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Son of 25 self-isolated in bedroom 10 years - desperate parents seek advice

Hi everyone,

My only child, a son, was a school refuser from age 10 and schooled at home sporadically but no qualifications. He plays computer games all day in his bedroom, insists meals are left outside his bedroom door, uses toilet, allows bedding and clothes to be washed once a month when he has monthly bath, chops off long hair and beard. Never washes otherwise - not even his teeth. He has not been downstairs for 6 years, so never goes out and takes no exercise. No friends except acquaintance with fellow gamers. He refuses to engage/converse with doctors, mental health professionals etc. and also bearly says a word to me or his father in house, certainly no thankyous, appreciation or affection.

His Dad and I have tried to reason with him but any confrontation fruitless and leaves us very unhappy. Our attempts to encourage him out of his room by rewards of new games, treat food, money or anything really have not been successful.

In desperation we have pursued other tactics, but never violence or forcing.

His response to electricity being turned off, desk top computer breaking down, meals not being his favourite or enough food or any disruption to gaming is to throw furniture around breaking wall plaster. He is grossly obese, taller and twice the weight of my husband and myself. He has agressively pushed past me on landing in the past so I've learnt to make way for him. We are reluctant to make changes since currently he seems to be content to quietly get on with his lifestyle while we concentrate on ours. We are both out of the house at work all day and effectively our son is totally ignored except for meeting his needs as detailed above. We have friends/family round regularly, socialise out of the house at weekends/evenings, go on several weeks holiday frequently, always leaving adequate food on landing and returning to pile of washing-up and food wrappers. He never answers front door or telephone.

We love him and hate to make him angry or sad. Any instruction or care home except a top hotel would impact badly on what he has become accustomed to. This set up is set to continue until we die and he inherits our house, with enough money to employ a carer/servant. We cope with the emotional anguish we experience at the bleak wretchedness of his life merely because we are caught in this trap out of which we can see no escape. He is not capable of looking after himself and we fear he would become derelict and homeless if he was asked to leave.

Should I just accept that we can do nothing and try to make the best of it? On the bright side, he has never taken drugs or harmed anyone.

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Well this is a huge stress bestowed upon you and your husband .. I feel this is a bad habit that has gotten well out of hand .. You both have enabled him to become like this since his early years .. I don't mean to sound harsh .. This is what I hear from what you say .. Everything is on his terms .. He will get a big shock when you both do pass on as he will be left totally alone .. In order to rectify this situation you and your husband must deploy subtle changes and keep consistent with them in order for this to improve . It will require dedication from you both and it will be hard work and will take time as nothing gets resolved overnight

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Thanks Satsuma, for your suggestion that we:

"...must deploy subtle changes and keep consistent with them in order for this to improve".

What do you recommend in terms of changes?

If my son is mildly annoyed such as not getting meals on time, his annoyance is expressed by damage to the furniture and fittings of our house. He has a long history of pulling radiators off walls,

smashing sanitary fittings, light fittings, throwing dirty plates downstairs, breaking windows, pooing on landing carpet etc.

This is frightening for both of us and could escalate into physical attacks. My husband has never been assaulted and invariably indulges his whims. I have attempted to hold my ground in the past, until he was 20 and I reluctantly complied with his regimes. (At age 15 -19 he head butted my stomach on dozens of occasions, at age 14 he broken my arm twisting it behind my back, at age 6 -12 he punched me and pulled my hair out, at age right he bit my ear, at 6 he frequently kicked my shins. We have never called the police and violence towards me ceased 5 years ago when I complied with his regime.

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As with children the strategies used for unwanted behaviour would be to withhold pleasurable activities .. It beats me why you have never called the police for his violent behaviour .. Son or no son .. He is a danger to you both and also to the outside world if he was to fend for himself .. Basically you have let him get away with his vile actions with no consequences for them .. What Calm_mama said is a great idea .. To get him assessed for ASD .. Your first port of call should be to inform someone about this .. You mentioned he was rather overweight too so you could limit his food intake .. Overeating to his extent with no exercise can be a killer .. Can you distract him by showing him exercises and make it fun for him .. Just now he is being rewarded for negative behaviour .. He has got it made as he can act untoward yet get away with it .. Next time he is violent call the police .. I'm sure a night or two in the cells would shake him up a bit .. He needs to be shown that his behaviour is totally unacceptable

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I would not leave food for him or wash his clothes. He needs to do that. You are both out of the house all day. You are enabling his lifestyle. Since not making him go to school at age 10, you have created the man he has become. It's time for him to grow up. Stop being his servants.

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Although this must be very stressful for you both I agree with the above comments that you have, and still do, enable this behaviour.

I know he is your son and you want to help but I would stop all meals being delivered to the landing and the same with washing.

I would also contact your local social service and ask for advice as on his part it is self-neglect.

