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Brad The Therapist
Brad The Therapist, LCPC
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  10 years of experience in working with youth and adults
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I know I am depressed. I am 61, divorced for 7 years after

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I know I am depressed. I am 61, divorced for 7 years after 17 year marriage, have used up most of my savings and retirement, and worst of all- my son has started being argumentative and verbally abusive. He lives near with his girlfriend, who does not respect me. I feel alone, running out of options, think I need anti-depressant, maybe HRT, and have no health insurance, as I am working only part-time. How can I get some help?
Brad The Therapist :

Thank you for your questions. I have a few questions before answering your inquiries. How would you describe your relationship with your son?


This is the thing that is suddenly most distressing to me. He doesn't know how to argue. He doesn't want to listen. This is a lifelong way of his, and I generally just let him spout off. I bought a house a few years ago that we both lived in and it is a big problem now as neither of us is working enough to pay the mortgage. In the last few years he assumed a lot of responsibility for the house, and I know he feels I don't appreciate what he's done. I have told him that I appreciate him and have told him not to feel guilty about what is happening to us. I don't blame him at all. But, he recently accused me of not taking his advice for the things I need to do to get a job. I haven't done as much as I should, because I've been bogged down with paperwork trying to get a mortgage modification. It looks like after all I've done, I will lose the house. I put $44,000 down when I bought it to get the payments lower. It was supposed to be for my retirement. Now, I will never be able to retire. Still, I don't blame my son. He does blame me. He made many accusations, I yelled at him, he says I swore at him, (I don't know if I did swear). I got defensive. Later, I went to see him. He verbally attacked me again. That time, I was prepared, and just let him vent. I didn't yell, didn't swear, but I did cry. I never heard my son accuse me like this before. I am devastated. I called a few days later and left a simple message, for him to call me when he could. It's now been a week. I still cry whenever I think about this.

Brad The Therapist : I am sorry to hear about your situation. I understand how stressful and diffficult this can be. What do you plan to tell him when he responds to your message? My recommendation at this point is to write a letter to him if he does not respond to your message. This letter should include your feelings about your current situation, by using "I" statements. You have used thesee statements in your response to me by stating that you appreciate your son's efforts in this matter but you felt overwhelmed by this financial situation, affecting the way you are looking for employment. Another recommendation I have is for you to contact a government agency that may be available so that you do not lose your hiuse. I don't know where you live but most cities have "311" for any city programs. If you are from a rural area, county, state government websites will have resources since it is the gov't interest for people not to lose their home. Please let me know what you think about these recommendations and if you have any questions about how to speak to your son about your situation.

As for government help with my mortgage, that is what I have been dealing with. Actually, people appealing for mortgage modifications are doing so through their lender (mine is a subsidiary of Lehman Bros. and my lawyer says my lender is "evil." I am forced to deal with an un-principled corporation. I have submitted probably 300 pages of documents now. I am having a hard time deciding whether I should give up the house (probably they will foreclose in the next month), and spend all my time looking for a job, or try again submitting more documents, which takes a lot of time to prepare and distracts me, lowers my mood, so that I can't be effective and confident for job search.


As for my son. I can write a letter. He thinks you need to think positively (The Secret) and everything will come your way. So, when I am realistic about my options, he says I shouldn't think like that. If I lose the house, he will blame me. I spent the last year studying the mortgage modification process, spent hours talking to my lender to see what could be done. The main thing is my income. (really I need retraining) I slightly increased my income, and finally was in a position to apply (realistically) for the modification. Suddenly, I lost that job. I am devastated on so many fronts. And I believe hard work is as important as positive thinking. But, as in a card game, someone has to lose. Now, it is the turn of millions of homeowners to lose their houses, not because they are not thinking positively, not because of not working hard, but due to greed of banks and lending institutions. This is not my fault. My son believes it is. I feel very disrespected, and he was not a piece of cake to raise, and I helped him later occasionally.

Brad The Therapist : I believe that you can insert some of the things you have written in your reesponse to me in your letter. Why does your son blame you for this mortgage mess? Is this bc you are not working right now? I believe this letter will allow you to express your thoughts and feelings on this matter and hopefully your son will respond back. What do you think?

I am hopeful. Also apprehensive. I don't like to be accused unfairly, not allowed to respond, disrespected, abused, especially by my son. He never did this to me before. I am afraid that something not good is behind this that he's not telling me about. I'm afraid he is in some trouble. He has this belief system I mentioned. I don't believe it. It is almost like he is superstitious. If I say I am worried about my other son (Akiem) not exercising, not eating well, hypertension, the son I am concerned about- Caleb, says I shouldn't mention that worry, since it can "manifest."

Brad The Therapist : that is worrisome about your son's beliefs. Since he is not responding to you at this point, I hope writing a letter will prompt a response and you can obtain more information about what he is going though. If you feel that he is not taking care of himself, putting himself or others in danger, I recommend calling the police.

