My Beautiful Brilliant son


New Member
My beautiful brilliant first born started becoming depressed in college. He graduated as a cs/math major from a top university but the last 3 years were a living hell. I spent nights answering 2 'am phone calls with suicide threats.
Now this continues - he is bright and talented but completely fatalistic and
despondent . He has developed chronic pain and refused any psychiatric help. He doesn't take drugs not even Tylenol or Motrin . He says he has failed and he wants to die . He won't look for a job
As he states the pain won't let him think - he has face pain that is mild but chronic . He also thinks he is impotent due to me having him circumcised at birth. He said that any man who is circumcised has sexual dysfunction. But that most won't acknowledge the loss of sensation .
He blames this on me. He is overcome with anger at me and at the rest of the world . He has called me all sorts of horrible names. I can't accept that this has happened to such a perfect child- it was always "whatever you want mom" He was a straight A student ,handsome, an amazng pianist and athlete. Now he lies in a dark room and sleeps. He says he blew his chance to be someone important and now it's too late! Last week he left home and took an apartment. His dad gave him 20 thousand to move out. I worry about him and miss him. One psychiatrist I took him too said he was a danger - that he should have inpatient care.
The problem is that I feel I can explain his angst due to the terrible dysfunction that his father had- my husband had severe sex addicition, narcissism anger and obsession with money and power. His father demanded so much from him and put enormous pressure on him (the only boy) since he was a little boy. I feel that when he didn't get straight A's in college he developed the pain as a way to drop out and protect himself from the stress and pressure. The same with the impotency - he saw his dad with girlfriends the same age as himself and this way he won't have to compete with his dad.
Am I just looking for excuses ? Is my son mentally ill or just the result of a dysfunctional family life? Please help me I am so sad and I so desperately want to help him but he just pushes me away.


one day at a time
Hi Susie, I am so sorry about your son.

In reading your post, I remembered something that might be helpful. My former sister-in-law struggled with depression most of her life. She would go for long periods of time doing well and then have very deep periods of depression and suicide attempts.

Antidepressants and therapy didn't seem to work. She was hospitalized multiple times and the family was just frantic. She had had difficulties in her life, traumatic events, that really affected her later in life.

finally, the doctors recommended shock treatments. At first, we were 100 percent opposed to this (shades of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, we thought) but we did research and learned that this is different and they have had tremendous results with the really tough cases.

Can you get help to get your son hospitalized for a full evaluation?

I know this is hard, but I wanted to share this thought. It may or may not be helpful.

In any event, regardless, we understand on this forum the deep helplessness we feel when our precious adult children are struggling. We have been there. Ultimately, after we try different measures to help them, we have to start helping ourselves.

That is a very hard step to take, turning the focus from them to us.

Please keep posting here. We understand, and we are here for you.

Calamity Jane

Well-Known Member
Hi Susie and welcome,

I'm very sorry for the pain and loss you're feeling. You have come to a good place, and I'm sure others will be along to offer support.

Your son does sound very ill and no doubt he is suffering as I know you are as well. Unless you're a mental health professional, you're not really qualified to answer your questions. My advice is that you could do what you can to get him the help he needs, but won't ask for, probably because his illness is an impediment to voluntary intervention. If your son calls and says he's suicidal, call 911 for a well being check on him and tell them he's been talking about killing himself for a while now. Perhaps he will end up in a hospital with good care.
There's no easy answer. If you were told your son was a danger, then I'd take that seriously. Whatever reason your son is suffering, whether mental illness or family dysfunction would be good to know, but he needs care now, no matter the reason or perceived reason. He's resistant, and that's what's so hard in situations like this.
Don't be so hard on yourself. Take a step back from your son's apparent blame toward you and honor yourself and take care of yourself. He may be emotionally assaulting you because he has no more room to absorb his self hatred.


New Member
Thank you to Calamity and Child of mine. I agree with your thoughts. There is a therapy something like an MRI called Brainsway I believe that they are using for intractable depression. Since my son doesn't want to take drugs I wish he would look into this. But I think the reason I entered this forum was to get strength to put up some boundaries. I still have one more child at home and this mental illness (it seems to be that) has hurt her and my ability to raise her.
I am actually relieved that my son has left the home in some ways, just so my daughter can do her homework in peace without worrying about his violent anger outbursts.


Well-Known Member
Susie, welcome.
I am so sorry that you are all going through this.
It looks to me like your son does have a mental illness, and that the pressure from his father added to his lack of self-worth and reliance on good grades. However, it shouldn't have just "appeared" like this all of a sudden unless he is kind of using it as a crutch or excuse, regardless of the truth behind it. Does that make sense?
I agree that he needs a full evaluation. And I am so sorry that you have to live with the echoes of the dr who said that your son sounded like a danger, and then there was no follow-up.
Maybe, since your son moved out, he'll find a peer he will listen to? Our kids never want to listen to parents or professionals.
Also, since he moved out recently, I bet he'll contact you one way or another.
I hope that he banks the $20,000 and uses it wisely toward rent and groceries.
I am so sorry. I feel for you.
Keep us posted.
I'm glad that you have a space now, emotionally, where your daughter can relax, do her homework, and not have to walk on eggshells.


