My 20 Yr Old Son has NO self esteem

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-01-2006
My 20 Yr Old Son has NO self esteem
13
Sun, 05-03-2009 - 6:09pm
My 20 year old Son has no self esteem what so ever.I try my best to help him I try to give him positive feedback but he has a mind of his own.If I tell him he looks good he finds something negative to say about himself.Just today I said to him he looked fantastic,And he went on and on about how abnormal he is.He was saying he is built like a women.He has slender fingers and he says his chest cavity sticks out too much.when he stands sideways with his friends his friends look like poles.My son lifts weights so I assume it's from that.He really does look good.From when he was in grammar school he was made fun of because he was a little over weight,obviously the ridicule has never left him. he is always finding something new to harp about.It's like talking to a brick wall I get angry now when he comes over.And the poor kid tells me I'm the only one he can talk to.There is more here than his weight issues,when his Father and I divorced 3 years ago he decided to live with his Father and by my son's own admittion he stayed because his father told him lies about me.My son said to me "mom when Dad was saying bad things about you I now realize it was really him he was talking about.But my ex has some kind of hold on him that prevents my son to leave.My Ex took my son's car away because he doesn't have a job,He tells my son it's his fault that he (the ex) is broke. he tells my son he is worthless.has not brought food into the house since my son turned 18 that's two years already,I have been buying my son food,toiletries and clothes.I'm at my wits end.I have suggested him talking to some one and I can't make the appointment for him because of his age.but he won't make the call.I don't want to get mad when he comes to see me.so I need guidance as what to do.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-24-2008
Tue, 05-05-2009 - 9:48pm
He should see somebody but it'll only happen when he's ready. The only thing you can do is express your love and willingness to support him. I would personally refrain from trying to pump up his self esteem with words. It's not working and he's using it as another tool to tear himself down. He is making his own choices and he'll eventually decide for himself if he wants to be happy. Unfortunately it can't be what you want for him anymore, it has to be about you supporting what he chooses for himself, whatever that is. I think it's still fine to tell him what you are willing to do to help him, but let him be the one to guide what or how much that will be. Beyond that just take care of yourself and have faith that he will find his own path. It's okay to be angry if that is how this all makes you feel - all feelings are valid and it does sound terribly frustrating to see him struggling so much.

"If you don’t like something, change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it." - Mary Engelbreit.



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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-06-2007
Wed, 05-06-2009 - 11:39am

Hello terril2006. Welcome to the board. I hope you will come back and keep writing. You sound like a caring mother. We can always use positive input here. I agree with harmony, regarding your son not going to a therapist until he is ready. I am curious though if he has ever been before? If so, does he have any particular diagnosis? I am wondering because of your remark about his father having some sort of control? over him? Also, some of your other remarks make me wonder about depression, bi-polar, borderline, ADHD issues.

Very rarely do we get all of the information in the first posting from a new member, no matter if they are really long, the person always self-edits.

I would like to suggest in the meantime, you focus on how you react when he talks with you and what your responses are to him. These are factors that you can control. I truly understand the stress and anger that you are feeling. I have an adult daughter with special needs too. I have been (still am sometimes) where you are at. I finally took some advice from a friend and started telling her, "We have had this same conversation over and over and you have chosen not to do anything to change your situation, so you must be okay with it somehow. Let's talk about something pleasant." I know it is hard to do that, but you have to also make sure that he is not coming to you because you always listen and never judge. Sometimes it's good to judge...with compassion of course.

Anyway, I will check back to see if you have responded. Take care of yourself.
Blessings

dragonfly siggy

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-01-2006
Wed, 05-06-2009 - 5:45pm
thank YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR REPLY.YES MY EX IS A CONTROL FREAK.ALWAYS HAS BEEN.WHEN I WAS LIVING WITH HIM I COULDN'T EVEN PUT UP CURTAINS ON THE WINDOW BECAUSE HE DIDN'T LIKE THEM.THAT'S SOMETHING SMALL,BUT THERE WERE OTHER ISSUES ALSO.ANYPLACE WE WENT HAD TO BE WHERE HE WANTED TO GO.IT WAS ALWAYS HIS WAY OR NO WAY.HE ALWAYS BROUGHT FOR HIMSELF LIKE EXPENSIVE GUITARS,WHEN WE HAD NO MONEY IN THE HOUSE AND THE LIGHTS WERE BEING SHUT OFF OR NO HEAT.AS I SAID WHEN WE GOT DIVORCED I HAD NO INTENTION OF LETTING MY SON LIVE WITH HIM.HE WAS AND STILL IS A POT SMOKING, BAR HOPPING,PATHOLOGICAL LYING,BULLY.BUT I WAS ADVISED FROM MY LAWYER NO TO FIGHT BECAUSE THEN MY SON WOULD TURN AGAINST ME.SO I TOOK HER ADVISE.THAT WAS THE DARKEST DAY IN MY LIFE.I WOULD NEVER EVER SAY A WORD ABOUT HIS FATHER TO HIM.HE EVENTUALLY FIGURED IT OUT ON HIS OWN.BUT FOR SOME REASON IT SEEMS LIKE MY EX HAS A HOLD ON HIM.MAYBE IT IS THE LACK OF PARENTING MY SON NEVER GOT FROM HIM.MY SON KNOWS I'M NOT THAT WAY AT ALL.BUT FOR HIS FATHER TO TELL HIS KIDS THAT IT'S THEIR FAULT FOR ANYTHING IS BEYOND BELIEF,ESPECIALLY COMING FROM SOMEONE WHO WAS ADOPTED AND I'M SORRY THAT'S NOT AN EXCUSE.IN MY MIND WOULD YOU CHERISH YOUR OWN FLESH AND BLOOD?MY DAUGHTER ALSO TOOK HIS WRATH FOR AWHILE NOW REFUSES TO SPEAK TO HIM.I TELL HER TO TRY AND SHE WON'T SHE TELLS ME YOU GET WHAT YOU GIVE.HE NEVER EVEN TRIED TO CONTACT HER IN 3YRS. THE LAST TIME SHE SPOKE TO HIM SHE WAS 19 AND ALL HE WAS INTERESTED IN WAS TELLING HER ABOUT THIS 18 YR OLD THAT HE LIKED BECAUSE SHE DIDN'T NEED TO BE ID GOING INTO BARS.CAN YOU IMAGINE? SO WE ALL SUFFERED AND LEFT US SCARED IN MANY WAYS.I JUST WISH MY SON WOULD LEAVE SO HE COULD MOVE ON,AND MAYBE BY DOING SO WILL HELP HIS ESTEEM.DON'T GET ME WRONG,MY SON HAS DONE SOME THINGS I'M NOT HAPPY ABOUT BUT IT COULD BE WORSE.I JUST HOPE HE COULD FIND THE STRENGTH TO GO ON.i ALSO BELIEVE HE SUFFERS FROM DEPRESSION I HAVE SPOKEN TO HIM ABOUT THIS,BUT MY HANDS ARE TIED AS FAR AS THE LAW IS CONCERN
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-05-2008
Thu, 05-07-2009 - 1:18pm

