You’re aren’t quite sure how it happened as this was never the plan, but your son who is now considered an adult is living in your basement with very little sign that things will change.
You ask him about school and he sheepishly says he still doesn’t know what he wants to do.
You ask him about applying for work and he says that he just needs to finish his resume before he can do this. You know this is a reasonable answer except this has been his answer for the past few months.
When you push these issues, he either shuts down and seems to be able to exist in the house without being seen or it turns into a huge argument and you both walk away with hurt feelings.
As a mom, you have spent so much time thinking about what happened. Your son has always been quiet and more sensitive. He did pretty well in elementary school but seemed to not really find his peers once he entered junior high and high school.
And it breaks your heart to see your beautiful boy left out. Weekend after weekend passes without movement from the basement.
At times, he opens up and shares just how lonely he is.
You suggest different ways for him to connect with others but he says he just can’t.
The anxiety for him is too big, too intense. He says he wants to get out but the anxiety tells him it will never work.
You hear advice from everyone on how to help him and you’re just so tired of nothing working. When you think of his future, you feel overwhelmed with worry.
Your son is like many of my clients; quiet sensitive young men who struggle in the world of adulthood. It’s not laziness. It’s not feeling entitled.
They are lost, overwhelmed, and don’t know what to do.
It’s often that the world just feels like too much. And for quiet, sensitive males, they have spent most of their childhood and teen years living in overwhelm. They can be great at masking it. They often make it through high school in okay shape.
The problems often become more apparent once the structure of high school is gone and it is now on them to decide what they want to do. This is where they can get lost and shut down.
The shutdown often happens in the first year of university. This is a huge transition for most students but is especially hard for these young men.
The world has told them that they need to be ‘manly’ – outgoing, assertive, or aggressive if they need to.
For these young men, this is so far away from who they are. So they end up feeling like failures.
These are the young people that I see in my counseling practice. They are often lost, overwhelmed, and embarrassed that things are so hard for them.