Four years ago, my son, age 40, accused me of "saying awful things," which I don’t do.
He insisted that I attend counselling with him to improve our relationship or I’d not see my granddaughter.
I studied my old emails and found NOTHING offensive or critical. I don’t treat my son and his family poorly.
For two months prior, he was irritated, annoyed, demanding, so I asked that he drop by to hug and be forgiving.
We attended three sessions together, and the therapist battered me for my actions, despite no proof of criticism.
I defended myself. We didn’t book another appointment.
I cannot talk to him about this because he’ll kidnap his daughter again. For eight months I saw her only once, in a park with no opportunity to talk or hug.
His first phone call was just before Christmas, asking if we were inviting them over. Nothing had been resolved. Yet Christmas went very well.
Four years later, I’m still nervous about talking this over with him. At the therapist, I realized that he was the one with the problems, and blaming me.
He owns a high-stress business, his wife has a high-stress job. I realized that he was depressed. Things are good now, but I’m anticipating the next assault.
I fear he’ll cut me out of his life, his wife's life and his daughter's life.
My husband, his step-father, was told six months ago that he’d always loved him and still does. That he’d been a large part of his life and helped him become a success.
We made sure he could afford post-secondary education, through investments. We allowed him to make smallish mistakes and to learn from them. He was a good kid.
But for one year when he was 10, I had horrible anger issues due to his father wanting full custody. I became angry at everyone.
I soon apologized, and felt better for it. A therapist told me that anger’s triggered by something which is usually depression.
I don’t want my heart dragged through the mud anymore. I know when my actions were good and when I was not so good, with my anger and stresses channeled through to my son and husband.
I now resolve things as they happen. But I cannot ask what triggered my son’s nutsy actions and emails.
A Stone in my Heart
Your adult son is depressed and acting out against you. It’s painful and unfair, especially when it also separates you from your granddaughter and from having family time together.
So, what choices can help you get past this?
Less self-defending and more concern for his well-being. You’ve already had the therapy to recognize when you had anger issues and overcome them. You’ve also participated in therapy that brought insight into the fact that your adult son’s troubled, not “nutsy,” and doesn’t know how to handle this himself.
You were a caring mother for most of his upbringing. But the divorce and adjustment were hard on him, and you, too, due to your anger then.
Return to the role of loving, forgiving parent, which seems what he’s after. Ask how you can be supportive to him. Try virtual contact instead of emails, so you’re both responsible for what you say in the moment rather than dissecting emails later.
The situation is obviously complicated, perhaps with some elements of which you’re unaware. He may need more help than you can give.
FEEDBACK Regarding the teenage daughter, 15, who argued with her mother for permission to visit with her boyfriend during a province-wide lockdown due to the dangers of infection of COVID-19 (January 29):
Reader – “That teenage boyfriend who might not become seriously ill from Covid can still be a presymptomatic or asymptomatic vector in spreading the disease. He can then transmit it to a family member who can become seriously ill, be admitted to hospital, be placed in ICU due to severe symptoms, and possibly die.
“Also, COVID-19, like other viruses, can spread very easily by exponential growth.
“A parent’s “No” means No, and staying safe.
“Teenagers and otherwise healthy young people who do get infected by Covid can also become “long haulers,” who suffer long-term coronavirus symptoms... not to mention having residual effects which can last a lifetime. A 15-year old has a lifetime to consider his or her actions now.”
Tip of the day:
Adult children may have stresses/problems they don’t share, yet blame a parent rather than their partner or themselves.