20 yr old son returned home. Just when I thought things were improving

hi there my Difficult Child just returned home from University. After a lot of previous history of depression, suicidal episoide and difficult behaviour, A few months we had a bidg breakthrough in our relationship and he started opening up to me about his worries, depression and feelings, I really felt we connected and shared an emotional bond. Since then things have been much better between us, However he has just finished uni for his first year, and he has told me he dosnt want to get a job. He gets no money from us in the holidays only food and lodgings. when at uni, we give him money for food, books etc. but that has stopped now he is home, he suffers depression and stays in bed most of the day, has no friends here that he wants to see, so think it would give him a purpose, but being 20 I cannot force him. A couple of times when he has mentioned having no money,I did say he could get a job, he told me to get off his back and leave him alone, and to stop going on at him

Anyhow tonight we had a massive argument, which started over something silly, now he then said some REALLY hurtfull stuff to me, as well as totally disrespectful towards me. Said that he dosnt want to be here, but has no choice, etc prefers not to speak to me again, till September, etc etc and that I am a truly horrible person. I am so hurt by his words and it was totally unjustified, Over something really small. I think that I tend to try not to agrigvate him because I know he is feeling fragile mentally so he gets away with too much. Also him and his dad end up screaming at each other and it all gets incredibly nasty. I think that He gets away with too much and I am too soft with him.

I now feel that we are back to where we started, him hating me and not talking to me, feel like I have gone right back to the beginning after spending ages building bridges. But I can't and don't want to put up with him telling me to F*** off just because I asked him to tidy the mess he left in the bathroom.

I appreciate anyone's opinion

help his depression to get out the house


Well-Known Member
Well, I'll chime in.

Your son, like so many adult kids here, is coddled and given too much and is lazy. this is the typical adult child on thisl forum. He wasn't angry at you while he was at college because he got the money flowing in. But, dang, you cut off his money...and, worse, told him...to....get...a JOB! If he were mykid, he'd be working or finding another place to live if he has the gall to yell and scream horrible things at you. That is, quite simply, abuse. Violent abuse. Nobody has the right to talk to you that way, even if they are "emotionally fragile." That is not an excuse.

Do you know if your son is using drugs or alcohol? Staying in bed all day can be a sign of that. It can also cause depression or make depression worse. Is he going for help? Trying to get better? Seeing a therapist? Why not? That could be a condition of living under your roof. He is too old for you to make it all better. HE has to be the one to heal himself at his age. And that's what he should be doing.

I agree with cutting off all money. He is able bodied. People his age are working full time, in the military, and going to college WITHOUT parental funding. He's not a child and he's not an invalid. I have suffered depression most of my life and it doesn't make you mean, lazy or unable to tend to your own health care needs. Do you pay for his cell phone? His car insurance? His car? His clothes? I think at his age he should be a major contributor to all of that.
How are his grades doing? Is he going toa ll of his classes?

On this forum, most of us either learn or already know that we can only control one person in the world...ourselves. Although you can't change your son one bit, you CAN change the rules you give him regarding his life, your house, what he has to do in order to live under YOUR roof in YOUR castle and how much money you will contribute to his college days. You can call the police if he gets out of control, looks like he may assault you, if he breaks anything or if he is just scary to be around.

Many of us have had to do all of those things. It is a choice we all have to make because we can not change our adult children's choices. Many of us choose to live our lives peacefully. It took many of us a long time to get there and some a short time.

Sounds very unpleasant at your place right now. I am very sorry he hurt you. That was his intention. He wants something from you and is willing to fight dirty to get you to cave in. Do you know what he wants? Is it money and n o demand that he work? That is a common reason why our Difficult Child go on a rampage on us. It is best NOT to give in. He shouted nonsense at you. You know you are not a horrible person. Any other kids at home who heard his tantrum? (It WAS a tantrum).
Hi, thank you for your reply someoneoutthere, I hear what you are saying, and agree with what you say. My son is not in drugs, and dosnt drink either, I am sure if this. He has no car, his phone is all paid for, and he only uses Internet on his phone for messages so no monthly bill, and he goes without new clothes, if he has no money, So there really isn't anything I can stop.

But I do think I deserve respect in my own home. TBH I am scared of he blazing rows that he and his dad can have. I end up in the middle and always end up getting shouted at by both. I just want a quiet life!
However I do hear what you say. I will let the dust settle and then see how he is.


Well-Known Member
Different perspective here.

This isn't your son speaking, it's the depression speaking. And depression can be really hurtful. Especially in guys... many times, depressions shows up as anger. And two guys going at it (even just verbally... been there done that) IS super stressful.

Any chance that his dad also has latent depression? If HE would seek help, it might help the son?

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Hi DS, I am so sorry for what you are going through. I see in your signature that your husband has anger issues. Are the two of you in agreement that your son needs to be doing something other than staying in bed all day. If you are not in agreement your son will know this and he may use it against you. Our Difficult Child are very in tune with our soft spots and they will use it against us.

The first thing I would do is go over ground rules with your husband to make sure you are both on the same page. Then the two of you need to sit down with your son and tell him what the rules will be if he chooses to continue living under your roof. Give some thought to what you really expect of him. I would not make a really long list of rules, keep it basic. Remind him that you are not obligated to allow him to stay in your home. Does your son plan on going back to school?

