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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 7664
Experience:  35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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request Mr. ELLIOTT My son is 21, and I am 76. He is our

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request Mr. ELLIOTT

My son is 21, and I am 76. He is our adopted child, a good hearted, nice, no drugs, no alcohol, no vulgarity young man. We are wondering what we should do , or say, if anything, or just let it go. He lives with us, just moved back home after being away for 6 months, and helps his dad do the brutal hard work that is going on now without any qualms, but he seems to find me abrasive, he is not able to talk with me except superficially, never just chatting, he has no patience to hear me out on any subject. We really are on different wave lengths. He is impatient, had difficulty relaxing to enjoy a meal out for instance. I have been waging an on going war with his dad about the years of neglect here in the house that has created now some hellish nightmare of needed repairs and clean up, but I see that our son can not stand it. I can't either but this has been the only way anything has gotten done here. I am between the devil and the deep blue , cold sea. I want to tell this kid who thinks he knows everything to drop the attitude or move back out, but he has no place to go. I keep wondering how far backwards I need to lean , until I fall over and hit my head on the sidewalk ? I don't want to hurt him, I want to help him, but he is too critical of me, not having any idea of why or the reality of anything here. I am not innocent but neither am I guilty except of over indulgence of this child. I wonder now, If I can even reach him. He has a wall up, I can see it if I try to talk with him. We see the work projects here from different perspectives and he reacts badly when I have to change or correct what he has tried to do. This is not a good situation here. Old habits die hard, old attitudes with them. Advice if there is any , please .
Seeking expert testimony is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.

Dear Gina,

You do have many crises with your family. You have put a lot of effort to get this latest project of refurbishment going. You say "this has been the only way anything has gotten done here".

It may have left a lot of hard feeling or frustration in its wake. It is possible that the cure was worse than the disease, so to speak.

It sounds as if he (I assume you mean Andrew) fears controntation with you, perhaps fears that a misstep will get him thrown out, despite the fact that he is a good kid and a hard and conscientious worker.

It seems that is he if working hard for his keep then you are not being enablers. He is earning his keep as part of the family.

He is 21 now and an adult and perhaps needs a calmer and easier going approach.

I know you well enough to know that you rule the roost and a have the impression that you rule with a bit of an iron hand.

You say that old habits die hard, and old attitudes with them. As the leader of the family I believe that it is up to you to continue keeping calm, not only with your verbal communication, but with your non-verbal communication.

I believe that Andrew fears you and does his best to try to stay out from under your feet. You are a strong person and have kept a million potentially unruly passengers in line. You have the knack to be an effectively strong leader, but it might be helpful to relent a bit and don't allow loved ones to be intimidated by you. Just a wee bit of easing off might make a large difference once they saw that it was in earnest.

You will still get things done and your improved environment will not just be physical but spiritual/emotional as well.

Just some thoughts from your friend and admirer who knows you very well.

Warmest regards,


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I believe it is Jose' that you refer to here, who fears that I will kick him out, and I would , without compunction. My son Andrew, on the other hand, no, never. I would not put a child out unless he had broken serious rules or simply did not have the brain power to make it to a better level. I believe that Andrew does not fear my putting him out, he fears his own failure and the lack of his ability to be able to function on his own. Andrew came back to me this evening and apologized / explained his inappropriate behavior and his emotional responses . He asked to be taught to function like I do, no matter what. I told him that maybe when he is past age 70 , that he may get it by then, that it has taken me this long. To - in the meanwhile , - to play it by ear and copy me as much as he could. He laughed. He said, ''Good night, Mom, thank for adopting me. '' I love you. '' I can always count on you.''

Thanks for clearing that up. I didn't understand in the first part of your communication that you were referring to Jose'. I got it now.

Andrew sounds like a sweetheart and your finest disciple. Hearing what he said to you I know what pleasure his words brought you. That was a poignant success story and a great way to end my day.

Blessings to your family.

Warmest regards,

Elliott, LPCC, NCC and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you

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Thank you ! ! ! ! !

