Question: My married son, father of two infants, lives a few hours away. I do my best to visit him and his family as often as possible, and only with their permission/encouragement. From the moment I walk into the house, he either disappears or he sits down and starts talking about himself. This is a problem he has always had that might be related to his ADHD and OCD. Anyhow, he is becoming more and more critical over th eyears and he constantly picks on me. For example, the other day he told me to go ahead into the huge freight elevator, to even out the weight in there so it would sit evenly with the “threshold.” He said that everybody talks about how I say things to get a rise out of people (I don’t — though I do like to have fun and often say something funny.) He never says he loves me – hasn’t in years — but I hear him tell his father he loves him (he hated his father for years and begged me to divorce him, which I eventually did.) It is so exhausting to hear his constant criticism. Let me explain that I was not critical with him when he was growing up – in fact, bent over backwards to make him feel smart and cute and fun — though I did often tell him he talked too much and needed dto learn to listen to people. Anyhow, I wonder how many people face this critical stuff from their grown kids, and how they handle it. K.
Answer: Dear K.: Please bring this over to my Web-forum for women who have issues with adult children and extended families. We are at www.WiseWomenUnite.com I think you would benefit from having a supportive community to relate to that knows what you’re up against.
Your son isn’t going to change and in all probability, will continue to become harder and harder to get along with. Trying to find something you can do to minimize it is just going to increase your stress. You have to decide where to draw the line on his abuse…and yes, that’s what it is, and where you want to keep the door open because of your relationship with your grandchildren. You deserve so much better. We all do. Blessings, Luise