How to Deal with Failure to Launch into Adulthood

How to Deal with Failure to Launch into Adulthood

How to Deal with Failure to Launch into Adulthood

Failure to launch into adulthood is when you are either still living with your parents or have returned to living with your parents when you are in your 20s or 30s. You’re an adult and, in theory, should be able to support yourself, especially if you have a college education. But with student loans and a competitive workforce, it has become difficult to stand out with a college education; it often takes a graduate degree to be considered for many jobs. It may be difficult to find work you are interested in, qualified for, and that pays enough for you to live on your own. As the cost of living increases, it is becoming more and more common for young adults to be living at home with their parents. It can feel defeating when you thought you’d be living somewhere else by now or doing something different by this stage in your life.


Common Feelings Associated with Failure to Launch

Living at home with your parents in your 20s and 30s can create feelings of low self-confidence or self-esteem, shame or embarrassment, depression, and anxiety. 

Feeling embarrassed is very common, especially among young men. You don’t have your own space, there’s little or no privacy, and it can interfere with dating and your social life. It can be embarrassing to bring someone home, so you isolate yourself.

The longer you live at home, the more likely you may develop anxiety about leaving. You may be questioning if you’ll be able to stand on your own two feet when you do move out, which may slow your progress towards independence.

When someone else is providing for you, with shelter or financial support, it can lead to feelings of shame that you need to be taken care of as an adult. It can also create feelings of guilt that your parents or caregivers are financing you and you are unable to pay them back. These feelings can develop into a negative self-view of not feeling good enough, or like you’ll never be able to get out of this situation.

Do you often compare yourself to your peers who own their own houses, are married, have kids, and considered successful in their careers? When you compare yourself to others, it often feeds into depression and a lack of self-confidence

When living with their parents, young adults often feel lost and insecure. They may not know what’s next and still have the feeling of “what am I going to be when I grow up?” It’s easy to lose motivation and drive, especially if you have been looking for work, and it can feel like you’ll be stuck here forever. This can be reinforced by your parents or caregivers enabling you and not motivating you to find work or move out. You can find yourself easily sleeping in, not doing too much, and not actively working towards independence.

Whatever the reason(s) for your current situation, those barriers could be causing you to feel resentful. You may harbor resentment towards society, educational systems, your parents, etc., which can then likely turn into anger and entitlement. Do you feel like the world should be doing more for you? Was that feeling always there or festering out of this situation? 


Reframing Your Mindset to a Positive One

A big component of overcoming your failure to launch into adulthood is reframing how you view this period of time. It’s important to actively work towards shifting your mindset to a healthy one so you can achieve your goals.

Stop focusing on what you can’t control. It’s easy to get caught up in the external reasons that got you into this situation: bad job market, rising cost of living, etc. Yes, these are all real factors, but that doesn’t mean they dictate the rest of your life. Accept reality, but don’t dwell on what’s out of your control. Instead focus on what is in your control: how you view yourself and the world around you, and how you spend your time and money.

Move away from a victim mentality. When you feel you are the victim, it often leads to feelings of entitlement. You stop focusing on what steps you can take, what is in your control, and holding yourself accountable. You feel like the world did this to you and everyone else had their good lives handed to them. However, we don’t know what other people struggle with or what goes on behind the scenes, and it doesn’t matter. Even if people around you did have an easy life handed to them, it doesn’t change your situation. All you know is what you have going on in your life. It’s important to reflect on what you can do to change your situation and stop blaming others for why you are here. Shifting your mindset away from a victim mentality will empower you to make changes towards the life you want.

Don’t sit in your own misery. Sure, it sucks that you’re living at home with your parents and don’t want to. Reframe how you look at the current situation. What can you do now while you have the health, energy, and financial freedom (because you have fewer bills living at home)? If you have to get a job you don’t like that doesn’t pay a lot, do that job for a little while and don’t feel stuck. Look at it as a stepping stone towards whatever is next. Set a financial goal and create a budget and stick to it. This isn’t something you have to do for the rest of your life, but an opportunity for you to save money so when you do launch yourself into independence, you’ll be prepared. Don’t lose motivation. With every step you’re taking, every next task is a stepping stone to what you want out of life. It’s not permanent, unless you make it that way. 

