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23 yo son with no goals

my son is 23 years old. he does not go out, has no friends that I know of, does not drive (even though he has a car), does not work. on the other hand, he is kind, caring, helps around the house, respectful, non violent, and eccentric. he is vegetarian, shuns people, does not like talking to people most of the time, keeps to himself. when people meet him he is polite, respectful and they like him. he is very likeable but quiet. i've tried relentlessly to talk to him about it. i suspect he has some emotional issues going on because of his odd behavior. he is affectionate to my cat and dog. cleans house, picks up after himself. he almost dropped out of high school until i had him transferred to a high school for special need kids. he graduated and joined the marines. he lasted in the marines for 3 years out of a 5 year stint. he was discharged w/o honors for refusing to report to duty after being considered a model marine up to that point. he won't open up to me about his issues and won't agree to open up to anyone else. he's been home from marines now for 2 yrs. i dont know what to do. i love him and he is very intelligent but wasting his life away. he is home 24X7 and i honestly dont know why he isn't out of his mind by now. i asked him if he is addicted to online gaming - he claims he isn't. i asked him whaat he does all day, he says nothing really. i left my ex for emotional and physical abuse to me and i found out later to my kids. i offered up counseling but he refused to continue to go any more at 16. i offered now some career counseling but he doesn't want it either. i think he should see a psychiatrist but i know i'll never get him to go. im 54 and remind him i'm not here forever and he needs to get his independence. he doesnt seem to get it or to be concerned. meanwhile, his younger brother has been formally diagnosed with ADD the inattentive type and he refused all help/medicine offered. he turned to drugs and i couldn't handle that so he is now living with cousins in Maine. he was too young to remember his fathers behavior and now wants to live with him. finally, i have a "normal" daughter who is hoping to go to college next year, is an honor student, united way youth leader, works part time, and tries extremely hard to succeed. i work full time and have a home i purchased and am paying through the nose to keep all for my kids to give them a "stable" home close to schools and friends. so my hands are pretty full. all in all i still feel fortunate in so many other ways and am thankful for the things that are right about my life and family. it just hurts when i see my kids hurting. but i cant help someone that doesnt want the help and doesnt think they need the help. exhausted in connecticut...

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Asked by ic4rest at 8:31 PM on Mar. 9, 2011 in Adult Children (18+)

Level 2 (4 Credits)
Answers (9)
  • He may not be hurting. For some of us living a reclusive life is our way of life and keeps us from what we think hurts us. Living out in the real world is too difficult for us. We don't go crazy in the house 24/7. It's peaceful for us. Maybe he will consider filing for disability so he'll have an income in case something happens to you. Perhaps if you could understand that for many of us waking up each day IS our goal then you'd understand that he does have goals. You can keep suggesting he interact with people but I wouldn't push it. I was able to go to college and have "safe" places I can go without trouble like the library and the grocery as long as there isn't a crowd. I quit driving as well. I live alone but my family knows about all my phobias and accept me. Life is still good although most people don't understand it.

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:43 PM on Mar. 9, 2011

  • thank you for that perspective.

    Comment by ic4rest (original poster) at 8:52 PM on Mar. 9, 2011

  • He needs to be evaluated by a professional. He could be depressed or have some kind of phobia or other mental disorder. Did something happen while he was in the Marines? It seems that the trigger happened while he was in the Marines. I really can't help other than that. You can't force someone to get help, they have to want it.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 9:04 PM on Mar. 9, 2011

  • My heart goes out to you, once our kids are no longer kids there not much we can do but stand by in case you are needed, just support and suggest things you think might help but that is about it, hugs...

    Answer by older at 7:36 AM on Mar. 10, 2011

  • thanks for the replies. i can't really be upset with someone as gentle and caring as my son is, despite his behavior. he does have some phobias for sure but he's a kind soul. i just worry for his future when i'm no longer able to care for him. we'll keep on trying to work on that but he doesn't see himself as disabled, phobic, or disturbed and thus my challenge.n thank you friends.

    Comment by ic4rest (original poster) at 7:20 PM on Mar. 10, 2011

  • If he wants to continue to live with you and not get a job to help you out...then I think there is no question that he needs to see a psychiatrist..not just a counsellor. His life is at stake and it is time for you to be proactive to help him get on the right track to take care of himself. Too bad he left the marines after such a good amount of time. I would have had him at the doctors right away. People can live reclusively if they choose to...if they are independently wealthy or, God forbid, start applying for disabilities and living off of taxpayers instead of Mom. Otherwise as kind and caring and wonderful around the house as he is he needs YOU more than ever to help him out of the nest.


    Answer by notjustmom213 at 8:42 AM on Mar. 11, 2011

  • Your son probably should be evaluated by not only a psychiatrist, but also a regular family physician. Could it be that he has PTSD? Post traumatic stress disorder. Was he ever deployed during the war? Also, realize most mental illnesses blossom after 18 to the young 20s. He seems depressed and withdrawn. Good luck.

    Answer by twinkletoes0408 at 7:56 PM on Mar. 13, 2011

  • The poor boy has some issues, try to get him to seek help.

    Answer by tasches at 7:23 PM on Mar. 17, 2011

  • You may not like what I have to say. I do think your grown child is an introvert but I don't think anything else is wrong with him. Not with the description you give. He has it way too easy at your house. As long as he acts like a house husband, you are putting up with him not participating in life. I wish I had a spouse or a parent like you. I would sit home and just do a few chores myself. He may have PTSD from being in the marines. So? Lots of former soldiers have PTSD and they get on with their lives. They have families, they finish their education, they give back to society. Time for your son to get out of your house. Time to have have some kind of goal, like when will he have a job. Even a part time one to start. Stop making excuses for the "poor boy." He is a man. Time to act like one and quit living off of mommy.

    Answer by lilangilyn at 2:53 PM on Mar. 28, 2011

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