Our Difficult Child have such an attitude of entitlement and think we the parents owe them. Trust me on this, you do not owe your son anything.
Our Difficult Child are also very good at trying to guilt us into to doing what they want, be aware of this. You say your son is suicidal, again this is not uncommon. I have been through this with my son as well. My son has also used threats of suicide to try and guilt me into helping him.

I would also suggest that you and your son get into some counseling. Ideally you, husband and son.

Your son is in YOUR home and you deserve to be treated with respect. If your son cannot do that then you need to prepare yourself that you may have to ask him to leave.

It's not easy dealing with all of this but I can tell you there are many of us here that have been through similar and in some cases much worse and we have all survived.

Stay close to this site and keep posting, keep reading other posts and learn.

((HUGS)) to you........................


Well-Known Member
DId he say he doesn't want to speak to you till September? But he expects to keep living in your house? If I understand that correctly...that is completely unacceptable.

It isn't enough to cut things off. You can require certain standards of behavior. I agree it may be his depression, or it may be that he is coddled, or he may be a Difficult Child whose behavior is beyond our understanding...but...he has to be polite. As my mom used to say...you don't have to like us but you have to be nice to us.

Don't lose track of your right to feel comfortable in your own house.



Well-Known Member
If it is depression (i.e. you are certain he isn't just being difficult by choice), keep the rules few and simple, and limit them to what directly affects you. Things like:
1) must communicate respectfully
2) no helping himself to food or facilities like laundry - he must communicate
3) must get off the property at least once per day... at first, that might just be a walk around the block, but that counts; but this also must be communicated.

If he wants to take his food to his room and eat there, he can (we had to do that for our kid, and it WAS necessary) but has to bring dishes back. He doesn't have to see you any more than to communicate the necessary, respectfully.

You might get farther with carrots than with sticks - if he goes to therapy and doctors appointments and participates willingly, would you give him a small amount of something he wants? (a few dollars, some computer time, something?)


Well-Known Member
I don't know, IC. I usually agree with you, but I have suffered from depression all of my life and it's severe depression. I have never seen anyone, due to depression, HAVE to be mean. They may not feel happy, but they don't require special handling. I've also been in a hospital and many groups. I have never heard that a mood disorder that isn't mania can cause you to be mean against your will. in my opinion he is acting like a jerk on purpose.j Depression does not make you mean. It can make you cranky, but not mean. You can also work while depressed. And you, most of all, can get help for the depression. The fact is, he won't or isn't and that alone is defiance.

I agree that absolutely nothing should make disrespect allowable while he lives rent free in YOUR home. He is not psychotic. I had nobody helping me during my depressions and it worked out that I learned how to manage them and I was always told engaging in the world is the best thing for depression. If he is well enough to go to college and socialize and eat there, he can certainly do it at home. He's not an invalid. Depression is worse if you lay around.


Well-Known Member
Depression does not make you mean. It can make you cranky, but not mean. You can also work while depressed
I disagree - respectfully as usual.

When I get as far down as clinical depression... I'm meaner than a mean-ugly drunk. I lash out, because I cannot cope with ANYTHING. Especially interacting with people. I know others who are like this also.

Depression IS worse if you lay around. Totally agree. But it is also variable, not static. He may have held himself together somewhat at college when he should have been seeking help instead and... pushed himself far enough that he's in a major pit. He needs clinical help - and is far enough down that he doesn't even want that. It's a tough place to be.


Well-Known Member
Well, IC, you're right about some people actually. You have less patience and are on edge, especially if there is anxiety. And everyone is different. My depression, when I had it, tended to be static and never went away. It was always there. It was, however, a little better if I pushed myself to do things and worse if I did not make myself get up and do stuff.

I can't imagine being clinically depressed and NOT wanting help. That has to be on his shoulders. He is deliberately staying sick. I can not relate to it. I always wanted to do better and we only know our own experiences. At any rate, since he is twenty years old and able to go to college, he is able to get up, do chores, keep his tongue in his head without telling his mother she is the most horrible mother in the world (I'm thinking this is beyond the snapping that YOU did, IC) and he can drag himself to a mental health clinic. I wouldn't let him eat in his room unless he cleaned it up completely.

When I was in the hospital for ten weeks for depression, you were not allowed, on the psychiatric ward, to sit in your room. You were awakened and you could not go back to your room. You had to go to groups, art therapy, pool time, volleyball and the only place you could sit was the common area with other patients. It is not considered good
to let a depressed person isolate. Heck, they were just depressed...some were schizophrenic and bipolar.

If anyone got violent, regardless of their diagnoses, they were put into an isolation room and locked in and sometimes told to leave. There is no school of thought that it's ok to be abusive in any way because you are mentally ill. And depression is very treatable, but you have to go for help...

Thanks for the good chat :)


one day at a time
Another thought---I would require he go to treatment regularly as a condition of living in your house.

There is little chance of anything changing without treatment.

With a psychiatrist or psychologist for mess plus talk therapy he can get the help he needs to function and at some point, function independently.

Also small steps like others have said. Keep the requirements reasonable and few and simple.

Try it for a week and see what happens. It will either get better or worse and you can go from there.