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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5824
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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My son is 23 years old. He is the middle child in the

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My son is 23 years old. He is the middle child in the family. His sister was/is bossy (older) and his younger brother is a happy, mature, people pleaser. My husband is European and owns a business. He was not home much during the 5-15 yr old period of this son. When he was home, we were a happy family - church, family dinners, family vacations, help with HW etc. He went to an excellent HS and a good University. This son was always athletic, but in 9th gr I noticed that he had trouble running down the soccer field. I took him for tests and he was diagnosed with Crohn's. He did not take his medication regularly and ended up with fistulated Crohn's during college. He had major surgery during sophomore yr. By senior year he was failing a class in his major (biology) and the prof let him "graduate" and then gave him 6 weeks to write a paper so he could get the credits. He waited until the last day and got an F on the paper. He had to take another class in the fall. We expected him to pay. He only paid one third, then didn't have $. At this point he was living with his girlfriend of 5 years. He would stay home and she would work, until finally he got a 20 hr week job. He quit this after 6 months so she kicked him out. He came back to our house while we were on vacation. He did get a full time job, but he spends at least 6 hrs/day on video games and all weekend on video games. He is very immature and very stubborn. Right now he is not speaking to me because I asked him not to eat meals in his room. He locked the door and is eating his lunch in the bedroom while on the computer. He will go days not speaking if he feels "wronged". He feels no remorse or any kind of appreciation for us. We put him through school, and are paying for a car and car insurance until he gets a permanent job (this is a 6 month contract job). His girlfriend has finally given up; she is buying a house on her own and he could be settling with her, but he continues to hurt himself. He is on remicaid and I have heard that this treatment can cause depression and mood changes, but I am not allowed to talk to his Dr. because of HIPPA. When I approach him about this, he gets angry and will not speak.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like your son might have seen his diagnosis as a reason that he cannot accomplish much in his life. Sometimes people will get a diagnosis that is debilitating and "give up" on their life, expecting others to care for them. He may have decided that it is easier to be dependent on you and your husband rather than take the risk to be independent and be on his own.

He could also be depressed. When someone gets a diagnosis like Crohn's they may become depressed about their situation and decide that their life is not going to get better. So your son may have an underlying depression that he is ignoring and instead is acting out towards you and others.

He may also be acting as he is because he has no consequences to his behavior. He does not have to worry about supporting himself if he does fail or that he is hurting anyone by how he acts. He may see anything he does as justified and when he does have consequences it is not because of his behavior but because of the other person and what they did to him.

Whatever the reason, you may need to set some boundaries with your son. He is an adult now and needs to be on his own. Helping him get on his own may take some doing, but step by step you can get him independent. He may not like it, but by getting him on his own you are showing that you love him and in the long run, he will be fine.

Talk to him and set a time for him to leave your home. Make it within a year (or whatever time period you think is enough time), which gives him plenty of time to move on. Then on a calendar, mark off goals such as " will apply for 6 jobs each week". Then set up chores for him to do. Put those on a list on the fridge. And keep him to the list and the goals. Let him know that if he does not follow through, you will ask him to leave. Then follow up with what you say. It can be very hard to put your child out of the home, but if he does not see you mean what you say, then he will keep doing this to you and you will not get your life back.

You may also want to contact his doctor about the behavior you are seeing with him. The law may prevent the doctor from sharing information with you, but it does not prevent you from telling the doctor what is going on with your son. That way, if your son does have depression, the doctor can look for it. The doctor may also encourage your son to see a therapist. Often, people who will not listen to anyone else will listen to their doctor.

I hope this has helped you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Kate; That all sounds fine except for one thing - telling him he has to leave does not work. What will happen is this - he will start smashing windows, walls etc. and then I will have to call the police. Then he will have a record, lose the job it took him 1 1/2 years to get, and never speak to us again. We already had something similar to this happen when he left to live with his girlfriend. Also - what about the addiction? How does that play into all of this and how do we get him off the computer so he can have a life and move forward.

It is a difficult choice to make. His behavior is such that he is forcing you into either calling the police and having him removed, or letting him stay and you end up supporting him. He has you backed into a corner and it leaves you to be the responsible one since he refuses to be responsible for himself. No one can control another person, especially one that is an adult. And if he has an addiction to the computer, he needs help. But he won't get help and you can't make him since he is not a minor. That leaves you to decide if you are willing to let him manage this on his own or let it become your problem. And if he does act out if you make him leave, that is on him You can't control what he does. You can only control your own situation.

You may also want to consider seeing a counselor to help you cope with the stress of the situation. It can help greatly when you have someone to talk with as you work on getting your son on his own two feet.


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