How do I help my son

I have just read part 1 of the Iceberg and it has made me believe what I already thought was going on for my 19 year old son. He is a lovely boy who is rather quiet and with hindsight I realize he has always been an introvert born into a family of extroverts.

He has 2 older sisters. My son is sensitive, highly intelligent, gifted musically, a great reader and has a beautiful nature. I love him very much but am afraid that I have been instrumental in his current state of depression and feelings of being stuck and lost.

When my children were younger, although I considered myself a good mother who provided well for my children, I now realize that although I was meeting physical needs etc I was not meeting his deepest needs. I was verbally abusive at times when he put on weight. I couldn't understand him and told him that on several occasions.

I hate to think of all the cruel and hurtful things. I have apologized to him in recent years and hope he realizes that if I could go back I would change things. He says it's fine and I know he loves me but I also think he needs to get some professional help to get out of the depression.

I feel so responsible but just don't know what to do. I could go on for ever here but suppose I am just asking how best I can encourage him to speak with a counselor who can help when he feels unable to talk to anyone but me about how he is feeling.


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Nov 09, 2009
How to help your Son...
by: Don

Hi Jacki...the first thing I would suggest to you is to read the Iceberg with an eye toward your own childhood and how YOU were wounded. Our parents usually do the best they can but "wounded people, wound people".

In order to help your son, it's important to understand how you were wounded and begin to heal from your own emotional abandonment. This is not to excuse anything -- it's so you can provide credible evidence that there is a way out. It's also to be the one to stop the inter-generational transfer of woundedness.

It's better if both of you get help and healing. Now, given all that, if he is genuinely depressed and stuck -- a good way to support him getting into a counselor might be to find one who knows about the kinds of things I write about in "the Iceberg" (call it Childhood issues, or Adult/Child Syndrome, or growing up in a dysfunctional family). Maybe even go once yourself to discuss your concerns with the counselor.

Then, if your counselor agrees, ask your son to attend a session with you. It may be that you end up starting counseling for you now and he starts later, or the other way around. It may even be that you both do counseling at the same time...maybe in individual sessions with separate counselors.

However it goes, getting started is the main thing. Your counselor can guide you the rest of the way. And you can use these Forums as well... Thanks for your question!

I think there are others out there who have found themselves in your shoes (or in your son's shoes) who can share what they did or what they would have liked.


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