indirectly. The more you know about your son's diagnoses, the more you can help him without having direct contact. Here are some resources to help you get started: ces/Mental_Health/Support_Groups/

You may also want to consider therapy for yourself and yoru husband. You are both under enornous stress dealing with yoru son and you can use the support as well as someone to talk with about your anxiety. Talk to your doctor about a referral, or you can search on line at

There are also numerous supports within the community that can help your son if he chooses to use them. You can contact the United Way for all the resources in yoru area including housing, financial help and therapy support.

I hope this has helped you,
Can I help you any further?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your reply. I will try to stay strong and not contact him. He has started in on my husband with the bullying and nasty text msgs so I guess he still has a long way to go before he can talk to me. I'm still a wreck cause my husband is in a bad mood all the time dealing with him.
It is very hard to deal with someone you care so deeply about when they keep hurting you over and over. It's a struggle because you want to help but the person won't let you. You can still help your son without having to deal with him directly by using the resources above. And if your husband needs to take a break from dealing with your son, then you both can set up services for him, if he will accept them, and back off for a while. You need to help yourselves before you can be any use to your son. Therapy and support groups can help you both find respite from the constant strain of caring for your son.

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