If he does not like what you do and starts destroying the room and physically pushing past you and acting in an intimidating manner I would ask for police assistance. He has to realise that the world does not revolve around him and that he cannot act this way.

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Hello Karen-78,

Many thanks for your contribution to solving our problem.

My reaction to your comment, "...He has to realise that the world does not revolve around him and that he cannot act this way..." is to that we have made the mistake of proving that this is untrue - while we are alive, he can and does act this way.

You say "...contact your local social service and ask for advice as on his part it is self-neglect." You are perceptive, as others in this forum have been, in focusing your advice on the feasible and practical.

Social Services have been familiar with my son's behavioural problems for 20 years. They have pointed out for many years that we are complicit in his behaviour, effectively choosing to co-operate with his demands. They consistently suggest not delivering meals to his bedroom and when he destroys our property we should call the police. We are guilty of not following through on their advice.

This forum has been very useful for me in that I have had similar advice now reiterated to me by yourselves. Hopefully I can use your replies to convince my husband to take this action jointly with me. I simply cannot effect change without his conviction and agreement.

I'll also use the financial consequences argument to persuade my husband.

We are both aged 47, spending roughly £10 a day on an adult of 25, amounting to £3,650 a year, and when we retire after 20 more years we will have spent approximately £80,000. From aged 67 to 87 another 20 years of support will bring the sum spent on our adult son to in excess of £160,000.

I am pessimistic that my husband's opinion will change. I reluctantly acknowledge that it would be true to say that I would then sacrifice my son for the sake of retaining my husband's relationship with me.

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Wow, that is a LOT of money!

I’m am 40 so neither of you are much older than me and you could potentially have around another 40 years of dealing with this. It must be exhausting! I should also think that is isn’t of much help for your wellbeing.

I hope for your sake that your husband changes his opinion. Being compliant isn’t always the easy option. You obviously love your son but he is completely wasting his life, and health, holed up in his bedroom.

Sometimes tough love is the only option as I fear if nothing is done, the behaviour may escalate. It sounds like your son has no perception of how this effects you and your husband. It’s almost like if he’s stays in his little bubble (his room) he can ignore everything else outside of that domain. And like you say, he obviously knows he will always get his own way as he’s learnt that he is rewarded for his behaviour; in the fact that he gets his meals delivered etc.

I really hope for your sake that this isn’t how the rest of your life will play out. Best of luck to you.

Be strong! Think of the quote...

“If you change nothing, nothing will change”.

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Private tuition or youtube can help confidence, positive thinking videos or science courses Social worker can suggest carers that might be able to better help

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I'm offering hugs to you, what a tough situation. Thank you for your candor. I am wondering if he has ever been evaluated for perhaps being on the autism spectrum? Has he been evaluated for any neuropsych issues? I completely understand if not as you describe well his incredible insistence at not leaving his safe place. It sounds like you have a couple of choices (maybe more but this is what I can think of right now): Contiinue with the way things are going, making sure there is a plan for a conservator for him when you and your husband are too old to care for him or should you pass, or, make a big change that will bring great discomfort at first to all of you at first, but offers the chance for him to become more independent, more functional, and healthy. I'm thinking something like residential care home with people who are experienced/equipped to handle the situation. I think the latter would be better for all of you in the long run. I would talk to a social worker ASAP and find out what the options are. I think there is a good chance he can really gain some skills and become higher functioning! Again, I'm so sorry for what you are enduring. Please know that you are not alone. I know a few people in similar situations. One of my best friends just had to send her teen son off to live with a relative because of out-of-control issues that caused horrible chaos within the home. I have another friend whose teen daughter has been in residential care for over a year now. These difficult situations are surprisingly more common than we realize, as people don't talk about their issues and can appear so happy-go-lucky out there in the world. Again I applaud you for talking about the situation here and taking a step towards finding the best solutions. I'll be thinking of you and your family and keeping you in my prayers.

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Hi Calm_mama,

You show understanding of our predicament and compassion for us, for which I'm grateful. The answer to

your query "perhaps being on the autism spectrum? Has he been evaluated for any neuropsych" is that as a boy before 10, visits to health professionals did not result in any diagnosis other than that he was normal. In later teenage years, he would not meet health professionals who came to the house. As parents we were asked to call him out of his bedroom but he wouldn't come. He was offered a residential care home place but refused to go. There is nobody willing to pick up a person by force, unless he was arrested or sectioned under the mental health act, both of which would cause him untold stress.

I'm beginning to think we should frustrate him by not providing food, and wait for the tantrums. The police will not arrest a person unless we make a claim that he has damaged our possessions, or indeed physically assaulted us. Doing this would represent a breakdown of our relationship of trust with our son. My husband would not agree to cause my son to hate us.

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Hi the thing to remember is he is an adult and has been for the past 7 years. I would have loved my parents to do this for me instead of having to go out to work, earn my own money, do my share in the house and contribute. Unfortunately most parents refuse including mine. I wouldn't have got past first base with mine!