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-01-2006
Thu, 05-07-2009 - 5:30pm
Thank you for your reply.How would you suggest i handle this situation.If I don't say anything to him then he says to me "every time i need to feel good about myself you don't say anything"I'm beginning to think he is trying to manipulate me. But why would he do that?
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-05-2008
Fri, 05-08-2009 - 10:24am

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-01-2006
Fri, 05-08-2009 - 11:45pm
I don't know Why I take things that my kids say as a personal attack.I know better than that.I feel i let them both down..My kids mean more to me than life itself.They are beautiful kids.I truly have been blessed by Heavenly Father, I have always said that and still do.Guess my son learned that behavior from me..great. I was suppose to be the strong role model,after all their Father is not one.I guess my heart is in a state of confusion.I just don't like to see him cry.It's heart breaking.What you said makes perfect sense.Why couldn't I see that?
Are you a Psychologist or something?You seem very intelligent and wise.I truly appreciate and welcome your post as it is sound advice.I will certainly try your approach.
Thank You so very much!!!


Edited 5/9/2009 12:03 am ET by terril2006
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Registered: 06-05-2008
Sat, 05-09-2009 - 5:35pm

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-01-2006
Sun, 05-10-2009 - 8:05pm
Not much of a Mother's Day Couldn't see my Daughter she lives out of State But I did get to see my son and.......well it turned out to be not a good day.He was heming and hawing about how his life stinks he doesn't have a life like his friends.He tells me that they get whatever they want from their parents.He wants a motorcycle just like they do.Supposedly their parents give them money for one or give these kids half of the payment.one thing turned into another the next I was listening to him tell me he wants to kill himself then wishes he could see the pathetic look on my face. next he told me he joined the marines and it's because he doesn't have money and nobody is helping me.I asked him how I could help his response was buy me the motorcycle so I (he)can have one thing that would make him happy before he goes away.I listen how he is not worth anything because his parents don't care about making him happy.At some point he began crying though I didn't see any tears ,saying he doesn't want to go to the Marines because he doesn't want to die.He became so enraged that he broke three of my things.He said your just like my ol man "leave my stuff alone" I said I don't care about you touching them but you don't have the right to break anything.I gave him money on Friday so he could go to the shore with his friends...$60.00. he said He couldn't get anything he wanted because he had to buy food.I buy him food for home I buy his clothes.He keeps saying that he is 20 yrs old and he has nothing.that he begs for money.I know this sounds like depression but because of his age I cannot make an appointment for him.I tell him all the time to call but he doesn't.I think he is trying to make me feel guilty about him joining the Marines. so I told him I didn't tell you to join that was of your own free will.I'm not good at this.He looks for a job but doesn't find anything.But honestly he doesn't look every day either. I question my Daughter about the kids in my town .she says what my son tells me is true.She told me of several occasions where the kids were in tears because they did not get the Benz they wanted but did say they all got brand new up to date cars.I'm unemployed whatever money I have in the bank is diminishing quickly.The kids Father come from a well to do Family very wealthy so money for the Ex is not a problem.My ex is 51 yrs old and he gets a trust fund check every three months and were talking 3500.00 on top of that his parents pay for his rent they give him brand new cars.and he has access to their shore house the brown stone in NYC and they fly him to another one of their places in Florida every year if not more.Me I have no one My parents are done.I don't have people handing me money.I have tried to explain that to my son but he says all you care about is yourself.I can't even think anymore I wish I could just go to sleep.But that's useless Because I'm lucky if I get 3hrs of sleep a night
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-06-2007
Thu, 05-14-2009 - 10:13am

terril2006, I am sorry you had such a poor mother's day.

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