Don’t compare yourself with other people. Many people go through life thinking they have to hit certain benchmarks by a certain age to be successful. If you haven’t accomplished those by now, it can make you feel like a failure. But no one’s life goes exactly according to plan. Don’t compare yourself with your peers, people you see on social media, or anyone else. What other people have is irrelevant to you and won’t help you move forward. 

Build on your self-worth. We’re often taught, directly or indirectly, that self-worth comes from the job title you have or the amount of money you make. And when we don’t have those things, it can lower our self-confidence and self-esteem. But self-worth doesn’t come from external things – it’s not tied to traditional ideas of success, a fancy job (or a job at all for that matter), or how big your house is. Self-worth comes from within. It’s about knowing who you are, accepting yourself for who you are, and being true to yourself and your underlying core belief system. No one’s worth comes from superficial things like job title and money. It’s about who you are as a human being.


How to Overcome Your Failure to Launch into Adulthood

It can feel like you are stuck in this situation, but nothing is permanent. Here are actionable items to help you move forward in life:

Reevaluate your values and priorities. Take time to reflect on your values and what is important to you. Goals, values, priorities, and beliefs change over time, so it’s important to self-reflect and do things that nurture your current values and beliefs. 

Ask yourself these questions: 

What and who are important to you?

What are your core beliefs?

What values are important to you?

What are specific things you can do to nurture those values?

What are the things you must have?

What are things you are OK letting go of?

What brings you joy?

What do you want out of life?

Now think about what you are currently doing to nurture and prioritize your values. Are you trying to achieve things that you used to want? You are allowed to change what you want out of life and your life plans. What can you do to fulfill your current priorities? Take steps towards your priorities, not what society, other people, or your parents tell you are a priority. 

Set realistic expectations and goals. After reevaluating your values and beliefs, set realistic expectations and goals. Think about what your life would look like if you had the job you wanted. How realistic are those expectations? Do you want to live in a mansion and have 10 kids? Is that feasible for where you are right now? When setting goals, it’s important to be realistic. If you set unattainable goals, it can lead to feelings of frustration and depression. So think about what you want for yourself and set small steps to get there. It could be like, make an extra $100 a week to put into savings, apply to two graduate programs by xx date, or go for a jog every morning. The goals you are setting for yourself now are all steps towards something greater, a life you want to create for yourself.

Create healthy routines. When you live at home with your parents, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. If you have an unhealthy routine that has been created by this situation, create a new routine that puts you on the right track to achieving your goals. For example, if you go out every night and sleep in late, that doesn’t necessarily help you launch into adulthood. Create a routine that mimics the life you do want. Wake up early, exercise (in whatever form that’s fun and makes sense for you), eat nourishing foods, etc. Your routine will reflect the goals you set for yourself, which are based on your values and priorities.

Foster creativity and think outside the box. Take this time and opportunity to explore who you are and what makes you unique. Are you neglecting hobbies and activities you once enjoyed? Are you trying new things? Are you being creative just for the sake of nurturing yourself? When you allow yourself to be open to new opportunities that are outside of your comfort zone and what you thought you wanted for yourself, you might find something that sparks a new interest in life. If you’ve been trying to get a job in the same field for years and it’s not working out, do new things that are fun. You might realize you want a totally different job or career path that could be easier to break into. When you spend time exploring yourself, you may discover new skills sets or strengths that can develop into something even greater than what you had originally planned.


Launching into Adulthood Starts Now

Reframing your mindset, having a positive attitude, and taking steps towards your goals take work. Acknowledge that it does suck and can be embarrassing to live with your parents when you’re in your 20s and 30s, but don’t let those thoughts and feelings consume you or prevent you from making progress. If you live in Florida or New York and are having a difficult time getting unstuck and need additional support, I can help – contact Dr. Heather Violante online or call (754) 333-1484 to learn more.