Unless you want to go on being his servants you have to take tough action. He has to be told to shape up or ship out. Make little changes at first such as not leaving his food for him, or washing his clothes etc. If he starts getting violent then tell him you will call the police. Tell him this in advance and give him say a week to do something making it clear what will happen unless he does. Unless he has learning difficulties or otherwise mental health issues he will not let himself starve or be homeless very long. He is using both of you and will do as long as you let him. x

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Hi hypercat54,

Thanks so much for adding to this post, and your ideas are highly valued.

Yes, my son is using us. Unfortunately he seems incapable of not using us. He is frightened of people, water and the outside world. The sight of his bulky 30 stone body shuffling along the street, his face puffy and white as a sheet from 10 years out of sunlight would arouse stares. He has no social skills to purchase food in a shop, offer money or count change.

Don't think I haven't tried to help him accumulate some basic self-confidence, but I have failed.

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Hi I'm not surprised he is scared of everything after locking himself indoors for so long - anyone would be. That doesn't mean there is anything intrinsically anything wrong with him and he will have to learn to adapt. Better now than in 20 years time surely. He needs help and you aren't qualified to provide that.

Time to get the authorities involved maybe? Your decision but I understand this is not an easy one. x

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Hi Mylen - that situation is understandably draining and I’m sorry you’ve had to endure this. If your son has no known mental health issues, or learning disabilities - I agree with the poster above that he’s likely using you. He is an adult - and that means if he is damaging property or assaulting you and your husband - an option would be to get the police involved as he is a threat to your safety. They could get him out of your home for you and he could be placed elsewhere like a hotel. As far as mental health care - I feel like this is a situation for an Applied Behavior Analysis to come in and try to modify his behavior / environment to assist him.

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As he has shown violence before the main thing to do is protect yourself and make sure you are safe. Do you have any other family members/friends who can help? Especially men. If you do then get them with you when you tell him the new rules and what he is being told what will happen. Have them close when he kicks off.

The other thing you can do is go to the police and get them to forcible evict him and change your locks. Or even better move and don't let him track you down. This sounds very radical but the situation now demands harsh action as nothing else has worked over the years. x

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Wow, this is a very serious situation and I'm feeling I'm not qualified to give you a definitive answer as I am asking myself and telling myself that this behaviour could not be possible unless your son is on the autistic spectrum or has Attention deficit disorder a serious mental health problem or some kind of brain injury or learning disability; and so my first port of call would be to get professionals involved. I don't know which country you are in but in UK we can call social services and other medical services to get involved to get a diagnosis and help.

A very serious part of all of this is how very overweight your son is and the no exercise. Even in a young person this can be a killer as another poster said so you are doing him no favours by letting this continue. He needs help in terms of a diagnosis and accessing proper facilties.

If your son is genuinely "normal" ( which I severely doubt unless you have just overindulged him and have no parenting skills which again I very much doubt) and just taken advantage of a situation then what other posters have suggested are good ideas but is sounds like he must be suffering to a very large extent to be behaving like this. Clearly something is terribly wrong. If there genuinely isn't any diagnosis then I would agree you are enabling and need to stop it but you don't sound foolish by your post.

I'm sorry but I feel overwhelmed in a way from your post and would reiterate that this is a case where it is essential that professionals are involved rather than just asking our advice on a forum although we can give you our general opinion.

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Dear Stilltrying,

Your reply is appreciated, so thanks for writing in.

In some ways this is child abuse - hidden from sight.

I haven't the strength anymore to fight and my husband of 26 years is content to appease my son. I have explained in other replies that I will try to change my husband's views, but it is exhausting arguing with him. Effectively my need to preserve some pleasantness in our lives results in the problem with our son being shoved under the carpet.

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Hi Myles,

Thanks for your reply, and I agree with you. The solution is now becoming clearer and the interest shown by yourself and others on this forum has been a great comfort to me.

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Stop enabling him, kick him out. Either tell him to volunteer to go to a lock down mental health hospital for Serious treatment, or give him an official 30 day notice of eviction , then call the police to escort him out. Tell him he won't inherit anything, donate it all to charity. He is not a little boy, stop treating him like one.

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Hello Mylen ,

I sympathise with you and your husband. I have a 26 year old son who was severely social phobic from the age of 7. He spent years refusing school and battling.anxiety. He did not leave the house for weeks on end. Anxiety and anger are closely linked. I believe he may have Asberger traits.

There is also increasing awareness of the difficulties of internet addiction. I wished for years that I could access help for computer addiction for him. My greatest difficulty was simply getting him outside to engage with any one.

This might sound a little strange but to keep my self sane i decided to take one day at time. Start the new day calmly and to be kind to him. My son was highly perceptive as a child and teenager. If he felt that other people expected him to be angry and aggressive to the point of damaging belongings then he would readily oblige. I think this was an expression of his unhappiness and frustration and his pain. He believed everyone thought he was bad so he was doing what he thought others expected of him.

