My Adult Son Blames Me For His Problems

Question: Dear Luise: I think you are terrific. I was looking for advice about my adult son who is having problems and blaming me.  Somehow I found you and what you say makes sense.  Thank God my other children aren’t like this.  They seem to think I am a better mom than I do.  God bless your son for getting you that computer. J.

Answer: Dear J.: After several years of doing this work, I am seeing a pattern emerge with sons who blame their mothers for whatever they find that is challenging and disappointing in their adult lives.

Some of it is external to the relationship, I’m sure…health, personalities, etc. However, some sons seem to get fixated as youngsters on their mother being able to fix whatever needs mending…and they are seriously disappointed to find that it doesn’t last forever. Eventually, the fixing and mending becomes their own responsibility.

Autonomy is a skill that has to be developed and there are adult children who would rather blame than grow. Maybe some feel they can’t. Whatever the process, the mom becomes the scapegoat and every shortcoming and failure becomes her fault.

Other children (this seems to be a son-thing) in the same family don’t take such a dependent stance…or maybe more is expected of them. Whatever the reason, they step up to the plate…however hesitantly, and eventually sail off into adulthood able to cope.

It is confusing when they disagree about what kind of a home they came from. As I have written, my eldest son, (now deceased), blamed me for every dark cloud and my younger son still attributes the sun rising to me. Neither is true, of course.

Our job always was/is to do our best; it’s going to be interpreted however it is. Blessings, Luise

15 Responses to My Adult Son Blames Me For His Problems

  1. V. December 17, 2009 at 6:37 pm #

    Dear Luise: My 34 year old daughter blames me for her divorce and her problems with the husband and children. The mistake I made was letting them move in with my son and me when she got pregnant at 21 years of age. He had no job nor she. I was barely making it. As soon as the baby was born I made sure he found a job and so did I. We were fine until we moved from house to house with my son and grandchild. Then there were two and than three. My son finally couldn’t take the fighting so he left to live with his girlfriend. Throughout his life as well as hers I have helped them both with what ever trouble or need they needed. I have been blamed for everything that happens in their lives. I was single mom with both of them trying very hard to do it on my own. We had some hard times, but I managed to always be there for them, I finished college, but still was having problems financially. They have always blamed me for being poor not having enough. So when they both started their lives I was there to help them including her husband and his girlfriend. Now at this age of my 56 they say I am crazy that I am always trying to control their lives. My daughter’s husband was a controlled freak with her, and jealous and showed no respect for me and always made moves on me til one day I just told my daughter and she didn’t believe me, until recently. They started fighting over her going back to school. I have always been there for her helping her with the kids, her stupid husband and taking care of a home that we all live in. I am now living with my daughter and her children we got this house on our own, but we are struggling. My daughter went an found a younger man that is half her age. She is not even divorced yet from her husband. What hurts me the most is the grandchildren. They are going through so much turmoil with them and me. It is very hard to see her ruin her life again with a men half her age, but she will not listen and she just keeps telling me that I am always trying to control her life. I made the story short but I have lived with her and her husband and children off and on. Now I am here just with her and the children, and I just hate to see the children hurt because she will not spend time with them She is just consumed with her boyfriend on the phone texting every minute of the day. I take care of the children; feed them, wash their clothes and take them to school, babysit when she goes out of town with him. It just heartbreaking. I am very hurt when she blames me for her divorce or the fights that she has when she fights with her ex husband or boyfriend. She is about to graduate from college but she is so lost in this relationship she is torn apart. I do not know what to do…leave again or stick it out for the sake of the children. I have no life just work and the house and the grandchildren, yet she blames me for everything that has happened to her in her life, because I chose to continue living with them and the children and now again with her and the children. I personally can not make it on my own, and neither can she. What can I do to live happily with her and the children. Help. V.

