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Avatar universal

My adult son hates me!

Hello, I am desperately seeking guidance that may provide me with the tools to build a better relationship with my 25 year old son.  I married at 18 and I had a very turbulent marriage for 16 yers to an alcoholic...divorced him when my son was 14...during that time I tried my best to be a good provider, mother and role model...my only son never went without anything....I was a very strict, organized and scheduled kind of mother....yes whether it was right or wrong I did punish my son for inappropriate behaviour...perhaps today being wiser I might have chose different options... I did not know anything else.  I raised my 4 younger siblings.  My husband was the good guy and I was the bad guy....
Today, I am only 46 and have been divorced for 11years...emotionally I feel like I am 80....since the time of the divorce my son has constantly alleged that I severely abused him...anyone that will listen is told this story...and it gets embellished....I have spent the last 11 years of my life desperately trying to show him that I love him, accept him and would do anything for him.....now he is cohabitating and has a one year old daughter...his current partner is a very jealous, manipulative and controlling personality...she hates me terribly and now my son is even worse than ever before....he allows her to scream and yell and disrespect me terribly....he says he supports her....the situation is very bad and unpleasant...
I have gone many times to a counsellor looking to fix whatever it is that I have caused....I just don't know what to do....anything he wants I provide for him...just recently I stopped the financial flow and all the 'taking advantage of me' behaviour....I am an educated, logical and fair minded woman...but when it comes to the relationship with my son I am a total emotional basket case....I cannot stop thinking about this situation, I have acid reflux, headaches, I am depressed and angry at the world....I want to lash out.
I try to occupy my life with warm and fulfilling activities but I cannot stop obssessing about my son and granddaughter...I don't want to go the rest of my life not having a relationship with them but more importantly having my son truly feel, think and believe in his mind that I abused him...it is tearing me apart...he will not go to counselling and now has cut off all communication.

I am only telling you the tip of the iceberg of my heartfelt story....I am hoping that someone may have some suggestions that I may employ to make my son realize he is wrong, to show I love him and build a better tomorrow and have a wonderful future.
Thank you to whomever.
Mary Lou
278 Responses
Avatar universal
This is really sad Mary Lou,  I feel your pain.  But maybe it's time you just backed off a little until things cool down or they come to there senses. I know it must tear your apart, this is your son and grandchild, but until things cool down nothing will get accomplished, just more hurt. Is he your only child?  I cant believe that he hates you. Right now he is just caught between you and his wife, that's a hard spot to be in. You are his mother and always will be, so just step back for awhile and let him think about things and I'm sure things will work out.

Good Luck Mary Lou
299889 tn?1257342977
I had some resentments and I realized my mom did the best she could with what she had to work with and what she knew.  I hope your son will realize that someday.  You, unfortunately can't change someone's attitude, they have to do it themself.  It sounds like you are enabling their behavior wth the money flow, you did stop, however, hich is the first step towards tryng to compensate for the past.  You don't needthe emotional abuse and your son is an *** for letting it happen.  Unfortunately, I feel, you need to distance yourself and allow them to sort their problems out.  They will at some point want Grandma to come help with Grandaughter. Als, they have groups called CODA, Co-Dependents annymous.  I am a big believer in self-help.  You are tryng to buy approval and it isn't working.  Be okay with yourself, you have done your duty and shwn your love as best as you can.  Perhaps your son has abandonment issues about his father. You need time to heal from the verbsl abuse.  I don't know what your punishment for your son was when he misbehaved but spankings were not unusual when I was growing up and discipling my children.  We always fear the outcome of something will not be our choosing.  All you can do is clear your side of the street by saying you were wrong and you did the best you could, that is it.  Good luck
366811 tn?1217426272
I'm glad you stopped by here, Mary Lou, and you're welcome to stay as long as you like. As long as you're here, you might as well JOIN this forum. I'll explain more about that below, but for now, let's have a look at the situation you describe. I'm assuming your 25 year old son is financially independent and NOT living with you. I'm also assuming that -even though you 2 have heap big problems- he is not burdened with a particular psychological pathology (that is, he's not a pathological liar, doesn't steal, start fires, is not heavily into booze or drugs).

Now, let's have a look at some essential points in your material:

...I was a very strict, organized and scheduled kind of mother
...I have spent the last 11 years of my life desperately trying to show
...looking to fix whatever it is that I have caused
...I cannot stop obssessing about my son and granddaughter

ML, I gotta tell you: right or wrong, good or bad and all points in between, your kid is your kid. He is going to be who he is going to be. Your job as a parent WAS to protect him, feed him give him the best educational opportunties you could, set an example of good behavior -etc. That job is over. Whether and how he reponds to you or loves you is entirely at his discretion and has little to do with anything you do now -meaning, you can't make him do or be anything -and there is nothing for you to "fix," because, odd as it may seem, nothing is really broken.