He was seen by child and adolescent mental counsellors whose advise was to give him the space to breathe and do the right thing. At times , at its worst his anxiety was so great he could not leave the house or answer the telephone to speak to any one.

Have you thought of writing your son a letter of email outlining how much you love him and want to help him find a happier path? Does he have a named g.p . that you and he could contact for advice? My son was regularly advised to learn CBT techniques and take medication to find a way of diminishing the anxiety and sense of hopelessness he felt.

You need support too. In my darkest days with my son i was most afraid of an outburst of anger escalating to the point where a member of the family accidentally sustained such a serious injury , that my son would find himself in prison. By the grace of god, thankfully , that scenario never happened.

Be kind to yourselves and him. Be fair . Try not to expect the worse?

My son did the not caring or washing too.

happily , he started to look outward by getting paid to write online reviews. And managed to volunteer at Oxfam one day a week. It was slow progress. it took a long time for him to be comfortable in what he doing. Gradually he was able to go out.

Hope begins with small steps. My heart goes out to you. I know how devastating it is seeing your children so unhappy. I think this withdrawn behaviour is common in Japan. I pray you find the best strategy to help him emerge from his isolation. Internet addition help may be a starting point?

My advise into think what actions are possible and consider which one you would most be able to cope with? Ultimately, even though you love your son you have to guard your emotional wellbeing too. But, If it feels the right thing to do ? Be kind and try to show your son you love and trust him. Good things come from kindness. Try to focus on tomorrow , not the ghosts of the past. They are just shadows that haunt you and poison the future.

In my case, angry confrontation had a much more negative effect on his behaviour than calm reasoning. The tone of voice used seemed more likely to provoke instantaneous rage , much more so than critical words alone.

Tread carefully and be ready for set backs. Be mindful. All things must pass?

Sincere best wishes to you all

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Hi spzgirl51,

How very sweet of you to write with some similar experiences to share. Thank you so much for taking the time to explain some strategies that you have found useful.

Your post gives me hope that our non-confrontational co-existance may allow our son to mature and become more independent in time. You are spot on with your comment to be soft-spoken and kind. He is obviously suffering and wishes to avoid all agressive contact. I have written him notes over the years when he has been especially low, telling him he means a great deal to me and I will always love him. After some gruesome scenes of furniture being thrown out if the window and subsequent remorse, I have promised that I would never leave him. (Thereby making any future threats non-viable).

I think the way forward is gentle minor changes that minimise anxiety in all three of us, and that my husband feels happy with.

In Manchester where we live, we don't have named GPs, and there is no-one he trusts. But the last time we organised for someone to try to talk to him is over a year ago, so I will again ask for Social Services to visit, in the hope that he might respond.

Best wishes to you and your son who seem to have found a happier balance together.

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Excellent- Social services may not be able to assess him if he refuses, but they can assess the situation at least and give you some guidance. I am assuming that social services functions in much the same way in England the way it does here in the US(?) Lots of hugs for you!

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Hello Mylen ,

Can I add that my sons biggest coping mechanism for social anxiety in addition to the internet and gaming was constant eating. He is not tall and at his heaviest he had a bm I of 42. He is super body conscious and was even more aware of being stared at due to being overweight. This has made doing the simplest of things extremely stressful for him Making it more likely he would avoid venturing out.

Could your son access online counselling or ask the help of a dietician? Or get an exercise referral from his gp? But there are so many reasons people over eat. Hunger has very little to do with it ? My son has recently been diagnosed with severe sleep apnea and has been given a cpap machine. It is definitely a hard road to tread but he is slowly losing weight. It is so hard to find the motivation to keep trying isn't it?

I try and make filling vegetable soup but it is not as appealing as a takeaway?

With Christmas over its time to try again to eat better?

Best wishes .

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Thanks again, spzgirl51. Great food diet advice.

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You have sure gotten much advice from us all here

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I wish you well on your journey to rectify this situation

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Sorry to hear about your sons situation, sounds just like may daughter who has not attended school since 12years old lives up stairs, eat meals upstairs, on computer games it all sounds so similar and at last she was diagnosed with significant autism, once that is out there you can read up all about it, I did not know much about autism but when I started to read about it I thought to myself, that is my child, now I know why we could not reason with her, she was not being difficult, she was not being nasty, her bedroom is her safe place as outside is to difficult, to much noise to much interaction, can not read people and what they are trying to get for her. Bedroom is safe.

