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How do you help a son who feels his life is a failure and doesn't deserve to be loved?

My son is measuring his life by his successes of which he feels he has none. He works in a job with maybe 50% satisfaction. He was laid-ff from a job he loved. He has a girlfriend with commitment problems but he dearly loves her and does not want another relationship to fail. The list goes on and on. I have tried to assure him he is not old enough to be a failure but he doesn't see it that way. All he sees is he is one big failure after another. How can I help him see himself as a success when he has no way of measuring a success based on his current job and relationship issues?

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Asked by Anonymous at 11:06 PM on Dec. 15, 2009 in Adult Children (18+)

Answers (4)
  • Talk to him about his goals. What does he want to accomplish? Where does he want to be in 5 years? 10 years?, etc. Have him write down his goals and what he needs to do to accomplish them. Reassure him that even if he doesn't get everything that he wants it doesn't mean that he is a failure. Failures are the ones who didn't even try. If he is not satisfied with his job, maybe he can take a few classes and gain a skill in something that he might enjoy. Or maybe help him go over his resume and encourage him to send out so many per month. It is a hard time right now for jobs and I am sure that he is aware of that, but there are things that he can be doing while he is waiting for a better job to open up. Good Luck!


    Answer by JeremysMom at 11:14 PM on Dec. 15, 2009

  • He needs to focus on the things he does have. He does have a job when so many others don't, he does have a loving mother, and he does have a woman that he cares deeply for. If he's unhappy with his work situation, try to guide him towards learning a new skill to open more doors. If he doesn't have kids, nows the time to do that. So maybe it's a good thing his girlfriend isn't pushing him to get married and have kids right away. I'm in a somewhat similar situation and I do get very down about it, but then I think I've been pushed to get married and it didn't turn out well. Had that guy really loved me he would have waited on me to be ready, I can wait on my SO to fix himself so we can live happily ever after. He can still talk to her about why and what she needs to feel secure. Try encouraging him to go to church or volunteer to help those less fortunate, give him a new view of life.

    Answer by camiam81 at 11:21 PM on Dec. 15, 2009

  • Tell him that life sucks & to get a helmet!!! lol, no seriously life is hard & there are always going to be challenges, there's never a time where you can sit back & say "finally I have everything I want & life is good". There are always going to be issues that need to be solved, can't see them as failures, look @ them as obstacles to be overcome. Make a list of the obstacles in the past he's overcome to show him it can be done & he has done it before. Why is his self esteem so low to begin w/? Sounds like underlying issues w/ self worth that never got addressed.

    Answer by Nyx7 at 10:43 AM on Dec. 16, 2009

  • So he is basing his success/failure in life on his gf's issues and the economy? I'd tell him to put things in perspective and remind him that when the recession is over he will be given the opportunity to do better. Until then he could return to school and improve his chances of finding another great job that he enjoys. As for the gf, you might tell him that he can only love her and accept her as she is. If she is a commitaphobic, that's not his fault BUT there are books to help ppl deal with someone like that. I'd tell him there is hope if he is willing to go find it. If he wants to live in a castle and save the damsel then sometimes he has to slay some dragons. That part isn't fun but it's a part of life. He can do anything he chooses to do. He can wallow in self pity and Oh woe is me I am a failure or he can change something to make himself a success. Just the attempt to make things better makes him a success.

    Answer by admckenzie at 10:49 AM on Dec. 16, 2009

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