Reply To: Son 22, never had a job and living with enabling mom

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Congratulations to your son on graduating! Seriously. I think you don’t realize what a major achievement that was, and just slipped by it on the way to his next failure. But he graduated. Now he’s finding it difficult to look for a job because it is terrifying. But he graduated! That’s great! I am agreed with the other respondents that if you can manage to somehow not be “the bad guy“, and manage to just meet them once a month in some neutral context for lunch, or to go rock climbing, or to do something that he would enjoy, just to keep the door open. And then when his brain has matured sufficiently you will be there to give him a hand when he asks for one. You have to meet him where he is, not stand half a mile up the road to where you think he should be by now yelling at him to hurry up and catch up to you.

I don’t know how you would feel about this, but if he does a lot of multiplayer gaming, you could ask him to teach you how to do it. And then you could also ask him if it would be OK if you joined in sometimes. He will be very much better at it than you are, which would give him the chance to teach you how and also give him the chance to be better than you are at something, Which would be excellent for his self-esteem, and it would also give the two of you something you could do together that was on his turf. Instead of yet another thing that he is failing at. It’s another way of keeping the door open for when he wants to ask for help, when he is ready to do that.

Or find some other activity that you can do together that you can both enjoy. Something non-threatening that he is reasonably good at.

You don’t say if you celebrated his graduation, but if you didn’t, if there’s someway that you can acknowledge that achievement – a card, a gift, Dinner out Dash that would be good. It will have been very much harder for him to do that then you have any idea. It took me eight years to finish my BA. I felt like a useless loser and I hated myself every single day of those eight years. But then my brain matured, slowly, overtime, and I am no professional employed and have been for years. It all worked out.

If you take him out for dinner though, don’t take the opportunity to do what would come naturally it any graduation dinner, to ask him what’s next! He doesn’t know what’s next and he is panicking. I have sympathy.

I do not know the mother of course and if she is a drug user that’s not a good influence. But she doesn’t know what to do either and may well be doing the best she can. Your story about her just showing up on campus and “stalking” him I see from her perspective, or what would be my perspective of I were the one doing it. I would want to see my son because I loved him and missed him. I would visit him on campus for that reason. Try assuming that she loves him and then ask yourself how that affects your opinion of her actions. They may be misguided but well meant. And remember that he loves her too.