Angry and Irritable, Still Living at home, Not Working


#1

My 24 year old son wants to be an actor. He is angry that he is still living at home. I told him that he can move out but will need to support himself, probably with a full time job if he wants to move to Los Angeles. He says that he wants to work in a creative field but can’t find a job in anything that he is passionate about. ( He has applied for jobs that he is not qualified to do and others that are really competitive.) He did get a part in an Independent student film, but it doesn’t pay.

When I come home from work, my son starts to escalate and gets angry and irritable. He is not realistic that most people who want to be actors have to get full time jobs as waiters or in service jobs. So far he hasn’t been able to keep a job for more than 3 or 4 months. My therapist told me that when he starts yelling, I should say, “I am sorry but it is not good for me to be yelled at, so i am going to walk away now. If you calm down, I will talk to you.”:
She says that I can change my own behavior but not his.

This has worked some, because now he tells me, " I am getting angry, so I am going into my room." Or else he goes out and smokes cigarettes or pot.

He is not on medication and has been diagnosed with Psychosis NOS. The doctor did order lab work so i think he might be getting ready to suggest meds, but so far, by son has not wanted to go on them.

I am wondering if we should agree to pay half his rent if he agrees to get a full time job, so that he can move to LA and see for himself how hard it is to make it as an actor. I don’t know if he will have to fail to be willing to take meds. Or is this enabling.
If we don’t help him move out, he is stuck at home, frustrated and angry.


#2

Hello,

This situation sounds really difficult.

I am wondering whether there are local theater groups where he could find a play or something like that?

Also, I am just realizing that my own anger often subsides when I exercise enough. Seems like exercise is even more vital for younger people. Is he able to take walks or jog or go to the gym?


#3

Sounds like you have developed a good coping skill for dealing with your son’s anger.

Has your son taken acting lessons? I like the idea of community theater, mentioned by Hereandhere. I don’t think you should pay his rent in LA. If anything, maybe some money to get started.

Ah, but getting acting jobs is so hard! I I worry the disappointment of not getting a job immediately would be crushing to him.

Also, I think most actors don’t work full time, but rather take waiter jobs so they have days free for auditions.


#4

The word “enabling” has a negative tone these days. People think of enablers as people who make it possible for someone else to continue bad behaviors.

In the world of family members with scz, enabling is different. We are constantly trying to sort out what is positive enabling and what is negative enabling. The answers aren’t the same for everyone here. As a parent you will have to sort such decisions out -and there often isn’t a clear choice.

A lot of the anger and irritability is frustration.

My son is now 35, when he was in his early twenties, after college, he would share houses with groups of people (lowers the cost tremendously) and support himself on rather simple jobs. Pizza delivery, restaurant work, stuff like that where it is easier to get a job. He was paying his own rent and food. We paid the rest.

Looking back, I am glad now that we subsidized (enabled) his living. We did not know at the time he was suffering from scz and often beat ourselves up that we were enabling him in the negative sense.

At 35, unmedicated, he is now disabled by his scz (his is a slowly progressive version) yet, he has many life skills that make it possible for him to still do some things. Except for when he is in the middle of severe psychosis, I think he manages to have a life around his illness.

If you can afford it, and he can handle it, the life experiences are big. How far away is LA?

Your therapist and your communications with him are really working.


#5

Thank you hope. This is a good distinction between positive and negative enabling. I agree that my son is terribly frustrated about living at home and not moving forward in his life.

Even though he wants a “creative” job, I think your advice to do a job that is easier to get (pizza delivery, restaurant work) is a good starting point. These are the kind of jobs he has had and so far only lasted a few months, but i think he needs to be successful at keeping a less difficult job before moving on to a more challenging job with greater responsibility.

Rents in Los Angeles are astronomical, $1000 for a room in a house with several other housemates. So he will have to work full time at minimum wage and I don’t know if that will leave him time for auditions. He will need to do a job where he can trade shifts with other co-workers, but I imagine there are a lot of people who want to act who are in the same boat.

I am glad your son has managed to have a life around his illness. Is he financially self sufficient now?.

