22 Year old son with social anxiety, won't leave house

Maryann - posted on 12/27/2015 ( 8 moms have responded )

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My son is 22. He went to college for 1 year, living away from home. Towards the end of the last semester, March-May 2012, he began to skip classes so failed out of 2 classes, then he came home early May and since then, he's done nothing. He has a therapist he has clicked with - but she is rarely available, having a full time teaching job and many patients in her part-time role as therapist. We spent much of 2012 and 2013 going to different doctors as my son Nick complained of various ailments.. nothing was ever found. He even got a colonoscopy 2 years ago. As time passes, and his few friends have moved on with their lives, he is spending more and more time in the house alone. I also moved out of the house in summer of 2012, his dad and I had marital problems for many years prior to that and were separated but constantly fighting. So now he lives there with his dad. I'm in an apartment across town so I go over there several nights a week after work. I do not know what to do anymore. Since he was 4, we have had him to various therapists for his behavior problems - outbursts/inappropriate behavior at school/hitting other children, etc. Meds were prescribed but he would never try and his dad always said don't force him. THe last time i took him to a psychiatrist recommended by his therapist was Dec. 2014 and he was prescribed meds. I filled the scrip but he never would try, even though he said he would.
The past few months he is leaving the house less and less. He doesn't eat enough and I worry about his health. He stays up all night on his computer or doing video games and sleeps til about 3 in the afternoon. I am grateful for any support/suggestions. His dad is going to move to PA early next year and we are selling the house. I will have to get a new apartment with 2 bedrooms so he can move with me. He refuses to go to Pennsylvania with his dad. We live in Northern NJ. Thanks for listening, all.

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Brittany - posted on 12/28/2015

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I am surrounded with lots of people with anxiety. I know for them that if they have the choice to do something or not they're going to pick not doing it because there's not anxiety if they don't have to do it. If they can call in sick to work they will because there's less anxiety, but if they're all out of sick days they have to go to work because They have to work to pay rent. If Mom steps up to pay rent, they don't have to go to work and can stay home. Anxiety is rough but they have to find coping mechanisms to get through things. One person I know keeps an adult coloring book by their desk so when they are done talking to people they color for 15 seconds and that calms them down. - a coping mechanism that lets them be able to work and be an adult. Not saying this works for everyone but if you become an enabler they will always expect you to be there to just take care of things. It's hard. Be strong! Good Luck!

Dove - posted on 12/27/2015

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Well.... it's really up to you if you want to continue to let him manipulate and abuse you.... or if you will take responsibility for YOUR actions and stop enabling him. He isn't currently living in your home and there is no reason in the world why you have to allow him to start doing so.... and if he goes into your home and refuses to leave or if he raises his hands to you and threatens you... you can call the police and press charges. Extreme? Maybe, but this has to stop unless you want to live the rest of your life like this... your call.

Ev - posted on 12/27/2015

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That is his way of trying to get you to not use tough love with him. You will not be around forever and then what will he do when you are gonE? You need to stop coddling him and let him sink or swim. I know this sounds mean but its true. I am going through some issues with my son and have told him he as a certain amount of time to get things done. When that date hits, I will have another talk to him about what has been accomplised or not.

Dove - posted on 12/27/2015

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You don't need to give him a place to live. He's old enough to sink or swim...

If he can not work then he needs to apply for SSI and see what happens (I have 5 different documented physical, mental, and emotional disorders... and it took 2 years and several appeals for approval). It is no longer your responsibility to provide for him if he is not willing to contribute. If you do want to let him live w/ you... you need to write up a contract of things he can do (attend therapy, cook/clean/home maintenance, and other such things) to remain under your roof... otherwise he's out of luck.

Now... I DID live w/ my dad (and not working) up until I was married... but I also did all his laundry, dishes, and cooked most of the meals... and he was fine letting me live w/ him... so that was our arrangement. An adult can not and should not expect to live w/out contributing to the functioning of a household... even a disabled adult child can do SOMETHING.

I am now a single (divorced), disabled, mother of 3 and when my ex left us the day our third child was born... I didn't even think of trying to go back home to my dad's house. It was up to me to find a way to get the funds to support us because that is what an adult DOES.

Ev - posted on 12/27/2015

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You need to put your foot down. He needs to be acting the adult he is. You should not have to put up with his living with you and staying up all night on games and computer and not having a job or seeing his therapy appointments through. It is going to take some tough love to get him to start being responsible for himself.

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Maryann - posted on 12/27/2015

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Thank you Evelyn and Dove. I agree with both of you. And I do think he should apply for SSI but he will not. He does nothing except chat online with various people, play video games with people, and blog on different sites. Occasionally he contributes to the household by emptying dishwasher or loading it. Taking out garbage or recyclables if reminded. He does his own laundry. That's it. Years ago I would tell my ex to have him help around the house or outsided whenever the ex was working in the yard or fixing things (he's a handyman), and my son would be on video games, but the ex never would. Now look. And now my son is turning into a helpless invalid. There is nothing wrong with him except that he is terrified of responsibility.

I am paying off his 25K in student loan for the one year he lived at college because it is in my name. The ex hasn't helped me with those payments in over a year. It is so frustrating and I'm so sick of this. I go over to visit with my son almost every night after my 12 hour days of working in the city and commuting. And we watch tv then he goes back up to his room.

I know that his dad and i are at fault here. My son lashes out at me whenever we try to talk to him that this situation needs to end and he has to work or go back to school. He always gets angry with me, and always has. Raising his fist, etc. I just do not know what to do anymore. He needs help and I cannot force him to go into a psychiatric hospital as he is an adult. Thank you all for the support; I'm at my wits end, sorrowful and so angry.

Maryann - posted on 12/27/2015

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Thank you Evelyn. We have tried to be firm with him and he gets very angry. He also insists he is "sick" and unable to do anything. He cannot work because of his social anxiety, he says. We're at our wits end and we both work so we aren't around to monitor him.

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