There is another element to this I didn't mention. Caleb is coupled for 5 years with a woman who doesn't seem to approve of my style (somewhat old hippie, casual). She is very cosmopolitan jet-setter. She is very jealous. She has provoked many arguements with him in the past about his supposed other women. Since I recently observed my son closely when she was off on vacation, I think he is not playing around. Since I have been around more, his girlfriend has interfered with my relationship with my granddaughter (not her daughter). She seems jealous of my relationship with my granddaughter. His girlfriend indicated she didn't care if I came to Caleb's birthday dinner out. Now, I am wondering if she is jealous of my relationship with my son, and manipulating him in some way.


I don't see anything that would warrant police intervention.


Thank you for writing. I can't really tell anyone about this, except 2 women friends via email. They are worried about me, but don't know what to do. I will start the letter.


Another thought occurs to me. My son doesn't always read his email. If I leave a letter ofr mail one to him, his girlfriend will be nosey I am sure.

Brad The Therapist : in regards ***** ***** girlfriend, by your description, she seems threatened by you for some reason. There is a chance that this relationship with the gf may be affecting your son's response to u . If you feel she will be opening your letter to your son, you can write the letter so both of them are the recepient of the letter or you can send it by certified mail so that your son has to sign for the letter. I hope you find these recommendations helpful.

She seems threatened, yes. I have never been anything but supportive, friendly, with her. Now that I have experienced her subtly pushing me aside (I assure you, I am not insinuating myself inappropriately, though she has been very intrusive in my affairs). I have been feeling that my son and she are trying to be a parent to me, treating me like a child.


Here is my letter so far:


Dear Caleb,

I am concerned that you haven’t called me. I am concerned about you. I’m also concerned about our relationship. I have never felt so far away from you. I don’t remember swearing AT you. I am sure I raised my voice on the phone. I am truly sorry. Nobody ever deserves to be yelled at, as you say I did to you. Now that I have a car, I am better able to visit places personally to apply for work as you said I should. You are right about this, I appreciate you telling me to do this. I don’t need you to yell at me about this. It is not helpful to me to be accused of not looking for work. It is true, I have not focussed on work, due to the several applications I’ve made now for the mortgage modification. To tell you the truth, I am now not in a good frame of mind to ace an interview. I am feeling really defeated, incompetent, all washed up. To do well in an interview I need my family to support me, to encourage me, help me network.

Brad The Therapist : thank you for sharing your letter. I think you did a nice job in expressing your concerns for him. The only thing I would reword is the second to the last line because I can see how your son may think, mom is being negative again' I may reword it to the following: "i feel dfeated, overwhelmed, and incompetant at times but I know I can get through this with support from you and the rest of the family" your words, meaning, and intentions, just rearranged so that your son does not stop reading. Hope this helps.

Yes, thank you. What about the new dynamic of me being treated like a child? While my sons were growing up, I tried to treat them in a way like adults, even when they were very young. I incrementally gave them responsibilities they were able to handle. I always tried to use the carrot, rather than stick. In short I gave them a lot of respect. I am shocked by how I am now being treated.

Brad The Therapist : I would include that in your letter in terms of how you feel. For example writing "i feel belittled sometimes when you say... because I respect you as an adult, and I would appteciate the same from you."

OK. Thank you. One last question. Can I trust St.John's Wort? I am dealing with more things I didn't mention. All of it is conspiring to get me down. I can't afford a doctor, let alone a psychiatrist. Is St.John's Wort safe, effective?

Brad The Therapist : in regards ***** ***** John's wort, there are no conclusive evidence from research studies I read of the effectiveness for depression. Although it is considered as a supplement, they are not regulated by the FDA So I can't say how safe it is. Nonetheless, I if you are still wanting to take St. John's wort, I would consult your doctor. If you do not have one, you can obtain relatively cheap medical care if you search google for a "federally qualified health clinic" in your area. They offer medical care on a sliding scale basis so if you have no income. Let me know if you have any further questions.

I think I may be able to patch things up to an extent with my son. I hope so. I am afraid that the way his girlfriend is, the dynamic between us, her jealousy, what I am thinking now is that I must resign myself to accepting less of a relationship with them. I can't fix the problem she has with me, as my son can't fix the problem she has with him. It is a big disappointment, since I moved to Atlanta to be closer to them. Now that I am here, I am beginning to see the problems between them, and it is spilling into my relationship with my son and granddaughter. I don't like Atlanta. I haven't seen my granddaughter for over a month, before the blow up with my son. If after a few more months like this, if I lose the house, there is no point in my being in this place where I don't feel at home in any way. Maybe I will move to a more comfortable location for me. I am always trying to bend to everyone else. I will try the federally qualified health clinic. I have asked a lot of people, and never heard of this. Thank you and your help is worth more than $22, but I really can't afford that!


Thanks Brad, It did help to correspond. Marcia

Brad The Therapist and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
I wish you the best of luck. You seem to have a plan of action for your son and your life. It was a pleasure working with you.