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KansasTherapist, LSCSW
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 566
Experience:  17 years experience with depression, abuse, and borderline.
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My 24 year son who has just completed university with a law

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My 24 year son who has just completed university with a law degree has weekly outbursts of aggression only at home. It started when he was 14 due to bullying at school and now he is very introverted with other people but very demanding and aggressive by being verbally abusive towards me. He used be physically aggressive but is now self harming by hitting himself and crying uncontrollably. I am at my wits end as he would not see a doctor, leave alone a therapist. He also blames my husband and I for everything in his life. As he is very reserved, its been hard for him to make and sustain friends. At times, as I sometimes can be 'hard', he has sought out the local youth group at church, but have complained that people are in cliques. During his first year at uni, he spent a lot of money 'buying friends' and people just used him, which made him very angry, depressed and suicidal. My husband tries sometimes, but does not have the patience and think that I am too soft and that is why he behaves that way. He is an only son and is constantly moaning that he does not have any siblings. We left South Africa, 10 years ago to try and give him opportunities in the UK and although he does not want to go back, he is very unhappy with his life here. He is extremely pessimistic and has never had a girlfriend which is a real issue for him.

KansasTherapist : Hello
KansasTherapist : Your son is acting very immaturely for a 24 year old with a law degree. Many parents feel guilty when their children have problems growing up.
KansasTherapist : Because they feel guilty they allow their child to be verbally and sometimes physically abusive.

I do understand that in many ways he is very not sure if I am responsible?

KansasTherapist : What can help is to set limits for his behavior if he is going to be in your home.
KansasTherapist : You may be expecting he will live at home until he marries but that doesn't mean you have to tolerate his rude behavior.

He constantly threatens to walk out....he leaves, then I am extremely worried as he has no other family here and has money to live anywhere else. My fear is that he may commit suicide as he is always threatening to.

KansasTherapist : Have you tried talking to him when he's calm?

When we have an argument, he self harms or threatens to


I have tried but if I braoch the subject about his arrational behaviour, the rage comes on again


I am not sure if has Aspergers? What do you think?

KansasTherapist : If you are worried he will kill himself maybe he needs to be hospitalized.

I am afraid of him being sectioned and the repercussions on his future career

KansasTherapist : If he does something serious to hurt himself, it will be much worse.
KansasTherapist : Pherhaps if you call the police he will listen and take you seriously.
KansasTherapist : He really needs a therapist to help him learn new behaviors.
KansasTherapist : What makes you think he has Asperger's?

He is doing an internship right I am afraid of him not attending work...a poor reference as this is vital to his future ...but also understand that he may be emotionally blackmailing us. I've been reading about the 'rages' that people with Aspergers experience and thought maybe he has that...

KansasTherapist : It is possible. He does seem to have trouble relating to people.
KansasTherapist : Does he get fixated on a topic and always bring it up in conversation?

In the past I did arrange for him to see a therapist but he felt that they wasted his time. I've suggested this several times since and he is not willing to.

As far as the police is concerned, this will be disastrous for him as in 2009, he was taken into custody for expressing how he felt about his fellow students at uni who 'used' him and he felt alienated and discarded. It was an extremely traumatic time for just prior to his exams which resulted in him repeating the year. The case was dropped as they found no real evidence as he was merely expressing how he felt on 'yahoo answers' and not a real threat!

KansasTherapist : It seems he is holding all the cards. He behaves inappropriately at home but you're afraid to take any action because he might hurt himself or get arrested or lose his internship.

Yes he does get fixated, for example, about how lonely he is, about girls, etc. He feels that his case is the worse case scenario. When he was in primary school, he did have friends...he played sport. When he went into high school, that was when he was an easy taget for bullying...became more introverted

KansasTherapist : If he was outgoing as a boy, but changed, it's probably not Asperger's.

I feel that we are not having a quality of life here in the UK as family/friensd are in SA...we came here mainly for him which he does not appreciate and think that we are bad parents. I support him fully. He is obsessed with his constantly buying CD's - says it temporarily fills the void of being lonely

KansasTherapist : Perhaps it would help if you saw a therapist. They could help you sort out what you want and need to do. Help you know how to react to your son's behavior. Certainly, it isn't in his best interests or your for things to continue as they are.

He was non-aggressive as a child, altho' very fussy ( maybe the only-child syndrome)- but did enjoy when friends came around, was happy in school, fooling around with other children, laughing, etc. However, the situation changed when he went to high school and worse when I brought him over by myself as my husband was still in SA and only came over a few years later


What sort of therapist should I be seeing?

KansasTherapist : A cognitive behavioral therapist would probably be the best.

Would you daignose him into any psychological disorders from what I described?


Okay...will look into that

KansasTherapist : It definately sounds like he has some anxiety disorder and depression.
KansasTherapist : Lacking healthy coping skillsisn't a diagnosis but it seems like that is his biggest problem.

He does have a lot anxiety...such as prior to meeting someone, etc

KansasTherapist : I hope this has been helpful. I have a client to meet with in a few minutes so I'll have to go soon.

My biggest problem is the fear of him comitting suicide and maybe that is why I give in to him which maybe he has capitalised on..You are right...i need coping skills on how to interact with him


Okay , thanks....I was worried that he may have Aspergers but you have allied my fears.

KansasTherapist : Good luck.
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