I finally put my foot down. still in shock.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by SomewhereOutThere, Jul 28, 2016.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    So son called this morning and, with my husband telling me not to as he looked over my shoulder, I answered. what is wrong with me???

    I shouldn't have. He started talking about how bad his stomach is, which he does every day (and it scares me) and I told him he really needed to go to the doctor. that his stress has messed up his stomach. He alsi often tells me he cant sleep, his head feels fuzzy, etc. Its probably started because if stress...but chronically these can lead to other, permanent health issues.

    He hung up. I texted him never to call me again if he was not sure he couldnt stop being disrespectful.

    His text back: "you keep scaring the crap out of me by continuing to bring up the doctor. You're more harmful than helpful You just added stress. THANKS MOM."

    I texted I was trying to help and that he shouldnt tell me about his ills then as they worry me. Then I got this. please temember son is in litigation and will not send truly nasty texts even to me right now.

    "I need to keep my stress level down and you wont stop saying things that add to it. I need to take care of my stress level, not have you make it worse."

    He then called briefly to reiterate this and I said, "Then dont tell me how bad you feel. it scares me."

    He said. "No, I wont stop talking about how bad I feel, because its true, but I dont want to hear about the doctor!"

    I said good bye and hung up and he's been texting me since, probably telling me how I am not helping him and what a bad mother I am, heaping stress on him. I won't read it. I'll have husband delete when he gets home. I dont want to delete because I'll be tempted to read if if its right there.

    I never know what is okay to say. Now he HAS told me he is stressed out when I mention doctor. Lots of things "stress me out" -or " Should I have just let it go? He has told me not to mesi hung up hecause I told you not to say that." I never know what the list includes.

    Maybe Im wrong. Should I just not mention doctor? He keeps telling me a lot about his symptoms. Still I cant make him do it. Should I just listen and not mention it? I suppose I could...

    I am so tired of this, but maybe it IS partly me. Son doesnt take drugs, works, never asks me for money,,,but he can hang up on me or call me stupid every day, usually when he can't control his world. When he is most frustrated.

    Should I listen anyway? That's all he wants, although he does expect feedback and the feedback lately has caused his hang ups.

    He has me so dizzy I dont know what to think.

    He sent those emails and texts AFTER I texted him not to call me unless he could be respectful, that I am a person too and that this hurts me and is not acceptable. Who knows when I'll hear from him again? Why does it hurt? I should be glad, but Im not. Why????
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2016
  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip


    It hurts because you do care. But you have to take care of yourself!!! I have to remind myself not to take things Belle and Pat do personally... I have a lot of trouble with that.

    You did right. And I don't think he'll just stop... You've told him before, and he did not.
  3. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet


    You are a great giver of advice here BUT like all of us, you can't see the forest for the trees in your own life!

    My advice would be to bite your tongue and say very little. Forget the doctor thing. That sets him off.

    I'd limit calls from him. He has to deal with this himself. Of course you can support him but not at your expense.

    I think hubs is right on this one. Stop the cycle. It isn't helping either of you really.
  4. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Okay...first of all, HE'S BEING A JERK! Hanging up on someone is just plain RUDE. Even when I've hung up on my son for screaming at me, I've told him, "I'm hanging up now. I love you. Goodbye." Second, HE'S BEING A CHILD. If you have stomach problems caused by stress to the point you are ill - you GO to a DOCTOR. That's what you DO if you are unwell. If his SON was complaining of all these problems, would he not take him to the pediatrician? Grown-ups aren't afraid of going to the doctor if they have a medical problem. For the love of Pete, it's maybe an ulcer - not cancer! Get some Pepcid and some Valium and get over it!

    Now...if it were ME, this is my take on it. If you want to talk to him...you are going to have to do none of the talking. I would tell him, "If you need to vent, I'll listen. But I WON'T have you call me stupid and I WON'T have you disrespect me anymore. I AM YOUR MOTHER! YOU DO NOT SPEAK TO ME THAT WAY, PERIOD! If you do I will be the one hanging up on you! So don't expect advice, because you only say hateful things if you don't think I'm saying the right thing. I will listen. I will NOT offer advice."

    And DO it. Listen, make "uh-huh" and sympathetic tongue clucking noises. While he's talking do your nails or play a computer game and mostly tune him out. Eventually, maybe, he'll get the hint that you are tired of being his whipping boy.

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  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    RN and Lil, thank you both.

    Lil, I always find your advice very logical and helpful.

    I already began doing what you said to do and will continue.