Have a positive day and enjoy the beautifull climate.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Miami is still too hot and humid during the days, getting better evenings and early mornings , finally.


I was born and brought up in western Pa, rolling hills, winter snow blizzards, summer days of rain, a beautiful area with lush forests and amazing flowers in summer, ever greens. I long to go back for a few months at least during spring, summer and autumn , hoping for next year If I can still drive, and function ok, and take my dogs along.


Ice and snow in winter with those rolling hills ? No. Slush, dirty snow with ice underneath, not for me. The hills become ski slopes for vehicles and people both.


Miami, soft breezes, the scent of Jasmine at night, graceful palms, this is the place of my choice. Only now the population is not to my comfort and liking.


Andrew came thorough my tantrum ok, I think he is beginning to understand, if I find a pot not scoured , that pot is gone. I know how to solve arguments, just remove the object of dissension. Like now, no one is permitted to use the internet in my home. They have to go to Starbucks, The problem of the workers hiding in their rooms on the computer does no longer exist. Easy one that.


My eldest son also now has to dress and leave the house to go to his office at Starbucks. I made a rule, No one can sit and watch me work here. He has improved immensely since arriving here, and I am sure the zanax is due some credit also. Parents have to do what they believe is best for their children no matter what that is, no matter how old they are. It was interesting and poignant to me that his dad died on what was or wedding anniversary back in 2008. I still feel sad for his life being what it was. I think of him sometimes. He was 2 years younger than me but was plagued with emotional distress and illness throughout his life. I had no choice but to divorce him back in '76. He never recovered physically from any of it. Sad. Some people have sad lives. Our son and daughter both suffered from depression demons that finally killed him at a too early age. Sometimes I think of what could have and should have been there for us. Maybe I imagine a happy life for us that we did not have, what it would have been and that now we would have had grandchildren visit us like the song, Over the rivers and through the woods, to Grandmother's house we go - - that was my childhood dream. I must have gotten it from a Currier and Ives Christmas card scene.


I am concerned now about Andrew, my baby Rosa child, he has no formal education though he is intelligent , well read, but no credentials to find good career employment still. He seems not to be aware that the path to earn a decent income it going to college. Or perhaps he is but is afraid of not being able to do it. He rejects any suggestion of this from me. Meanwhile I am back to basics, sorting the containers left here. Pure fun.

Dear Gina,

Thank you so much for your lovely letter.

I do long for your south Florida weather. I have spent several winters in Florida, either in Miami, Miami Beach, or Palm Beach County where my father lived for years after retirement.

The beautiful winters of old are lovely memories, but the reality of frost-bitten fingers and nightmarish driving overpowers the quaint images.

As someone with some professional expertise in the job market and as a former college teacher, let me clear up a misconception that you may have. Except for some very few limited areas, mostly in the medical field and some computer programming, going to college does not guarantee work or a good income.

A young person is probably better off learning a trade for which they have proficiency and interest, including masonry, plumbing, carpentry, cabinet making, machining, tool and die making, electronics, electricity, or fine welding skills.

My daughter graduated with honors in biology a few years ago and wound up feeding and caring for animals (bottom line job) part time at the Humane Society, and now has gotten lucky and started at he USPS. One son has two degrees, the second as a forester, and he makes a decent GOVERNMENT wage as a Florida forester) but could have done better learning landscaping as an apprentice. My other son is nearly a PhD in political science and he has a long-term temporary job (no benefits) doing some research at mediocre grades. These are all smart kids. College didn't do for them.

As someone who has advised young students about work, and know the market, college is no longer the ticket to success.

The ticket is being born into a wealthy family and inheriting the family business. Commoners need not apply.

Keep up your triage, one container at a time and you will soon be done.

Keep ruling with an iron fist and you will have your possessions trimmed and in order.

Warmest regards,

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The ticket is being born into a wealthy family and inheriting the family business. Commoners need not apply.


