Question: Dear Luise: My adult son is disrespectful, specially when his wife is present. She loves when he is disrespectful to me. She hates her own mother. I have isolated myself each time that this happens. Also, they almost never invite me and I do not go to their house if they do not invite me. I go away four month every year and when I am in the same city in which they live, I see them only a few times and that makes me suffer since if I ask my son to see him he tells me that he is busy with his friends or other things and refuses to see me, therefore, I try not to suggest we meet in order to avoid suffering more due to his reyection. He says he loves me and that I am a good mother and he asks me to take care of his children if, in the futute, they have children. Of course, I told him that I would not do that.I said thaat I am tired. However, the truth is that I am tired of his abuse, disrespect and of him being unloving. In addition, I do not want the responsibility of taking care of children full time when parent go to work, I did not tell him all that, I just said that I am tired because of my age. Regarding the abusive behavior, in order to stop him abusing me, I have told my son tha I will not take any more abuse from himt, next time he abuses me, I will go to his superiors at work and I will tell them that he was a good son untill he turned 19 and went to work at McD, met a bunch of people who hated their parents and met the woman that is now his wife. and that if my son does not stop abusing me, I will publically inform other parents of my experience , so that, they will not allow their children to go and work at McD. My son is 34 years old and he is a manager. He told me that if I go to his superiors and I do such thing, he will never speak to me again and I will lose him for ever. He is a bully with me, yells to me insults when he gets angry for no reason, comes to my apartment and yells bad words in the corridor just for fun and laughs when I tell him not to do that. Also, I do not see him unless I contact him after a month or so and almost never invites me to his house. I have read that to stop a bully we have to do the same to them, show that we are strong, not afraid of them. I would like to have an opinion about what to do to stop the sudden mistreatment and disrespect for no reason, just because I disagree with him on something. Just one word that does not match what he thinks turn him angry. I know that he is already angry and takes it on me! He used to be a respectful son before he went to work at McD, moved out and met the woman who is now his wife. She, also, worked there. About a month ago he insulted me. I did not call him, as I do every time he insults me. A couple of days ago, he called me an said that he is going away for a short vacation and asked me if I wanted to go out with him for coffee before he goes awasy. I said “yes”. What should I say or do when I see him? I was thinking to say to him, as soon as we meet: “I think that, before we go for coffee, you have to say something to me, you owe me something” (he will understand because when he was younger and he said something wrong, he apologized). If he says”I am sorry” , I intend to go with him. If he does not apologizes to me, I would not go with him and I will wait untill he will, one day, apologize to me. My questions are: What is your opinion regarding what should I do and say to him about the insult of the last time we were together? Since he insulted me after I treatened him to disclose my situation to his superiors at work, etc.,, Do you think that I should follow through what I have said/ My son ignores me, does not invite me to his house in any way! My heart is broken, I am 50% blind, have no relatives, only him and he does not care about me at all. I have spent almost $100,000 to have custody of him. He and his wife make $150,000 per year and never gives me any gift. I give them gifts. He does not see my situation and is very selfish. Please, give me an answer. P.
Answer: Dear P.: My opinion is that we can’t force anyone to make a sincere apology. Your son is abusive and if you go to his superior, that is evidence that you too, are abusive and controling. It wouldn’t reflect strength. He is grown. Your job is done. Sometimes our adult children meet our expectations and sometimes they don’t.
You did your best. Let him go and move on with your life. You were a whole person before you became a parent and you can be whole and happy again. Don’t waste the rest of your life wanting your son to be different. You can’t change him…you can only change the direction of your own life. If you need support in doing that, please come over to my Web-forum for women who have issues with their adult children and extended families at www.WiseWomenUnite.com Blessings, Luise