Crazy Cat Lady
Believe it or not, there are support groups for men angered by having been "mutilated" by their parents as infants. It was quite the rage in the 90s and early aughts, and if you search the web, you will still find quite a bit of info on these groups.

All I can tell you is that my late husband did suffer damage from a poorly done circumcision that affected his "functioning". He had surgery in his early 20s to correct the problems caused by scarring. Before that, we, as a couple, were taught ways to cope with husband's disability in that area by an open-minded urologist who felt it best to delay corrective surgery for a few years because like lot of Eastern European Jewish Males, husband was slow to mature physically and the surgery was best done once the patient was fully mature.

Stu was upset that his surgery had been done by a religious person as opposed to by a surgeon and upset that it had been botched, but he didn't bear any sort of damaging anger, nor feel that his "manliness" in any way was damaged, though as a youth he was self conscious about the deformity caused by the scarring.

Read up bit on these groups and you will find that for hte most part they are another way for a certain type of angry male to deflect blame for one's actions away from themselves. Right now it is popular to compare male circumcision to female genital mutilation, to give you an idea as to how overboard these groups go.

I'd lay odds the son in question has had some exposure to these groups or at least their ideology and has glommed onto that as a dandy way to blame you for his issues, since of course, you had him mutilated and ruined him sexually. The whole thing is awfully Freudian if you stop to think about it.



Well-Known Member
Does your son have any addictions to alcohol/drugs?

Has he ever been diagnosed with anything? ADD, Autistic, mental illness ,etc.?

Did he have any problems in school behaviorally, socially etc.?

I agree that if he won't go to a doctor for his mental distress, there is nothing you can do other than detach. We can help with that process.

Most of our Difficult Child's have addictions. Many also have mental illness or some other type of problem as well. Some were diagnosed in early/later childhood. Some only started exhibiting symptoms as a young adult. Sometimes we don't even know if they have real mental illness or if their behaviors are a result of drugs.

There are also some of us who have Difficult Child's with only mental illness issues. My X was one of these.

If you want to, fill in your 'signature' so t will show up at he bottom of your posts. It helps everyone to remember.

Welcome to the forum. Stay with us.



Well-Known Member
Is my son mentally ill or just the result of a dysfunctional family life?
Mental illness often has a genetic basis. Brain development is also affected by how we are raised. If a person has latent tendencies toward mental illness, and is raised in a highly dysfunctional family, the chances of mental illness showing up increase. But it may have just shown up anyway. Or he may have been able to "hide" it for a number of years. The challenge is how to get professional help at this stage - when he has the legal right to refuse all treatment.

I still have one more child at home and this mental illness (it seems to be that) has hurt her and my ability to raise her.
As a parent - it's really hard to have to choose between to kids. I know - I had to do it. But for me, the one who is still a minor takes priority over an adult who is refusing all help. Your daughter needs to be protected. She needs to be given more of you than you have been able to give for a while. You are not setting boundaries to protect yourself - you are doing this to protect your daughter. You are responsible to do this for her, to give her the best possible outcome from this point forward. If there are then ways you can still help your son, fine. But her needs come first, in my opinion.


New Member
Dear all who replied

Thank you so much
Yes my son is a voracious reader and has read a lot about the anti circumcision movement and he always compares it to female circumcision.
Unfortunately I do see this point and agree that removing nerve endings on a penis just does not make sense. But the other issue is that his father is NOT circumcised and is a sex addict (if you believe in that term)
. I do believe he has pain in his jaw but I don't understand why that would keep someone from working or studying. He denies hearing voices or having any hallucinations . He doesn't take any drugs not even Tylenol
We just go round and round and round on the same topic:
His life is over he wants to die and he hates me for being an idiot and thinking that he has a psychiatric problem
He had an appointment at a pain clinic for tomorrow and the stupid office called a few hours ago and said the doctor can't help him and his appointment is canceled
I am so stressed as they shouldn't be able to do this ONE DAY before his appointment that he has been waiting 6 weeks for. I am going to the doctors office (major university) and demanding that the doctor at least evaluate him. This is only for a first time consultation for the TMJ pain. I feel so bad for him as he keeps saying that all of his dreams have been crushed and he wants to die. He has this rigid thinking that he could have been someone important and successful . He just has NO resiliency - could it just be the chronic pain? Why wouldn't he try some medication? He feels his greatest gift is his brain and he doesn't want to hurt it w psychiatric medications . But he won't even try gabapentoin or any pain or any depression medications his dad got him to try Abilify for two weeks and he definitely was more calm and not suicidal but still very depressed. He stopped it because he was too restless and couldn't sit still to do his math problems


Well-Known Member
his dad got him to try Abilify for two weeks and he definitely was more calm and not suicidal but still very depressed. He stopped it because he was too restless
The challenge of getting psychiatrists who actually know what they are doing!
We have positive experiences with Abilify, but started at an extremely low dose, and did very small increments over a very long time period. So slow that I was almost thinking the psychiatrist was crazy, but... he says, if you ramp it up to fast, you can really get restless and jittery, and it isn't guaranteed to stop when you end usage of the medication. So... I don't blame him for stopping. Just... man, it would be nice to get appropriate help at the right time for some of "our" kids!


