Feedback very much appreciated

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Holly10011, Dec 9, 2017.

  1. Holly10011

    Holly10011 New Member

    2 of 70,079

    Our last minute surprise TG visit from our son age 21 ended up to be nothing short of a disaster
    last 2 visits were not great but #3 has confirmed that it may very well be the last. (In past 5 years he would only visit during winterbreak)

    Started TG early evening - we went to a film.
    When it ended I commented to Stefan that it confused me -I didnt understand it
    Son did not reply. I repeated my comment -again no reply.
    Finally I asked "Why are you not answering me?

    He snapped back "loud and very angry "How come you go through you entire life never understand anything? " WHAT? I thought I was going to have a heart attack . In an attempt to keep peace I did not respond, and decided to be pleasant while we looked for a restaurant . After ordering dinner, son revealed that he does not like us explaining that it is "nothing in particular that we have done - just that he feel comfortable with us". Also said that he is friendly with a few kids who never speak to their parents. ( it seemed as if he was envious) As the tears streamed down my face, I felt like challenging him, but instead remained silent with growing rapid heartbeat and break. The next 3 days we hardly saw him.He'd leave at 9am and return at 11pm. On his last night he came in at 11- Ray and I had our door ajar hearing him shuffling around . With each passing moment it became clearer to me that he was going to leave and not say goodbye. With my heart breaking, I stepped into the living room and with- cracking voice asked "Son, were you going to say goodbye ? He looked up from his phone and said loud and sarcastic " Goodbye" I asked him if he wanted to say goodbye to his father. With an eyeroll he walked into our bedroom - another sarcastic "Goodbye" He left in the early am with no thank you or goodbye note (not that I expected one )

    I was expecting at TG to hear something like " I know we had our challenges but in spite of all look at me. I'm so lucky to have graduated top college with a 100% academic scholarship and graduated with ZERO debt and with- a job that I love in a top tech company and an enviable salary. Life is great! Thanks for all you guys did to help me get here." Instead of Thank you, we got F. you, Sorry I just don't like you.
    During his short time in the apt I had zero success in each and every attempt to try to have conversation .
    When he awoke I asked if he slept well. He responded "not really. "
    When he saw that I had filled the fridge with his favorite vegan foods he commented "I hope that you know I am not going to be eating here"
    He also managed to mock me bc I am not as informed about coding as he yet he forgets that it was his mom who years back who introduced him to coding knowing that it would benefit him.

    Son never texted to tell us he arrived home in SF. (he used to do that in past)
    I received one text from him days later ONLY bc he needed something.
    He texted " I left my jacket . Will you please send it ?
    At this point, I am unsure if I want any communication with- him but texted back
    "Yes I will send it. " (which I did an hour later)

    Sons next text.
    "Thanks mom. Sending love and warm thoughts"
    WHAT ? Why are you sending love after you have basically spit in our faces? I have not responded, but with each passing day my resentment grows. I don't know who he is. He was a warm, caring and kind pleasure to raise who never went to sleep without coming to the foot of our bed saying "Im going to sleep now, love you. "

    I can no longer speak with my husband about this bc we fight. Ray feels that this is normal and I certainly do NOT agree. I do not want to have a stroke or heart attack so I have decided it is best for me to discuss with others.

    I've come to realize that whatever it is that is resulting in his vile behavior is not going away any time soon. After much thought my feelings are that while our relationship is acceptable from the distance,something triggers when he sees us . I think he's repulsed by seeing "old" parents. And, frustrated knowing that he is smarter than we are. He has zero tolerance and becomes infuriated with any question that I ask and seems to get a sick thrill out of being verbally abusive. He is resentful that we are low income but he is not. He has started his first job with a sign on bonus that is more $$ than we have in savings. Of course it's hard to speculate on the unknown. His birthday is end of Dec and I want to ask your opinion.In past he would be home for winter break, so I'd give him his gifts. After the recent visit it is obvious he will not be here so I'm deciding among the following.

