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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4278
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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My 21 year old son asked to get out of the Navy two years early

Resolved Question:

My 21 year old son asked to get out of the Navy two years early it was granted as an honorable discharge. He hasn't kept in touch very often while he was in the Navy, however we have discussed that he would not be re-inlisting. I had no idea that he had asked for an early out and he has not contacted me since getting out. I have found out through a friend that he is planning on moving to another state to live with a shipmates parents and start a new life with them. We have a good home life and he is loved and missed very much! I have no idea why he is chosing to isolate himself from a family that loves and misses him.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 8 months ago.

Dr. Z :

Hello I believe I can help you with your concern about your son

Dr. Z :

I am so sorry that he is isolating himself from you and your family like this, I can imagine how hurtful that must be for you

Dr. Z :

May I ask, why did your son choose to enlist in the Navy in the first place? Was he unhappy with his life at all, did he feel like he needed direction, was he possibly ashamed that he was not living up to your expectations?

Dr. Z :

And I believe that you have been a great family to him, but his perception of events may be different and this could be contributing to why he wants to isolate himself unfortunately

Customer:

I believe he joined the Navy for direction and possibly to make us proud of him. His Step Father was in the Navy for 4 years. He was never in any trouble as a teen or anything and was a real "homebody". I would say to my spouse "he doesn't do "anything wrong" he just doesn't really do "anything". Of course I would never have said that to or around him. He was very close to his to younger brothers and has a sister that is 14 months younger than him and they have always been close. So it is hard on them as well as myself.

Dr. Z :

And do you know what he wants to do with his life when he moves?

Customer:

No I do not. I have spoken to the Mom of his friends family. It sounds like she has been a foster parent for years and it seems that she is wanting to "foster parent" my son. She said that they have a lot of land and that my son and her two son's have talked about putting cabins on the land and living there. When I talked to him about a year ago he told me on the phone that he was investing a small portion of his paychecks $50 every two weeks. I said that is a good thing son to invest as long as it is not putting you short on cash. He said that it wasn't. When I asked him what he was investing in he said "medical marijuana" I didn't want to sound too alarmed but I asked if he thought that was a sound investment and then I asked if it was legal. He told me yes on both accounts. I have my suspisions that the "foster Mom" may be involved in this "investment".

Dr. Z :

That is possible that the "foster mom" may be involved in this and manipulating your son. Do you think your son is using marijuana or other drugs too?

Dr. Z :

Also marijuana use can make some people paranoid and this may be a cause for your son to isolate or possibly he feels that you and your family will think less of him and this is his reason too

Customer:

That is one of my concerns, however he was honorably discharged from the Navy and I believe that the do random drug screenings. I do know that he turned 21 while he was in the Navy and was out drinking with "the guys" often. I told him to always be safe don't drive etc. I knew that that would probably happen to a young man away from home for the first time and turning 21 in California with the beaches, girls etc. My husband told me similar stories of when he was in the Navy, and he turned out to be such a great man, so my worries were not huge on that front. I am pretty sure that the "foster Mom" is making him feel accepted regardless of his decision to get out early if that isn't what he wants to do etc.

Customer:

I actually thought about that on many levels that he feels like he is a disappointment to us. We may not approve of his decision but we are a family and we will always love and accept him. I also thought that because he is so close with his younger brothers, now 16 and 12 that maybe he doesn't feel like a role model to them with his choices right now.

Dr. Z :

That is a possibility too, I think you are doing a great job of supporting him and saying that you love him and hopefully he will realize that he may have made a mistake to isolate himself away from you and your family. I would also encourage him to continue calling, emails, writing letters, and to visit when he can so that he can see objectively that he means a lot to you and that you and the family will always love/support him no matter what.

Customer:

I will do that, it is just really hard to not feel like I am staulking him and pushing him further away by leaving text and voice mails when they are not returned. I am sending him a care package to the "foster Mom's" address for his Birthday with cards from all of us and a hooded sweat shirt, socks, hat & gloves as well as his favorite snacks. Short of driving to where he is at and kidnapping him jk. I am not sure what I should be doing as his Mom.

Dr. Z :

Well try to call him once a week maybe, let him have his space, but also show that you still care and want to hear from him as well. It sounds like he is not being totally honest with you, and possibly himself, on why he is isolating, so I would continue to be persistent with him, but still not overwhelm him...and I think contacting him once a week is a good plan of action

Customer:

I will do that. I have offered to pay his cell phone bill up to $60 a month because he tends to lose, break or disconnect phones on a regular basis and then I have no way to contact him. What are your thoughts on that? I will not send money to the address of the "foster Mom" because I do not trust her intentions. Unfortunately she is my bridge in this gap with my son right now so I feel like I have to be friendly with her.

Dr. Z :

Well you can definitely do that if you like to show your support, but I agree that sending her money would be ill-advised. Is there any way you can make payments for his cellphone online at all or may be send money electronically straight to his bank account?

Customer:

That is my intention to pay it on line. Of course he will have to contact me for that to happen. Wow it sure weighs heavy on a Momma's heart to be replaced so easily. I truly hope my son will want to be in our lives again soon. This was much easier to miss him when he was in the Navy because I felt like he had checks and balances. The first one out of the nest hasn't gone so smoothly ;)

Dr. Z :

I understand, but it may not be you or your family that he has an issue with and that he most likely is going through personal issues right now and just does not know how to bring it up. Sometimes being vulnerable to those closest to you is hard and he is choosing to isolate. I realize this is so hard for you as a parent and I truly hope that your son understand that you and the family will never judge him and always be there for him

Customer:

I truly hope that as well. I know that i couldn't have loved him more for the 19 years he lived with me. So I believe that he has to have some idea. I will try to contact him once a week and send care packages for Holidays etc. to remind him how much we care. We travel within about 1 1/2 hours of where he will be every Summer, if he hasn't reached out to us by then do you think a visit would be too pushy? Thanks for all of your advise.

Dr. Z :

I think if you ask him first to visit then that can be okay, but respect his decision if he says no or if it is not a good time for him. You can try saying that his siblings miss him and would like to see him, but try not to be too pushy to the point of trying to guilt him into it. I think he is young and confused, so he is just trying to sort some things out and most likely he will reconnect with you and the family in time, just give him his space and continue to try to contact him showing that you care and still think about him, also encourage his siblings to send him emails or add cards or trinkets in the care packages too since he is so close to them

Customer:

Perfect thank you for the direction. This has been one of the hardest things that I have ever gone through and this has helped me a lot! Thanks!!!

Dr. Z :

Anytime, I am always happy to help. I wish you and your family all the best and I hope your son reconnects with you soon. My goal is to provide you with excellent service, so if you ever have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at anytime.

Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4278
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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