29 Year Old Adult Son With Extreme Anger Issues

by DJ

My son has always had problems with self control and anger management. As his mom I suspected he was ADHD from a very young age-2 years. I would bring up my concerns to his pediatrician, but it was dismissed as being an active toddler, then preschooler, then just being a boy.

He was given an IEP evaluation in 2nd grade and again in 6th grade. Both times he tested with no learning disabilities and no ADHD. As his mom, I was happy to find he was "normal", but intuitively I knew he was not. Finally at age 14 with a private psychiatric evaluation, he was diagnosed as ADHD with numerous red flags.

He was put on ritalin, his grades soared to honor roll, he was easier to be with until at age 16 he took himself off the meds. He said it made him dull. Life then resumed to bad grades, explosive behavior. When he entered his senior year, he decided to resume taking his meds
to be able to study and prepare himself for college. When he went to college he stopped the meds. He has gone to 3 colleges, yet no degree.

He has a hard time with the task at hand and following through. He has had 4 serious relationships, all ending with anger, he is very controlling with extreme rage at times. If things aren't done his way there is always a problem. He is father to a 3 year old daughter, relationship #3.

He has gone to counseling with all his girlfriends, been put on meds. Time would be good for awhile, till he went off meds, then anger, hostility, rage. Basically he is very difficult to get along with 50% of the time, with extreme explosive behavior. The other 50% he is awesome. But when he is bad, it gets really nasty.

I think he has gotten worse, and I am afraid he will hurt someone badly. He has said some terrible things to his girlfriends, such as he wanted to go find other women just for sex. He has been arrested for pot 3x's, at 19, 21, and 24 and has been on probation. He has a bad driving record which has affected his employment.

He is a body builder and I am not sure if he takes steroids? It seems as though he is wired with anxiety and frustration.

My husband and I have been happily married for 35 years, both of us are stable with good careers. We have a 33 year old daughter, who is college educated, successful, married with a 1 year old in California.

I do not know where his anger stems from or why, especially since we have an extremely peaceful household and always have. He is currently living with us since his breakup, hopefully temporary. I try to talk to him, but he will not listen. Is there any advice you can give me?

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello DJ, and thanks for telling your story here. I can tell that you love your son, and that you're very concerned about him.

It is time for you to let go of your son and his problems. The only way he will ever get better is if he takes total responsibility for his issues and gets help himself. You can't help him, except by doing the right thing for yourself.

First, it is absolutely essential that he moves out of your house. You need to shift your focus off his problems onto your own life. You can't help him, and any effort you make to do so will only add to his problems.

Let him go, and believe in him. Trust that he will eventually find his path to a better place. And let go, over and over.

This page on letting go of relationships and this one on tough love will help.

Talk to your husband about this, make this decision together with him.

The worst thing you can do to your son is to let him live in your home and be disrespectful to you. It sounds like you're more concerned about his problems than he is. That will never work.

Use these positive journaling exercises to shift your focus to the best in him and the best in your life.

You need to come first, then your marriage, then your son and the rest of your life.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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Feb 07, 2015
An Answer To Your Question
by: Dr. DeFoore

This is to "Daddy." I'm glad you find these stories to be beneficial to you in dealing with your son. In answer to your question, you might want to just tell your son about the letters you've been reading, and see if he's interested. If not, leave it alone. If he is interested, then give him the web site link and don't bring it up to him again. If he's going to make good choices for himself, it will have to come from his own initiative.

I hope this helps, and I wish you and your family all the best.

Dr. DeFoore

Feb 06, 2015
Thank You All For Your Letters
by: Daddy

I just found all of you. My wife and I are 56, and have two sons. As I read your letters I started to cry. This is my son they’re talking about. This has been a problem for 28 years. He is my oldest, 29 years old. This has been so hard all these years, on my wife and me and our 25 year old son. It has pulled us about. I've been working on this with my wife and younger son, and we are pulling together on this problem. Thank you all for your letters. I can see light now. I now only have one question. If I was to let my son read these letters, would he start taking his meds for ADD, or should I not show him the letters?

Dec 31, 2014
My 26 Year Old Son Gets Explosive And So Does His Father
by: Anonymous

My 26 year old son has been diagnosed with ADHD. He is the most loving and kind son in the world, except when some petty thing, such as a piece of old plastic (that he somehow wanted to keep) gets tossed in the trash. Then he explodes.