    • Luise December 18, 2009 at 10:14 am #

      Dear V.: If you have to stay together for economic reasons, I think the best you can do is love and support your grandchildren. They are so lucky to have you in their lives. The patterns that you and your daughter are stuck in are pretty well established. Blame is the easy way out for her and she probably puts you down to build herself up. She denies responsibility and then calls you controlling. How sad. Please know that it matters to the grandkids that you are offering stability. God for you! Blessings, Luise

  2. J. January 12, 2010 at 1:53 pm #

    RE: My Adult Son Blames Me For His Problems Dear Luise, You said this is a “son” thing but my daughter who is now 33 years old also blames me for everything wrong with her life and always had and expects me to fix everything. I found your answer acknowledges this condition exists albeit in your experience only with sons, yet I do not see a solution offered. J.

    • Luise January 12, 2010 at 9:20 pm #

      To me, the only solution is to get that it is untrue and to accept the fact the the adult child is responsible for either working through it and taking responsibility for his/her life or feast on blame as an excuse for remaining n oversized child.

      Please consider coming over to my Web-forum that deals with issues involving adult children. You may find some much-needed support there. You can find us at: Blessings, Luise

  3. J. January 28, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    Hi! My 19 year old son told me this morning that I have been a horrible mother, that I don’t listen him and I give him bad advice..It baffles me..I am a loving mom, I do listen to him and give him great advice that he usually takes..What is happening? He is so rude and obnoxious to me. I can’t stand to be treated disrespectfully. I am divorced and living with a man for 1.5 years. I will most likely never marry again; however, I am very committed to my relationship, my boyfriend is great to my son too! My son seems ungrateful and jealous truthfully! I don’t know what to do..he is going to a community college now and I told him this morning that he has 3 months to get job and that I thought it was best for him to move out and that we would be here for him to help. HELP!! Sincerely, The bad Mother!!

    • Luise January 30, 2011 at 8:31 pm #

      Come on over to my Web-forum. It was created for women dealing with issues with adult children and extended families. Blessings, Luise

  4. sarah April 3, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    i am using my best frind lap/top,i am a wideow i have 3 children girl 2 sons ,i give them the best,privite school ect one 33 give hur 155thousand 15 years ago,to guy a house she never send b/card a letter or phone me ,i do all the call now then,i love hur to come to see me hur reply was pay the fare for hur to come to see me ,my reply i told as good mother for my children to be independen,she reply back i would wast my money on you,i was very upset,that one of them the next boy 31 years keep asking me to buy a house for him ,he come home some weekends when he take drink
    he give me allot adbuise all sort bad names,to look at him he brake my heart,that is to do with drink.the young boy 24 old he work any thing go wrong he blaim me,.i am on my own now before i go to sleep i pray for each one they will never understand they put me throu,my husband died sudden on me 7 years now,after two years of my husband died ,i had mager operation if i did not have the operation i would 5 years to live ,i asked god to save my for my children,it was mirecial,i never had a holiday with husband we worked so hard in business for our children our social life was nill he was a genlteman r.i.p.i think of him every day,and yet i love my children,.what have i done wrong . I know in my heart i dont deserve this .i know god is good .excuse my spelling i am crying crying to myself,.but life go on god bless you all sarah

    • Luise April 5, 2011 at 9:38 am #

      You deserve so much better. PLease try to remember that you were a whole person before you had children and you can be again. Focus on your own healing and leave them to learn the lessons they will have to learn eventually. Sending love.

  5. M. April 26, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

    My 33-year old daughter blames me for never being there for her and being too judgmental while she was growing up. I always felt like I was there for her and her twin brother (or at least I always tried to be). I always tried to instill in both of my children that they should always make every effort to be the best they could be. On occasion, I criticized some things where I felt either of them was capable of doing better. She claims that I always made her feel like she wasn’t good enough. When I try to explain, she doesn’t want to hear my reason (which she calls an excuse) and simply pushes me away. It was all part of what I believed to be responsible parenting. Now she says that she always went to my husband for any crisis because I wasn’t there for her and I was cold as ICE and am not capable of connecting. I find all of this to be extremely hurtful, as well as untrue.

