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Ask Carol Kryder LMFT Your Own Question
Carol Kryder LMFT
Carol Kryder LMFT, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 808
Experience:  APA Board Certified, Diplomate,Substance Abuse Professional, 20 years family therapy experience
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Our 23 year old son, has had difficulties all of his life.

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our 23 year old son, has had difficulties all of his life. Dyslexia,lack of self esteem,fear that everyone is out to get him,hypochondira ect., this has recently escalated. He has a cannabis addiction, which we persuaded him to seek counselling for, this hasn't helped. The episodes of temper, obsessive arguing, and the "fear" we cannot cope with anymore. He cannot keep a job, although he is concientious, hard working, and keen to learn, he always feels everyone is wrong and out get get him. He feels his behavioiur is right, and everyone else, especialy his family are totally wrong! We don't where to go from here. We live in South East Kent

OK, here is what you need to do. First of all, your son is addicted to cannabis. Therefore, he is under the influence of a mood-altering substance, and you are trying to reason with a drug, not a person.

The fact that he blames you for everything is nonsense, and no competent therapist would tell him that. Do not let him "blow smoke" at you (hope you understand that idiom). He is a pot smoker and as such that is the most important thing in his life. He will do whatever it takes to keep using the drug, and if he can guilt you into not enforcing consequences, he is just that far ahead of you.

You must immediately establish rules and consequences for this young man. It doesn't matter what the rules and consequences are, but it matters greatly that both of you agree on what they are.

I suggest that you tell him he goes to treatment and completes treatment or he is out of the house and on his own. After treatment he is to get a job and start contributing to his keep.

He is using the excuse that others are to blame for him not taking control of his own life. Do not enable him in this behavior, or you will be supporting him forever. The time now is for tough love. I cannot emphasize enough that both of you must be in agreement, or he will come between you and have your arguing with each other while he escapes accountability.

Let me know if you have further questions about this.

Good luck to all of you.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Thank you very much for your reply, and this was the first course of action we took recently regarding the drugs. Because the other behavioiural problems have been with him long before the drugs. He tells us (supposedly) that his counsellor suggests that the other oproblems ned to be sorted before he will be able to conquer the drug problem! As you suggest this is probably said by him for his own advbantage!

We went to see his counsellor to try and get to the bottom of it all, but of course it is all confidential however we did discuss "tough love" She also suggested that because the problems were already there the drug taking came about, as a way of not having to deal with them, put a lid on the box, so to speak.

Do you feel that the drug problem needs to be resolved before the other things can be worked on? If so how do we go about it, getting treatment etc., the people I have tlked to so far have siad that the cry for help must come from him. In fact the GP as not helpful, he simpl said "well stop then"

This is an extremely difficult situation. You need to find a way to increase his discomfort so that he will be more motivated to seek treatment. That is why I suggested the limits and consequences.

You also need to face the possibility that he will not accept help no matter what you do. This is a huge risk. No guarantees at all.

And finally, yes, the drug problem must be addressed before you can address the self-esteem, dyslexia and other problems. My other concern is that your son may have a personality disorder, which will significantly complicate his recovery. In any case, you need to find a way to increase his discomfort so that he will be willing to accept treatment.

Best regards,
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Thank you very much for your help. It has been of great assistance, in as much as clarifying that what we were thinking was correct, and how to deal with it. We told him last night that the end of the line had been reached, and he either asked for treatment or he packed his bags and left!

Of course there was a lot of shouting and arguing. He said that we were dealing with this in the wrong way, and he was already cutting back himself, and we should leave him to deal with it, and that if we "sorted out" his other problems, he wouldn't have the stress or need to smoke.

However, he spent most of last evening out trying to score!! and of course this was our fault, as we were causing his stress!

He has asked me to go with him to his appointment so that he can prove that he doesn;t have a problem, and that it is us that need help! He said if he could get a job, and we were more tolerant of him, the smoking would stop! I have told him that he has to call to make an appointment today, as soon as he gets up.

Our other son stood at the top of the stairs whilst all this was going on, and said the whole conversation was totally absurd, and that he was trying to load us with guilt. He also suggested that we should go into his room when he wasn't there, and remove all the paraphanalia. We did do this once before, and he said it was an invasion of his privacy. He has always denied smoking in the house but there are a lot of telltale signs.Do you think we should do this?

In a word, "YES." Do not let him get away with keeping drugs or paraphernalia in your home. If you have made it clear that your home is drug free, you have the right to enforce that rule.

Is it an invasion of privacy? Of course! But, your son has lost his rights to privacy because of his actions. When he has regained your trust he can also regain his privacy.

Bravo to both of you!!!!!
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Thank you. After removing his "stuff" from his room, there followed many hours of arguing and shouting. Mainly along the lines, of it is our attitutde that needs to change, and if that is corrected he will be able to stop, we are preventing him from being able to deal with his problem, as we keep referring to it, and if he is not allowed to deal with it himnself at home, he will have to stay elsewhere until we come to our senses!

He has been away for two nights now. Although he has phoned several times.We and he are still waiting for the call for a meeting with the drug advisory people, who I discovered were not too pleased that he had made appointments with before, and not turned up! He says the reasons for this are that they have been advising him to cut back, which he says he is doing, as they have told him this is the only way forward. Is this the regular advice that these people would suggest?

He is definately trying to put the guilt trip on to me, by saying that I need to sort out my husband and my other son, as once that is O.K he will be in control and will be able to stop. As per your advice, I am not budging In the hope that it will work, as I realise from your advice that all his other issues, possibility of personality disorder cannot be addressed until this has been rectified.

Some counselors will advise that a person cut back, especially with cannabis. However, in this case, since he is trying to place the blame on you, I would not believe anything he says.

You are looking for actions, not words. His words mean nothing. The only thing that is real at this point are actions.

Forgive me, but I do need to ask you to click on the "ACCEPT" button.

Thanks and warmest regards,
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