Well-Known Member
Have you considered looking into Delusional Disorder--Somatic type?

I could be totally off, but he seems so obsessed with his physical symptoms, it seems to control his life.


Crazy Cat Lady
Likely the pain clinic evaluation was cancelled because he hasn't been evaluated by a dentist/oral surgeon/ent for the TMJ pain. TMJ pain is usually treated by a dentist as treatment often involves a bite guard or similar to adjust the alignment of the jaws during sleep to relax muscle spasms, etc.,

The comparison of male circumcision to female "circumcision" is plain offensive. And, as the other poster said, the bulk of males circ'ed by surgeons do not have any problems.

I have never heard of TMJ pain being disabling to the point of it preventing one from working and my right TMJ is bone on bone. It intereferes with chewing, and impacts what i can eat. I have spasms of the jaw muscles that can be very painful, and i sometimes have to use muscle relaxants and OTC pin medications for it. Heat also helps.

Back when i still had enough teeth to make a difference, adjusting my bite helped quite a lot, though was an ongoing process as one's bite shifts as one ages due to wear on teeth and bone remodeling.

You son is making excuses, and i agree about somaticization/conversion. I also think he's digging as deep as he can for ways to blame you for his problems.


New Member
Dear all

I am SO thankful for these thoughts . The pain clinic would not see him because they said they don't treat TMJ but they had his records from a urologist so I feel like they thought he was mentally ill. But don't pain clinics get a lot of people with secondary gain issues etc? and he had already been referred from another pain clinic that does not treat joints. About 8 oral surgeons and physical therapy and dentists were all failures. He listened to one neuromuscular dentist who put him in a splint to change his bite two years ago and he says it made it worse and he wishes he had never done that. Most oral surgeons say he is somaticizing too much although Mayo Clinic oral surgery suggested arthroscopy of the joint but no guarantees . He does have a slipped disc on MRI . With all of my stress- now I too have some tmj pain too!
But I can't say my joint pain doesn't respond to massage and/or to Motrin or to relaxation. I can feel that it is due to tension. I asked a male psychologist about the circumcision and he said it was way off and definitely thought my son has delusions. He is not the first male psychiatric that has said this. So my son has an appointment with a female psychiatrist Monday but I don't know how I'm going to get him to go. I don't want to pay 250$ and not show up. My father said for me to be at peace and let go because it's killing me. I feel like I have tried everything .It's so hard.


Well-Known Member
Maybe it's time to back off just a bit, with the help?

I think it is wearing you down and accomplishing nothing.

People do have pains. It is a fact of life for many, many people.

My step-brother has had many surgeries on his spine, hip, and leg and takes morphine and has an electronic thing implanted in his leg that releases some kind of pain relief, and takes other medications (pain and otherwise) as well.

But he doesn't ruminate on his pain. He doesn't talk much about it. It is not something he puts on others. He works despite the pain, part time.

This is what makes me (and others) suspect that it is more mental illness than real.

What your son is doing is what people with a somatization do very often.

And if that is his problem, nothing you or the pain clinic o is going to help.

You need to take care of yourself.

Stay with us.


Maggie's Mom

New Member
Susie, I have a 35 yr old son living with depression, who lives with us. My husband and I looked forward to retiring and now we tiptoe around the house while son is sleeping. He gets up at around 10 pm (when we go to bed) and goes back to his room before we wake in the morning. Never shaves or bathes, doesn't clip his nails, doesn't participate in family meals. We have slowly disconnected from our friends because we were tired of listening to them play psychologist. His older brother repeatedly tries to connect with him and invites him to go biking, camping, and other outings but J ignores calls and emails. He met a wonderful woman online and for two years she has tried to bring him out of this darkness. It has been a challenge not to drag his butt out in the street and tell him to get busy living his life! He does not do drugs or drink. He grew up a golden child, athlete and very popular with the girls. Made it through college and had a few jobs before this depression enveloped him. My husband and I continue to pray that he will decide to get help - meaning prescription and therapy. We don't know what else to do...just taking it one day at a time.

New Leaf

Well-Known Member
Hi Maggies Mom, welcome. You have responded to an old thread, it may be why there aren't replies yet. I am sorry for your troubles. If you start a new thread more will come along.....
((( hugs)))