The first reason why some young adult children struggle to launch from their parents’ home is anxiety and fear of failure or not being good enough. The child may have been born with a higher than typical anxiety level that was never identified or treated. A kid with anxiety often displays maturity fears as they are growing up and then start to pull back (or self-medicate with drugs/alcohol/eating disorders) to avoid the overwhelming anxiety and fear of failure they feel. Fear of failure goes hand-in-hand with perfectionism and all-or-nothing thinking so even if they have “normal” levels of anxiety, they may still become incapacitated by anxiety when they set their own standards too high with their need to be perfect and seeing everything as an all-or-nothing, black-or-white situation so they can’t accept the grey in the middle. Therapy or a professional counselor can teach them skills to manage their anxiety and their automatic thoughts that aggravate their anxiety or fears. One great way to approach this is using Dialetical Behavior Therapy (DBT) which focusses on improving distress tolerance, emotion regulation, mindfulness and interpersonal effectiveness. All 4 of these skill sets are critical for the person who feels overwhelmed by life and their fears of being independent. With the right professional guidance and skills training, people can learn to manage themselves and their life.
Clearing Your Head and Healing Your Heart
Putting the Pieces Together (So We Make Sense of Ourselves, Others and Our World)
Lois Zsarnay, LMFT, BCPC, RD
Family Therapy Ventura, California
©2015 Lois Zsarnay, LMFT, BCPC, RD