I hope this helps, we as a family know that we will have to support our daughter long term trying to understand to make it a happier time and except that she is different, very clever but just wired differently. Best of luck.x

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Hi sorry I can’t go through all the comments right now so I don’t know what’s been said. This is a tough situation. If I can advice anything, I would say two things are crucial: first of all you cannot let him walk over you. Behaviour like being aggressive towards you when just passing or unreasonable rages and destroying YOUR property. Unless of course he has some reason to be mad at you? (I mean general aggression, violence is unacceptable either way) And another thing is you have to remain sensitive to his views and situation and show you care about him - that means being careful so he doesn’t feel like you’re forcing ideas on him, if you suggest anything just give him time to think, don’t repeat the same thing a thousand times that would make him antagonistic and unlikely to follow your advice. You need to find balance and make him feel that you care, that you’re there to help but not force him to do things, but at the same time you need to protect your own boundaries. He can’t just do whatever he wants (disrespect you, destroy things), and just wait for you to die so he can have your money. That’s despicable. First of all he should be required to do Some things (as long as his mental state allows which you haven’t given any details on), And understand some respect is owed you in exchange for his living there like that. Im pretty sure washing his teeth is doable as he is able to make it to the bathroom. Make it a shower a week at least. Give him healthy food. Try to understand him if he has any issues with you. If you’re fighting each other none of you will get anywhere.

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Thanks, blueraku.

You have some worthwhile pointers which we can pursue. Gentle coaxing to do more bathing and start washing his teeth sounds positive and worthwhile. Giving him less stodgy or sweet food has been tried, the risks of obesity have been explained, but we could have another go.

Your post, and the inspiration of other replies in this forum, have given me the strength to make another attempt at negotiation with my son, so I am most grateful to you all.

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Again I want to just say for the record I don’t condemn you or anything as to being responsible for what the situation is. It’s just beneficial to look at an overall picture, consider different possible sources that might have generated these behaviours, and remember that humans as social creatures, we all influence each other. Boundaries, safe environment and mutual respect and empathy are important basic factors that should come naturally to us all but are often lost and misshapen in our busy and materialistic western civilisation. I think you can achieve a lot by simply being available and providing support and subtle opportunities while leaving the choice to the person in question so they can feel autonomy over their own life and choices. For example I imagine if you keep being kind to someone and leaving them invitations to do something without expectation I imagine one of these days they’ll agree. Changing a lifestyle is difficult under the best of circumstances but generally requires personal faith and commitment to be successful. I’m sure it’s not a comfortable life your son is leading, and he just needs to feel like there are possibilities of something better out there. I have had friends addicted to gaming, social media etc, maybe not this extreme, but it is a challenge for them to even acknowledge they have an issue - like with any addiction. They need to learn empirically that their needs can be met elsewhere. It’s a process. From outside it’s also good to know that if someone engages in a dissociative addiction, be it gaming or alcohol, it’s a form of protective system to them that provides comfort and makes life bearable - it may be ultimately harmful but it’s a way for their bodies and brains of protecting themselves. One of my friends who used to isolate himself and spend too much time gaming, now has a job and is working out and staying busy outside of gaming. There just need to be the right conditions, and a need to change that is not too overwhelming I think... anyway I hope this helps any and I wish you and your son good luck:)

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Dear blueraku,

Thanks for your perceptive comments.

We agree that "...it’s a form of protective system ...".

Your thought-provoking point "...he just needs to feel like there are possibilities of something better out there" is something we have tried to install in our son. However, I am reminded that we have become jaded. We need to up our game with renewed enthusiasm.

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Oh by the way since you mentioned obesity, this might be something for another day when things are going better, but I recommend trying intermittent fasting and/or keto diet, I’ve heard great things health-wise, mood-wise and effective weight loss.:)

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I've been reading about diet myself recently, and just found this video on quitting sugar, thought I'd share

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Hi blueraku,

Your post about dieting is interesting and I have noted it for the future.

Priority these days is 2 custard creams at 11am tea break, not 8.

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Hello again Mylen ,

Thank you for your thoughtful replies. Have you ever considered that anxiety and addiction to gaming are closely linked? You might be interested to hear that gaming addiction has recently been classified as a mental health disorder in itself. According to Google (ironic) the nh s is running a gaming addiction clinic. It is run by a psychiatrist who has experience in anxiety and addictive behaviour. Her name is Henrietta Bowden Jones i believe. Perhaps you could ask for a referral or write to her clinic directly to get some help to see some light at the end of the tunnel? You son has to be a willing participant? Perhaps she can recommend some self help strategies to begin the healing process for you all?

Do you find avenues of help made more difficult by data protection and client confidentiality? I definitely did..

Best wishes

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Hello again spzgirl51,

At the moment my son is unwilling to see or talk to anyone apart from myself and his father.

However, if we get to the stage where my son is open to the idea of therapy, your recommendation is appreciated. We can use this knowledge in our chats with him, so many thanks for sharing the possibility of a referral to a computer addiction clinic in the future.