Except your heart, Mary Lou, except your heart. And that's a lot. But it is not his job to fix it, it is yours. You've taken enormous and important first strides by cutting off the gravy train, which no doubt has caused you significant guilt, but it must be done, otherwise you have the dependency still there.

I think therapy is a wonderful idea, and you should continue with it. But the first step, dear woman, is to get YOUR life back. I mean it, set aside your relationship with and access to son and granddaughter right now. Deal with YOUR side of the equation. Obsess? Why obsess? What do his abuse stories bother you? Simply because they are untrue? So what? Suppose they were true, would you feel better, then? You said "perhaps today being wiser I might have chose different options... I did not know anything else." Almost sounds like you are answering an accusation that you messed it all up because you didn't know any better. And yet, you claim to be educated. And this: " I raised my 4 younger siblings.  My husband was the good guy and I was the bad guy.... " Sounds like the difficulties of growing up became transplanted directly into the problems of marriage and parenting.

I'll bet you - I'll just bet you- that you hear a critical voice in what I'm saying, that you see me wagging a finger at you. NOT SO. I'm simply showing you what you have told us. Mary Lou, it is a jumble, layers of confused emotional material which only serve to drive you crazy -which is why you came here!

So the first step -and a step upon which ALL others depend, is to get YOU squared away. And that means loving youself really well while you work with a therapist to understand more about why you are the way you are, and learn -and really believe- that once you've done your best (the best you could at the time) that's all you can do. So, job 1 is to take care of YOU. See to that, starting right NOW.

There is also a forum for Relationships, if you'd like to check in there and see what's what. You are welcome to stay with us, because, while you may not yet have panic or anxiety -as a disorder- you sure as hell have all the ingredients! And many here know exactly what you are going through. And Fuzzy, as you can tell, is usually brimming with good advice. Read what follows for info on how to join:

One of the BEST ways to get the most out of this forum to work is to JOIN it - become a part of it. Its easy -just click the Join Link -enter some profile information about yourself -even a picture if you care to- and anything you think would help us get to know you faster and better, and you can change this material whenever you like. You will also be accessible to receive private messages when other members click the name you've given yourself -sort of a "push to talk" feature. After you've done that, spend some time just using various features of the forum. For example, to see all the posts or responses that someone has made, just click their handle, go to their profile, click Posts, and read to your heart's content. You may also enter search terms -including member names- in the search box at the upper right of your screen and the system will retrun everything matching the term(s) you entered. This INCLUDES a drug database that will give you both user posts about drugs as well as the medical information about the drug. A great way to get quick answers about therapeutic effect, side effects, interactions, etc.

One of the profile categories is your mood, which you may change anytime you like.

Along the right side of your screen is a section of Recent Activity, which not only alerts you to new posts, but new ANYTHING, including journal entries and mood. This is a way to telegraph the community at large without actually creating a separate post. Thus, if you see a friend's mood has changed while you are working on a response or post, it can alert you to send them a private message to learn more or simply let them know you're thinking of them. Likewise, if you are going to be "out," you could enter something like "off line for the night" as your mood, and people would know you're away from the forum for awhile.

If you do this kind of exploring and experimenting right away, you'll be up-to-speed quickly. If you see the message you are reading now as part of a direct response I (or anyone) has made to one of your posts, it was probably copied and pasted from this journal. I hate form letters and auto-responses as much as anyone -but I also hate forgetting to tell people what they need to know, so this is my safety-net. Consider it as part of your "Welcome" kit. So -please join and try things out.

You might also want to read my entries for the "Right Click Trick" and "When in Haste, Use Copy 'n Paste" for some other convenient time-savers.

