Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Broken relationship with son(94 Posts)
I'm not sure how or if I can fix this.
Son is 25, he was an extremely difficult teen, young adult. Expelled, arrested, charged with afray. One morning the police knocked on the door at 6am, arrested him. One of the officers said in front of me, "why are you acting like you do, you come from a nice home, your other seems like a good person, you should see some of the houses I go to" I'm just trying to demonstrate we are just normal people.
We tried everything for him, counselling, talking, liasing with the school etc. I was never out of that school. One of the things that he would NEVER do was accept blame. One time I went to the school and eleven teachers had written notes saying how unacceptable his behaviour was and he still argued and argued and argued that he didn't misbehave. He never accepted his behaviour was wrong, he never accepted punishment without world war 3 irrupting, he was such hard work.
There were 100s issues at home with him, he would call the police and tell them he was being beaten and he wasn't. He was screaming one day, stop hitting me, stop hitting me, I was sat outside in the car and he was alone in the house,. My neighbour came out and bless her took me into hers whilst I cried and gave me coffee and a shoulder. He was ALONE in the house.
As things got worse as he got older, he would push his father, me and out other son, things were turning really nasty, he was now a man, he had to leave. Things improved with some distance between us, he would come round once a week, it was "bearable". Last year he was involved in a potentially serious accident, we went to the hospital, he was discharged with the proviso that he stayed with someone for 48 hours. He was fine with us in the hospital, the second we were out of the hospital grounds, he was vile, saying he didn't want to stay with us, he hated us, he would rather be dead than stay with us, we were XXXX. I would not drop him home, I was worried and wanted him to stay. He called a cab and went home, nothing we could do. He did actually contact us the next day, I was strong and told him straight then, I would never put up with this type of behaviour again, that I had hoped that his violent and aggressive behaviour against us had stopped. That this was the last time and that would be it.
We do lots for him, he has to his credit got himself a good job and lives in a rented flat. We always try to help him, he had to come home for five weeks whilst between flats we managed to deal with it, he tries not a bit, five weeks not so much as an offer of him making us a cup of tea. I or my husband always included him in meals etc, he offered not a penny.
The latest incident is, he needed some specialist clothes for work at very short notice, didn't have the money until payday. So I paid for were delivered to me, I dropped them to him in the evening. He then didn't need them so we could send them back. He had been to our house, when OH dropped him back, he asked him to put the clothes in the boot so we could return them. He out half the stuff in the boot, typical of him, not his problem, etc
We discovered this about 36 hours later when taking them out to take to the post office that day., I've he put it in Monday evening, we were dealing with it Wednesday morning, OH was off, so it was a convenient day. We needed the stuff back quickly as it was close to cut off time to return. OH called irritated that on his one day off, he had to now drive over to his flat to get the clothes to,return. OH was not nasty, he was irritated and was like "you've only given us half the stuff, now I've got to come over and take time out of my day" , I was in the room, so I know. Well our son went mad, saying we were aggressive, nasty, vile etc. He cannot be told anything ever! He put the phone down, so I text, leave the stuff outside so your dad can collect it, let me know it's done as it is a massive pain anyway and if it's. It there to make it worse' he sent back a string of vile texts, telling me to piss off, That just because we do nice things, we only do it to make up for past misdemeanours, we have not right to speak to him like we do (again dad was irritated not abusive!) we are nasty vile people. He also fully seems to believe that we took 36 hours to manage to think of something we could have a go at him about, that we were looking for an issue!!! None of this is true of course, we were packaging it up then as OH was off the day. He honestly accuses us of the most bizarre things.
I've not contacted home for three weeks now, I worry about him and feel sad.
OH knew I was upset and contacted him on Saturday, again he has it ingrained in him that we are wrong. He is convinced we only do nice things for him so that we can "have a go" at him. It's just so far wrong I can't tell you, he seems totall convinced that we are trying to be nasty to him etc etc.
im not sure what anyone can say, but I'm sad and miss my son. I don't feel I can contact as his shouting and screaming will just lead to another arguemnet. But his anger and nastiness to us is almost like an illness. We are honestly normal parents, this attitude was shown in his schooling as I said previously and also he was a scout member and whiltst wanting to go, caused absolute mayhem and trouble for all the leaders. He was really unpopular and only due to my helping at the group and his younger brother attending that they kept him there.
