I had to say it...

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Lil, May 8, 2016.

  1. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    Is the city where you live a place where jobs are scarce and its a high competition? Even at his current job searching level he should have found a job. For example in my poor town the only reason you do not have a job is that you do not want one. And its quite a poor town but it does not lack low paying jobs.
  2. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    No, its lack of motivation pure and simple.
  3. TheWalrus

    TheWalrus I Am The Walrus

    Jabber - You're right about it isn't just hygiene but how others view them, employment, etc. The first thing we judge a person by is appearance, and it is human nature to do so. I would tell my daughter this and she would FLY off the handle about how anyone who judges her on how she looks can kiss her @$$, she doesn't want to work for someone who can't accept her as she is, that's why she likes her friends - they don't judge her...it goes on an on. Same with her mouth. She feels she should be able to say whatever she feels or thinks regardless of how rude, vulgar, or inappropriate it is because that's "who she is." Kind of hard to keep a job when you can't control what you say. And she lost several because of her language, attitude, and mouth. (sigh) But God forbid we try to tell them...we are "judging"...we're their parents and should accept them "the way they are"...and this is "why we have problems and can't get along."
  4. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Sometimes I wonder. I mean, he's got NO time here to earn money and he knows it - that's motivation!

    I wonder if sometimes he's just frozen, like deer-in-the-headlights frozen. There's SO much that he needs to do, SO much he needs to change, but he doesn't believe in himself, he doesn't think he can do it - do any of it - and so instead he does nothing. He needs a job so much, he needs to be adult and stand up and clean up and work and, sure he doesn't want to, but that's only part of it. I think he really doesn't know how to start, even though we tell him, "Take a shower and brush your teeth and put on clean clothes." But his brain says, "That won't be enough. They won't hire me regardless. I can't do it. I can't find a job and get enough money together to make it. Why even try when I'm just going to fail."

    So he doesn't try. He thinks he'll fail, so he doesn't try. I can't help but think of his biodad. When my son was a newborn, he sat on the couch one day, holding him in his arms, looked down at him and said, "D, your daddy is a failure." I responded, "You aren't a failure. You have to try in order to fail. You don't try." He was so upset with me, lol, not giving him any sympathy...but I was so tired of it, of doing everything and getting nothing back but more debts and now I had a baby and instead of helping he was feeling sorry for himself when he wasn't trying.

    I really, truly think he needs help. I think he needs help to get over this lack of self-esteem but nothing we do helps. That's why I'm so easy on him, you know. It's why throwing him out again seems so .. counterproductive? How will that help him feel better about himself? How will that make him more confident about his ability to do things? I keep thinking, something will happen that will make him "get it". I had hope with this counselor - who he said considers herself more of a life-coach. He liked her - he really did - but he hasn't gone back even though he said he would. He lied when he said he'd called her...

    What will it take?
  5. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    I think you are probably correct, Lil.

    Nothing improves self-esteem like accomplishment.

    But he has to try before he can accomplish things.

    I wonder if mental illness affects self-esteem (even if not diagnosed)?

    Just mentioned that, because my daughter with issues has much lower self-confidence than the one without, it seems.
  6. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    AppleCori, as someone who is both mentally ill and on the autism spectrum, I can tell you for sure that mental illness affects self-esteem in a huge way.

    Not only that, children are very often aware that something is wrong long before the parents or other adult carers are.

    Just think about it. You know from comparing yourself to other children or siblings that you can't do things they do, that you react differently, that things frighten or anger you that don't bother them. You may see or hear things that others don't, and when you ask the Trusted Adult about them, their reaction tells you, once again, that you are different, and maybe even scary. Go to school and the other children pick up on your fear and treat you badly. All that just goes to reinforce that you are bad, not worthwhile, etc.

    been there done that, got the t-shirt, the bruises, and the scars that to this day haven't completely healed.
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I believe it does.
    Think about it: If the way you perceive and interact with the world around you is "different" than most people, what do people toss back at you... put-downs, bullying, exclusion, and all sorts of "us vs them" pushback. You don't grow up with the validation that "normal" kids get. Self-esteem gets hammered more than it gets supported. They don't "get" to run on a full tank of it.

    The exception would be ones like SWOT's Sonic - who was well-supported from the beginning with effective and appropriate interventions. Just because you are dealing with a mental illness or a developmental difference doesn't mean you WILL have lower self-esteem... but it is one factor.
  8. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member


    I told my son today that the laundromat was hiring. He went and put in an application and told me that the woman there said the guy doing the hiring would look at applications in the morning and maybe he'd get a call.

    MY SON applied at a laudromat.

    A place where you clean clothing.

    I just...am speechless.