I think it is so important for my son to learn to live away from us, and to be able to take care of his basic needs. I think his feelings of dependency are making him angry, he really wants to separate and move into adulthood, but he can’t figure out how to do it.

Thanks for your response.


#6

You are welcome Crushd.

I think you are right, learning to live away from you could really make a difference in his future.

Thanks for asking, Jeb’s life is pretty simple at this point in his illness. He would like to work, but his psychosis is constant and he can’t manage it in a work environment anymore. He was fired from his last job after having a severe psychotic episode at work. He refuses to take meds, he has the symptom anosognosia -he is not aware he is ill. He lives here, next to us, in a garage apartment.

He lives on ssi and ssdi, he worked enough credits at all those jobs over the years to be eligible for disability. Its not much since the jobs were all low paying, its supplemented with ssi which makes him eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.

Sometimes he does things we wish he wouldn’t do, things he did earlier in his life -like his yearly road/camping trip. Lots of experts suggest that we try to not constantly tell them they can’t do stuff because they aren’t able. You are doing a nice job of keeping the conversation on how he can move forward.


#7

Simple definition of enabling that I heard: doing something for someone that they can do for themselves


#8

I think that is what people think in current general use when they are implying you are doing something for someone when you shouldn’t.

The actual definition of the word is

  1. to make able, give power, means, competence or ability to, authorize

  2. to make possible or easy

  3. to make ready, equip


#9

My son is a drummer, went to Los Angeles to be discovered. I paid his rent after his money ran out. It was here that he became paranoid and suicidal. Had to fly from New York to Los Angeles to see if he was ok. Had been in mental hospital after I called the management(sucidal email I received) of the apartment, but could only keep him 72 hours. He acted so bizzare after I git there, that I left after only 4 day s. In the end he had to come home and I don’t know how he managed that with his paranoia and voices. Once home he had to be hopsitalized, because e was threatening to my husband. In the hospital he was court ordered to take the medication. It has been a rollercoaster ever since, in and out if hospital, because he would stop taking his medication, due to denial and side effects. Finally, it’s been a year and being on the right medication is the key. He is on SSD and goes to his therapy and see psych Dr once a month. Even met someone recently and doing well. Just needs to get a part time job. He has a studio apartment in our house so we see him n. And is now able to enjoy his niece’s. So there is a light at the end of the tunnel.


#10

Thanks Serenity,

Glad to hear that your son finally agreed to do what is needed to manage his life even though it was a difficult road to get there.Great that he is going to therapy and pscyh doc and that he is able to have a relationship.

The hard part is that he is not wanting to take advice and it even makes him not want to do what we recommend even more. So I am learning to keep my mouth shut even though his room is a total mess with everything on the floor. (He does respect our limits for the rest of the house.) He has decided to stay home for the time being and work on scripts and projects.
He applied for a job at a movie theater as well as a marijuana dispensary, but I am staying out of it.

. I know he filled the prescription for his medications but when he got home he said angrily, “I’m not going to take these. It’s my decision.” So now I am not going to ask about or even mention meds.

It is a delicate dance we do.


#11

The first thing I would do is to try to get him treatment - and while you may not like it, less stress for your son is going to help him function and improve your life also. Most 24 year olds would hate to live at home and not have an income - he’s likely feeling dejected, frustrated, disappointed, and anxious about the future; He’s likely really stressed and that is why he’s angry. And he has to deal with a major psychological illness to boot - so yes - its hard on everyone.

If he can get treatment (usually medications and therapy) I think things will improve. But depending on how bad his psychosis is - if its ultimately diagnosed at schizophrenia (which may be likely the more stress he experiences) he may not be able to handle a full-time job. The percent of people who have schizophrenia and work in the USA is very low - I think something like 1 in 10 actually have paid work.

Here are some articles on this topic:

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and

and

and

Schizophrenia and Employment - PDF Document Download (free)

And


#12

That is some great news! Thanks for the update.


#13

Yes, the sources tell us to turn our bodies sideways and not look them in the eye so we don’t appear as threatening.

Due to one of my son’s recent sexual abuse accusations, I was trying to face his apartment while I did yard work, I used to keep my back to his place while I worked. He texted I was making him uncomfortable by facing his place. Today I will try to keep myself sideways.