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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5823
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I have a 23 yr old son 9younger) who is feeling down,

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I have a 23 yr old son 9younger) who is feeling down, depressed and unmotivated. he was at university and after 2 1/2 years wasnt too sure if he wanted to study and thought of quitting approx 2010.
My husband impulsively told him to leave and join him in his business for a few years (deciding for him). then in 2011 my husband got a business for my two sons (with good intentions- and a lot of business knowledge) hoping they will make a go and set themselves up financially. the elder son is 26 my husband is difficult, demanding, controlling and wanted things his way always interfered in the business often screaming and swearing the boys and being verbally abusive. My husband can be quiet at times but also has a temper problem. after two years of hell my elder son (a journalist by profession) left the business end of march 2013> My younger son actually wanted out of the business in Dec 2012 already, but my elder son "wanted out". he is the headstrong one like his father. the business saw my two children not agreeing in the business - with 2 different personalities, styles of management, pointing fingers at each other for things not being done. Its been a nightmare. In the two yrs the boys were down and depressed and very unhappy. we tried a business life coach, counselling but they never made use of the opportunity, and the conflict just got worst. All of this was exacerbated by their father's temperament and lack of leadership and respect for the boys. My husband has also been on medication for depression until now.
the elder one (26) is currently doing a course and wants to go abroad (i think he felt the only way to get out of his father's control is to leave the country> i/we have assured him if he doesnt want to go abroad he should move out. he is the social gutsy one and has many talents and enjoys challenges. so it seems he is on his way and journey
My 23 yr old son im worried about. in all the conflict he was depressed and on anti depressants for a while last year. he then stopped it since he felt nothing was changing at home and the environment. since end of last year we have been having some family sessions. My son is also going to be leaving the business very soon - told his father of his decision and wants to be out pretty soon. It is largely due to my husbands attitude and disrespect for the children combined with his temper and "expectations" of the children.
My 23 yr old says he feels very down, depressed, sad and his body is tired and emotionally he is in distress. I did recommend he sees a psychiatrist again. he is still at the business running it on his own and we helping out where we can (the hours are long hours). I have arranged some psychometric testing in this week to give him some guidance and hope. he could resume his studies and complete his degree but hes not sure if he wants to go back. He feels he hasnt achieved and doesnt have anything he can account for. the business was all consuming,> he feels theres no hope, cannot see any light at the end of the tunnel, even though i encourage him and try to motivate him. I need some help, we are in a complicated situation- with the boys resenting their father and wanting autonomy and independence-- yet scared of venturing out there especially the younger one.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.
It can be very difficult for children to deal with the influence their parents have on their self worth and self esteem when that parent is abusive in any way. Adult children who are the ages your children are have not yet had much opportunity to build a life away from the influence of their father and develop a core esteem away from the influence of his abuse. Even if their father is getting help, his continued verbal abuse can affect the kids.
It sounds like you are doing all you can to help your son. And you are there for him, which is wonderful. Your son needs to have the balance of your influence to help him see that his father's treatment of him is not right and does not mean he is a failure or cannot achieve what he wants to in life.
If your son is in counseling on his own, that is great. But if he is not, that might be the next consideration. Your son needs to build his self confidence and esteem and counseling on his own can do that for him.
He also can learn more about self esteem though self help resources. By working on improving his esteem, he can counteract all the negative messages he is getting from his father. Here are some resources to get him started:
Self-Esteem: A Proven Program of Cognitive Techniques for Assessing, Improving, and Maintaining Your Self-Esteem by Matthew McKay and Patrick Fanning
The Self-Esteem Workbook by Glenn R. Schiraldi
How to Raise Your Self-Esteem: The Proven Action-Oriented Approach to Greater Self-Respect and Self-Confidence by Nathaniel Branden
Also, you can talk to your son about what he has achieved to help him build his self esteem. He has a lot set against him with his father's treatment so focusing on what he has accomplished in spite of his father's attempts to set him back will help. List his achievements. Talk to him about his potential. Whatever you can point out that is good about his life. It may not seem to have an effect initially, but eventually it will. Your son's thoughts are probably mostly filled with his father's input about how much of a failure he is. Changing that means replacing those thoughts with positive and uplifting thoughts.
I hope this has helped,
TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
This resource may also help your son:
10 Simple Solutions for Building Self-Esteem: How to End Self-Doubt, Gain Confidence, & Create a Positive Self-Image... by Glenn R. Schiraldi PhD
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