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Need help with adult son

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Need help with adult son

Postby sfmcfar » Thu May 17, 2018 12:59 am

Hi, first time poster. I have a 24 year old son who exhibits many of the traits of schzoid personality disorder. He has lived with us for the past two years after graduating from college with a degree in art. I first became concerned about him while he was away at college. To my knowledge he spent four years at school and not once did he enjoy a single episode of social activity. Here at home the only social activities he enjoys are going to dinner and movies with his mother and me. His hygiene is borderline at best and procrastinates over everything. He spends every minute at home in his room either drawing or on the computer if he's not eating a meal with us. He's currently working part-time in retail but despite our encouragement shows little interest in finding a career that could lead to being independent. I'm pretty sure, he, has never been on a date or had any kind of sexual experience.

Please help me. My worry about him is beginning to affect my health. What steps can I take to improve the situation?
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Re: Need help with adult son

Postby anathegram » Thu May 17, 2018 8:24 am

He could have a number of things going on but schizoid PD is plausible. First off I'd recommend caution; trying to force him to socialize or find better work is not likely to help him. For that matter, he might view his present circumstances as ideal. Does he seem unhappy in some way, or just aloof?

This is probably not going to be something you can address on your own, at any rate, nor is there likely to be a fast solution. My advice would be to try to encourage him into seeing some kind of therapist, if only to narrow down what the issue is. This is important. He'll probably be reluctant to do it, however.

Is there something you think he wants to do that he's not able to at the moment, or something that's bothering him? If so you could try to emphasize that talk therapy could help him improve that. If it's SPD you really don't want to give him the impression that you're trying to pressure him to change, though. (Towards the beginning I always had to be very clear with my therapist that I was only there to work on being less frustrated with troublesome things in my life, not to alter my life. It's a very defensive position.) If therapy is an option, let him know that.

And apologies for being blithe, but: don't worry, be happy. You've listed off a number of things he's not doing, but he might not want to do any of those things. He has interests and you've said he enjoys spending some time with you. That's huge. Being financially dependent on you is extremely problematic, certainly, but… he's got his own life to live. Even if that life is staying at home and drawing.
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Re: Need help with adult son

Postby sfmcfar » Thu May 17, 2018 11:20 am

Thanks for posting. He seems pretty satisfied with life so I'm cautious to push him into more social interaction. It's the financial independence part that is the most worrisome. And I'm also hesitant to push him too hard on that because I'm not sure, he has the life skills to succeed on his own. He's really disorganized and I'm not sure he could keep up with paying bills, cleaning, etc.
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Re: Need help with adult son

Postby naps » Thu May 17, 2018 12:47 pm

sfmcfar wrote:
Please help me. My worry about him is beginning to affect my health. What steps can I take to improve the situation?


Firstly, accept him.

He's currently working part-time in retail but despite our encouragement shows little interest in finding a career that could lead to being independent.


He spends every minute at home in his room.....drawing


:idea:

Here at home the only social activities he enjoys are going to dinner and movies with his mother and me.


Many parents would kill for a son like that. :D

I agree that talk therapy or a visit to a psychiatrist might give you both a better idea of what the issue is. But please don't assume that a social life and girlfriends are a requisite to a successful and fulfilling life. If he graduated with a degree in art and spends an inordinate of time drawing, he's got more going for him than a large portion of his peers who are either directionless or following the carrot of oblivion.

Ruling out any psychological or neurological (the hygiene) issues would clear a path to better understanding his needs.

I'm curious: you say that even though he spends the majority of time in his room, he does eat meals with you and you all go to movies. Do you talk? Not necessarily about the issues you're bringing up here, but in general? Does he share his thoughts with you or does he prefer to remain distant, emotionally or on other ways?
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Re: Need help with adult son

Postby sfmcfar » Thu May 17, 2018 5:33 pm

I'm curious: you say that even though he spends the majority of time in his room, he does eat meals with you and you all go to movies. Do you talk? Not necessarily about the issues you're bringing up here, but in general? Does he share his thoughts with you or does he prefer to remain distant, emotionally or on other ways?

We talk very little. He'll tell us about his day at work and if we go to a movie we'll talk about the movie afterwards but that's about it. I'm prepared to accept that he may choose a life different from most young adults but I can't figure out how hard to push him towards financial independence.
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Re: Need help with adult son

Postby Ashlar » Thu May 17, 2018 6:41 pm

Do you ever ask him directly about any of this? It seems weird to me that you describe a symptom like poor hygiene and yet don't address whether you've ever brought this up with him and what his reaction was. Like saying, "hey billy, you stink, go wash your feet" comes to mind. Like I once had a friend over and they brought over this guy that just stunk and I literally told him to go fix that or leave. And he begrudgingly did.
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Re: Need help with adult son

Postby sfmcfar » Thu May 17, 2018 7:14 pm

We've brought his hygiene issue up multiple times. His showering has improved but his hair is pretty gross - filled with dandruff and scales. Have suggested multiple times to see a doctor about it. He just doesn't care.
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Re: Need help with adult son

Postby emillionth » Thu May 17, 2018 8:20 pm

I think it will be helpful if, at least at first, you make an effort to put aside all worries about him and focus instead on what about his behavior actually affects you.

No matter what his exact psychiatric condition may be, it sounds like suggesting "what's best for him" simply can't have much any positive effect. He can always argue or rationalize that it's his right and that he knows better, even if he may be painfully wrong about it. On the other hand, if you complain about what's bothering you, he can't argue with that. He speaks for himself, you speak for yourself. He does have the right to waste his days any way he pleases, as long as he's not unnecessarily ruining the days of other people in the process. If he wants the right to be gross, then he should first be able to afford his own space where he can be as gross as he wants. Rights don't come for free.

There's always the problem that some people really prize their right to be gross and "free", and would rather simply go homeless than comply to even the most reasonable requests. It's their choice, I guess, but it would defeat the purpose of "nudging him in the right direction" from a parent's perspective. So ultimatums are probably not a good idea. But I think it's only fair to impose reasonable conditions on someone who's living in your house, just like any roommate would (let alone for free). And who knows, it might actually plant the seed in his head that it's in his best interest to seek more practical/financial independence after all.
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