At other times, he wants to be involved in family life. Previously, he would be very keen to visit us once a week, although I always felt on a knife edge if I'm honest.
Where do I go from here? I am sad.
Sorry that's very long, any advice I would be grateful for though.
Horrible situation for you.
First off, stop helping him. I wonder whether your helping attitude actually in part created this? What did you teach him in early childhood about self-responsibility and self-reliance? Babies and infants need total care, but from that stage on it is the parents job to gradually wean children off dependence - with the aim of producing a self-sufficient adult.
You can't do anything about the past now, but you can change how you relate now. You need to develop very string boundaries. Make it clear what behaviour is and is not acceptable to you. Don't so anything for him that goes beyond reasonable assistance to an adult (although I wonder if you may need to challenge your view of what that is). If he insults you, tell him that's not acceptable walk away. If he puts the phone down on you - don't text him FFS! Putting the phone down is his choice - let him live with the consequences. Treat him as an autonomous adult, not a dependent child.
To be honest, I think you and your partner's beliefs about love, dependency and autonomy are at least half the problem. I would suggest you explore this in counselling. You cannot change your son, but you can change yourselves. And if you change, that may impact him. It will at least force him to stew in his own juices and lead him to seek help.
Yes you may be correct, but I always felt so sorry for him and the fact he seemed so angry and unhappy.
It sounds like your son may have personality disorder or similar. I think all you can do is sit down and decide on what healthy boundaries in the relationship would mean to you, let him know and try and stick to them. I'm sorry things are so tough xxx
So you have other children? Maybe you should focus on them instead putting your attention on the bad one, even if it's negative attention.
Attention is attention regardless. Time to cur him out I think unless he starts treating you with respect, why would you want a bully in your life?
* I always felt so sorry for him*
There's no problem with feeling sorry for him. But he's an adult and needs to take responsibility for his life. Much as we may want to, we cannot protect our children from the vicissitudes of life!
I do think about the personality disorder but he holds down a good job and can take "orders" there! He would not do a thing the school, us, scouts asked!
We do have another son, who is normal,
Wonderful!. He's been living out for a year and coming back next month, I'm looking forward to that. He came over for three hours a while ago (between shifts at work) I was clearing a massive plant in the garden, he got stuck right in, cleared it, came to the dump and helped get rid! The other DS would never help like that.
Sadly I am bullied by him, that I think is true.
I'd say stop giving him attention when he plays up. I don't think you are helping the situation, more like encouraging. Make him realise it's wrong. Let him stand on his on two feet for a bit.
Then maybe have a word with your GP for support and guidance as to what you do from here. I think he has some kind of personality disorder.
I know exactly how you feel, because my eldest son is just the same. I too feel sad, but I also realise that there's nothing more I can try as things always escalate. My daughter is lovely so I know I have done something right.
Try not to dwell on it, and I know how hard that is, but keep in mind that he's an adult now and he makes his own choices in life.
Big hugs to you x
Has he ever been assessed for adhd or any other disorder. Sound like he needed assessment in secondary school..
"But his anger and nastiness to us is almost like an illness." Yes I think it is. Or at least a pattern of blaming you for any negative emotions he has.
If he wants help he needs to be asking for it, otherwise he doesn't see that there is a problem.
He may accept a chat to a family counsellor so you can rebuild your relationships if that is something he would like to do. The family counsellor would show you ways to communicate that are not inflammatory. You could speak to a family counsellor yourself. They might give you ideas of how to manage it, and how others in the same situation have managed it.