My son Stefan has said this over and over about his own education , background and inability to be financially successful. Finally now on this trip back he has been working with a company, Anatomie , designers for the wealthy of womens clothing on an individual basis, and also writing articles of travel , I am not even clear about that but one of his last efforts has been published into 4 different languages. I hope that he can build up a reputation and be able to work and live on that finally. As for me, I am having butterflies, panic feeling , again and I honestly do not know why nor what could be effecting me like this. I do feel again overwhelmed with the job at hand here in this damn house, again with the container piled up so high from having to empty the pantry to make room for the newest work away helper. She arrived Tuesday, a lovely , nice woman, who already had been much help . She is getting the idea that her job is cleaning. They all think they are to do the sorting - no matter what I say nor how often I say it - they all want to go into the containers and they think they can do it. They can not. I find this interesting. I hire them for cleaning, tending the little dogs, floors, windows, yard work, and they all immediately want to start digging into the storage stuff. This one seems to get it that no one can do that sorting stuff except me. Even our sons don't . I have told Andrew that I don't want his focus on clearing the house out, that we want him to focus on his getting a job, getting out in the world, doing something with his life and he came back with this, that he has just been out in the world and seen so many crazy people that he is grateful to be back home and to focus on helping us get it back to a normal place to live, and to help his father , etc etc. However, I don't even want him to try to ''help'' me with most of this, only carrying a box or container maybe. I fear he will fall back into old destructive patterns of living his days here , doing nothing but on the computer. When Jose is home, they do great - the physical work of outside - but when Jos'e is away working, no. I think I am myself beginning to fall back into the old ineffective patterns of existing here , pretending that it is ok here, and it is not . Really, I hate everything about this house and the disrepair that exists here now. Jos'e installed a beautiful kitchen but then guess what. . . . . he dropped a heavy stone tile onto the sink and dented it in, noticeably , then cut the installation for the sink way, way , way off center for the serving window, and it looks crazy. Like always, he does a 90 % great job at what he does and ruins it with the final touches or finishes it badly, or screws something up. I walk around form one screw up to another here, and its a knife in my stomach when I see each of them. So, it comes down to money I guess - hire a pro or endure what is here. I can't do either .

I have been emotionally affected again by what I have found in the last containers I did - the old photo albums and mementoes. Most of it simply needs to be thrown away . For certain now there is more visible congestion here and that is making me upset. I know that. I feel like I am caught in a whirl pool of stuff. Maybe they are right , I think, and I should just haul it out without looking at all into anything. I keep see-saw ing back and forth thinking of this.

Dear Gina,

Maybe you should haul it out and dump it or burn it. You can only have regrets about having thrown it away. You cannot get bad thoughts about the contents.

They are all bad memories that need top stop haunting you. The act of throwing them away is a symbolic gesture of leaving the past, and all its woes and bad memories, behind and out of reach.

Some memories will remain, of course, but these are little land mines that can go off just be putting them in your hands or in front of your eyes. Discarding them will be best.

You might want them in future but they will be gone.

If you cannot part with them then send them to a distant friend in Timbuctu or further away.

Stefan sounds quite brilliant and amazing. You have bright things in your life, and focus on them. Why look at the negatives? It just brings you down.

Warmest regards,


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

When I even consider hauling the Stuff away without sorting it, I realize that It was sheer pleasure to again see the photos of my daughter as a young, healthy, beautiful girl, to see me with the grand sons, for me it is a miracle that we can capture moments in time and be able to see and live the emotions again. I want my grand sons to see their mom as she was, the real girl, bright and beautiful before her breakdown.

Its not the Stuff that troubles me, its the disrepair and slovenly done jobs that have been done here while I was not looking. I do realize that most of the kids simply did not/ do not have the brain power or organizational skills to have done much better, maybe they just did not care also, who knows, but I care.

To discard and destroy so much of what was good would cause me more grief and heartache than to continue at this sort of slow pace. I wish you could see a photo but in your mind, picture a room over 800 sq ft full of mountains of Stuff, floor to ceiling, wall to wall. Two years later working off and on, then picture it 2/3 empty with visible windows and 12 ft French doors that we can now see totally and open . Neither windows nor doors were even visible when I started.