    A- Ignore his birthday . Do nothing . (let him wonder why for the first time I am not acknowledging)
    B. Do the least possible. "Happy Birthday" in a text. Nothing more. Not even my usual " Love, mom"

    C. Snail mail a card and write the following" Happy Birthday !!. Having you for a son is definitely the best thing that has ever happened to me. Just thinking of your unending love, and kindness, brightens my days. I am truly grateful for being so blessed."
    (He has such a swelled head, I'm unsure he will get the sarcasm)

    D. write him a letter from my heart revealing how very much he has hurt us .
    While I lean towards D, his behavior is so bizarre that I doubt he'll care and or even understand. He is in his own "everything is about me and my needs" world in Silicon Valley.
    He is my only child and my heart is shattered.
  2. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel


    I truly feel for you. I this time to live your life live yourself and protect your heart!

    If he acknowledges your birthdays then do the same in return for him. I highly doubt he does. So if your 3 Choices I would do nothing more than ignore his birthday or send a snail mail Simple card.
    If you must write a letter from your heart don’t mail it to him. He is not in a frame of mind to do anything but damage to you at this lint in time.
  3. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I have four kids. Even my one not always nice son never ever demeaned my intelligence or income level (We are not rich.) Your son is NOT in any way approaching normal behavior toward a parent. Aside from my oldest, who would never want me out of his life even though he can lose his temper, my other three adult children say "I love you" every single time we talk, which is often, and are warm and loving. They are ages 40 (oldest and sometimes not nice), 34, 24 and 21. Never a "you are no good" from any of them. The oldest namecalls when stressed but knows that if he demeans me too badly I will stop talking to him every day and he likes to talk to me. I would never put up with behavior like that from anyone, even an adult child. How dare he!

    If it were me (everyone is different) I would send a bland card, no gift. How horrible for him to imply it is good and normal to cut out parents who love and give so much to their beloved children. Says much about college friends probably getting money from those parents they snub!

    I adopted a child from Asia at age six and he walked away when he married. I do not consider him one of my kids anymore as he has not spoken to us in fifteen years. I'm sure he also had issues with our income status. He is quite rich and brilliant. I tell myself it happened because he wasn't six until we met him. I am sure that is partly true but it about killed me. He was much beloved, like all the kids. I had to go through groveling, begging for naught and finally grieving and now I am sorry I ever groveled. He and wife just made fun of it. So I know how hard this is. I adopted three others so it wasn't the adoption. Those three are bonded and thriving. I will always wonder and never know why this one left although strongly suspect his wife wanted him to herself. So she has him to herself...count your other loved ones as blessings, like your husband. You did nothing wrong. You loved him.

    Whatever you do is okay. There is no one answer for all. I don't have the stomach for abuse of that sort, since I once had a child walk away. I would limit contact and lower expectations. Did this start in college? It's awful. My heart breaks for you. I wish he was not your only. Do you have nieces? Nephews?
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2017
  4. Holly10011

    Holly10011 New Member

    yes it started in college. He was an easy lovely respectful child. Thanks you so much . I very much appreciate you sharing as well as your comments. I have ahuge hole in my heart and would love to now find a way to share some of my love with a child in need. Sadly no other family. But lovely amazing supportive friends and a cat who we have grown to love more than we'd ever thought possible.
  5. Holly10011

    Holly10011 New Member

    He has acknowledged my birthday and mothers day only with an email . Never once a gift which I always felt was strange but never challenged. He has gone out of his way to purchase gifts fro friends, a girlfriend, and on occasion for his father. He also sends cards, but has never to me. I think I will agree with your suggestion not sending a letter . Agree he will only do more damage. NO contact is very powerful. Thanks very much for taking the time to respond.
  6. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    I would be tempted to send a card, and a hand written note, about how proud you are of his accomplishments and hopes he has a good time with friends on his special day.

    Then the next paragraph about things you and husband are enjoying...even if you gave to embellish a little. Then actually go do some of those things. Sign up for a dance class, a book club, a local cooking class. Or take a trip with other seniors, or plan a vacation that you always wanted to take.

    Don't be sitting at home waiting for him to show up and grace you with his presence. Occasionally take a photo or send him a link to something you are thinking about doing.

    Instead of sending him a gift, make a donation in his name and let him know that is what you did to honor to an organization he might have enjoyed when younger.

    Don't cut ties, just don't make him the focus of your life. Make other plans... Start a hobby, volunteer, etc. maybe he will nature!

