Difficulty living with 25 yr old son who is bipolar


New Member
I am a divorced single parent living with my 25 year old son who is bipolar. He was hospitalized when he was 19 when he received this diagnosis. He is very intelligent & attended college for several years but did not graduate. He is currently unemployed & refuses to take medication or attend counseling sessions. He had a wonderful male therapist for several years but he was non-compliant & he did not follow his advice. I need to relocate soon for my job. My son does not want to come with me but I need to go for both economic & personal reasons. He constantly blames me for all his problems. My ex-husband has no contact with him or myself. I want him to be independent & live on his own or with a friend. However, he is very resistant to this suggestion & does not seem to understand that I must relocate. I don't know what do.


Well-Known Member
You relocate and hopefully he won't go with you.

You are not a slave to this man. He does not sound like his bipolar is that severe (I also have a mood disorder) and he refuses to help himself. Why should you keep him in your house while he acts like a child, makes no move to get employed, and abuses you? You have given him too much power over your life and YOU should be in control of your life. If it were me, I'd make him leave and find his own way, but I understand that we all have to learn to detach in our own way.

A few ideas that most of us here utilizie:
My house/my rules--He lives in YOUR house and he either follows your rules or he can not reside there. Is he using drugs to self-medicate?

Respect me or don't talk to me--Many of us demand respect or we won't talk back to the disrespectful person until they modify their way of speaking to us. Why can he boss you around like a toddler in your own house?

I can understand why your ex doesn't want anything to do with him. You should not, if you want to stay mentally healthy, allow his man (and he IS a man) to tell you how you caused all his problems. That's baloney and it's mean. He has no right to talk to you that way when you are housinjg him and paying his bills. I personally wouldn't listen to that even if he were on his own. No rules say we have to put up with things we would never put up with from a spouse or friend just because we gave birth to somebody twenty-five years ago. He needs to man up and stop being dependent yet abusive. If not, you could be eighty years old and still housing him and putting up with a 60 year old man's abuse. A bipolar diagnosis is not a death sentence. He could take care of it, work, have friends, and stop living with you. He just doesn't want to and you care more about him than yourself so you allow it. But most of us started out this way and had to learn to put our own needs first. It is different if they were minor children, but they aren't. He's not a little boy. You'd send him to a time out if he were. You need to set him free to learn how to deal with life, in my opinion, and learn to love yourself. Are you in therapy at all?

I hope you read some threads here to see how we deal with our own difficult adult children. You can not change your son and it isn't a good idea to still be his mommy at his age, in my opinion. There are men his age who fought in the war, had injuries, and still take care of themselves. He needs to grow up now or he and you will never have decent lives.

And we want you to have a good life. You should not even think about checking in with your son to see if it's ok for you to move. Move! In my opinion, from the way you describe him, it would be best if she did refuse to move with you and spent time on his own, even if he has to live on the street or get a job. Bipolar is no excuse for being abusive or refusing to work. And if he won't take his medications, well, he's just being a big defiant baby...that's his problem, not yours.

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change,
The courage to change the t hings I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Even if you are not religious, take out the God part...the words are still wise.

I with you luck. I know that at first the idea of detaching from an adult child that we have enabled for years is shocking and even offensive. But think about it. Do you want him running your life, like an abusive spouse? What gives him that right?Why do you think you have to take care of him, and put up with abuse on top of it? What have you done for yourself lately?

Hugs and good luck!

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Welcome Sheilagh,
I need to relocate soon for my job. My son does not want to come with me
I think you already have the answer. Your son is 25 and he does not want to go with you.

At age 25 your son really should be living on his own and not relying on his mother for housing and food.
I really want you to hear me when I say this: YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS LIFE OR HIS PROBLEMS
The fact that he is blaming you shows to me that he's manipulating you. This is a common thing difficult adult children will do, they are very good at knowing how to push our buttons and nothing works better for them than "mother's guilt". It is wrong for him to blame you.

I understand that he's had a diagnosis of being bi-polar but do not allow him to use this as an excuse to not take responsibility for his life. There are many people who are bi-polar and manage to function very well in life, it comes down to choice, they choose to be responsible.

My suggestion to you is this; tell your son you are moving and he will have to find a new place to live. If he suddenly says he wants to move with you, I would tell him no. You're 25 and it's way past time that you should be taking care of yourself.

I know this may sound harsh and my intent is not to hurt you. I do however want you to start to understand that by allowing your son to live with you, you are not helping him, you are enabling him. Think years down the road, do you want to be 80 years old and still have your son be dependent upon you? What happens when you die? The sooner you learn how to detach from him the better it will be for both of you.

None of us like that our adult children have the issues they do but it's their issues and problems not ours. We raised them as best we could, we taught them right from wrong along with many other life lessons.

He is very intelligent & attended college for several years but did not graduate.
The fact that your son attended college speaks volumes, it proves that he is capable.

You will find many stories of people just like you on this site. Read them, learn from them. Know that it's ok to detach and move on with your own life. It's not only ok, it's healthy.

We are here and we care. Let us know how things are going.