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I feel for your whole family. What caused all this? Was he bullied or traumatized by students at the school that caused him to stop going? I had a cousin that was homeschooled. Something happened at school and he never told what it was. He asked his parents to home school him. He is in his twenties now. He works at a bank and well. I am 56 and suffered from 40 years of Anorexia. I have been in treatment for six years. I have recently recovered. It will be a daily process. I suffer from PTSD. I take Zoloft and still continue to see my doctor every 2 months. I recall when my illness took me. I was a freshman in high school. I locked myself in my bedroom for a year. I went to school and ate at the table. I did not communicate with my family or old friends. I studied for hours. I became a straight-A student. My mind was wasting away from starvation. I had to reread materials many times. I was depressed and lonely. I was mentally ill for forty years. My illness never kept me from working. I became a workaholic. I had no friends. My illness took all that I had before I became sick. It was forty years of hell. I almost died so many times before I sought treatment 6 years ago. I also had reasons for not what to associate with my family. I have an eighty-two year old loving and best ever mom. I had 3 siblings. I had a monster of a dad. He was married to mom for forty years. She suffered at his hands. We all did. I had repressed every memory of my childhood until 2 years ago. That is why I have PTSD and why I became ill. I have processed each memory and released them. Just like my mental doctor said. I was a victim of childhood rape by my own father. I was 5-11 years of age. My 3 siblings and mother were victims as well. The violence in my home was all from dad. That is why I became Anorexic to control my world. I take Zoloft to help with Anorexia and PTSD. I am not saying your son has suffered a traumatic event. Unless he has a medical or another mental issue. There could be an underlying event that he is not willing to share. If he is 25 there is so much life ahead of him. I am 56 and just recovered. There is no age on healing. It grieves you and your husband to see your child have no life. I have 3 children I know. I have a 32- year-old son setting in federal prison. He robbed a bank 6 years ago. Two weeks after I started treatment from Anorexia. I did not teach him this behavior. He came from a good home. Meth took him down this journey. He is 32 and went insane in prison. I love him so much. It hurts. He seriously needs help. I think you and your husband need to seek mental help for yourselves too. They can help you deal with this and offer help for your son. My brother went into a mental institution going through a bad divorce. He was 44 and left like a small child. He was never the same. Keep the faith and believe there is the help. Reach for it. Keep in touch.

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I feel for your whole family. What caused all this? Was he bullied or traumatized by students at the school that caused him to stop going? I had a cousin that was homeschooled. Something happened at school and he never told what it was. He asked his parents to home school him. He is in his twenties now. He works at a bank and well. I am 56 and suffered from 40 years of Anorexia. I have been in treatment for six years. I have recently recovered. It will be a daily process. I suffer from PTSD. I take Zoloft and still continue to see my doctor every 2 months. I recall when my illness took me. I was a freshman in high school. I locked myself in my bedroom for a year. I went to school and ate at the table. I did not communicate with my family or old friends. I studied for hours. I became a straight-A student. My mind was wasting away from starvation. I had to reread materials many times. I was depressed and lonely. I was mentally ill for forty years. My illness never kept me from working. I became a workaholic. I had no friends. My illness took all that I had before I became sick. It was forty years of hell. I almost died so many times before I sought treatment 6 years ago. I also had reasons for not what to associate with my family. I have an eighty-two year old loving and best ever mom. I had 3 siblings. I had a monster of a dad. He was married to mom for forty years. She suffered at his hands. We all did. I had repressed every memory of my childhood until 2 years ago. That is why I have PTSD and why I became ill. I have processed each memory and released them. Just like my mental doctor said. I was a victim of childhood rape by my own father. I was 5-11 years of age. My 3 siblings and mother were victims as well. The violence in my home was all from dad. That is why I became Anorexic to control my world. I take Zoloft to help with Anorexia and PTSD. I am not saying your son has suffered a traumatic event. Unless he has a medical or another mental issue. There could be an underlying event that he is not willing to share. If he is 25 there is so much life ahead of him. I am 56 and just recovered. There is no age on healing. It grieves you and your husband to see your child have no life. I have 3 children I know. I have a 32- year-old son setting in federal prison. He robbed a bank 6 years ago. Two weeks after I started treatment from Anorexia. I did not teach him this behavior. He came from a good home. Meth took him down this journey. He is 32 and went insane in prison. I love him so much. It hurts. He seriously needs help. I think you and your husband need to seek mental help for yourselves too. They can help you deal with this and offer help for your son. My brother went into a mental institution going through a bad divorce. He was 44 and left like a small child. He was never the same. Keep the faith and believe there is the help. Reach for it. Keep in touch.

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Dear art62gramie,

A very interesting read you've posted.

So kind of you to share your story and inspirational to hear you're in recovery.

You ask "...What caused all this? Was he bullied or traumatized by students at the school that caused him to stop going?". Well, at 6 years old he was overweight, so children made derogatory comments. At 8 he was much heavier and struggling with running so stopped playing football in school breaks. By 9 he was being openly bullied. The school tried to help but he was devastated that he had no friends. Unfortunately, fights broke out and my son became shunned by pupils and teachers showed little sympathy.

