My son suffers from General Anxiety Disorder- His father said I've enabled him.

by Kardisean
(fairfax, va US)

My son is now suffering from GAD and social phobia. He grew up from two households, whenever he comes home from his father, he was always angry at his dad and his girlfriend. I knew then that this issues with his dad would create psychological problems in the future. So- I devoted all my time and attention to him, I tried being the loving mother and father for him.

I did not date nor seen anyone, so that he will never feel that both his father and I are splitting our love and attention from him. He grew up very mischievous, always in trouble at school. Now he is 21, he is suffering from a severe GAD, he refuses to drive as he is very terrified.

His father blames me for all what he is suffering now. I just want for my son to received the love
he needed, however, I do not want him to be dependent at me at this point. He left home three
years ago, I thought that would help him mature.

He wants to come home now and stay with me,
where he feels safer than if he lived in a dorm. He does not have real person friends, all he
does is to chat with strangers from the computer. He is seeing a therapist. Is it really my fault for enabling him? I also feel guilty.

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Sep 23, 2015
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wonderful
by: Lenora Matte

Wow, wonderful weblog structure! How long have you ever been running a blog for you make blogging look easy. The total look of your web site is excellent, as well as the content!

Jul 05, 2010
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thank you Kathleen
by: Kardisean

Thanks for your kind notes. I am really glad that I am part of this net work; you all understand me instead of laughing at the situation. I was with friends and their grown up kids at the picnic for the 4th of July. All their children who are my son's age were there with the girlfriends and boyfriends, their children shared their college life who are also going to colleges away from home. Of course, my son was not one of them, I invited him and refused. I did not let that stop me and I went aheaed without feeling guilty enjoying the 4th without him. I felt very envious last nite, all their children are having a normal life having fun, whereas mine has made himself a prisoner of his own room. Of course everyone laughed and made fun of me when I shared them the story that I used to put a hemet on my child as a young boy when we played golf, I did not want any hard ball hitting my son's head. They said that is probably what happened to him..overly protected! I cannot undo the past, I can only move on forward to pass the situation. The internet-of-the-mind, in which Don and you have supported my strenght with your kindest understanding.

Jul 02, 2010
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Glad for you!
by: kathleen D. Cone

Hi! Kardisean,

Just wanted to say that I am very glad that you found this site and that you are part of our family of fitting-in misfits *Ha, but am most glad about how obvious it is that you are working hard to find answers to the challenges in life that you are facing and following up on the good suggestions of Don! In fact, I'm proud of you!

* Note to Don
I love you Don for being the person you are and for helping others to understand and learn ways of helping themselves!

Kathy

Jul 02, 2010
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Thanks Don
by: kardisean

I look forward this morning to see reply. Many thanks for being very attentive to our requests.
I will do just as recommended, we will seek counseling where he and I may open up all this very important situation.

Many thanks for you and your Internet of the Mind that has opened my mind up. I do see improvements with our relationships since I started to un-able. I just need to be firm to continue with it and not to feel sorry for him.
Again-many thanks.

Jul 02, 2010
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Support
by: Don

Hi Kardisean,

sounds like a good shift is taking place. However, what we can do here is support and encourage...not advise you professionally on how to handle things. This is too important to mess up. It would be best for you and your son get into counseling together, with a professional who knows how to thoroughly assess your situation and advise you face-to-face.

In my opinion, that should be a person who knows about drinking and drug problems as well as anxiety issues and family counseling.

Getting this kind of help should come first because then the professional can be there to help advise you every step of the way from one situation to the next. And we can be here to provide encouragement and emotional support.

Keep going...and take care of your own recovery too!

Don

Jul 01, 2010
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another advice please
by: kardisean

I've started practicing tough love to my son since participating with your internet assistance.It is amazing though very difficult at the breaking point, that my son knows who rules at this time. He is now much respectful and I hope that I do not softened up with him. He beg me tonite that he refuses to go back to his previous college he has been attending for the past three years, due to so much drinking. He wrote me a very sweet email today at work realizing that drinking did not do both of us good and had been detremental for both of us. He wants to live home again with me and go to a university closer to home. At 21 1/2 y/o, he is so afraid to drive, that would mean that I have to take him back and forth to school then I will go to work. Learning how to un-able, I told him that the decision is ultimately his choice. He must learn to drive to stay at home and avoid drinking at the other college, or go back and learned to say NO to drinks. He said that he may just quit school till he is ready to drive. His quitting college is my worse fear, what will he do at home 24/7? I do not feel surrendering by saying that I could take drive him to and from school which is also very very incovenient for me as I have odd schedule at work or sometimes out of town. He refuses to take any anti-anxiety meds declaring that he does not believe in any medication. He refuses to see his father as all his anger to him are all bottled up. He said that his dad had exposed him to his private sexual encounter with different women while he was young; last week while he was drunk, he openly vented this out to me which was a secret he has kept from me. HE IS SEEKING COUNSELING CURRENTLY. I am quite loss, I really do not know where to go from here after practicing my tough love. What do you think? Again- any feedback is very greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Jul 01, 2010
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Thank you...
by: kardisean

Don and Kathy, many many thanks for all your time afforded to help me. Your advices are all very helpful to me in dealing with my son.
I will keep you all abreast as to what results I've encountered.
Again- Many thanks.

Jun 30, 2010
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Cautions...
by: Don Carter

Hi Kardisean,

I am the Don the Kathleen has been referring to. As she mentioned, I am a counselor. However, I would not assume to know enough about your unique situation to give any specific professional advice. Most counselors like to do a thorough assessment before making recommendations.

What I can do is give some general guidelines about enabling behavior.