    I hate to lie, even little lies. But Im going to lie for my own sake and tell him I am working nonstop because they are short. Its far from true...I feel they don't give me enough hours. But its a restaurant so its believable. He knows I cant even carry my phone when I'm there.
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  6. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    SWOT, when I was at work and consumed with my two, my poor work friend would listen sympathetically, but eventually told me "I think you need to go see a therapist."
    (Not that you should say this to your son.....) So, I did.
    The point is, he is using you as his sounding board, his therapist, his go to, then verbally abusing you and it is not fair. When did we get to this point where adult children do not care that the woes of their lives spilling out all over the map, negatively affect their parent?
    Good, you put your foot down. There is help out there for him. Period.
    He is blaming you and venting and walking all over you. YUCK! He is angry at what is happening, and you are nearest the whipping post.
    I am sorry for the shock of this. You are a wonderful person and have supported him throughout. I am reminded of the quote
    By putting your foot down, you are declaring your value!
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  7. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    If you had mu greatest flaw you would have had no issue with this. I zone out when things get long and boring or annoying and do other things.
    Granted that is the only good thing it affect your other way too much.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I dont want to have to zone out.

    Thanks, New Leaf. This is all very helpful.

    He has 101 reasons why he cant go to therapy. I am tired if all the excuses.
  9. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    So you are now to add psychic to the family law attorney, counselor, physician and child rearing expert he expects you to be?

    He needs to stop the silliness. If he can't (won't) stop, he needs to take it elsewhere.

    And I can't help but wonder, if he feels stressed out, does yelling at you really help ratchet it down? It is not even in HIS best interest to do that; apparently calling you only makes him feel worse because you lack the superhuman ability to fix his world for him. Maybe he SHOULD stop calling, for your sake AND his.


    SWOT, I am glad you put your foot down.
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  10. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    He's calling you, he wants you to listen. By you just listening-his needs are being met. You can just listen and not say a word. He has your attention.

    He also has your attention when he's acting out. It's still attention. You listen to the ranting and bad behavior. You engage him and it's all still attention. Even saying, "Don't call me stupid" is engaging, he likes that back and forth.

    You don't want him behaving like that, so something has to motivate him to change that specific behavior.

    By you just flat out refusing to tolerate one word of his nonsense will be a good motivator. He doesn't get the attention he wants. So you have 2 choices, hang up immediately when he acts out, or listen quietly when he just needs to vent. Give him verbal positive reinforcement only. He will learn the best way to get the coveted attention from you, teach him.
  11. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    As I said way before just listen and agree with him no advice just agree with him. It is what he wants after all and what is so hard to say yes you are right, so true, I could not agree more when he ask for your opinion. Why make things hard you know that is what he wants someone to listen and agree with him.
  12. karisma

    karisma Member

    This seems like the game of "I will tell you I want feedback because only by you responding can I find something to abuse you for - just listening to me doesn't provide that opportunity...of course any feedback you come up with will be dead wrong..enjoy!"

    My son also plays games like this as well and has for years. He just looks for ways to jump all over me with criticism. Difficult Child will ask me a question, then when I attempt to answer this question, he starts yelling at me for "interrupting" him, which is complete bs because he wasn't talking when I began my answer...and on and on and on.

    I know that feeling so very well. I think that is the point of Difficult Child's word control freak games though. Confusion.

    I'm sorry you are going through this. Difficult Child and I have been engaged in this same communication as abuse stuff for 10 years.

    Hugs to you
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My son doesnt let me just listen. I have to give feedback, but I have to avoid things per his rules. Its not about attention. its about talking about it ad nauseam HIS way. And, yes, he is very childish. And, no, I'm
    not playing anymore.

    Saying "yep" and "uh huh" doesnt cut it with him.

    Im tired of it. It is beyond ridicules. He can text me. If I don't like the text, I wont further engage.
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  14. DarkwingPsyduck

    DarkwingPsyduck Active Member

    You did well. You need not engage him. You are his mother, and deserving of respect and consideration. If he cannot speak to you with any amount of respect, you shouldn't talk to him at all. Especially when he clearly knows ahead of time what you will tell him, knows it isn't going to be what he wants to hear, but does it anyway. It is a practice in futility at this point. He doesn't get to make himself feel better by making you feel worse. That is NOT how :censored2: works with a normal, healthy relationship.
  15. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    He is an idiot. Research has proven over and over that ulcers, which is what it sounds like, are caused by bacterial infection unless you spent long periods of time on medications that eroded your stomach lining and caused permanent problems (my issue). He likely needs a few weeks of antibiotics and medications like lansoprasole or omeprazole (BOTH are over the counter and generic at the store) to kill the h. pylori. Stress makes you more vulnerable to infection, as does increased alcohol consumption which stress can trigger. Increased alcohol consumption can further irritate the stomach also.

    If idiot won't go to a doctor, he can at least get some lansoprazole and in 1-2 weeks he would be improved. He does not WANT to improve, he wants to whine. He gets attention and to feel important when he can take up your time and upset you and make you focus on HIM HIM HIM!!! So he is not going to get better unless you insist.

    I would text him that his hang up was the last straw. No matter how stressed he is, he can still mind his manners with you. I would also tell him that until he has at LEAST spent $15-20 on one of those stomach medications (brands names are Prevacid and Prilosec) AND he has taken it for a week, minimum, you will not answer his calls or reply to his texts.

    Then I would do that.