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  7. Holly10011

    Holly10011 New Member

  8. Holly10011

    Holly10011 New Member

  9. Holly10011

    Holly10011 New Member

  10. Holly10011

    Holly10011 New Member

    Have not been sitting home waiting for him since college. Our communictaion was limited but always pleasant until recently. The last 2 winter break visits were bad but nothing compared to this . I concluded incorrectly that now that he has started working full time that when he came to see his parents he would have matured and been kinder . WRONG....... The more days that pass the more that I am resentful of his vile and unacceptable behavior to 2 parents that dedicated their lives to doing the best we could for him. I will not cut him off but at the same time feeling most comfortable doing nothing for a while . I cant see rewarding this kind of behavior with communication. I am too emotionally fragile to allow for him to keep hurtin g me . I very much appreciate you taking the time to comment.
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  11. rebelmommy

    rebelmommy New Member

    I would agree not to send him a letter telling him how upset you are, the way that you have described him it seems as though he would actually get mad at you. Please don't be offended but he sounds like a bully. And weakness in front of bullies is never good they feed off of that. I would do what SWOT said, just a card, with a signature, something very generic.

    Also make sure you do take care of yourself. I have had several friends have strokes in their early 40's, apparently all due to stress. While these women are all for the most part fine, what I learned after researching this is that we women are experiencing this in alarming numbers. Take care of yourself. and Good Luck.
  12. Holly10011

    Holly10011 New Member

    Thanks very much. Thankfully I am feeling better. Ive distracted myself with my artwork, friends, and trying to see what I can do to help others that are in need during the holiday time . He just called for the first time opening with a very enthusiastic "How are you?" Im wondering why he's asking? - clearly he does not care - It appears that in spite of his behavior there is a conscience there. Which is better than not-yet it is not in any way enough to compensate . My response " I am ok - all is pretty quiet here, let me put your dad on the phone". In past we do 3 way but I had nothing more to say. In the end I overheard him say " tell mom goodbye" I think that he has major emotional issues (that is with his parents - yes a bully) yet others are always so impressed with how lovely he is . Now in my 60's I dont know how much time I have left. I don't really care to spend valuable time trying to challenge and or please him . I can put my head on my pillow each night and know that we gave it our all - A longshot - Pregnant at 41 hubby 51- Limited income with- very small apt. Many told us we were crazy. But I believed that all of that was not as important as allowing a child to feel loved and secure. He had a wonderful childhood and was an easy pleasure to raise until he left home for college. He has done quite well for himself and I feel that he just looks down on us for being old and not wealthy as many of his friends parents are.Whatever his issue is with us, Ive decided to let it go. Let is be HIS problem . Thank g-d I dont have to support him. When his bd rolls around Ill do the same he's done for me . A 2 word text. Happy Birthday. And is is lucky to get even that. Let him wonder why for the very first time he is not receiving more. Thanks very much for taking the time to reply. Your kindness is appreciated.
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  13. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Holly, I am so sorry for your reason to be here. Sounds like your son has a big old case of being "too big for his britches". Thankfully, he is successful in his efforts in college and has a nice paying job.
    Gets an "F" for how he treats his parents.
    He is 21. He may come round with maturity.
    Try not to write the end of the story. In the meantime..........
    Good for you Holly. Life is too short to be waiting for our kids to "get it".
    It is his problem. Understandable why it is upsetting to you, it is unacceptable that he treats you this way.
    I would let him be, too. Stew in his own juices for awhile. He's smart, he should be able to figure it out.
    Kids now a days.
    Take care
  14. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    I'm glad you are feeling better, Holly.

    Your son has done quite well for himself and your sacrifices paid off. Now if he could only remember where he came from!

    I am not excusing his behavior AT ALL, but perhaps his success has just gone to his head? New college grad, pulling down the big bucks in a tech hotbed...heady stuff for a 21 year old, and now he is trying to act out the role of the big shot. The old "It's nice to be important but it's more important to be nice" is really applicable here.