He reminds me of a time when I threw out an old Grinch stuffed animal on him 10 years ago. He got so angry last night, I was petrified. His eyes turned black and he started cussing me out. He told me I should die. He slammed the door so hard it made a hole in the wall.

I thought he was going to whack me, and I was ready to call the police. If I tell my husband, he will not support me, because he talks to me the same way. Anyway, my son is 26 years old, so I told him if he doesn't like living at our home, he needs to move out and get his own place.

Then he goes on a tirade about how he doesn't have enough money, so I tell him to get a full time job. He is living at home paying no rent. I feel bad telling my son I don't want him at home, and that is really not it, but I am terrified of him when he gets into one of these temper rages.

Dec 29, 2014
26 Year Old Brother Living With My Parents With Extreme Anger
by: Anonymous

I recently moved back in with my parents while going through a divorce. My younger brother still lives at home like a teenager. Yes, my parents indulge him and allow his drug use, drinking, friends in-and-out at all hours, and raging bouts of anger.

I had no idea how bad it was until I saw it first hand and everything you all have posted is sadly true.

My parents are in their mid to late 60's, retired, and they also care for my 90 yr old grandmother. This is supposed to be their time to relax, having worked hard their whole life. But it's filled with fear, stress, and sadness.

I want to help but I don't know how to. He is becoming more violent and erratic. My dad has some health issues and if push came to shove, he can not defend himself.

I'm not sure if he just has anger issues or has a mental illness. I don't know what to do. I know I need to help my parents but if they aren't willing to take a tough love stance, what can I do?

I'm afraid someone may get hurt. What should I do?

Dec 28, 2014
My 32 Year Old Son
by: Helen

I'm so glad I came across this page. My son is an angry adult too. He also can be loving and good to be around, but mostly I can't stand to be around him.

It's almost to the point that (I have to force myself to be honest) I hate him. Oh my God, I can't believe I just said that. I love my son with all my being. But I hate the person he has become.

The anger he shows to me and his girlfriend is more than I can stand. He does not do this to his sister or father. I think it's because he knows that they would not put up with him treating them that way.

And it's not that I put up with it, because I tell him I won't. But he does it anyway. I don't know how to let him go. It kills me to have him this way. Sometimes I even wish he hadn't been born. Oh my God! Help me and him!

Dec 15, 2014
How To Let Go
by: Dr. DeFoore

I know it's hard, but consider that love is letting go...and holding on is not love.

Read this article about letting go of a relationship.

Dec 14, 2014
I also have a 29 year old son with Extreme Anger Issues
by: Anonymous

He's currently incarcerated. He can be the kindest most generous person you will ever meet but if something doesn't go the way he thinks it should...watch out!

He's had several people (women) take out protective orders against him. I myself have never been afraid of him harming me but I am ALWAYS afraid that someone is going to harm him...seriously harm him and it wouldn't be the first time.

He has been beat up to the point that one time he was not recognizable and was in the hospital for a long time. It was so painful going to visit him everyday when he didn't even recognize me. I love him but I need to let go. I just don't know how.

Nov 04, 2014
Angry 42 Year Old Son
by: Anonymous

My son is 42, married, with a 10 year old daughter. He is constantly 'tilting at windmills,' being unpleasant to work colleagues, neighbors, friends...anyone who annoys or thwarts him. It is embarrassing. I do not know how his wife copes. He shouts and even talks loudly. We are a loving family, although there have been problems at times--mostly alcohol related. This I am sure affected him in childhood. On the reverse side he is hard working and can be a lot of fun but he takes offense very quickly and there is no talking to him at times. His sister does not appear to have the same issues as he does.

Jul 24, 2014
I feel the pain!
by: Anonymous

My son is 25 and I feel everyone's pain first hand. No diagnosis of ADHD but he is taking antidepressants. He also breaks down and cries because he knows his behavior is wrong. But he still remains angry at the world. I feel like a failure as a mother but I'm now receiving counseling myself, and see that I can't take the blame for another adult's action even if he is my flesh and blood. I love him enough to put up the boundaries. I think so, anyway...I'm just starting to do it now.

Dec 18, 2013
by: Anonymous

I can FEEL with these parents with the 29 year old son...sounds like mine.