    You would do him a HUGE service by drawing a clear boundary and enforcing it lovingly. I would be willing to bet that his manners are not great in other situations, esp stressful work ones. Being able to ignore his manners simply because he is upset is not how the world works, esp the business world. He has to learn that being rude gets nothing and minding his manners gets attention. Think of it as dog training. With the caveat that he CAN make a link to you telling him that bad manners won't get attention and neither will ignoring his health (his son NEEDS him healthy, doesn't he?) and then you refusing contact until he actually minds his manners and does at least a little about his stomach issues. Tell him ONE TIME that those are your terms for contact and then if he is rude to you, disconnect and don't answer until a text or opening sentence is polite. Attention ONLY goes to behavior you want to see continued, no matter what.

    At this point, all you can do is hold back attention when his behavior is not appropriate, so that is what you should do. This (his situation) is ONLY your problem if you ALLOW it. You are feeding his problem and it isn't healthy. So concentrate on only feeding appropriate behaviors - he is an adult and if he cannot grasp this then I doubt he can function in society at all. So let it be HIS PROBLEM and go about dealing with what is actually something you can change.
  16. Sister's Keeper

    Sister's Keeper Active Member


    Lil is right he is acting like a jerk. I want to use a stronger word, but the filter will censor it anyway.

    Your son is angry at his ex wife and her feels powerless in this whole legal mess so he is taking his anger out on you, and using you to feel more in control by controlling you.

    It is a crappy thing to do.

    If you still want to talk o him and he needs feedback, then stick to the generic, "I'm sorry you feel that way," "I'm sorry to hear that," and "What are you going to do about that?"

    You need to set clear boundaries. The minute he becomes disrespectful or insulting say, "I think this conversation is no longer helpful, I will talk to you tomorrow." and hang up, and don't engage him until the next day.

    But you need to do it every time, and stick to it. Think of it this way, would you allow a stranger on the street to talk to you that way? If someone at the grocery store called you "stupid" would you keep talking to them?
  17. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    Applied Behavioral Analysis. All behavior is communication. What are the motivating factors? He feels better when he does that to you, don't let him. I don't know why it feels good to upset you, someone who wants to help. Sometimes people take their nonsense out on the one they love. YOU KNOW he doesn't listen to your advice, he hates it. Don't do that ugly dance. Smile with that fake "You're so pretty" smile and go along. Or say in your head..."No thank you" to all of that. Then don't tolerate it. Maybe this is hard for you but it will get easier and you will be happier, also he will behave better. Know his behaviors will get worse for a time because he is used to you being his &itch.
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Susie. I have already told him it could hr serious but he thinks its just stress. He can go or not go. its up to him.

    Sisterskeeper, yes, he is acting like a jerk. And can be one. Right now its texting only. He hates texting. Too bad, so sad. Thanks for your kind support. I do think you hit on a point. He cant yell at ex so ai am takng her place!

    Darkwing, you are just so sweet. aid love to kerl you, even though you have issues...lol. I can handle imperfection. I cant handle meanness. I do have three other kids who are very loving. This son can be kind too, but not when he is under pressure. Trust me, all, when I say:

    IHAD ENOUGH!!!!!!!!
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    1905, thanks for your feedback.I can't give him a smile. I never see him. He is a few states away.

    Sad to say this, but it is for the best.

    Don't misunderstand me. I love my son and know he loves me. I will always love him. I know his good side. Yes, he has one.

    Right now I love him but just dont like him very much. I'm sure many of you get this.
  20. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    SWOT, there comes a time with dysfunctional and codependent situations that it all comes to a head, and we can start to see that we aren't good for them, and they aren't good for us. Especially them and especially us.

    BECAUSE we are their mom and they are our son. husband always says that moms and sons are a unique combination, the toughest nut to crack, in terms of codependent relationships.

    SWOT, dear SWOT....you already know all of this. You just haven't applied what you already know to your relationship with your son. Now you are starting to do this.

    It's the same thing you have already learned. Letting him go to deal with his own problems and with himself most of all will be the best gift you ever gave to him. And that doesn't have to mean a complete breaking off of the relationship, and it doesn't have to mean being unkind or mean or anything like that.

    Step way way way back. You can start by creating a few "rules" for yourself. I'll answer every fourth call (or whatever the number is). I'll let three days to by until I answer a text or call. Setting physical boundaries is a great first step with a situation like this. It gives both of you a breather, and he can start to learn how to navigate all of this on his own, by himself, because...you just aren't available.

    When you do talk, you can write a script to read from with things like this:

    I know, honey.

    I'm sorry.

    I know you will figure it out. I have faith in you.

    Yes that is hard (unfair, frustrating...whatever the adjective is).

    If he doesn't like those responses, SWOT, you can say, oh, Honey, somebody's at the door, gotta go. Love you and I'll talk to you in a few days.

    SWOT...I had to actually write all of the above down on a piece of paper...and I had to read it into the phone for a while because I could not trust myself NOT to engage with him...because I had done it for so very long.

    You are moving toward this. This can be a pathway to change. Hang in there. We're here for you. Hugs.