    He owes you a BIG apology, the little $#!+! Until then I'd keep it bland and on the frosty side and let him figure out what he's done and how to fix it.
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  15. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Holly,

    It's never easy to realize that our adult children can turn into people we don't recognize. You may never know or understand why your son's behaviour towards you has become cold and distant. What I can tell you is you do not have to put up with it.
    I have learned over the years that expressing our feelings whether verbal or written to our difficult adult children can backfire on us. My own personal experience with my son, he would use my word against me.
    As for sending him a birthday card, if it were me I would send a very generic card and I would not send any money and would just sign it simply "Love Mom".

    I'm so sorry you had to find us here. We all have different stories but share the same heartache in that our adult children have hurt us in some way.

    The best thing we can do is take care of ourselves. We need to live our lives as best we can. I'm glad that you have your art and friends to occupy your time with.

    ((HUGS)) to you.........................
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  16. HopingForTheBest

    HopingForTheBest New Member

    Hi, Holly - I'm new to the group myself. I believe my soon-to-be 18 y/o son has ASPD (antisocial personality disorder). His father has traits of it but has never been diagnosed.

    So, while I'm still learning to navigate these waters with my son, I've already mastered it with his father (divorced 6 yrs). With that, here's the best advice that was ever given to me: Detach. You can love him at a distance, but don't be enmeshed. Based on my experience, I would also add: Don't try to show them how they've hurt you, either with direct pleas or indirectly with passive aggression. It will not make you feel better, and it will not create for him that "a-ha" moment you're hoping he'll one day have. In fact, it just makes them see you as more pathetic. In my case, anything beyond instilling Vulcan-like boundaries is seen as pathetic.

    You haven't mentioned anything about any kind of mental illness diagnoses or evaluations. I'm curious to know if there's a history there (with him or with family). Truly, this could just be him being a punk. Either way, the above advice still stands.

    So, as it relates to his upcoming birthday (which appears to be the same as my nearly 18 y/o's - end of Dec), do whatever makes you feel best. But do it because you want to, not because you hope it will initiate some kind of change in him. It will not.

    Sending you love and strength, from one Vulcan mama to another.
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  17. Holly10011

    Holly10011 New Member

    No mental illness diagnosis. As a matter of fact he is 100% different towards his friends and other adults. We had a short train ride to visit older (in their late 80s) relatives. Our son was upbeat, kind, caring hugged and kissed them hello and goodbye. On train home had his nose in his book ( did not speak to us) and exited before our stop to visit with friends. I feel that something triggers when he sees us. I don't see any birthday choice as initiating any change in him.
    I have even become exhausted /frustrated in my attempt to figure him out. Letting it be HIS problem, and not mine is preferable . My heartache seems to have turned to anger which is not healthy . Letting it go has been easier than I thought. I am not letting go of a kind caring and loving person in my life. That would be difficult. But letting go of someone that is abusive -well that it an entirely different scenario. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    ASPD?? Is there any help available for this ?
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  18. Sam3

    Sam3 Active Member

    I am with Albie, 100%

    If you can get to the place where you can say "my son is being a little $#!+,". I think you have incorporated the spirit of all these wise comments.

    I had a similar earning differential from my parents. Please know that giving all you had to give already earned you the heaven pass, and your rightful place in his life. A 21 year old being a selfish little S doesn't change that. Millennials can be a $#!+tty little generation, so there's that too. I think they'll start coming around as they age.
  19. HopingForTheBest

    HopingForTheBest New Member

    yes! I'm going to adopt that as my new mantra!

    Holly - regarding ASPD insights, I'm pretty early in my research, but so far this place has been the best support I've found. Here's the textbook definition:
    “...a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood.” People with antisocial personality disorder may disregard social norms and laws, repeatedly lie, place others at risk for their own benefit, and demonstrate a profound lack of remorse. ​
    I recorded an hour and a half conversation with my son recently during which he bragged that he can manipulate anyone because of their emotion, and he has never experienced any emotion other than anger. He thinks people who have emotions are pathetic. This, coupled with recent text messages from him to a friend saying that some day I'll be dead and he'll be in jail, has me digging in to understand WTF is going on (sorry for the language... but it accurately depicts how I'm feeling).
  20. Holly10011

    Holly10011 New Member

    WoW-this sounds frightening .......................... Makes me feel blessed that I am dealing with someone so far away and with very different issues. OMG - this must be so difficult. I am usually never lacking for any kind of response but in this case I am with-o words. Great that you have found support here.