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  9. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    But the crazy thing is, while I'm sure my son has had problems, he was never bullied. He may not have fit in with the jocks or the preppy kids, but he always had friends until he started hanging out with the slacker/stoners in high school. His teachers liked him. Every single one of them said he could have done work far beyond what he was doing, but he would just coast by. If he'd tried, he'd have been a straight A student. He could NOT have had more support at home than he got! He was always allowed to express himself, never pushed into anything he didn't want to do - we didn't force sports on him, for instance - but he was always told he could do anything he put his mind to. I wish I knew where his lack of self-esteem came from.
  10. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet


    When I read your post you described my son and my feelings about all of it to a "T".

    II felt my son was completely overwhelmed...where do I start?? He has to older brothers that are successful and instead of that motivating him it may have had the opposite effect!

    Sometimes the fear of failure keeps a lot of people afraid to even try and with these kids even more so. My son is the same age as your son. It's the immaturity also.

    My son is nothing like his dad work wise however. He was a hard worker all of his life and actually owned a two flat at the age of 23. He was a machinist but always had a wonderful work ethic. Could never just sit and do NOTHING like our son could.

    My son has horrible self esteem and he is very smart and very handsome. Has a good build etc.

    I don't get it.
  11. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    The truly strange thing is that his biodad disappeared when he was 5. I've been married to Jabber ever since and God knows that he's nothing like that. Jabber joined the marines right after high school, has worked multiple jobs - working a part time on top of his full time several times while we've been married. He got his college degree going to night school and on-line courses while working full time. He's worked for dept. of corrections for something like 25 years! Jabber's the kind of guy who says he wouldn't stop working if he won the lottery! Not that he's never lazy...but he's the kind who says, "It needs done." and does it. Heck, he's a better housewife than I am!

    I'm not going to say my son is movie-star material, but he is a good-looking young man, tall and thin (the kind that could dress to kill), gorgeous hair, good bone structure. He'd be very handsome if he'd groom himself.

    He thinks he's ugly.
  12. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    But mental illness, and I know about that, makes you different. And learning differences, which I know about too make you look at college educated siblings and parents and feel inadequate, even if your parents are kind about it. I grew up in sort of a high achieving family. Check, my niece just got accepted to medical school. The top one. I'm happy because I think I got a job as a hostess, although I'm worried that I will screw it up and get fired.

    Life has taught me not to have high self esteem.

    Lil, your son may look at you and Jabber in awe and rather than seeing you as an example could think," I'm such a loser. Look at them. Look at me. I'd rather not try than fail." I felt that way.

    He may also think, "wow. I'm nothing like my high achieving dad. I'm a loser like my bio. Dad." Yes, he probably does think about this comparison.

    I've felt different all my life. Having learning differences affected my ability to work, and I tried HARD. It didn't matter. Nobody pays you for trying hard. You get fired if you can't do it. And each hit affects your self esteem.
    Your son has high achievers for parents. There is no way he feels good about himself, even though everyone here KNOWS you are both kind and encouraging to your son.
    I always feel like the family dummy at least amongst bio. Relatives. It's my problem...Nobody calls me that.
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    Last edited: May 25, 2016
  13. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I don't discount what you are saying, but ... it doesn't make sense.

    But, as for biodad, he had NO WAY of knowing that! He was not raised anywhere near biodad or his family or anyone who knew him. I NEVER even ONCE said a bad thing about his biodad. I NEVER told him what a loser biodad was. I NEVER said anything about him that wasn't as positive as I could make it until AFTER all my son's problems started! Growing up, mostly he wasn't discussed at all but the worst thing he was ever told was that he was a good man who loved him, but he made some bad choices and that he didn't want to work and help out like a husband and daddy should.

    As for looking at us - that's just crazy. He's brilliant. Really. He's every bit as intelligent as we are and he knows it! When he actually tried in school, he got A's. He'd fail a class because he didn't turn in the homework, while getting A's and B's on tests! His teachers always were impressed by his mind...just not his laziness. Jabber and I are educated, but other than that, we're civil servants, middle class, boring people.
  14. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    So...when I was so devastated about the kids, volunteering helped me. Would your son enjoy spending time at an Animal Shelter?

    At a particularly difficult time in her life, one of my grands began volunteering to walk the shelter dogs, and to spend face time with them, and help them feel less abandoned. It wasn't every day. It was an hour or two here, an hour or two there.

    Helping those animals, who were also at such hard places in their lives, gave her a focus, a beginning place to rebuild herself.

    She continued to do it even after she found work. She felt a responsibility to the dogs.