You say, "... I am not saying your son has suffered a traumatic event.". Yet again, you have reached perhaps the initial cause of my son's unhappiness. He over- ate as a young child because he sought release from feeling emotionally neglected. Twenty years ago, my husband was working as a merchant seaman away from home for 5 months at a time. Effectively I was bringing my son up as a single parent for 7 years, working shifts in a fish and chip shop. Definitely, I resented my husband's job and as I result I was shoving my young son into the arms of a myriad of child carers so I could work evenings, to pay for our mortgage.

Lastly, I am now hanging on to your advice to, "...Keep the faith and believe there is the help. Reach for it." Thank you for sending me your very positive outlook!

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Do you feel guilt for that? Is that one of the reasons you spoil him now? x

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Dear Mylen

I hope this forum has helped you . What would you like most for your son? For me it was to hear my son laughing and for him to feel worthy of happiness.

He was resigned to living with anxiety and chronic insomnia. He could not see any likelihood of this changing and it made him very down and made him use food as a comfort.

As I mentioned earlier, due to his build and weight , he was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea last year.

He had had long pauses between very loud snores while asleep for many years.

After taking a while to become adjusted to using the cpap machine it really helped him get a restful sleep.

After a week of using it I actually caught him singing in the morning. His "usual" default morning mood is decidedly on the grumpy side. It seemed like a very welcome ray of sunshine to me.

Perhaps being tested for sleep apnea would benefit your son too? Obesity is a common trigger for this. Maybe this may help him in the future too?

Forgive me for blathering on. I like to try to be positive and hopeful. I think it's amazing how small changes can mean so much.

best wishes xx

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Dear spzgirl51,

Your post puts forward an idea that we hadn't thought of "...severe sleep apnea ...using a cpap machine ...really helped him get a restful sleep." Incredibly, he does snore loudly. I'll pursue this possibility, despite our son hitherto avoiding doctors. So glad your son found some relief.

Yes, the responders to my initial post have undoubtedly lifted my spirits and have made me feel less alone.

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God bless you and your husband. It sounds like you're doing everything you can but I wonder what would happen if you just cut him off. Stop feeding him, take computer away and tell him to get job.

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Hi Apollo9919,

Thanks for your post which is thought provoking.

Essentially, why don't we do this?

The potential of damage to our house and possessions is vast, unless we call the police and our son is arrested. My husband does not want the police involved as he sees this as a betrayal to our son.

If our son was then returned by the police, we could in theory refuse him entry to our house. He wouldn't be able to look after himself and obviously would be vulnerable to drugs and physical attacks.

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Dear Mylen ,

Are you and your husband taking on the role of the UN peace keeping force? Do you need the league of Nations to meditate a truce?

You need an armistice so you can ALL being an end to hostility and enjoy the tranquillity of a peace treaty. Joking aside, it is exhausting and damaging for everyone to live with the fear of violence and damage to property.

Your son is probably as acutely anxious about this, and, as unhappy as you are?

Try to find a shared activity you could do together? No matter how small. Ask your son for suggestions .? Build a bit of fun into life?

Guilt drives us all. Forgiveness is wonderfully healing. It gives the breathing space, to allow for the possibility of change?

Wishing you peace and calm.

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Dear spzgirl51,

Yes, sometimes when pessimistic, I wonder if he'll kill us and then himself.

That's a good idea, bringing some fun into our lives. And I should ask him to suggest some activity.

I've tried in the past with sports, games, pets, art, drums, films, pop songs etc.

My efforts have been rejected previously, but I ought to reach out again. My husband says what's the use, so I'm on my own again.

I write knowing that I can't bear to sit in my son's bedroom because being in close proximity to him makes me deeply unhappy. His bedroom has a horrible odour of stale sweat, and he himself is very smelly unless in the week after his monthly bath. He grunts and won't talk, look at me or stop playing on the computer.

I'll give it a go - no harm in trying again to reinforce that we love him. Also, his bedroom needs a deep clean, so I'll make that a priority project. Perhaps we could stretch to a new carpet for him.

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Dear Mylen ,

I so recognise the tightrope that you are walking. It is one of the hardest things you can do. How to reconnect with some one who is so determinedly isolated and angry with the world.

Please be mindful and don't put yourself in harm's way? I know it is not simple or easy. What about asking a mental health charity like mind if they can suggest specialist help for you and your husband? It is so hard to find help. Especially if your son doesn't feel able or ready to accept help. I've been there and worn that t shirt too.

I know there is a thing called adult safe guarding. Meaning you should be safe guarded from potential harm from your son . And him from self harming of course. .if you want to your G.p. and spelt out your fears of him hurting you and killing himself. I think they would be duty bound to act?

I personally, was worried that this dramatic approach would be so traumatizing that it would make everything worse.. I took the softly, softly approach. I kept thinking the drive for change had to come from within my son. I could not force a change only try to be a listening ear. BUT

You should not have to live in constant fear and neither should your son either?

