My Son Says I Was a Rotten Mother

Question: Dear Luise: I live each day with a broken heart. My 30 year-old son hates me. He says I was a bad mother. He tells me that I am a wasted piece of flesh. I love him so much. His older brother that he never got to meet died as an infant. I felt so blessed but scared when this son was born. He says I’m a horrible grandmother because I don’t go to his house as often as he would like, yet he has never brought my grandchildren to my home, or even himself. I have two daughters age 28 and 26. My son calls them and makes them feel sorry for him. I’m sure he wants them to hate me as well. My son calls me names and accuses me of things that never happened. I cry all the time. He seems so bitter. The only time my son is half way nice to me is if he wants money. It’s so very difficult to not have him love and respect me. Please tell me how I can fix this when he tells me to “shut the (blank) up” when I try and talk to him. I’m so hurt. D.

Answer: Dear D. If you haven’t already read the “My Son Hates Me” link on my website along with the many comments that follow, please do that. We belong to a very large group.

I have no idea where the wires get crossed between mothers and sons but I know that it sometimes happens because it did for me with my eldest.

We probably look better than Mother Teresa early on…because we are our son’s first love. Then there is a gradual process where our feet turn to clay and we begin to be seen as human and fallible. Some sons make it through this transition, and some don’t. I don’t know why. It may have more to do with them than it does with us.

You seem to be seen in a positive way as a baby-sitter and money source. Beyond that, what you are describing is abuse. The bad news is that you can’t fix it. It’s your son’s problem. You can only fix problems that originate within yourself. He undoubtedly would not agree with that. He thinks you are the problem! How handy!

How much you choose to be used and abused is up to you. Your other children seem to be buying into all of this, so you son is a pretty adept manipulator. Start your own healing by getting that you are not helpless. You don’t have to continue with the way things are. You can make it clear that you will not continue to interact with him in such a disrespectful and damaging way. Be sure you are ready to face the consequences if you take a stand because he will probably punish you by removing your grandchildren from your life. On the other side of the coin, self-respect may still need to be your first move.

The crying may allow you expression and be an honest way to experience this nasty situation but it also takes a lot of energy. If and when you can focus on the rest of your life and your other children, you may start to feel better. The Serenity Prayer talks about accepting the things we cannot change. If you confuse the things you can change with the ones you can’t, counseling may be a good idea. Blessings, Luise

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