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


New Member
Thanks very much New Leaf. I spent the better part of today trying to process everything and cleaning up all the food he had thrown at me. My entire living room had pad thai noodles all over the place...I don't think I want to eat pad thai for a long time now!

I didnt' know what more to do for him. It seemed like he was regressing while he was staying with me. I also realized that my condition of him going to the mental health program while he lived with me, didn't come from inside of him ie. it wasn't like he was going because he is motivated to get better...it was so he could continue living with me. That was a realization I came to today. He has got to want to get better for himself..not for me or anyone else. It was so strange. His behavior echoed how he was when he lived with me ie. playing video games, not doing chores, being disrespectful. He even stole one of my credit cards to charge all sorts of points for games online! He hadn't done this in over 2 years...now that he came back, he was regressing. The binge eating and just pure glutton behavior.

I think the breaking point for me last nite...beyond him throwing food at me was when he came back down and I said...look at the mess you made, he said nothing. Went into the kitchen to grab a bag of popcorn and sprawled on the sofa. Then he made a remark ..."Well you are a slave anyways...so you clean it up! Wow! at that point I looked at him and all I saw was a self entitled rude person and I could not take one more minute of his disrespect. I knew if I didn't do something and take action, I would be destined to be abused by him going forward. That is when I called the police ...then he saw I meant business.

It seems when he taunted me to throw him out, it was though he actually wanted me to do it as he couldn't do it. It was really strange. At one point I said...look it is late, just go to sleep youl'll feel better in the morning. To which he continued to berate me and actually threatened to hurt me if I spoke of this girl he has been seeing. He then said I was poison to him and toxic. To which I replied...if it is so bad living here...there's the door - I can do without all this stresss and drama.

The policeman enforced to me he can't live with me. He said just as he punched the tv screen...he could have seriously injured me in a fit of rage......

Lesson learned. He needs to step up and take control of his own life. I did all I could for him...and it still didn't help....it made it worse. If he chooses to not help himself, I have to respect that and let him life he wants to live, even if it's not what I want for him.


Well-Known Member
Welcome Sheilagh

I agree with SWOT/Serenity. Everything she says. You do not mention where you live, the country. I live in the States so my reference point is here.

My son who is now 27 receives SSI for Mood Disorder. He calls himself bipolar but has never received this diagnosis. I asked him to leave when he turned 23. He spent some time homeless, a long time couch surfing and some time in residential treatment.

Our sons must learn to take care of themselves and to live within society's expectations. The only way they will learn is to experience the consequences of their choices.

To refuse to be treatment compliant is a poor choice, but common. You should not have to live the consequences of his choice. If he is unable to work because of his illness, let him apply for government benefits and avail himself of County services.

He is no longer your responsibility. This is not good for him, and horrible for you.

My son too blames everybody else. This makes it imperative that I stay out of the way.

If I were you I would make the move and whatever other changes you need and want to make. It is a godsend your son does not want to go with you. You go. That is what I say. You are also not responsible for any of his financial support. If he wants to change his circumstances, let him takes steps that are commensurate with changing. Blaming his mother is not one of them.

I am glad you found us. Posting really helps. Welcome.



If focused on a single leaf you won't see the tree
I agree with others here. He is a Man now, was going to school, stopped. He is unemployed, refused further counseling and help. YOU have to get on with your life and let him figure out his own path whatever that may be. He is smart, he will find his way. He can apply for disability if he needs to do so. He will either help himself or not. Cut him loose. Give him a date he has to leave so you can wind up your affairs and move. Let him drive his own bus to get to his destination.

I have found most recently with my own son, that whenever I have been there for him financially or otherwise, the more he self destructed, was not motivated to change his life. The moment I stopped being his payee, stopped hearing his drama, set hard boundaries, stopped listening to his latest nightmare emergency situation, he seemed to have gotten better. I can't explain it- it's like they act so disrespectful, mean, put the blame on you on purpose so that you will be so fed up with them, that you walk away. It's an almost in your face push on purpose so that they will try to figure their own stuff out but can't because Momma is driving the bus.

Since I changed how I deal with him now; he's changed and we have had really nice conversations, no drama, no asking for money, just good conversation. I got a text recently thanking me for everything I have tried to do for him. Of course, been there with the thank you's, and waiting with low expectation that things will remain good. But I just take day by day and keep hard on boundaries for now. Life has been peaceful lately- something I haven't had in years.


Well-Known Member
I agree with the others. Maybe if he knows he is likely eligible for SSI, he will cooperate to a certain degree. If he goes to a doctor fairly regularly and esp. if he gets on medications for his diagnosis, this will go a long way toward getting SSI funding. Then, he will have some funds to get his own place. Unless he is obstinate, which he very well might be, I would explain SSI to him, encourage him to see a doctor regularly and order the disability paperwork and start the ball rolling on that. He can work very part time if he is able to (later) and still get disability (but he'll only be able to work very PT). Read whatever you can find on setting boundaries. Consider seeing a therapist for yourself if you find your self down...because this is very taxing. It's for the best if he move out. Don't miss a good opportunity for yourself for work advancement or otherwise.