Should We Walk Away from our Son

Question: Dear Luise: I wonder if you can help me. My son is 26 years old and is living with his girlfriend. He is unbearably rude to me…always calling me terrible names and belittling me. He keeps telling me to listen to what his girlfriend is saying because she is a Gynecologist, which is untrue. She is a clerk for the Local Authority. My husband and I agreed to go on a short break with them recently which was awful and concluded with us packing up and leaving them, thus resulting them in having to go to considerable expense to get home as they have not got their own transport. During this break, he insulted me, told me he expected me to address his girlfriend with more respect, and I have never been rude, and his girlfriend was very rude to us. Following this I received a telephone call from my son saying he wanted nothing more to do with us and to have a good life. This is so distressing for me especially as nothing I say is right even though, we pay for everything for them and run them around in our car anywhere they wish to go. I am finding it difficult to walk away, but my husband is furious with him and is fine with having nothing more to do with him. Is it right to walk away? Thank you for listening. C.

Drear C.: We all have different tolerance levels for abuse. That’s what it is, of course. Some people actually feel the need to be mistreated, used and exploited but it doesn’t sound like you and your husband enjoy being victims.

I would like to invite you to come over to my web-Forum with your issue. Many problems with adult children are aired there and the support is amazing. The URL is:

Your son has closed the door. It sounds like they both have a lot of growing up to do and perhaps not having you pay for everything and chauffeur them around is a good place to start.

You did not close the door. You took a stand. You merely made it clear that you were not going to put up with further disrespect. I would stick to my guns and step back. Lying about a profession to feel important and putting other people down in an attempt to build self-confidence never works. It’s self-destructive behavior and makes the person doing it look smaller and smaller.

Your son made the ultimatum, so the ball is in his court. If and when he wants to respectfully return, welcome him with open arms. You are not the dirt under his feet; you are the people who brought him into this world and gave him the best you had to give. Your job was to bring him up and now his job is to grow up. You can’t do that for him. Blessings, Luise

One Response to Should We Walk Away from our Son

  1. C. February 28, 2010 at 6:12 am #

    Dear C.: I had problems with my son too and things escalated until I had to take a stand. I didn’t see him for months after that, and although it broke my heart and almost killed me, now I’m glad I did and think he learned some valuable lessons about respecting everyone, including himself. It’s been a long road to here and it wasn’t easy. He was 18 then, and is 34 now. I’m a poster on Luise’s other site, It has helped me to know I’m not alone and get much needed support! C.

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