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Adult son who is always angry
New to the forum and hoping anybody has some good advice for my issue. My husband and I have 3 adult sons. Our youngest is 22 years old and is always angry. He lives at home and is currently unemployed due to health reasons (suffered two tonic clonic seizures a couple of weeks ago and we are currently undergoing testing, They thing it is due to heat exhaustion). He is banned from driving for 6 months because of the seizures which is obviously frustrating him. He doesn't have any friends as his friends started following the 'let's experiment with cannabis' path which our son thankfully has no interest in. He doesn't have a girlfriend either. He has always been very short tempered and always seems very angry and short. He 'flies off the handle' even with the smallest thing. E.G. He was sweeping yesterday and the wind picked up, blowing the leaves back onto the porch. He lost it, threw and broke the broom. He snaps at my husband and I all the time. I have spoken with my son about this last night and he knows he has an anger problem. He says he just wakes up angry and doesn't know any different. We discussed strategies including, walking away when feeling frustrated; deep breathing; change of scenery etc but he said none of those work for him. Hubby and I are financially supporting him and our son is frustrated about that too. He says he hates the fact he has no financial independence, albeit not being his fault due to the medical issues. He has applied to do his Diploma of Nursing (starting late January) as he has a keen interest in this. However, I feel sick at the thought of him not being accepted into the course. I really am stuck and some sound, logical advice would be fantastic 🙂
Welcome here to the forum, I can feel the level of worry you and your husband have for your son and a feeling that you do not know which way to turn, which is hardly surprising.
I am not a doctor, therefor I must suggest what you have no doubt already considered, that long-term anger and recent seizures may in some way be connected. Only specialists can take that one further.
Just in themselves the seizures will have raised frustration levels, not even being able to rely upon your body to always do what you want, to being able to drive or go to work -and more. In fact it is very frightening.
I know you said the anger far proceeds these seizures and I would suggest a couple of things -please forgive me if you are already doing these.
The first is to treat the anger -via a psychologist or preferably a psychiatrist, hopefully to find out some of the causes and some anger management techniques.
Breaking that broom reminds me of the virtues of a punching bag.
The second is to be as positive as possible, praise often, and try to ignore anger provided it is not dangerous. Have boundaries and walk away. Speak frankly with him, as you have been doing, and get him interested in avenues of improvement.
Talk together often, being inclusive and really listen when he voices opinions and concerns.
To combat feeling he is a financial burden include him in as many tasks as is practical, and again praise anything that looks positive. You may have to be subtle with this but the message will get though.
Being a teen has its own unique worries and frustrations and many kids feel anger, however you son's sounds excessive. This has carried though to his early twenties.
You mentioned he does not have freinds or a romantic interest, which is in itself isolating. Perhaps there may be other people he can be friendly with who do not indulge in cannabis or other drugs - does he have an interest in playing sport, music ... ?
I would be surprised if he was not allowed to join the course based on his seizures, the disability section of the institution would be the people to assist, the only real impediments I'd imagine are if he does not have the required academic results or practical things like transport.
Please remember you and your husband are under terrific stress yourselves, and need your own supports, it's exceedingly important.
I would expect you have probably thought of all the above already, I'd like it if you were to return and say what you thought.
It must be awful for your son to feel angry a lot and frustrating for him not being able to have the independence of driving and finances. I was actually impressed that he was motivated to sweep leaves, it was a pity the wind was working against him.
Sounds like you need to ride this out at least until the cause of the seizures are identified.
I think it is important to let his doctor know about his irribility as perhaps this is related.
We all want our children to have friends and a partner but this can be a lot of pressure . You said you have 3 sons, are any of them close to him.
I think it is good he is at home with you with all this going on unless of course this is causing you a lot of distress.
I hope things get sorted out for him
Hi Croix and Flowertop
Thank you for taking the time to reply to my post, which were both really helpful.
I think his main concern is not having anything to work towards at the moment. He often speaks about how frustrated he will become if he doesn't get accepted into the nursing course. We combat this by concentrating on the here and now and not worrying about things that may not happen.
Hubby and I have learnt over the years to ignore negative behaviours and are conscious of the positive praise. Having said this, I believe it's important to keep structure and a level of self discipline where possible.
He is close with his brothers and one in particular visits often and is very supportive and patient.
As far as getting him a referral to see a psych, it won't happen. He is adamant he doesn't need 'help' and due to being an adult, this is out of our control.
Hubby has read both your responses (and says thank you by the way :). I believe we are heading down the right path and are both optimistic he will be accepted into the course. Yesterday, our son was saying he wants to use the Diploma of Nursing as a pathway into the Bachelor of Nursing and hopefully travel and nurse around the world. Hearing that made our day because it shows he has drive, ambition and most importantly, goals.
One day at a time!
I think it is common especially for young men not to agree to counselling, so I think that is pretty normal to be honest.
I have a son who is the same age and I have worried about him from time to time. For a while I tried to talk him into going to Headspace but he just blocked the idea. He couldn’t see how that might help and the discussions caused him so much distress., When I pointed out that his anger and moodiness may be related to mental health, he could not relate to this, projected it on other people and became even more angry, directing this towards himself and me. His father and I noticed that he was usually only angry at one of us at a time. It was a fine line to communicate at times as he would turn on my good intentions and exhibited what I would call passive aggression. This was hard because he was living interstate and so many times I just wanted to rescue him. Someone at work told me the saying, ‘your only as happy as your saddest child ‘. I not sure that that is correct but I know when my children aren’t traveling well it effects me.
I found that I just had to back off and stop trying to fix him. At least that way even though I worried, he was still talking to me and when I could would acknowledge his feelings. He didn’t want me to fix things and somehow got through this period of time. He seems to be a lot happier nowadays.
I think that is great that your son has plans and wants to do nursing. He must be a caring sole.
If he doesn’t get accepted into the course he wants there are many other pathways and courses into nursing. Fingers and Toes crossed for him that he gets in first try. You both sound like caring parents which is great grounding.