And tell him that you love him and that he's important to you. And that having people respect you is important to you as well. And sometimes he doesn't act respectfully towards you. That you demand the same level of respect from him that you respect from anyone. And ask him does he agree that is fair and reasonable. Sometimes with people like your son it is helpful to get their buy in - is it fair and reasonable for me to ask you to help with the dishes? We shouldn't reduce the level of respect we deserve when it is our own child. (very tough I know!)
So express the love AND place the boundaries there. And stick to both.
He's never been assessed but if I suggested it, he would just totally explode. He's adamant that nothing is his fault that we are evil nasty people.
Isn't it odd that he keeps coming back when his behaviour indicates he doesn't like you? It must be incredibly confusing for you.
The thing is, you have said (literally) that he can start a fight in an empty room. Always remember that day when he was shouting on his own in the house. He clearly has problems and for now those problems manifest themselves when he's with you. He is coping at work. Does he have any friends? Have you been to his flat? Has he made it a home?
I think I'd cut contact right back for your own mental health. This might be something that changes as he matures, though tbh I'd be very worried about him having a girlfriend or children.
Suno1, sorry you are also going through this!
It's funny that you are evil, nasty people that he wants to keep in touch with, isn't it?
I've not been to this flat, but his room at home was destroyed! I'm not talking teenage mess, I'm talking destroyed! Would not change sheets, slept on bare mattress for months. Literally his floor covered with litter! Literally covered in empty cans, wrappers etc, it was abusive! He has lots of friends, he would never let his friends in the room, clearly ashamed!
He is now saying until we apologise for the last run in, he won't come and see us. I can't apologise because we did nothing wrong, I don't know what to say if he does contact me. Part of me would be happy but part wants to stop this abusive cycle!
What past misdemeanours is he referring to? Whilst it does sound like he may suffer with mental health problems, I'm pretty cynical about it all being his behaviour that's the problem. I say that as someone with MH problems, who's narcissistic, emotionally abusive parents will swear blind that all the problems in our relationship are my fault. They aren't.
its easy to throw around armchair MH diagnoses from a few words written down but I don't think that's helpful.
Could it be he feels that you and his father should've been doing something that you haven't? Or should've known something you didn't? That doesn't mean you weren't doing all you can - however a child's mind may not see it that way and this could easily transfer into adulthood if not dealt with.
Could something have happened to him when he was younger that triggered this behaviour? Something perhaps he feels you could've or should've done more? It may well be something has happened that he felt you should know about (even if you didn't) and is punishing you for it. (The shouting in the empty house is what made me wonder this - it was just a way of telling you something was going on in the only way he knew how?)
His animosity doesn't come from nowhere but it doesn't necessarily mean that it's logical either. He sounds very much stuck in an immature reaction to what may be to you little things but they may not be little to him. His anger will have a source but it's not up to you anymore to find it.
I think keeping a distance while maintaining some contact is wise and perhaps suggestion normal contact resumes once he's able to deal with whatever it is causing his outbursts.
Things I have stated, saying "stop hitting me" when I wasn't even in the house, let alone the room. Anything we asked him to do, tidy up, help out he would say we were nasty to even ask.
I don't think for one minute we were bad parents, maybe we didn't handle things right, but we were struggling with him being arrested, constant fines, constant worry.
He truly believes that we failed him, which is what he refers too. We try to say but we tried our hardest, counselling, school visits, there was nothing we wouldn't do. But whatever we did he still said we were nasty.
Foofoobum, I also considered this, I've tried to talk to him about it but he states nothing untoward happened.
You send a message saying you love him dearly, but unless and until he stops being rude, abusive and disrespectful towards you, he should refrain from contacting you. I would urge him to get help as medication could help him.
Does he have a GF? Or other friends. How does he communicate with others and is his anger reserved for you and DH only ?
He needs psychiatric testing for a personality disorder, as he suffers from paranoia.
Cut contact until he faces up to the wrongs he has done and starts accepting responsibility. You should not have let him home in those 5 weeks because he's never one day apologised for his behaviour, yet you open the door for more of his abuse.
What is it exactly that you're meant to apologise for?
It's interesting he has friends. Has he ever lost any friends through his behaviour or his paranoia?
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.