Without photos or seeing in real life, this is not possible to really define. I was so very happy to see the big room nearly empty then we had to empty the pantry into it to make a bedroom for the new work away helper. That was awful but also good and forced us to start on that . Mixed curse and blessing. I had been using the panty as my overflow room , When our two sons came back home to roost last week, well, there went the bedrooms I had been using. The up side is that they have been working with Jose' doing the brutal, heavy work of digging and filling dirt around the new fence and laying the walk way. I know they are proud of their efforts with out saying anything. More later, I am of for a week to Disney. Sanity break for all of us. The work away is going to house and pet sit .

Dear Gina,

Everyone stops to pay homage to Mickey Mouse and the gang.

I believe you have found your answer, or part of it.

Keep the sweet memories and those treasures you want to pass down to posterity. There will always be some who will treasure pictures of family members they might now even have met, but who will be part of their history forever.

It is also good to remember that our family members will not be first class contractors, and even the best of intentions and efforts cannot replace the skill and experience of seasoned professionals.

Enjoy your break and think of nothing but fun, fun, fun.

Warm regards,

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Re reading this over, I missed some things, like, I do not rule the roost, not at all. If I did, the house would never have been so neglected over so long nor would there be the disorder and disorganization that I am now dealing with. Only now, by being the worst dictator of the world, has anything gotten done, has any progress been made, has any serious cleaning been done as well as serious repairs and improvements. I have had to become a beast to accomplish this. That was when I had to order Andrew to either work 8 hours without mouth or leave and he left. It was similar with the others, they all mistook kindness for weakness, and when I asked, ''Would you please ?'' it was like a joke to them, like I was speaking a foreign language. I actually bent so far over backwards that any more and I would have fallen on my head and split it open on the cement. Now, Andrew was very good when he first returned home but he is gradually slipping back into his habits of the past. He is impatient with speaking to his dad and to me, had been rude also but I don't let him get away with it. Nor will I ever allow that. I have told him to leave if he is unhappy with us and how things are. Of course, I know I deserve so much better from him, from all the kids, but that's life. I have seen kids die trying to get parental approval and attention from abusive and neglectful parents in the Florida Child Welcare System, and as a Guardian ad Litem also, and I understand this psychology. It is just so damn wrong. Our kids were so privilaged in their lives, so beloved and well treated and even pampered, and they don't appreciate any of it. Kids abused and neglected dote on their horrible parents. We saw it time after time and in court . Humankind is so screwed up. I actually am ok, I understand this, I don't like it but I understand. I have let so much go by because I do understand the behavior even if I hate it, I try to make things better. I have my limits but I also give more slack than any of them deserve. I actually feel sorry for these children of ours, I truly do. We tried to teach them better, but no matter how much we teach, it matters only how much they are able to learn. It has been obvious to us that they simple don't have the brain power we would like them to have to live better lives. Nothing we can do about that.

Dear Gina,

I enjoyed your last entry. You admit to being the worst dictator in the world - a virtual beast. The likes of Ghengis Khan, Napoleon, HItler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and others, quake when you as much as open your screen door. Nevertheless, you do not rule the roost

You are a tough-minded person and it must be tought to oppose you in any arena, and impossible in your own space, where you have the power of banishment.

You have said that your children have trouble understanding you. Shouting louder will not work on a deaf person.

Perhaps you need a very different approach. Each person has a unique way of being talked to, their own language of love that is most effective with them. If you can find the appropriate love languages for an individual then you can best communicate each of your children.

I know it sounds simple, but grad schools use the writings of Dr. Gary Chapman in graduate courses even though they are writte for the lay person.

I suggest is book. It is so amzingly filled with wisdom.

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Chapman, Gary D



You might gain some better methods of approaching your kids using his witings and philosoophy.


The goal is peace at home and holding the family together. I wish you great success and urge you try a different approach.


One day I will ask you more about expat living in Costa Rica. You have so much knowledge that I'm sure you would have some great insight.


Warmest regards,