    My daughter had a psychological problem when she was 5 years old. She was suffering from separation anxiety when she was separated from her twin brother in kindergarten. She also lost her maternal grandmother to cancer at the same time. She went through a period of compulsive hand-washing which is a symptom of mental illness. I believe all of this had to do with her emotional state at the time. My husband and I took her to a psychologist for what was referred to as play therapy for approximately 6-9 months and she seemed fine after that, until high school. When she was in her Senior Year of high school, she became anorexic. I think she is delusional and has a distorted perception of what kind of mother I really was as opposed to what kind of mother she thinks I was.

    I have no idea where to turn from here, but I am losing my beautiful daughter more each day that our strained relationship continues. M.

    • Luise April 26, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

      All we can do is our best. She is an adult and has to learn to handle her issues in her own way and seek help if and when she becomes motivated to do so. You, on the other hand, can turn you life around by remembering that you were a whole person before you started parenting and you can be whole again. Start being incredibly kind to yourself. That’s all you can do.

  6. C. July 24, 2011 at 2:35 pm #

    My eldest son blames me for moving him around when he was younger ( i have 3 sons in total) but this is my eldest and he doesn’t seem to be able to cope with anything and interact with people of give any respect to other peoples opinions? I try to give him advice but he says that he doesn’t know how to move on – i’m stuck and wondered if you could help? I am racked with guilt, that me moving him did not allow him to build relationships at school. i.e. freindships and respect for teachers – do i need to go back to treating him as a boy – as he is not mature at all in his way of thinking? I have tried explaining that i’m sorry for everything but now he has to make a decision to let the past dictate his future or let’s sort things out together to make sure the future is happy, but he is so negative all the time… Kind Regards C.

    • Luise August 7, 2011 at 7:52 am #

      We all know moving can be devastating to some (not all) youngesters but there are young adults out there who never had to move and who still balme their mothers for every disappointment and failure. It is easier than learning to be responsible and stepping up to the plate. My eldest son was a very successful man and he still made me the villian in his life and the cause of everything that did work out right. We can only raise them the best we can under the circumstances we were in at the time and then let them go to becaume adults…just like we had to. There is nothing to feel guilty about. Don’t beieve a word of it and start treating yourself with respect whether your son does or not. You deserve it. Blessings, Luise

  7. S. August 7, 2011 at 9:29 pm #

    Recently my son has blamed me for saying something that I did not say. My daughter has never liked me and made up lies to my sons girlfriend and they believe her. Now my son will not talk to me and both of my kids have cut me off from seeing the grandchildren as well. My son is not mad at my husband. My husband recently went for therapy and was told to stay out of the middle of it. This is hard for me since I don’t feel I can talk to anyone about this issue. I cannot apologize for something I did not say. I am so sad about this and don’t know how to fix it. S.

    • Luise August 8, 2011 at 7:54 pm #

      Please come over to my Web-forum. I think you may need a community of strong women behind you as you work your wasy through this. Blessings, Luise

  8. Kiki August 31, 2014 at 2:04 pm #

    Here is one for you. I have two sons. The youngest is 42 and for the past three years has been criticizing me for any and everything in his life. I might add he put himself through college graduated Magna Crum laude. He was recruited out of college to work for a fortune 500 company and has climbed the ladder fast. He make half a million dollars or more a year. He has any and everything a person could ever dream of. I raised my son’s alone on the farm. Their father walked out on us and never paid child support. I sometimes held two jobs to give them what they needed. Now,my successful son blames all his emotional and all other things on me. I have clinical depression and every time he blames me for something I feel more depressed and scarred emotionally. This needs to stop but I don’t know how to stop it. He is the type of man who, I am afraid would cut me off from my grandkids. However…he is driving me away by his blaming. I pulled out all the cards he has sent me over the years and he always thanks me for being such a wonderful mom and making him the man he is today and all the sacrifices I made for them. He just got his second divorce when this all started. He has been in therapy for the last four days and that is where it all began. Can anyone tell me how to set boundaries with him as I feel his actions are effecting my mental health. I love him dearly but cannot stand anymore pain he has thrust upon me.Thank you so much! K.

    K. Please come over to my Webforum for support with this issue” Blessings. Luise

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