My heart goes out to you.. Please take care.

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Hi spzgirl51,

Your gentle approach is the only reasonable option in my view.

A harsh wake-up like calling the police would have repercussions if we wish to have a long-term trusting relationship with our son.

I am reminded that he no longer poos in tissues and throws the result into next door's back garden. Sometimes he now even flushes the toilet after he's used it. He doesn't pick his nose and smear the contents on the upstairs landing wall these days. He doesn't scream and kick when asked to have a bath anymore. These are triumphs in our negotiations, but a hard-won truce that we are loathe to violate by not keeping up our end of the bargain.

Our son must know that others his age, 25, go to work and support themselves. Therefore he is aware somehow that our arrangements with him are unusual, and he must feel somewhat ashamed.

I talked to him yesterday about what he wanted to be doing in 10 years time. At aged 35 his ability to adapt to a new lifestyle will be markedly less than now.

At 45, possibly as we his parents are unable to continue to care for him, he would find change was beyond him.

So I've concluded that planning for the death of my husband and myself in our 80s must commence imminently. My son heard me speak about this and made no comment. I was calm and kind. Hopefully, it's sinking in.

After a few days, I'll ask him for suggestions as to how he can begin his training for re-entry into a world he left 15 years ago.

Your help, and advice from others posting on this forum, has become my support network as we struggle. Heartfelt thanks to all of you.

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Dear Mylen ,

This forum is a very supportive place. You are clearly a kind and caring mother. Perhaps you could keep plans for supporting your son more secret as it may serve to reinforce to him that you think he is incapable of living independently.? Which is the opposite of what you want?

In the internet age. With the advent of just eat and online shopping. It is possible to live and never go outside. We do not need to cook for ourselves. It may not be healthy ,but It is possible? Everyone has to find their own coping stategy.

Perhaps your son has fewer tantrums because he is maturing ?

Parents have long memories and actions can trigger very negative associates in us? But our babies do grow up despite it all. Dealing with rage is very demoralizing. I would like to send you a virtual hug. It is so painful spiritually and actually.

Perhaps a microwave or mini fridge in his room would give him more autonomy. He could make choices for himself? Would that help to change the boundaries and lessen potential areas of conflict in the house? As long as cleaning the room doesn't cause tension too? I learnt to pick my battles?

It is just a suggestion ? Perhaps ask him to cook his favourite meal once a week for you all might be fun too. Or a simple lunch together? Even if it is beans on toast or a bacon sandwich? Whatever is least confrontation and builds trust.

my son now has a job from 3 pm to 10 30 pm Mon - Fri because he is not an early riser. Something I had worried He would find impossible due to his years of isolation.

Could your son not use his keyboard and computer skills to good use in the future to make money or to boost his wellbeing?

Does he have friends on forums too? He may not be as isolated as you think? I will keep hoping that you find a happier path together.

Wishing you peace and happiness.

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Dear spzgirl51,

Your similar experience has given me loads of tips. Your point about "...change the boundaries and lessen potential areas of conflict in the house..." is useful, and acknowledges the fact that my son is grown-up, but in some ways it is us, his parents, who restrict his development by continuing to infantalise him.

You suggest that I "...keep plans for supporting your son more secret as it may serve to reinforce to him that you think he is incapable of living independently". Well, I should have been more careful, and kept my negative feelings under better control. It's hard to talk to someone who won't acknowledge you, so it is tempting to exaggerate to get my point across.

The idea of a minifridge and microwave is a good one. I had already thought of a kettle. I suppose I had hoped that he would come downstairs for these pieces of kitchen equipment, but now I see the merits of making him more independent in his own space. Giving him a cupboard for food and crockery storage seems like a step towards adulthood that he might enjoy.

Obviously, I don't want my son to electrocute himself or set fire to the house, but keeping these risks away from him contributes to his feeling of having no control. Giving him choices respects his maturity and he might respond well.

Bravo to you for giving me insight into how employment may improve in years to come. I've fondly thought that my son could review new computer games, but he has zero confidence in approaching and talking to potential employers. However, I could potentially take this role for him. With my assistance he may be able to make applications to firms to carry out some review duties.

Huge thanks to you for being so frank and generous with sharing your years of gradual persuasion to help your own son become happier.

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Dear Mylen ,

I know how excruciatingly painful to try and navigate these difficulties day by day for so many years. I think you are doing a wonderful job.I was in no way criticising your approach. My aim was to offer support so you don't feel so alone. I hope you take time out for yourself to relax and recharge your batteries? I have found myself involved in situations with my son in the past which seem so outside normal comprehension that it seems like the stuff of nightmares. Who do you share it with. It can eat away at your very core and make you feel so desolate. It's because they are your child and you love them. I don't have any answers. But I knew I didn't want to give up.

you are not alone.

Take care xx

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