We're glad you are here!
Avatar universal
i have raised 3 children by myself never had a good paying job, but one thing you say,seems to say something to me you said and i quote my son never went without anything)maybe you gave him to much and it seems he is still holding his hand out. i see no reson for a mother to feel like you do when she has done all she can do i raised my children strict  my children did not get even sometimes what they needed as i had to buy rummage sale clothes for us on my salary we could not afford to much but i did not and would not today put up with any verbal abuse from them and they know this also i taught them to respect their elders i know that you will probably get upset with me for saying this but maybe he had things to easy my children all worked for their lunch at school and also in summer for thei school clothes if they wanted new ones my children-knew. that this was the best i could provide sometime a mother of one or even more thinks that they should just hand over what kids want i do not beleive that way i feel like i did the best i could and we were lucky to have food on the table and i was thankful for what we had if i were you i would not let him see it bothered me it seems like that is the way he gets his kicks so to speak and the girlfreind or-wife whatever if she said one word out off the way she would not be-there at all i cant see why you put up with this kind of treatment you need more respect for your self you seem to be a wonderful  caring person and the longer you let them step on you the more they are going to just tell them the free ride is over dont brood dont look back and maybe in time he will see what his mom has done but whether he does or not are you going to let this ruin your life it will if you keep looking back look forward and say i have done the best i know how and as of today i am taking control of my life if you cant say anything good to say go home and dont let him have any more money he has you on some kind of guilt trip i spanked my kids i took the phone privilage away i would not let them visit their freinds if they did not mind your son is grown let him go  when he gets older he will be sorry and if he isnt just remember it is his life now and not yours and you can not lead it for him dont interfere back away  i dont want you to think i am unfeeling  i know that you love hime but working in the medical feild i have seen a lot heard a lot i am a lot older than you but plese dont let him ruin your life. i can see in your post you dont want to let go and obsession is really a bad thing if you see you cant go forward by all means go to group therapy it seems you are letting him take control you say you are well edcucated then see what he is trying to do by leting his whatever yell at you either you put up with it or you dont i hope that he will see things right but if you dont quit thinking about him thinga are not going to get better          i wish you lots of luck and i hope you do not take offense at my comments just my feelins on the subject    jo
Avatar universal
are you still watching this column i have not seen any posts from you please let us know how you are   luck  jo
Avatar universal
Hi I feel for you.I'm a man.I got together with my childhood sweetheart aftermany many years.She was married and had been married twice before.Anyway she had a 5 year old son.They came as a package of course.Over the ensuing years the son hated me.I guess because he thought it was my fault his dad left and he was right.Eventually after 15 years he became an adult and we are now good friends.He matured very well and I have learned much more than I ever expected.So my advice to you is don't worry about it.You will allways be his mom and even though it may not seem like he loves you he really does and things will get better between you.It's a sure thing .It just takes time.
Avatar universal
I'm 66.  My son just turned 40.  I took him away from an abusive first marriage when he was two.  We were lucky, because I met and fell in love with a man who fell in love with both me and my son.  We married when my son was three. I became a stay-at-home wife and a full-time mother.  We devoted our lives to making my son (the only child we would ever have) happy.  Wanting him always to feel important, we'd let him pick where we'd vacation.  We gave him our beautiful car (two years old) to make sure he'd be in a reliable vehicle.  We bought a new car for ourselves.  One school day, son washed his car and, without asking, took our brand new car to school; because it was raining, and he didn't want HIS car to get dirty and wet.  He smashed our new car to smithereens.  

Then, after our car was repaired, he skidded on wet grass and drove his car into the building where he worked.  Then he ran off.  My husband (his loving stepfather) paid the costs out of pocket due to just having to claim the accident with our car on our insurance.  

Due to the fact that son absolutely refused to take on any chores all the while he was growing up, there were loud arguments about his attitude.  Finally we stopped asking him, realizing it would just lead to more fighting.  

I'd clean his room, only to find he trashed it.............again.  

When the college years came, he became even mouthier, telling us he didn't have to take "this f-ing ****."  He chose an expensive college, and we paid for it.  We couldn't figure out what it was he felt he was "taking".......besides our love and generosity, which certainly didn't appear to him something for which to be grateful and respectful.  

He'd take off on a Friday night, not telling us where he'd be and not show up until the following Monday, causing us to be frantic with worry.  When we approached him about it, he refused to discuss it.  Refusing to discuss anything has been the pattern.  He hates confrontation and refuses to deal with it.  We're supposed to pretend it didn't happen, put it in the past and leave it there.............without solutions.

He finally met the girl he'd marry.  Wanting to give them a better honeymoon than they could afford, we surprised them with a week in San Francisco (we live on the east coast), plus gave them $1,000 in spending money.  THAT was their SHOWER gift.  The wedding gift we gave them made the $1,000 shower gift pale in comparison.  No, we're not wealthy...........just lead with our hearts even if it hurts our wallets.

They bought a house and wanted to borrow $1,500.  We agreed, with the promise they'd pay it back.  Son made small payments for a couple of months and then proceeded to continue buying himself extravagant luxuries and not making any attempt to pay any more of the money back.  I approached him about it.  He decided that, since his new home had central AC, and he had a wall unit AC in mint condition, he'd give us the AC to pay off the remainder of his loan, since we needed one.  We didn't feel it was a fair exchange, but we accepted it.

Son started eliminating certain holidays that had always been tradition with our family.  Telling him how hurt I was didn't serve to change his mind.  Yet when I tried to change a family tradition I didn't care for, he "reprimanded" me in a way that let me know things would be worse if we didn't respect what HE wanted.