1. If drinking, drug use, gambling or other such issues are in the picture AT ALL I would not offer to do anything, including let the person come live with me unless an evaluation has been done, recommendation made, and the person engaged in actually following those recommendations.

2. If a person has any problem that interferes with their functioning in life, I would refrain from doing ANYTHING for them that they are able to do for themselves -- if there is any question about whether they are "able" to do something, a verbal or written confirmation from a doctor or counselor stating such would be in order.

3. I would only help or support (i.e., a place to stay, etc.) the person IF they were doing everything they can to take ownership of THEIR problem. That means taking meds, staying off alcohol, drugs etc., going to counseling or treatment and doing anything else that is recommended by the professionals on the case.

4. If the person chooses NOT to follow recommendations or take responsibility for THEIR problem -- that would make all my decisions for me as far as being helpful -- I would have to decline.

5. I would look closely at my role in how the problem developed and STOP DOING whatever it was that is not helping -- even if that means going to Alanon meetings. If I "do things for them" in order to ease my own feelings, then that's about me and my enabling problem, not them.

Kardisean, if you have done too much for your son in the past, then you are guilty only of loving too much. However, now that you know about enabling and if you find it difficult to not intervene (i.e, do things for him that he should be doing for himself) then you are just as responsible for getting help for YOUR problem as he is for his.

Hope this helps!

Don Carter

Jun 30, 2010
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Who is Don? Answer
by: Kathleen D. Cone

Don is the person who set up this site.. he is a professional counselor and the moderator.

I am a person who found this site while looking for answers to the challenges I've been facing with panic and stress and it's helped me tremendously!

The best person's to know if medication is right for your son is his own doctors..ie.his own psych's. And it's up to both them and your son.

I referred to Don's expertise because I am not qualified to know the difference and substance abuse.. such as alcohol is way out of my league.. I just noticed it helped stop the panic on Halloween for me and how I can see how a person with panic disorder might use alcohol to self-medicate..

I hope that helps clarify things for you.. In real life I'm a Fine Artist.

Have you read Don's "The Iceburg Model" on this site?..(there's a link). It is soooo insightful and can be very enlightening, without adding guilt, shame or blame.

If not.. I recommend you do...It will help you understand the cycles of alot of disorders!

*s Kathy

Jun 29, 2010
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Who is Don?
by: kardisean

Kathy, your kind comments are really giving me hopes. My son refuses to take medication at this time. I adhered to your advice the other day, to do as his pyschologist recommend re- his college dorm out of town or to stay back at home. His pshchologists said that it would be worse if he stayed at home again and shield himself in over-coming all his college life experiences. If Don can provide my some guidelines as to how I can encourage him to take medication for his anxiety, I believe that would solve much of our on-going problems. I hope that he can face going back to his previous college before the end of July. Kathy- I am very profoundly appreciative of your time and advice. Your words provide me hope!
Many thanks.

Jun 28, 2010
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The Drinking Part
by: Kathleen D. Cone

Dear Ksridsean,

When I started having panic problems and before my pimary care doctor put me on medication, I noticed on Halloween of this past year, 2009, that I did not have panic that night because I drank wine and it acted as a sedative for my nervous system.

I don't ordinarily drink except on occassion and of course now not at all due to the medication I'm taking. But, it could well be that is partly at the root of why your son is drinking and/or Self-medicating.

"Don here at "Internet of the Mind" could address that subject as a professional counselor, much better than I.

Hopefully your son is not taking a medication and drinking!

But aside from the emotional triggers that set off the panic alarm in the prinal part of the brain of a person with this kind of disorder...

I'm learning that one common problem is often a depletion of the limbic system....Due to things like lack of sleep, not eating a healthy diet, coffee and other caffine based stimulants, nicotine and of course lots of anxiety and fear.

If your son is not an alcoholic... he might be helped with medications that help regulate the Brain and later be tappered off these instead of drinking...because they won't actually get him high.

Again please ask Don his views on the subject because once on the kind of medication I'm taking...it crosses the blood brain barrier and is nothing to mess around with, and you can't just decde you don't want to take the medication suddenly without tappering off of it, without it possibly being dangerous...

So a lot to think about and not all of it is about either you or his Dad at this point.. some may well be his limbic system is depleted.

Kathy

Jun 28, 2010
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Thanks Kathy....
by: ksridsean

Kathy, many many thanks for your kind time in writing your comments. I will take your advice into heart. I've start uneabling him over the weekend. I went out of the house and did whatever enjoyments I can without worrying about him. Of course he called me several times on my cell which I ignored, I felt very emancipated from doing so.

When I got home late that day, he started drinking, declared that I've abandoned him. But that day, practicing in leaving him alone to take care of him was truly emancipating. However, I encountered problems with him while he was drink. Again- I just ignored him....Again- this website is helping me a whole lot in uneabling him. I will talk with his therapist...Many thanks.

Jun 25, 2010
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I have intimate experience with anxiety and panic!
by: Kathleen D. CONE

Maybe i can help!

First thing I'd do is make sure it's okay with your son to make an appointment with his therapist, so that you can consult with him or her about whether it would be good for your son to be at home with you.

Feeling safe for him is important, so he can focus on getting better, regardless of who is at fault for what!

But, his Therapist is the person your son talks to in private and in many ways can act as a buffer between you, your son and his Father.

Don't expect or try to gleen any 'information' from the Therspist about your son's private feelings about you or his father... but if your son agrees, set an appointment for youself alone, and with as open a heart as you can and try your best not to make his illness about you or his dad.

I think it would help your son's Theripist to get to know you better, so if you can keep the topic focused on your own unresolved issues about your own life, (not about his Dad) that will help your son far more!

and then go from there.

Kathy


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