How do I get motivation?

I've been like this for years. No job. Single father. Chasing a dream with no motivation to work. Therapists are full. I've tried almost everything. The mother of my child was pretty mentally abusive and destroyed my already low self esteem. For the past 5years, I've been a hermit that never left the house except for work, when I still had a job. Now I sit at a computer, chasing a dream and failing to support for my son. Luckily I have a selfless mom that does nothing but support me and that little boy.
Asked by Mister Reed

Mister Reed I'm so sorry you've been suffering from the issues you described for years now but I am very encouraged you've still managed to find the courage to reach out to ask a question or to consider getting some help. What you describe sounds very much like trauma to believe it or not which was likely from that mental abuse you endured with the mother of your child. You describe an "already low" self-esteem which suggests to me that there could also have been some earlier life experiences that would have left you vulnerable to the long-term effects of trauma including the things you've described such as feeling poorly about yourself and also having difficulty really pursuing your dream. That difficulty in pursuing a dream sounds like procrastination and often procrastination can be rooted in things like fear and again that could be a result of that mental abuse from the mother of your child or some earlier life experiences, or possibly both. 


It sounds like you are now parenting a child and given the timeline you shared I'll assume that "little boy" is around five years old. It is nice that your mom is selfless and supports you and your son but I will respectfully suggest that your mom's support could also possibly be preventing you from finding more motivation to make some changes in your life. Sometimes it can be quite natural to find comfort in care from others and if that is prolonged we may become dependent on that support which over time can actually work in an opposite way on you from what the person providing the care or support was hoping or intending for you. I'm sure your mom would like to see you be able to reach that dream you have and be able to more independently care for yourself as well as your son. 


I would also ask you to consider how your son maybe being impacted by your present situation. If you're feeling mentally or emotionally stuck and struggling to find purpose or move forward, it is quite likely that your son is perceptive to the fact that something isn't right, even at his young age. If you consider your own life at his age, you might remember things that still seem notable and impactful to you even though you experienced them when you were only five years old or so. In that same way, your son may be developing perceptions and understandings of the world which are slowly creating his worldview and that is being viewed through the lens of where you live is right now, so maybe realizing that could be a source of motivation for you moving forward.


So again I'm very encouraged that you are here seeking input and there are many therapists here who specialize in therapies such as I do which can quickly and efficiently help you start feeling more optimistic. More importantly, some therapy could help you really make sense of that emotional abuse you experienced from your son's mother or from those earlier life experiences. Putting those earlier experiences to rest could really free you for the first time or like never before to freely pursue what you've dreamed or could be destined for. I'm sure your mom would love to see you achieve this freedom and it could be a lasting and impactful gift and legacy for your young son. 


I hope you will consider pursuing help here Mister Reed and I commend you for your courage in sharing your current situation and reaching out. 




Keith A. Welsh, LCSW