He and his wife decided they wanted no children.  They became heavily involved in sports.  The few visits we get were obviously obligatory on their part, which made us feel like we were walking on egg shells.  When they did visit, they took over the remote, called their friends on the phone or busied themselves with their sports equipment rather than sit and visit with us.  If we dared to say anything about it, son claimed we're always looking for an argument.

Son and his wife just turned 40.  We threw a big party which ultimately ended up costing us $2,500.  They sent us an obligatory thank-you note and a floral arrangement to say thank you.  

This past Mother's Day he asked what I'd like to do.  I got about two hours of the day I requested before we found ourselves being left to walk 25 steps behind them, as they perused all the shops that interested THEM and ended up eating in a restaurant of THEIR choice.  No, they didn't pay for our dinner.

Son called the Thursday before Father's Day to ask "dad" what he'd like to do.  Dad requested a small trip but told son he realized that son also has a father-in-law to consider, so son should get back to him about the plans.  Friday son calls to ask questions about a problem he was having........mentions nothing about Father's Day.  Saturday dad calls to ask what's going on with the plans..........leaves a message, son and his wife are not home.  By Sunday morning (Father's Day), we still had heard nothing so decided to get dressed and just do our own thing.  Phone rings and daughter-in-law says "Dad called yesterday and left a message, so I'm returning his call."  Not a word about Father's Day.  By that time we had enough, so my husband and I laced into them about being thoughtless.  Things got louder and louder until son finally said, "Do you want to argue or do you want to go?!?!"  At that point, my husband said he wouldn't be able to put himself in the mood to enjoy any kind of day with them.  Everyone hung up.  

We've not seen son or his wife since May (Mother's Day).  There's been no communication.  We know this is son's way of ending any relationship we had.  

I cannot call him, because my logic (which I usually cast aside because my love for him takes over) tells me I'll just be enabling him to carry on with the emotional abuse he causes us.  If I don't call him, I realize I've lost my only child.  So I sit as piece-by-piece I die a little each day, swollen-eyed from crying.  

How can he recall the past and come up with anything resembling a bad upbringing?  My husband and I went without so many things.  We sacrificed ourselves in order never to sacrifice HIM.  I've prayed, but my prayers seem to go unanswered.  So, here I sit mourning a son who's still alive but has gone out of our lives as surely as if his life had been taken.  How is it possible to have given so much of yourself to a person and yet have failed so miserably?   I'm so very, very sad.
Avatar universal
wow iam very sorry for the way you've been treated. But u should realize that its not you to blame. If you believe that you did the best you could then thats all there is to it. And remeember that family is not the only form of socialization a person gets. There are many secondary peer groups that shape a person through their life time and the person being socialized chooses the best percpective of the world for them. What i really think is that hes just spoiled, with love and money and is very selfish probably from being an only child. He has taken what u gave him for granted, but i think that the universe will balance itself out and you jsut gotta be patient.
Avatar universal
Thank you for your response.  There still has been no communication.  I continue to mourn, and I'm sure he's too busy having fun to give me or my husband a second thought.  As for patience, I've come to the conclusion that a situation like this can destroy a mother whose whole life has been dedicated to making sure her son never had to question how much he was loved and wanted.  My husband and I thought we were demonstrating that we did things for him because that's what you do for those you love.  You GIVE all the love and help you can.  But that doesn't seem to be what son learned at all.  Instead of learning the traits of giving and loving from us, he appears to have focused on the RECEIVING part.  I honestly always believed that it's okay to give a child "stuff," as long as you nurture that child with an abundance of love and understanding, also.  We've ALWAYS been there for him, through thick and thin.  How he can cast aside the two people who loved him most in the world and did the most for him is something I'll never understand.   My husband loved him and did more for him than many biological fathers do.  He didn't HAVE to take on this responsibility, but he did because of his love for both my son and me.  I can't begin to tell you how hurt he is.
I hope you're right about the universe balancing itself out.  I hope I live to see it.

458072 tn?1291418786
It seems the better you are to the kids, the worse they treat you. The worse you treat them, the better they are to you.

Gotta have God in the picture. Can't please everyone, have to do what is right. That is so hard as parents because we want to please our kids and give them so much, but that is not good for them. As these examples prove.
458072 tn?1291418786
I just had another thought, you can not have a relationship with someone, just because you want to. They have to want to as well. Until he comes to this point, try to find some kind of outlet to help ease the pain.

I am so sorry you are having to have this kind of pain. But you will come out stronger....if you believe.
Avatar universal
Thank you, peggy.  My son has always been my heart, no matter how old he gets.  I have no idea what fills in the void once your heart is trampled on by your own flesh and blood.
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