    Other volunteer thinking:

    If there is lots of boating and fishing in your area, he might be able to volunteer to monitor boat launches. They do that here. The volunteers take a shift at a launching site near them. There are two volunteers. The volunteers inform boaters of the laws regarding emptying water from the boats, and provide folders with information on the spread of invasive species.

    Or maybe, a museum. If he has an interest in historical things. I know he reads well and that he reads alot.


    Would he listen to a Brene Brown TED talk? There are so many. Brene Brown is a shame and vulnerability researcher who talks about sitting with the feelings and showing up anyway and losing and failing and getting up again.


    I chose this, though it is long, because it is about Brene Brown's book Daring Greatly, and because of the young male interviewer.


    In the end, I think it doesn't matter why we are as we are. What matters more is that we decide to have a look at it and make little changes toward how we would like to be. We all get stuck sometimes, and that's okay.

    The craziest things have happened in these past months, but your son has made real progress in the time he was away from home.

    Or maybe, he only made a baby step.

    But it was a forward facing one.

    I changed the way I talked to my kids. Like this:

    "I can't believe this is happening either. But I know you. You are bright and strong and you are not a beggar. You can do this. I don't know how, but I know you will. Everything is going to be fine."

    I read somewhere once that if our mother tells us we are going to be fine? We believe her. No matter what happens, we believe we are going to be fine.


    I do really like that Animal Shelter idea. Helping someone else often sets us on course, ourselves.

    Think of all of us here.

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  15. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    You are a wonderful, sweet woman Cedar, who I'm sure would volunteer to help animals and people. He's not a wonderful, sweet boy. He is barely nice to the pets we have at home. He hates the outdoors. The concept of volunteering - not getting paid for something he does - is not one he embraces. :p I've tried that before, really. I suggested it as a way to pad his resume. Heck, he wouldn't even do community service. lol...not really funny.

    If he had a dollar for every time I told him that...he wouldn't need a job. I find myself quoting The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel a lot. "It will all be alright in the end, and if it's not alright, then it is not the end."


    I think it may be time for me to just take a deep breathe and worry about my own job before I get fired for being non-productive.

    I don't think I'm ever going to actually understand him...as much as I want to.
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    Last edited: May 25, 2016
  16. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Lil...I could read at 2 and i wrote stories. My mother thought I was a genius. Yet once school start ed, I struggled. I have a very high verbal Iq, but a below average performance level I Q. I feel like I'm cognitively dull although it's not true.

    You think your son is brilliant. He could be. But he probably would not agree with that. Have you asked him? It's good that he doesn't know about bio. Dad. You are such a sensitive mother.

    in my opinion only and I could be wrong, your son does not feel capable so he's afraid to try. And it is not because of you or Jab...you are dream parents.

    Your son in my opinion is a good person with perhaps some few undiagnosed issues that make him feel badly about himself. (The pot never helps with motivation but you know that.) Still, he may feel incapable of achieving, even though he is bright.

    Or he could just be a late bloomer. He is still pretty young. There is certainly hope. I have always felt your son had a good heart, just like the two of you do.
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  17. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    I agree that low self-esteem can be "learned" from life experiences, but I'm also wondering if it is or could be innate, in some cases, because of a mental illness. Maybe even without a mental illness.

    You know how they often do twin studies?

    Well, my girls are identical twins, who have had as similar life experiences as just about any two people can have. They grew up in the same house, they took all the same classes, had the same friends, same interests and activities, worked together at the same places from high school to grad school, and even their first jobs after graduation. Same degrees, took all their classes together, were co-managers of the lab at school, lived together until late last fall (except for when they were RAs).

    My daughter with bi-polar, had, if anything, more success.

    But her self-esteem and self-confidence is lower than her sister's.

    Maybe there is another explanation, but I don't know what it is.
  18. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Life is full of irony!

    I hope he gets that one!
  19. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    While I doubt we're anyone's ideas of "dream parents" lol, I definitely agree with you on the rest of that. I do think he's afraid of failure - which makes him not even try.
  20. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    "If he'd tried"... If I had a dollar for every time I heard that - about myself, or about my kids - I would be rich. That's what it LOOKS like... as though they are not trying. In reality? You don't know what all was holding him back. I found out stuff - simple SIMPLE stuff that should have been caught at grade 3, and we didn't know until high school - that explained a LOT of why school wasn't easy and why he wasn't just "lazy". Part of him had/has the capability of doing academics. But when you also have to survive in life... there may not be enough mental and emotional energy to excel.

    High school changes literally everything. People you thought were your friends - vanish, they become preppies or jocks. And you get left behind, and pretty much there is only three groups in school. It can happen to ANY kid, and more often to kids with subtle challenges.

    But biodad's genes didn't disappear. He's still genetically half biodad. He will have some of those traits, like it or not.