My son is 20. Has had ADHD all his life it seems, been on and off his meds. He has been taking Adderol every morning, but says he hates it because he does not eat...anyway, that's not the real problem, the problem is his EXPLOSIVE ANGER issues. He could go days talking to us nicely. civil conversations, fun and pleasant, and then, BAM.. there are days he explodes if something didn't go right, if something is taking too long, anything. We tell him to calm down and he calls us names and uses the most horrible language you could hear. Calls his dad and I names, telling us "where to go" and throws or breaks stuff in his path to heighten the anger. He stays away for days and then calls us with remorse and apologizes and we are suppose to accept it and forget about it. His grandma cries for us to be nice to him because "he cant help it".

Well...call me non caring or a rotten mother. But his episode the other night did me in. He broke his grandpas siding by kicking it in after calling me some choice names because I told him he needed to get some help with his anger issues. I told him he is no longer to come by our house until he shows us respect. I am tired of the drama. He is a tornado. He makes my husband tear up when these episodes happen, making my husband feel he went wrong somewhere as he grew up. He blames everybody else for his short comings. I'm sick of it. I love him, but I do not like him and it is putting stress on my husband and I's relationship. He has lost his job due to smoking weed, he has totaled 2 cars, refuses to work for minimum wage, and has lost girlfriends and friends because of his anger. No one wants to be around him.

I have read all morning how these types of outbursts are from ADHD and that there is help. He has been to many doctors, and hates any kind of therapy, whether in a group or one on one. I want to tell him he gets help or else. I am worn down because of him. I am also not in the best health myself and my mother in law and husband expect me to forgive him for the 90th time..I say, I give respect so I deserve it and want it back and refuse to be a punching bag for him just because life dealt him this disease.

I feel hopeless with the situation.

From Dr. DeFoore

You are totally on track. You are not helping your son by allowing his destructive behavior -- on the contrary. When he is destructive and you do nothing, you're sending a message to him that his behavior is acceptable. Follow your instincts and put up the boundaries you need to keep yourself and your family safe. There are no guarantees, but it may be the best thing you can do for your son also.

My best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

Sep 24, 2012
by: Anonymous

I am so happy that I came to this site. I am having the same problems with my 28 year old son. He has recently moved back home,because he was fired from his job.

I am sure that it was due to his explosive anger. He always starts his new jobs with enthusiasm,even joy. Then it happens, someone or something makes him really angry.

His credit is terrible, due to the fact that he doesn't think he needs to pay his bills. He lives at home, rent free, so that he can pay off his bad debts and stand on his own again.

He hates living with his father and me and he is barely civil to us. His father has had 2 very recent surgeries for cancer, and he is really not well.

I don't know why he hates us so much. I was a stay at home mom, and his dad, although not very demonstrative towards him,was always there for him.

After another arguement tonight(about paying his bills), I Have asked him to move out, and to get some counseling.

My son is highly intelligent,but emotionally weak.
I am broken hearted. I have been so loving and kind to him his whole life. I feel like I have failed him. Could I have spoiled him by being too kind?

I can no longer take his anger and hatred towards us. I have enough to deal with his dad being so sick. I guess I just have to "let go,let God",as my recently deceased mom used to say.

Jun 01, 2012
by: Anonymous

I have a 38 yr. old daughter with the same problems. She has never been on medication.She has had 4 domestic violence charges in the last 15 years. Her sister has not spoken to her in a year, has lost most of her friends due to her anger and just got another assault charge after hitting the girlfriend of her 5 year old's father. I have been through 2 weeks of horrible texts and calls venting her anger at me. She has a 16 year old who moved out to live with a close friend and I have finally given up. I am now not going to speak to her. I guess it's called tough love.I don't know what else to do.

May 25, 2011
Sad for you DJ
by: Anonymous

I have a 21 year old son and he sounds very much like your son. Several differences...he was raised by me alone and our household was not always calm; he was never diagnosed and has only once been on medication. Right now he is facing court for hitting his sister. This is the third time-once with a girlfriend, once with me and now his sister. Just this morning he was yelling at me telling me it is our fault...it is everyone's fault. I feel if he would just accept responsibilty for his behavior...then he could start to heal but that hasn't happened. I too love my son so much. I want so much for him to get some help and find his way. He is so smart and has so much talent. I think I am more vested in his life too but as a mom...how can I not be? I wish our local courts would understand these kids need some help along with their punishments. Good luck to you...I will pray for both our boys.

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