help! my 22 year old son is a recluse

Loz - posted on 11/23/2013 ( 15 moms have responded )

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my son is a recluse and i dont know what to do. he was a gorgeous outgoing kid with so many friends but then at secondary school (age 14+) he was bullied at school and one by one lost all of his friends and with that his confidence. i took him out of school because i didnt want him to be miserable. at 17 years old he went to college but left pretty quickly and ever since then, for five years to be exact, he has sat in his bedroom isolated from the world. the only time he goes out is with me. he wont even go to the barbers to get his hair cut without me. if this continues his future looks so bleak and i dont know how to change this situation. i see him as an old man with nobody after i have gone and i cant bare the thought of it. he was skinny up untill 16 years old but now gradually he has become obese, his appearance is terrible and this doesnt help his confidence at all! but he wont join a gym. it feels like he wont make any effort to change his life. what can i do?

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[momoftwo] - posted on 11/26/2013

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Another thing too, maybe to help is karate class. I know it may sound silly but hey it teaches discipline, self defence, and good exercise. He may also feel a little more safe.

Danicia - posted on 11/24/2013

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he's 22. tell him to go get a job. he needs to be part of society b/c he's not going to have the opportunity to not interact with anyone and have everything paid for for the rest of his life. idk if this is what is actually going on but it sounds like you are enabling his reclusive behavior by not pushing him towards the edge of the nest. he has no self worth probably because he doesn't have anything HE has done to be proud of, everything is being taken care of. he needs to gain independence and a job would be a good place to start. he's an adult and needs to start taking the responsibility of such, he's a big boy and can handle it!

[momoftwo] - posted on 11/23/2013

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I agree with Sandra, it's possible he could have social anxiety and definitely suffers from depression. He really needs help before it's too late.

Chazda - posted on 11/27/2013

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Hi Loz,

I have to ask: what does he do all day long? If he's 22 years old, he should be outside and meeting people. He should either be in college or working. He should be having sex.

I don't think joining a gym would help him at this point. It will only make him painfully aware that he is out of shape. I myself used to be obese and I know how hard it is. He needs to start with better eating habits (no snacking) and more physical stuff - just walking even. The weight will fall off, but he needs to get in motion.

The hard truth here is that he has to make the change. He needs to decide that he's ready to face life and stop hiding in Mom's house. It isn't healthy, not on any level.

As others have mentioned here, I too think that therapy is a must at this point. If at the age of 22 he isn't involved in life, he is in crisis - not like a war, but more a cold war, with himself and his past. I don't know what happened to him in high school, but he's got to learn to live with whatever it was. Right now, he isn't living.

I myself look at portions of my past as times when I was "in stasis" - not really living my life. I can only urge you and your son to break out of the habitual behavior you've settled for... for many reasons, I'm sure, but the end result is a closed room with no windows. Not good. Break out of it.

Be kind, be supportive, but realize that together you need to make some serious changes. A therapist will help you through that, and I suspect that the therapist will suggest family therapy as well as one-on-one sessions with your son.

Good luck to you and your family.

Loz - posted on 11/26/2013

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thanks to everybody for their replies. my son was severely bullied at school and the school didnt do anything about it except for trying to implement sanctions upon me for his poor attendance, until eventually i took him out altogether. i couldnt see him miserable anymore and it is my job to protect him. he is a really gentle lad and would never retaliate even though i told him to. my brother was bullied at school and 35 years later he still has nightmares and panic attacks and i didnt want this to happen to my son. but as some have suggested, maybe its time he grew up and took responsibility for his own life now. and time for me to get tough!!

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Manju - posted on 11/26/2013

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Thanks that makes the situation more clear. Do you still live in the same area?

Manju - posted on 11/25/2013

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Dear Loz, can you please explain this statement "i took him out of school because i didnt want him to be miserable"? was he not safe in school anymore?

From what you've said so far, I think his reaction to any discomfort is to withdraw. Its seems he feels unsafe in the world and his reaction is to go home, its the lesson his mind learned.

Changing the situation will require self inquiry, and he needs to feel safe. I would recommend meditation and a counselor.

http://www.dharma.org/?gclid=COzsmpPfgbs...

[momoftwo] - posted on 11/24/2013

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She may possibly be manic depressive, you don't entirely have to have a reason in some cases though it can hit like a wave randomly.

I found this incase it helps:

Depression usually isn't caused by one event or reason, but is usually the result of several factors. Causes vary from person to person.

Depression can be caused by lowered levels of neurotransmitters (chemicals that carry signals through the nervous system) in the brain, which limits a person's ability to feel good. Genetics are likely involved as depression can run in families, so someone with a close relative who has depression may be more likely to experience it.

Significant life events such as the death of a loved one, a divorce, a move to a new area, and even a breakup with a girlfriend or boyfriend can bring on symptoms of depression. Stress also can be a factor, and because the teen years can be a time of emotional and social turmoil, things that are difficult for anyone to handle can be devastating to a teen.

Also, chronic illness can contribute to depression, as can the side effects of certain medicines or infections.

Georgia - posted on 11/24/2013

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do you think there might have been something that happened to her in her life that might not help her situation?

[momoftwo] - posted on 11/24/2013

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I won't deny that people are diagnosed wrong, there's a lot that are when it comes to anything. The depression I'm talking about may be different than the one you are talking about then Georgia because I know a woman who is on medication for depression and has been her whole life. There are different severities and hers is to the point where she can not come off of the meds and those are what make her get out of bed and outside each day.
And she has a good life too, the house, husband and everything.

Georgia - posted on 11/24/2013

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havng being diagnosed with depression at one point in my life... it wasn't depression in itself that was causing me sadness, it was the situation i was in that was making me sad which was making me feel depressed.

it's an easy way out for a doctor to gve you some anit-depression pills cos the doctors think thats fine cos for them its job done and they get paid but they don't look at why you're actually feeling how you are. so many misdiagnoses happening.

[momoftwo] - posted on 11/24/2013

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But also if you suffer from depression it's a mental health issue, like a chemical imbalance in the brain. There's much more to it than just feeling "sad" and not having fun.

Georgia - posted on 11/24/2013

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find a way of making things fun for him. people only feel depressed or whatever because of situations they're in.

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