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is there any way friend & son can be helped?

(4 Posts)
magnificatAnimaMea Fri 11-Dec-15 07:08:41

My friend in her late 40s is mother to a very academic, socially perfect girl who is a very sorted high-flyer; and very unacademic, socially inept boy who stays up all night playing computer games, won't talk, mostly won't come out of his room or engage with the family or anyone else, has no confidence, has failed school, had a failed gap year where he repeatedly lost jobs, failed first-year uni and now won't go back to uni, get a job or move out.

Friend is highly intelligent and has a career in pastoral care and is good at making others sort their lives out; but she has pretty much lost her way over her son. Her husband is quite similar to the son in many ways but he is more socially functional and more academic, so while he's very shy and conflict-avoidant, he has made a good career as an academic.

Being too close, they seem unable to see that the son's level of dysfunction is one that requires (family) therapy, that he probably has ASD, he is clearly very depressed, and that he is probably seriously addicted to gaming. He has been in this situation for as long as I've known them (5 years) - school was a total failure for him too, he got into uni because he did a course that doesn't have any selection process to get in. The jobs he had on his gap year were ones specifically given to unmotivated teenagers, and he lost them all within a few days because of his inability to get on with anyone. I am not sure of the degree of it but I think he is mute when under pressure.

Because they're all highly functioning (except the son, and he's not doing anything illegal or actively damaging) there's sort of no obvious course of action here. GPs aren't free here, and the boy has no money - and no motivation - so he's not going to take himself off to the GP and say "I can't cope with life". Parents just say "for heaven's sake, there's nothing wrong with him, he needs to knuckle down and do some work and be more like his lovely sister" - but they won't actually confront him. Friend decided she was going to kick him out, but conflict-avoidant husband said he'd probably end up on the streets and they couldn't do that. So they did nothing instead.

Is there any way i can say "this boy needs serious help" so that they will listen?

ThisIsStillFolkGirl Fri 11-Dec-15 07:20:04

The problem is that, as he is an adult, there isn't really anything they can do.

And I doubt there's anything you could either. They've lived with this for many more years than you've known them and it could jeopardise your friendship if you commented on it. They're clearly head in the sand type people regarding this.

It is sad.

magnificatAnimaMea Fri 11-Dec-15 07:23:18

i agree he's an adult, they know all this better than I do, and that me saying anything will jeopardise the friendship.

He needs to see a GP though. He is also completely unable to function. And they seem unable to compute that.

ThisIsStillFolkGirl Fri 11-Dec-15 18:11:03

I wasn't being dismissive, I know a couple in a very similar position. They are trying to do everything they can to get their 21 yo daughter some support in very similar circumstances, but keep being told that there is nothing they can do as she is an adult and needs to access it herself. But she won't (well can't really).

And these are parents who really do get it and are tearing their hair out sad

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